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William M. Burdine- Miami City Cemetery (1843-1911)

William was a Confederate army officer born in Mississippi. The Burdines story began at a Miami trading post in 1898. In 1897, Henry Payne and William M. Burdine opened a dry goods store in the central Florida city of Bartow. A year later, Payne left the company and Burdine brought in his son, John, as a partner, resulting in the company's name change to W.M. Burdine and Son.

He decided to move farther south after a freeze wiped out his Bartow citrus business but spared Miami. In 1898, Burdine bought a block on South Miami Avenue, one block south of Flagler Street in Miami. That year he opened the first W.M. Burdine & Son store at the location, just two years after the first people had arrived in the area from the newly completed Florida East Coast Railway to incorporate the city.

His tiny store held only a few shelves of clothing, which were primarily sold to construction workers, soldiers from the Spanish–American War, and the local Miccosukee and Seminole Native Americans. By 1912, under the leadership of Roddy Burdine, Burdines had grown into a full-fledged department store and continued expanding.

Burdine's merged with Macy's in 2005 but Floridian's will always remember it as Burdine's....


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