Constructed in 1925 as a home for The Miami News, the Freedom Tower at Miami Dade College was modeled after the Giralda Cathedral Bell Tower in Seville, Spain. Striking in its architectural detail with its octagonal tower and richly ornamented facade, it remains one of South Florida's most distinctive historic buildings.
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 2008, the building designed by George A. Fuller, Schultze & Weaver was donated by 600 Biscayne LLC and the Pedro Martin family.
Most notably in its history, MDC's Freedom Tower was operated by the U.S. government as a reception center for Cuban refugees from 1962 to 1974. The building is significant because it represents the important story of the Cuban exodus to America and resettlement during the Cold War, reports the U.S. Department of the Interior, which has also called the Freedom Tower the "Ellis Island of the South."
Though it operated in that capacity for only 12 years, the building has become an icon representing the faith that democracy brought to troubled lives, the generosity of the American people and a hopeful beginning that assured thousands a new life in a new land.
The Cuban Exile Experience & Cultural Legacy Gallery is a historical component of the MDC Museum of Art + Design. In addition to visual arts, the Museum supports exhibitions and programs that collect, preserve, research and interpret stories and artifacts that help build a better community understanding and appreciation of the Freedom Tower's history.