Miami: The First 100 Years

Biscayne Engineering Recognized as a Pioneer Company by by the Miami Centennial ’96 Committee

The following is reprinted from Miami Centennial Calendar – The First 100 Years 1896-1996


Any firm doing business in Dade-county, sooner or later, will become involved with the work of Biscayne Engineering Co., one of Miami’s oldest establishments in continuous operation. Founded as a partnership in 1898 by W.E. Brown, a New Englander, and F. S. Frederick, an old Miami area surveyor, Biscayne’s influence has been felt statewide throughout the decades.

The firm took its name from the building it originally occupied – The Bank of Biscayne (located on the west side of Miami Avenue, 25 feet south of Flagler Street).

The company’s early work included laying out the City of Miami streets, later extended to Dade County streets. The firm was also retained during construction of Star Island – the first man-made island in Biscayne Bay. If perhaps not the most important work, though certainly the most popular, was the development of Villa Vizcaya. other jobs included development of Brickell Property, construction of the U.S. Post Office Building and Federal Courthouse, conversion of Tropical Park from a Dog to a Horse Track, laying out the University of Miami campus, surveying of Tamiami Canal in 1911, and the redevelopment of the of the Brickell area into an international banking and business center. More recently the firm has been involved in the Metro Rail and People Mover projects and the new Dade County Library.

Formal incorporation of Biscayne came in 1913, with W.E. Brown as President, J.A. Moore, Vice President and E.E. Harvey as Secretary Treasurer. A year prior to incorporation the company hired a young engineer just out of the University of Florida at Gainesville. He was John J. Bennett, later known as “J.J.” and a man who was to leave an indelible mark on the firm as well as on many areas of South Florida.

Hired as a lowly rodman, but soon promoted to instrument man on a survey team, there was little to indicate that Bennett would someday become Secretary, majority stockholder and President. much of what is known about the company’s long history comes from Bennett, who ran the company from 1952 to 1973, retiring in 1997.

Today, Biscayne Engineering offers a full range of civil engineering, architectural engineering, professional land surveying, right of way mapping, traffic engineering and environmental services with three offices in Florida, located in Dade, Broward and Hillsborough counties. These services are offered to private clients, cities, counties, and the Florida Department of Transportation.

To ensure the success of every project, a comprehensive quality assurance system is in place. Our vast experience in design covers the entire spectrum of transportation facilities. All our technical and professional personnel have available for their use the latest technology in the form of equipment and software, including stations with data recorders interfaced with our state of the art CADD installations.