960 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
Welcome to Historic America’s tour of the Art Deco District. My name is Rachel and I’ll be your guide today. You are standing within the largest concentration of Art Deco buildings in the world. Whatever mode of transit you used to get here, you should find yourself between 9th and 10th streets on Ocean Drive, in front of the Art Deco Welcome center. This building will serve as an anchor for this tour, it is where we begin and also where we will conclude our time together. The center is overseen and operated by the Miami Design Preservation League, a group dedicated to preserving the unique architectural style here in Miami Beach since 1977. The preservation league is the reason Miami still oozes 1930s glamour, it’s oceanfront still lined with fabulously colorful buildings, sporting intricate detail and fascinating decor that offers us a glimpse of a bygone era. So, what exactly is Art Deco? And why is there so much of it in Miami? Art Deco was a form of artistic expression popular in the 1920s and 1930s as the most bold and modern style of the time. Like many symbols of style and fashion, Art Deco originated in France, gaining its name from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925. Art Deco architecture is characterized by overall symmetry, stepped rooflines, glass block, decorative sculpture panels, terrazzo floors, curved edges, and neon lights. Art Deco features hallmark designs like ‘the element of three’ and ‘eyebrows’, don't worry, I’ll be sure to point out a few fine examples of these on tour today. To draw to mind a familiar example of Art Deco architecture, picture the Empire State Building in New York City. The characteristics of Art Deco are clash of opposites, the simple and the complex. Both of these defining features were designed to challenge and overthrow the Edwardian-esque style of the first two decades of the 20th Century. If you’re unfamiliar with Edwardian style, think of the first two seasons of Downton Abbey. We will answer the ‘why Miami’ question shortly, but for now let's make our way to our first historic stop. For this stretch of the tour, we’ll stay here on the Ocean side of Ocean drive and I’ll tell you about the buildings on the city-side of the side of the street from a bit of a distance. With the entrance of the Welcome Center at your back, cross 10th st, I’ll share our next stop with you about halfway down the block. Go ahead and cross 10th and walk until you hear my voice again
948 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
You made it! You should have the Pacific Ocean behind you, and the city before you, as you look across the street, settle your gaze on the large white building. If the sun truly is beating down, feel free to stand underneath some shade while I tell you the story of the Clevelander Hotel. The Clevlander is an iconic destination here in Miami, much the same way as The Plaza Hotel is in NYC. It made several cameos in the 80’s crime drama television series, Miami Vice. Let’s look through a Deco lens, notice the curves and their contrast to sharp edges. This represents the polarized characteristics that define so much of Art Deco style. The hotel was built in 1938, designed by Miami-based architect, Albert Anis. Anis was from Florida, but worked much of the previous two decades building in Chicago. He was poised to embrace the Art Deco boom as it blossomed in his hometown. So what’s with the name? This hotel was designed by Anis but it was owned and financed by the Rattner family. If you happen to be from Cleveland, Ohio, the name Rattner should sound familiar. The Rattner family, immigrants from Russia in 1920, began Cleveland’s Forest City material, which became Forest City Enterprises, a real estate powerhouse in the Cleveland area. The Clevelander Hotel was an attempt by the Rattner’s to expand their Real Estate empire into the burgeoning Miami Beach area. Though the company no longer owns it, the hotel retains the name, and the Clevelander was the footstone from which the Rattner’s were able to build the nationwide real estate holdings they have today. Today, the Clevelander is still one of the hottest spots in town. You don’t have to wait for neon light to glow pink to get the party started, in true Miami fashion, there is no bad time to turn up at the Clevelander. It features a stylish open air patio bar and a nightly schedule of live entertainment including live DJs, fire shows, and go-go dancers. Now that we’ve seen a good example of Art Deco, why is there so much here in Miami? How did this once swampy, mosquito infested stretch of coastline turn into an architectural treasure trove and playground for the rich and famous anyway? In 1910 a serial entrepreneur and accomplished visionary, Carl Fisher, discovered this coastline while vacationing in the sunshine state. He pictured a drastic transformation for the 3,500 acre landmass and kicked off his grand plan by purchasing a home here in 1912. He was determined to build a billion dollar sandbar for the wealthy elite and Hollywood crowd. Eyes ever on the prize, he bought more of the land and financed the draining of the Biscayne Bay, bulldozing the native mangroves forests and replacing them with sand, creating the now iconic South beach shoreline. By the 1930’s Fisher’s little slice of paradise was fast becoming the fashionable vacation destination he had envisioned. Despite a devastating hurricane in 1926 and the financial repercussions of the Great Depression, the lure of Miami Beach only continued to grow. Luxury hotels popped up all along the coastline, all in the style du jour, Art Deco. Like all trends, Art Deco’s allure faded and made way for the post-war Mi-Mo movement, and new construction left these ocean front properties to disrepair and neglect. In the 50’s new constriction like the bowtie shaped complex, the Fountainbleau drew the stars and elite a bit north of here. Suddenly the 3 story deco darlings, seems far less attractive than the glamorous high rises of north beach. By the 70’s, many of the hotels were converted to retirement homes and south Beach became the butt of many jokes, the Miami Herald calling it “heaven's waiting room” and legendary comedian Lenny Bruce said “it’s where neon goes to die”...but in the 80’s, South Beach made a comeback. Thanks in large part to the activism of Barbara Baer Capitman, the founder of the Preservation League. She even got Andy Warhal down here to bask in the Art Deco greatness. The comeback is also thanks to that hit show I mentioned...Miami Vice. The film Scarface also added to the city's revitalization as an exotic and glamorous destination. Let’s continue our tour! If at any point you’d like to pop into a lobby or a bar or simply cross Ocean Drive for a closer look or better picture, please feel free. Just remember to cross back over to this side of the street in order to resume the audio prompts. When you’re ready, let’s head to our next stop. Continue up Ocean Drive and cross 11th street, I’ll meet you a bit beyond the intersection, so cross and keep walking until you hear me.
122 12th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
Hello, again. Rest your eyes on the large white mansion across the street. I know, I know it doesn’t look very Art-Deco-y, but its opulent, Mediterranean revivalist architecture is worth the stop. You may notice a few fellow travelers snapping pics near the large black gates. It seems there’s always a crowd here, in fact, this is the third most photographed home in the United States, second only to Graceland and The White House. The story of Casa Casuarina, begins with Alden Freeman. Alden was the son of Joel, who was the Treasurer of The Standard Oil Trust (which you may know better as the Rockefeller’s Company). Now when Joel died he left his fabulous fortune to his son, Alden. And this left Alden young and wealthy. He was an architect by profession, but he was able to retire at the age of 27 and travel the world. On one of his trips, he had the opportunity to visit what is said to be the oldest residence in the Western Hemisphere, Alcazar De Colon in Santo Domingo, which was built by Diego Columbus (Christopher Columbus’s Son). He was so inspired by the house that he decided to build his own home in Miami Beach paying homage to that house in the Dominican Reupublic. He brought back 2 bricks from Alcazar De Colon. One sits to the right hand side of the main entrance here, and one sits in his former house in Santa Barbara, California. Alden imagined Casa Casuarina a bohemian utopia, inviting local friends and global aquantences. Back then, the property had a total of 24 apartments. Freeman lived in the top-floor-front apartment on the southeast corner. The remaining 23 apartments in the building were available for rent and to house Freeman’s fascinating friends when they came to Miami Beach. Alden Freeman died in this home in 1937 of natural causes. The house was then sold to Jacque Amsterdam for $100k, who continued to run the house as an apartment complex that he named the “Amsterdam Palace. In April 1939, Amsterdam did a small renovation of the house in which he installed an elevator shaft (where the current bell is located), replaced the lily pond in the Courtyard with terrazzo flooring and moved the kneeling Aphrodite statue to the front terrace. In those days, accommodations were rented for a whopping $600/month during winter season and $30/month in the summer. In the decades that followed, the casa changed hands and changed names, gradually falling into disrepair. Then in 1992, while on vacation with his family, Gianni Versace took a walk down Ocean Drive and was immediately attracted to this house. He was pretty obsessed with Greek and Roman mythology, even representing his high fashion empire with a logo-d Medusa, he was drawn in by the “Kneeling Aphrodite” statue on the front terrace. Versace purchased the house and the lot next door, which was an old art deco hotel called the Hotel Revere. That makes this stop relevant right? The Miami Design Preservation League tried to save The Revere, but it was ultimately demolished, making way for the Garden, Swimming pool and entire South Wing. The renovations took millions of dollars and nearly 3 years to complete when in July of 1997, only 5 years after purchasing the home, Gianni Versace was killed on the front steps. Returning home from his morning walk to a nearby newsstand, he was shot by a serial killer on the FBI’s most wanted list. These steps became the site of a media frenzy and Versace’s murder prompted a vigorous pursuit. Some 1,000 agents across the country took part in what became one of the biggest manhunts in history. The following day, a police assault team closed in on a houseboat which the suspect had broken into, before they could enter, the gunman shot himself. The house sat empty for a few years until his sister, Donatella Versace, heir to the brand and Casa Casuarina, sold the property for $19 million in 2001. Ownership has changed a couple of times since then and it now operates as a luxury boutique hotel and event venue, boasting 10 unique suites & the renowned gourmet restaurant, Gianni's. This is The Villa: Casa Casuarina. The historic subtitle to its modern identity speaks to its survival. Legend maintains that Casa Casuarina was the original name given to the house back in 1930 as tribute to the only remaining tree on this lot after the destructive hurricane of 1926. Freeman was forced to cut down the tree in order to make room for the mansion’s construction. Casuarina equisetifolia is the botanical name of the tropical tree rooted in the soil of this mansion’s birth. If you decide to cross over for a closer look, remember to return to this side of the street. After you’ve safely crossed back, let’s continue up Ocean and cross 12th St. I’ll meet you just beyond the intersection of 12th and Ocean to tell you about the Tides Hotel.
122 12th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
You made it across 12th street. Our next stop is The Tides Hotel, you’re looking for a sand colored building with silver letters. When you see the Tides; stop. One of the taller and more elegant Art Deco hotels in Miami Beach, The Tides is often referred to as “ The Diva of Ocean Drive”. Designed by L. Murray Dixon, one of the city’s most prolific architects of the Art Deco era, this was the tallest building in the entire state when it was completed in 1936. It’s bolde silver letters and soft sandy walls still offering passers-by a touch of bygone elegance. Continue walking along Ocean Drive. The next two hotels I’d like to share with you are also on this block, but closer to the intersection of 13th and Ocean. Continue walking along Ocean Drive, I’ll meet you just shy of 13th street in front of The Carlyle Hotel.
1250 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
You should be facing a white three story building with matching awnings and a large sign that reads “The Carlyle.” Before we talk about the Carlyle, set your gaze first to the building to the left, The Leslie. I love the Leslie’s joyful yellow hue. Built in 1937, the Leslie Hotel is a fine example of Art Deco architecture. Now back to The Carlyle. This is one of the most famous hotels in Florida. Construction concluded in 1941, ringing out of Art Deco’s Golden Age. It’s architect, German-born Richard Kiehnel. The facade before you has remained virtually unchanged since it’s inception, unique paint job and the neon lights really make this pop, especially at night! When it opened in 1939, The Carlyle was the place to see and be seen. The Carlyle remains an iconic Art Deco landmark and is now best known for the places you may have already seen it. The Carlyle made cameos in the Blockbuster hits like Scarface and Bad Boys 2, but it’s real break out role was in the 1996 filming of The Birdcage starring Robin Williams. For this film, The Carlyle is transformed in to the setting of a hip and jazzy gay club called, the Birdcage. Cross 13th Street and I’ll meet you halfway down the block. You’ll see a granite pedestal with a bronze bust on top, I’ll meet you there.
1400 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
You made it across 13th street! And you’ve found a bronze bust of the lady we have to thank for this tour. Barbara Baer Capitman led the charge to preserve the Art Deco architecture here and founded The Preservation League in 1976. Miami's revival of the last decades flowed directly from her vision and efforts. This memorial was placed in gratitude and remembrance for her enormous contributions. Fun fact...the bust is formed from a sculpture completed by Barbaras mother Myrtle back in 1939. Barbara was 19. Now, with young Barbara at your back, look back across Ocean Drive. First look to your left. Do you see the white building with The Cardozo emblazoned above orange awnings? Perfect. That's the The Cardozo Hotel, designed by architect Henry Hohauser and completed in 1939. It features rounded edges combined with the straight lines of the windows, representing the perfect yin and yang balance of the Art Deco architectural style. The hotel was named after Benjamin Cardozo, one of the first Jewish jurors appointed to the US Supreme Court. The first was the arguably more famous Louis Brandeis, who was Ashkenazi jewish, having his roots in Eastern Europe. However, Cardozo was of Sephardic jewish ancestry, hailing from Spain and Portugal, a culture distinctive from their Ashkenazi cousins. So, Cardozo then became the first Sephardic on the bench. Like The Carlyle, Cardozo is a movie star in it’s own right. It was featured in Al Pacino’s Any Given Sunday and Marley and Me. It too was featured in the Birdcage, not as the main building, but it was the backdrop of one of the most famous scenes in the movie. If you have seen the film, I invite you to remember the scene where Robin William's character instructs a dancer to do FOSE FOSE FOSE, you do MARTHA GRAHAM MARTHA GRAHAM, but keep it inside. It’s even more famous Hollywood cameo the infamous hair gel scene in the hit rom-com “There’s Something about Mary.” Both filmed right here, and clips to both scenes are accessible by clicking the external link at the end of this audio. Perhaps even more important than it’s appearances on the silver screen, are the owners of the hotel. This couple that serves as Miami’s ultimate benefactors shine as the favorite duo of the area. They certainly know how to Turn the Beat Around and so to have they turned Miami around. I am of course talking about Gloria and Emilio Estefan, the Cuban-American dynamos that have inspired the music world and the people of Miami. After the Estefans took ownership, the hotel went under a multi-year, 15-million dollar renovation, making it Miami Beach’s next hot spot. Design-wise they have kept the art deco spirit of the locale but modernized it with a fresh white motif They completely renovated and revitalized this hotel. The decor inside pays homage to the hotel’s past but also brings it into the 21st Century. According to Emilio, Gloria once took a photo outside the hotel and promised her father that she would one day own it. That promise has certainly been kept and then some. Now lets talk about the hotel next door, The Cavalier. Notice the bold exterior, dark blue awnings stand in contradiction to the earth colored walls, the metallics accent pieces and use of vertical lines, make this hotel quintessential Art-Deco. Designed by architect Roy F. France in 1936 this structure remains a masterpiece of the movement. This hotel underwent an extensive renovation in 2015, giving the interior an updated twist on traditional elements without compromising it’s stylized integrity. The decor of the Cavalier Hotel is, in a word, unique. Upon entering the lobby, visitors are welcomed by stunning black and gold furniture, nautical decorations, terrazzo floors, and a faux fireplace surrounded with candles and art pieces, giving the space a very eclectic feel. A mainstay of the Miami Beach Art Deco scene, it’s been the location of countless art shows and film festivals. Let’s continue making our way up Ocean Drive. Cross 14th Street. Our next stop is on the far end of the next block.
1418 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
1435 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
You made it! The McAlpin is arguably one of purest distillations of Miami's Art Deco style, with its perfectly symmetrical design, the pattern of lines stretch the length and breadth the building's facade, Like the Cavalier, it adopts vertical lines rather than the horizontal ones we noted at the Cardozo. The pastel hues of pink and turquoise, are perfectly Miami. The building was designed by Lawrence Murray Dixon and completed in 1940. For those careful note takers, yes it’s the same Dixon behind the design of the Tides hotel that we saw several stops back. His name will appear again, so I beseech you to remember it. Today the hotel is owned by Hilton Grand Vacations, and offers full size suits behind the boutique facade. If you’re impressed by the Mcalpin you’re not the only one! This is the most photographed hotel on Ocean Drive, so go ahead and do it for the gram! Once you have hashtagged your picture #historicamericatours we’ll be on our way. Head up the block to the intersection of Ocean Drive and 14th Street Place.
1435 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
Just ahead of you is the intersection of 14th St place and Ocean Drive. Go left on 14th street place and cross ocean drive. Once on the other side, you'll notice DO NOT ENTER signs. That’s just for cars, don't worry! Follow the street as it narrows to a sidewalk and I'll meet you along that path.
1438 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
1438 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
You made it! Do you see the turquoise building across the street? It wasnt’ always Senor Frogs. Designed by Henry Hohauser in 1939, the bold building is a great example of the eclectic style of Art Deco. Along with Dixon, Hohauser is one of the principal architects of the Miami Art Deco scene and this building is just one of the many that he designed in the area, including the Cardoza which we saw earlier on this tour. For his work, Hohauser was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in South Florida history by The Miami Herald in 1993. He was also named a “Great Floridian”, an honor handed down by Florida’s Department of State to exceptional citizens. Other recipients include Mary Mcleod Bethune and Zora Neale Hurston. The building features the bold peaks, curved peaks and porthole windows. It was originally opened as Hoffman’s Cafeteria before hosting a few other tenants over the years, such as the China Club and Ovo. In 1989, the building became the Warsaw Ballroom. Sounds like a Polish dance hall, but it was actually a infamous gay club, a mainstay on the local party scene in it’s hayday. Gianni Versace even hosted parties here from time to time.Its guest lists, go-go dancers, and eccentric decor made it legendary to locals and out-of-towners alike. The Warsaw Ballroom actually served as inspiration for the scripted gay club in the film Birdcage. Today the building is host to a Senor Frogs franchise, well known for its party scene and wild cocktail menu. In the words of a chief executive for the brand, "You go to Señor Frog’s when you're on vacation, if you want to get crazy and nobody knows you." Let's cross the street and head down Espanola way. Use the crosswalk and I’ll meet you on the other side of Collins. Well use the left hand sidewalk to continue our tour. I’ll meet you on Espanola way, as you walk, senor frogs will be behind you and to the right.
1438 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
The street we’re walking down, Espanola Way, was actually the first commercial development on Miami Beach in the early 1920s, Española Way was built to serve as an artists’ colony, modeled after romantic Mediterranean villages in France and Spain. In May 2017, The City of Miami Beach completed a $2.5 million revitalization project making it a pedestrian-only street. With it’s soft lights and al fresca eateries, the street is experiencing a bit of a renaissance, fulfilling the vision of those that built it nearly a century ago as a place for locals and travelers to gather, create and celebrate. Sensual then and now, Española Way is an immersive and transporting experience, and not to be missed. Make sure you head back this way with your time in Miami. When you reach Washington Avenue, turn left. I’ll meet you shortly after you turn left on Washington.
1401 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
1300 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
We’re approaching our next stop. Just ahead and to your right, across the street, is the Miami Beach Post Office. The Miami Beach Post Office is a historic 1937 Art Moderne building,designed by Howard Lovewell Cheney and built under the patronage of the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression. The building features a noteworthy main entrance with double doors topped by a ten-foot high wall of glass blocks that allow natural light to fill the lobby. Just above the doorway a large stone eagle that dominates the entrance. Inside you’ll find a mural painted by WPA artist, Charles Hardman, a native Floridian, who was commissioned to paint a mural in 1940. It’s a pretty fancy place to buy stamps for your postcards! When you’re ready, turn left on 13th st, leaving Washington Ave behind you. I'll meet you along 13th st en route to our next stop.
1220 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
1301 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
We’re headed to our next stop--promise! Let’s head down Collins Ave towards 12th st and meet at the Webster Hotel. The Webster is the light blue building ahead and on your left. You’ll notice it has both coral and white accents. See you at the Webster.
1150 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
Here we are at the Webster, an Art Deco masterpiece that perfectly captures the spirit of Miami. I love the use of color on this facade. The blue and pink stand in contrast to subtle white. What a fun and funky combination! Miami’s love of Art Deco’s color clash is still alive and well, just take a look at their NFL teams logo. Miami Dolphins color scheme harkens to Art Deco’s clash of opposites using Orange, Navy blue, and Aqua. The Webster Hotel is another beautiful example of Henry Hohauser’s genius. Remember, Hohauser designed the Cardozo and Senor Frogs, too. Here we see straight lines, ornate carvings, & neon accents. The building demonstrates Hohauser’s “Law of Three,” by slicing the building into thirds both horizontally and vertically along with three sets of windows running along the facade. Hohauser was the king of Miami Art Deco, and his law of three was borrowed and popularized throughout the city. Today, you will find no guests at the Webster Hotel. The building is home to a high end fashion boutique. But don’t worry, there is no credit check to enter. I encourage you to pop into the lobby, have a cuban coffee and grab some air conditioning while you admire the lovely decor. When you’re ready we can head to our next stop. With the Webster behind you, use the crosswalk to first cross 12th and then cross Collins Ave. Ill meet you there at 12th and Collins in front of the Marlin Hotel. See you at the Marlin Hotel.
1150 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
You made it to the Marlin. The building, with it’s white walls and blue accents is another of Dixon’s accomplishments, and was completed in 1939. Dixon was also the designer of the Tides and the McAlpin hotels. At the last stop, I pointed out the “Law of Three”. Here I’d like to point out another staple of Art Deco architecture, Dixon’s signature “eyebrows”...the hallmark ledges over the windows. Unlike The Webster, The Marlin is still a functional hotel, managed by a Miami based hospitality firm. It’s got an impressive list of celebrity guests including: Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, Kanye West, and Gwen Stefani To reach our next stop, continue down Collins on this side of the street. When you reach 11th, use the crosswalk. I’ll meet you on Collins, once you’ve crossed 11th street.
1020 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
You should see the Tudor Hotel across the street, it’s fine Art Deco spire shooting to the sky. Leave the Tudor behind you and continue down Collins. My voice will greet you a bit further down the block and I’ll point out our next stop, The Essex House Hotel.
948 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
Do you see the Essex House Hotel? It’s ahead and to your left on the corner of 10th & Collins. Construction on the Essex House was completed in 1938. It was designed by a man that you should be pretty familiar with by now: Henry Hohauser. In addition to his name, you can probably also quickly point out his signature features. On the corner facade, notice the three unique protrusions or levels, a perfect example of his law of three. You may even catch a glimpse of Dixon’s “eyebrows”. The building also demonstrates an Art Deco sub genre known as Maritime Deco or Nautical Moderne. Do you see how it almost resembles a cruise ship? For Miami architects, the designs were not just about bold and eclectic colors or a variety in materials but about experimenting with different shapes and building layouts. This is a prime example of that experimentation, and a success if you ask me. If you enter the lobby of the Essex, you’ll see that the nautical theme of porthole windows and natty racing stripes, continues inside. You’ll also see a stunning painting of the Florida Everglades created by famous Floridian Earl Lapan. LaPan left behind more than 300 paintings across South Florida, but many of his works were sadly removed or painted over. This painting not only survived but also was restored by LaPan himself in the 1980s. To see the mural, just enter the lobby. It’s the big painting hanging over the fireplace. You can't miss it. For our next stop, you should continue down Collins Avenue, in the direction of 9th street. My voice will greet you along the way!
948 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
850 Ocean Ct, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
Ahead and to your left on the opposite side of the street is another beautiful Dixon design. The building features his trademark eyebrows over the window, as well as Hohauser’s “Law of Three” seen at it’s corner. A marvelous combination of artistic genius. The building was erected in 1939, as the Tiffany hotel as the gleaming spire would suggest. However, the building changed hands and the name was changed in the late 1990s to the Hotel of South Beach. The owner loved the name Tiffany and the sign, so he elected to keep it. When the building was erected in 1939, neon was still a novelty and a quite expensive one at that. The hotel's original, Tiffany, was spelled vertically in eye-catching neon on the building’s iconic aluminum spire. The use of neon and the spire’s rocket-like shape create a futuristic look influenced by the sci-fi themes becoming ever more pervasive in popular culture at the time. We’re nearing the end of our time together today, but i have a few more gems I’d like to share with you. Continue making your way down Collins. Once you’ve taken in Tiffanys cross 8th st, and continue making your way down Collins. I’ll meet you shortly after you cross 8th.
750 Florida A1A, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
You made it across 8th! I wanted to quickly point out the Art Tech House, you should see it now on this side of the street, just ahead and to your right. Challenging the traditional museum model, the ARTECHOUSEis an innovative space fusing art and technology. With spaces in DC and NYC in addition to Miami, each offers unique and immersive experiences. I definitely encourage you to check out their current offerings. Click the external link associated with this stop to see what this location is currently showcasing. Continue a bit farther down Collins and make a left on 7th st, crossing Collins for a final time on this tour. I’ll meet you after you’ve turned left on Collins.
701 Florida A1A, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
Perfect, you made it. Continue on 7th st. Pass the intersection of Ocean court. We’re making our way back to Ocean Drive. When you reach Ocean, cross Ocean and turn left. Finding yourself once again on the Ocean side of Ocean Drive. I’ll meet you on that block of Ocean, between 7th & 8th.
707 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
The purple behemoth across the street is the Colony Hotel. Built in 1935, the Colony was another brainchild of Henry Hohauser. The Colony is truly a landmark of South Beach that can be seen from the Ocean. It was one of the first Art Deco buildings in South Beach after the horrific hurricane of 1926 practically wiped out the city of Miami. The building is a symbol of Miami’s new beginnings that stands tall and proud, preserving that story today. The building's facade underscores the Art Deco trends of simple and symmetrical. The bold geometry of the building with its inverted “T” in the front of the building bearing the hotel’s name and the horizontal eyebrows above the windows, provide plenty of shade for the customers gazing out into the Ocean. If you think about it, the hat of the inverted T is the biggest eyebrow that we have seen today! Though it is something to see during the day, the Colony truly comes alive at night when the vibrant neon lights illuminate the electric blues and bright purples of the buildings facade. The Colony's iconic blue glow has been a symbol of South Beach since it’s erection. Making our way to our final stop, make your way across 8th st. Continue up Collins and I’ll meet you along the way.
888 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
928 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
You made it! Look across Ocean Drive and you’ll see our final stop of the day, The Breakwater Hotel. Designed in 1936 by Yugoslavian architect Anton Skiskewicz, The Breakwater remains one of Miami’s most iconic Art Deco buildings. The building is a real masterpiece, featuring perfect symmetry, bright yellow and blue colors against its cream base, the tower in the middle rises above the neighborhood and can be seen almost anywhere in South Beach when the electric-blue sign lights up at night. I’m sure all this walking has left you hungry and ready for some air conditioning! Look to the left of the Breakwater on the far end of the block, there you’ll find one of my personal favorite South Beach staples-- Mangos. It's a modern take on the classic supper clubs of yesteryear, think Cotton Club in Harlem or the Tropicana in Havana. While you enjoy dishes and drinks from a world class menu, dancers own the elevated stage between the tables. From Brazillian Samba to Cuban Conga, from 80s pop to 90s hip-hop, Mangos has a whole vibe and always gets the party started. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, I’m sure you’ll find something in the area that tickles your fancy here in the heart of South Beach. Our tour concludes here, where it began, ahead and to the right you’ll notice the Art Deco Welcome Center, home to the notion that the unique architectural style of Miami should be preserved and appreciated by future generations. I hope you enjoyed the tour today. If you’d like to thank me for my time and expertise, simply click the external link associated with this stop and you can provide a gratuity electronically. By clicking the link you’ll also be able to access a bit more information about the area as well as our Art-Deco & Miami playlists. Thank you for choosing Historic America, we can’t wait to join you on your next historic adventure!