The Architecture of Healthcare: Variety Children’s Hospital

May 15th, 2020

On this edition of Learning from Miami, we continue our tour of South Florida hospitals and visit the Variety Children’s Hospital.

On October 10, 1927, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 11 men involved in the entertainment industry created a social group they named the “Variety Club.” On Christmas Eve in 1928, an abandoned baby girl was found in the Sheridan Square Theater where the Variety Club was meeting. Efforts were made to track down the little girl’s mother, but she was never found. Members of the club adopted the child and named her Catherine Variety Sheridan, after the club and the theater where she was found. After their experience of caring for Catherine until she could be taken in by a family, the Variety Club members decided to focus their efforts on helping needy children.



In the 1930s, Dr. Arthur Weiland, Miami’s leading orthopedic surgeon and founder of Florida’s Crippled Children’s Commission, believed South Florida was in desperate need of a children’s hospital. He later joined forces with the Variety Club, which raised enough money to help fund the building of a children’s hospital near Coral Gables. In March 1950, just as the polio outbreak was beginning to ravage South Florida, Variety Children’s Hospital was opened and soon became a specialty hospital for treating children suffering from polio. In 1958, Variety became a teaching hospital for new doctors and nurses entering the field of pediatric medicine. After the Cuban Revolution, an influx of new refugees arrived in South Florida and Variety served as a place of healing for refugee children in need of medical care.



In 1983, during a major expansion of the medical facility, Variety Children’s Hospital was renamed Miami Children’s Hospital. On March 20, 2015, the hospital’s 65th anniversary, Miami Children’s Hospital was renamed Nicklaus Children’s Hospital following a generous pledge from golfer Jack Nicklaus and his wife Barbara’s charitable organization, the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation. Today, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital continues its legacy as a state-of-the-art pediatric hospital, now with facilities and clinics throughout South Florida.


-Ursa Gil


The Architecture of Healthcare: St. Francis Hospital

May 1st, 2020

    St. Francis Hospital on the shore of Allison Island, Miami Beach, Florida Date: 1930–1945.  From Digital Commonwealth – Massachusetts Collections Online. The next stop in our continuing series on South Florida hospitals is St. Francis Hospital in Miami Beach. Originally named Allison Hospital, St Read More...

The Architecture of Healthcare: Mercy Hospital

April 15th, 2020

  [caption id="attachment_3913" align="aligncenter" width="468"] Mercy Hospital on the shore of Biscayne Bay, Miami, FloridaDate: 1930–1945.  From Digital Commonwealth - Massachusetts Collections Online.[/caption] Of all the styles of architecture out there, healthcare architecture has a very specific purpose: to take care of people Read More...

Addison Mizner, Palm Beach’s Resident Architect

February 11th, 2020

  Portrait of Addison Mizner. Photo Courtesy of Addison Mizner is one of the most influential figures of southern Florida's early-20th-century architectural boom. His whimsical Mediterranean style buildings launched an architectural movement and inspired architects throughout North America Read More...

New Development Coming to Overtown

January 15th, 2020   As an integral hub of Miami's Overtown neighborhood, the Mary Elizabeth Hotel on NW 2nd Avenue was known for welcoming many important and prominent members of the African-American community. Built in 1921 by Dr. William B. Sawyer, the hotel was operated by his entrepreneur wife, Alberta Sawyer Read More...

Holidays South Florida Style

December 18th, 2019

Learning from Miami wishes all of our readers a happy and safe holiday season. In this edition, we’ve compiled a collection of unique holiday clips that could only happen in South Florida. These fun Florida clips are sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Hanukkah, also known as "the festival of lights," is the eight-day Jewish celebration commemorating the re-dedication during the second century B Read More...

Thanksgiving Florida Style

November 26th, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving from us at Learning from Miami. In this edition, we've compiled our favorite Thanksgiving clips for you. These fun Florida holiday clips are sure to get you ready for Turkey Day.   Watch these Weeki Wachee mermaids make a splash at their very own underwater Thanksgiving day feast Read More...

Key West Military Base

November 6th, 2019 AIR FORCE PLANES ON THE GROUND AT BOCA CHICA NAVAL AIR STATION; TROOPS ARRIVE IN KEY WEST BY TRUCK; ENTRANCE GATE BOCA CHICA GUARDED; AERIALS OF NAVAL BASE.   In honor of Veteran's Day, Learning From Miami travels south to Naval Air Station Key West and explores the rich history of this active military base Read More...

Spooky Florida

October 22nd, 2019

  Florida has always had its fair share of strange and unusual history. In honor of Halloween, “Learning from Miami” invites you to come and explore some of the dark and macabre places and people of Florida. Our scary tour includes a visit to a warlock's house, a town where spiritual mediums live, and some retro trick-or-treaters Read More...

Musa Isle, the Living Tourist Attraction

October 9th, 2019   Located on the south bank of the Miami River just east of NW 27th Avenue, Musa Isle was a tourist attraction started by John Roop in 1907 on property he purchased from A. J. Richardson. In 1919, Roop leased a section of his property to a Seminole man named Willie Willie who, with his father Charlie, developed Musa Isle into a Seminole village attraction Read More...