A South Florida Christmas: Deck the Halls with Christmas Decor

December 15th, 2016

Exterior Christmas home decor sure has come a long way from simple lights hung around homes to the elaborate where Christmas light displays flicker to the rhythm of music. The first home Christmas lights are thought to have been put up in 1882 by Edward Johnson, who was an executive at Thomas Edison’s company. Johnson put 80 red, white, and blue lights on a small tree. Businesses soon followed his lead, extending the display to the outside of buildings. President Grover Cleveland had lights put on the White House Christmas tree for the first time in 1895.

General Electric bought the rights to Edison’s bulbs in 1892; and in 1900 the first known advertisement for tree lights appeared in print in Scientific American. The ad contained the gentle suggestion of renting Christmas lights, mainly because they were so expensive. In 1900, one string of electric lights cost $12, which would be a few hundred dollars in 21st century money. Technical innovations brought the price down relatively rapidly,  and the same string of lights cost less than $2 in 1914. By the 1930s, Christmas lights of an electric fashion were ever-present across America.

This clip features one of South Florida’s most iconic department stores, Burdines.  This boutique on Flagler Street had a particularly impressive outdoor neon display of Santa Claus. 

 

 

This home movie clip features a Florida family that decked their front lawn with personalized snowmen made to look like each member of their clan.

 

 

No Christmas would be complete without family and friends. This clip from the “Miami Movie Makers Club” from 1962 showcases a retro Christmas party complete with food, a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, and a special visit from Santa Claus.

 

 

-Ursa Gil-

Casa Casuarina: The Palace on Ocean Drive.

October 24th, 2016

Casa Casuarina is arguably one of the most famous buildings on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach. This home was once the opulent residence and private oasis of celebrity fashion designer Gianni Versace, and continues its legacy as a resort for the well-to-do. Journey through time with Learning from Miami, as we delve into Casa Casuarinas’ rich history Read More...

Andrew’s Destruction of Homestead Air Force Base

August 17th, 2016

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16CkGSfW_Ts&feature=youtu.be On Aug. 24, 1992, Homestead Air Force Base was obliterated. Like much of the surrounding communities, Homestead AFB was ravaged by the full fury of Hurricane Andrew, leaving the military base in complete ruin. By the time base personnel and aircraft had been evacuated, Hurricane Andrew had grown to a category five storm Read More...

Cruising back in Time: The History of South Florida’s ports

July 27th, 2016

Norway ship at the Port of Miami. Photo courtesy of Floridamemory.com. During the height of the cruise season millions of passengers will board luxury liners. How did South Florida’s cruise industry begin? Embark on a high-seas adventure featuring the history of two of the world’s largest and busiest sea ports, PortMiami and Port Everglades, and get a sneak peak at the largest cruise ship coming to Port Everglades Read More...

Exploring Cape Canaveral

June 29th, 2016

On July 11th 2011, the Space Shuttle Atlantis touched down in Cape Canaveral from its last mission, ending the era of the 30-year Space Shuttle program. The retirement of the shuttle in 2011 left the United States without the ability to send astronauts into orbit for the first time since the early 1980s, leading some to wonder whether America was abandoning its leadership in space travel Read More...

Welcome Aboard the Houseboat

June 1st, 2016

Houseboat communities have a long history in Florida. These laid-back waterfront neighborhoods attracted free spirits looking for a seafaring lifestyle that wouldn’t break the bank. Floating homes gained mainstream success due to 1960s crime genre films like Lady in Cement starring Frank Sinatra and the popular detective TV series Surfside 6 Read More...

A Walk Down Memory Lane: South Beach in the 70s

May 17th, 2016

For most of its history, Miami Beach was the hottest vacation destination in the world. That was until the 1970s, when the city fell out of fashion with tourists. The growing popularity of air travel, which beckoned tourists to exotic locations, and the opening of Disney World in 1971, siphoned tourism away from the Beach Read More...

Legacy of the Nautilus: From Hotel to Hospital

April 27th, 2016

Photo courtesy of floridamemory.com   Although not the most famous of real-estate developer Carl Fisher's original Miami Beach hotels (that distinction would  go to the 1912 Flamingo Hotel), the Nautilus Hotel was undoubtedly the most illustrious. Built in the early 1920s, Fisher employed renowned architects Leonard Schultze and Fullerton Weaver to design the one million dollar Mediterranean-style resort Read More...

Florida’s First Television Station

April 1st, 2016

  [caption id="attachment_3226" align="aligncenter" width="306"] Capitol Theater Downtown Maimi. Photo Courtesy of www.floridamemory.com[/caption] In 1925, Mitchell Wolfson and Sidney Meyer founded the Wolfson-Meyer Theatre Company. One year later, they opened the Capitol Theater, an innovative auditorium in the heart downtown Miami Read More...

Developers Unveil Proposals for Miami Dade College’s Downtown Site

March 16th, 2016

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1f00RFkR7M Miami Dade College is currently seeking one lucky developer to enter into a partnership for the 2.6 acre parcel located next to the Freedom Tower. Formerly the location of the Alcazar Hotel, the space is currently being used as a parking lot for the Wolfson Campus Read More...