The Vagabond Motel Reopens

 

The Vagabond is arguably one of the most conspicuous buildings along Biscayne Boulevard’s MiMo district. After being abandoned for over a decade, the 1950’s motel located at 7301 Biscayne Boulevard officially reopened on August 18, 2014. This retro motor lodge is an iconic example of Miami Modernist Architecture,also known as MiMo (a term coined by a Miami Beach resident named Randall C. Robinson, and interior designer Teri D’Amico). The Vagabond’s entryway features a funky 1950’s sci-fi futuristic curvy canopy supported by v-shaped pipe columns and a life sized dynamic sculpture of water-nymphs and porpoises that welcome passing motorists. The Vagabond was designed by B. Robert Swartsberg and built in 1953, when Biscayne Boulevard was a popular tourist destination for families.

                                                                 vagabond2   Photo courtesy of historicpreservationmiami.com

With the completion of Interstate 95 in the late 1960’s Biscayne Boulevard became a road less traveled by tourists and other motorists. As a result, many of the motels, including the Vagabond saw fewer guests and eventually fell into disrepair. After the 1980’s Biscayne Boulevard fell victim to urban blight and experienced an increase in crime, prostitution, and illicit drug sales.

In 2003 the Vagabond was designated a historic landmark. In 2006, the MiMo district was created by the City of Miami. This district preserved a 27-block stretch of Biscayne Boulevard renowned for its mid-20th century buildings. Extensive renovations and preservation efforts have restored the Vagabond to its former glory.

vagabondentPhoto by: Ursa Gil

 

-Ursa Gil

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