Video: Readying A Rooftop Rendezvous

Learning From Miami’s survey of Miami’s architectural history reveals several architectural styles that may be familiar, such as Mediterranean Revival, Art Deco and MiMo, also known as Miami Modern — our region’s tropically-spiced variety of the International Style. Looking through the historical record, we sometimes come across peculiar stylistic juxtapositions, as one style overtakes another in popularity.

Here’s a particularly vivid example: The Top O’ the Columbus, a glass-enclosed MiMo restaurant, a 1950s addition to the top floor of the 1920s Mediterranean Revival Columbus Hotel. This footage from the Wolfson Archives’ WTVJ Collection captures the Top O’ the Columbus in December 1954, just before it opened to the public.

The Top O’ the Columbus soon became a popular place to see and be seen. A 1959 ad in the Miami News invited diners to “enjoy that ‘top of the world’ feeling” at the “Famous, fabulous Top O’ the Columbus” and touted the restaurant’s wine cellar, fine cuisine and its “intoxicating view of ocean, city and bay, 17 floors below!”

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