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. 

To make up for the collapse of tourism, landlords and hotel owners began accommodating middle-to-lower-class retirees. During the early 1980s, crime became prevalent on the Beach. Alongside retirees lived numerous drug dealers and criminals who came to Miami during the Mariel Boatlift. 

It was during this era when tangible efforts were made to demolish most of the city’s trademark art deco architecture and replace it with new urban developments. Thankfully, the Miami Design Preservation League (founded by Barbara Baer Capitman) won Federal historic designation in 1979 for the preservation of the South Beach district of Miami Beach.

Beginning in the late 1970s three photography students, Susan Jordan, Sereta Russell, and Nancy Rohan, began to document South Beach’s bygone era through their photographs. Their subjects were some of the quirky and eccentric elderly residents of the Beach between the 1970s and the 1980s.  An exhibition of their photographs, “A Walk Down Memory Lane,” is at the Art Deco Museum, 1001 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139, and runs from May 3 through August 28, 2016.

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...

White Weddings in South Florida

February 11th, 2016

Coral Castle Often associated with the engineering triumphs of Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid of Egypt, Coral Castle was built by a reclusive eccentric named Edward Leedskalnin, who excavated gigantic quarried stones to construct his mysterious castle. Originally located in the tiny town of Florida City in the 1920's, the site was later moved to its current location in Homestead, Florida Read More...

Pablo Escobar’s Hidden Treasure

February 1st, 2016

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuerYh-60So&feature=youtu.be On January 19, 2016, the pink water-front mansion on Miami Beach once owned by the 1980s Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was demolished. Built in 1948, the 6,500 square foot, the four-bedroom mansion would have been quite unassuming for the "King of Cocaine" who at the pinnacle of his career was one of the richest men in the world Read More...

A Fond Farewell: Buildings Demolished in 2015

January 14th, 2016

It's out with the old and in with the new. As 2016 kicks off, a multitude of new real estate mega projects are already poised to further change Miami's skyline. As the city grows, developers continue to tear down some of Miami's older buildings to make way for new ones. Learning From Miami remembers some of the city's most iconic buildings demolished in 2015 Read More...

Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Child of the Sun”

October 30th, 2015

Florida Central College campus. Photo courtesy of the State Archives of Florida. Central Florida is known as "The Theme Park Capital of the World", but did you know that one of America’s most famous architects designed a college campus there? Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida is home to the largest collection of buildings designed by celebrated architect Frank Lloyd Wright Read More...

Former Miami Museum of Science Returns to its Roots

October 9th, 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D29Uf6IAf0Q&feature=youtu.be Nearly thirty five years before the Museum of Science was established across from Villa Vizcaya, business mogul James Deering built a functioning community to serve his residence. Located across from Vizcaya, the village included a large farm and a greenhouse that grew food and plants for the estate Read More...

Sunshine Fashions: Miami’s Rag Trade

September 11th, 2015

Photo taken by Amy San Pedro.  Ever notice the lone sign on the corner of Biscayne and 29th Street that marks Miami’s Fashion District? Follow the sign (use your internal map) and you will end up in Wynwood, now a mecca for street artists and new development. At one time, however, the warehouses of Wynwood housed designers, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, all devoted to Miami’s leading industries -- fashion and apparel Read More...