The Dream that is Miami Beach - The American Riviera
Birthday: March 26, 1915
 
Miami Beach is home to those with the most money, the most talent, the most beauty and the most nerve. Bring your own cheekiness and chutzpah.  Audacity is one of the qualities that made Miami Beach and especially South Beach an enchanted dream come true!
 
Miami Beach’s internationalism and multilingualism goes back to before its birth when markings along the coast included signs in English, French and Spanish, indicating where fresh water wells were located.
 
In this beginning there was only sand & sun.  Then in 1870 a man named Henry Lum wandered onto the beach. Seeing a few stray coconut trees, he decided to buy land to create a palm tree plantation. After, two brothers, confusingly named J.E. and J.N. Lummus, appeared and started developing that same land.
 
In 1909 a self-made, wealthy horticulturist named John Collins arrived and started avocado groves.  However, when it became clear that Miami Beach had a future as a resort, his family, including, his son-in-law, Thomas Pancoast, began buying stretches of beachfront property.
 
These are the early names of Miami Beach: Lummus, Collins and Pancoast.
 
But none of them stacked up against the extraordinary Carl Fisher from Indiana. He helped invent Prest-O-Lite. He eventually sold his share for $9 Million (which in 1907 was a lot of money). He came to Miami after a failed yachting trip into the Gulf of Mexico and, in the next ten years, Fisher changed the face of Miami Beach forever.
 
Fisher knocked Lincoln Road through the jungle and built a palatial home where Lincoln Road met the ocean. It was called the Shadows. Right behind his home, Fisher built glassed-in tennis courts and a polo ground. Fisher was also responsible for building the first coast-to-coast highway. He reasoned that you weren’t going to sell cars if there was nowhere to drive them. He convinced the automotive companies to put up $10 million to build the famous Lincoln Highway and the Dixie Highway which began in Michigan and naturally ended in Miami.
 
Although there were luxurious hotels in Miami, there were still only three small places to stay on Miami Beach, so Carl Fisher built the fabulous Flamingo Hotel at 15th Street and the bay. The Flamingo with its giant dome in which colored lights played at night became an immediate landmark. Fisher made it clear who was the boss around Miami when he stole President-elect Warren G. Harding right out of the welcoming arms of Miami’s mayor and installed him at the Flamingo. Fisher knew all there was to know about public relations when the president said “I hope to come here again. This beach is wonderful and it is developing like magic.”
 
Many other dignitaries have visited and fallen under the spell of its charm, joy of tropical life and the opportunity to live and play under the sun, 365 days a year. It is, after all, located in “The Sunshine State.”
 
Miami Beach has had an uncanny tradition of previewing what the rest of the country discovers later. The boom that America would enjoy in the late 20s happened in the early part of that decade on Miami Beach. Then, when economic depression hit the nation in 1929, Miami Beach hardly noticed it and sailed into the 30s with more and more people, more and more buildings and more and more money. Historians do not seem to record this, but Miami Beach has had a past quite different from that of the rest of the country.
 
It has attracted from the beginning high rollers, big spenders and chance takers, which has made our city great!
 
Miami Beach introduced decadence and glamour to the US.  And everyone loved it.  It was all right to take off most of your clothes, it was all right to be beautiful, it was all right to live the moment - and Miami Beach was the place to do it under the sun!  
 
Romance has also played a role in the popularity of Miami Beach. It was Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers that made Miami Beach the ideal place to come for much needed love. In 1935, the NYT reported: “….it doesn’t feel much like the rest of the nation.”
 
And, when WW II came, Miami Beach was full of US Army & Air Force troops in training, while sun seekers tourists were still pouring, filling whichever rooms were available. Even while German U-boats were torpedoing tankers in full sight of sunbathers on the beach, Miami Beach never got scared.  There was active nightlife in the large clubs.  The Latin Quarter was packed with servicemen, wealthy vacationers and beautiful chorus girls.  Everyone got excited when Clark Gable showed up for training. There were complaints that too many people were going to Miami Beach and having too good a time. Didn’t they know there was a war on?
 
In August 1945, the war ended and Miami Beach headed into yet another boom.
 
In the 50s, Miami Beach became the destination of Arthur Godfrey, Jackie Gleason and Frank Sinatra. All celebrities descended on the beach, and a new hotel was built every year throughout the 50s and early 60s. 
 
In the 60s and early 70s, condominium high-rises replaced the elegant estates and hotel buildings in an effort to bring retirees to the city as full time residents.  And in the 70s, Miami Beach began to diminish as the construction of new resorts and air service to Miami Beach dwindled. Tourism in Miami Beach decreased and the city turned its attention to expanding its convention center.  But as the hotels lost business, they fell on hard times and neglect, especially in the older neighborhood of South Beach.
 
By the 80s, the Mariel Boat Lift had brought a mass of new people to Miami Beach, causing further deterioration to the area.  But in the early 90s, the region began to regain its appeal and alluring reputation as it was coined the America’s Riviera. The fashion and entertainment industry saw an inexpensive, untouched location in South Beach as an ideal backdrop for photos shoots and filming productions. It sparked a rebirth. Art Deco buildings began to draw the interest and attention of the fashion, entertainment elite, celebrity residents and travelers from around the globe.
 
The area, once deserted, began a surge of restorations and re-development.  The 80s and 90s brought a multi-billion dollar infusion of investment capital that produced the new vibrant Miami Beach with a renewed interest in the arts, culture, sports and entertainment, all with an international flavor. Today Miami Beach is a premier city with 26 gorgeous Islands and approximately 100,000 inhabitants.
 
 
Ines can help you make each day a beach day!
No one knows Miami Beach like Ines!