';

Stories

ART DECO TOUR

 

PLAYGROUND FOR THE RICH AND FAMOUS
CITY
SOUTH BEACH, MIAMI, FLORIDA
DESCRIPTION

An area of Miami Beach noted for its concentration of over 800 Art Deco buildings all within one square mile. A heartwarming tale of how Miami became the answer to mid-century modern and Art Deco historical tours. Walking down Ocean Drive reveals much of the city’s history through the eyes of several creative architectural designers. The area was revived after years of neglect by Barbara Baer Capitman, who founded the Miami design preservation league. A glimpse into a bygone era, for a couple of hours, lets you feel the history of this great country, even if the story is only a hundred-years-old.
Founded in 1896 by John Collins, he built a bridge to connect Biscayne bay. Carl Fisher, an entrepreneur and true pioneer of his day, helped build the bridge. By 1913 the bridge is complete and in 1915 it becomes the city of Miami, it was a playground for the rich and famous and In the early 20th century it was becoming a popular tourist destination during the winter due to its warmer climate and beautiful beaches.

Travellers looking to escape the cold weather of northern states began to visit the Magic City in droves as soon as the first snowflake hit. It was due to this behaviour and similar movements that many of these visitors became known as “snowbirds.” To accommodate these audiences and many more, developers began to construct hotels and hostels that would attract them, choosing unique Art Deco designs both to save money and to attract potential customers.
By the 1930s the great depression hit and visitors were on the decline. The US joined the war in 1941. The movie theatres of Miami were empty. The Government took over the city to train soldiers. Gone was the heyday, and in came the decay. After the war in 1945 lots of the men who had nowhere to go returned to Miami. It became known as Gods waiting room.

Years later, in 1976 Barbara Baer Capitman looks around and decides it’s time to revitalize the city, and so the restoration begins, thanks to this pioneering woman. Art Deco is no longer being built, but the repair is immense and continues, each year another building being restored. Today we enjoy the love of colour, the architectural magnificence, the rule of three applied to the buildings, the ABA. B is the central column and higher than the two outside columns. Three stories, a very modest approach in this vast land. The colourist Leonard Horowitz advised painting everything in pastel colours. The design, the colour, the facades all wow and captivate you. Returning often, you can never hear or see enough of this beautiful square mile of condensed history and fortune in this fine land.