|James H. Snowden residence, 1922.|
A few years before the start of WWI, Oklahoma oil millionaire James Snowden built a luxurious 15-bedroom mansion on a desolate stretch of sand on Miami Beach near what is now Collins Ave. and 44th Street.
Snowden's home afforded him a fabulous view of the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1923, Snowden sold the residence for $250,000 to Harvey S. Firestone, founder of Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.
|Firestone estate in 1923.|
|Harvey Firestone entertains inventor Thomas A. Edison at|
his Miami Beach home, April, 1928.
In 1928, The Miami Daily News reported the 34 homes along four-miles of oceanfront from "14th st. north to the exclusive Miami Beach Bath Club" - dubbed "Millionaire's Row" - were worth an estimated $7,645,000.
Firestone died in 1938 at age 70. His passing made the front page of The Miami Daily News.
|The Miami Daily News, Feb. 7, 1938. (Click to enlarge)|
In 1952, hotelier Ben Novack purchased the Firestone estate and announced plans to build a 554-room, $14,000,000 hotel on the site.
Construction started on the Fontainebleau in January, 1954.
|Miami Daily News, Jan. 17, 1954.|
|Fontainebleau Hotel under construction in 1954. |
Firestone estate in center of the photo was used as a construction office.
(Click to enlarge)
By 1957, what remained of Millionaire's Row had become a "blighted, broken down area, with dilapidated buildings, many rats and rust, old seaweed and a lover's lane."
In 1958, some wanted to turn the area north of the Eden Roc Hotel into a public park. Others thought more hotels should be built.
|Fontainebleau Hotel, 1960s.|
|Looking south from 48th Street and Collins Avenue - 1963.|