|Miami News Tower. (1927)|
Photograph by William Fishbaugh.
By Howard Kleinberg
In 1920, James M. Cox received the nomination of the Democratic Party to be that party's candidate for president. Franklin D. Roosevelt was chosen as his running mate. Another Ohio newspaper publisher, Warren G. Harding, won the nomination of the Republican Party and defeated Cox.
The victorious Harding came to Miami Beach in 1920 to celebrate before taking office. Here, he was the guest of Carl Fisher. Cox remained at home, tending to his newspapers - until Fisher convinced him to come to Miami in 1923, when he bought The Metropolis.
In a two-column box on the front page [on April 18, 1923] announcing the purchase of The Metropolis, Cox outlined his publishing philosophy:
The Metropolis will uphold the principles of Jeffersonian Democracy and devote itself to the public interest. Any city, growing as Miami is, needs a vigilant press. The public interestmust always be paramount. The function of a newspaper carries a grave responsibility. It is the agency of information and truth. Its news columns should give all sides of an issue of general concern, regardless of the convictions which the paper has. A journal without convictions is of little use to a community. Influence of public opinion should be sought in thefairest manner. Either misrepresentation or suppression of essential facts profanes the traditions of a great profession.
One of Cox's first moves was to change the name of the newspaper to The Miami Daily News-Metropolis, with Metropolis in much smaller type. (Metropolis was later dropped, as was the word Daily.) Cox decided early that the two-story newspaper building on West Flagler Street was not adequate to his plans and decided to erect the structure that became Miami's most significant landmark.
Work on The Miami News Tower began on June 11, 1924, and was reported by the paper:
Work on the 15-story office building for The Miami Daily News began at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning, a large crew of men being engaged in removing the pine trees on the buildingsite at the corner of N. Bay Shore dr. and Sixth st. As soon asthese trees are removed, a steam shovel will be put to work at the excavation, and then actual construction work will begin. Adolph Freedlund has the sub-contract for the excavation. The Fuller Co. of New York, which built the First National bank and the Nautilus hotel, has the contract for the structure.
The Daily News building will be 15 stories high and will cost approximately one million dollars. It will cover the entire ground space of 125 feet frontage on the drive and 220 feet frontage on N.E. Sixth st. The first three floors, which will be occupied by the publishing plant, will be ready for occupancy by December. The tower, which will be 40 feet square, will notbe finished until later in the winter. Offices in the tower will be for rent. Surmounting the tower will be a dome which will be flood lighted at night, and this can be seen far out to sea. The tower will be half as high as the Washington monument. The Daily News building will be the tallest structure in Miami.
Cox had purchased, from an undertaker, a large lot on the corner of Northeast Sixth Street and what then was called Bay Shore Drive, soon to be broadened and renamed Biscayne Boulevard. He engaged the New York architectural firm of Schultze & Weaver to handle the project.It was decided to design a building in the Spanish style described as Plateresque. Leonard Schultze and S. Fullerton Weaver, who had designed the Waldorf-Astoria in New York and the Nautilus Hotel in Miami Beach, arrived at a 15-story structure topped by a cupola that could be seen far out at sea. "The News Tower," according to a newspaper article of the time, "derives much of its design from Giralda Tower in Seville, although the treatment of the tall cupola on the former is more vigorous and dominating."
Begun in 1924, the Miami Daily News Tower was modeled after the Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain. Schultze & Weaver soon were to further influence Miami architecture by designing the Biltmore Hotel & Country Club in Coral Gables and Roney Plaza Hotel in Miami Beach - all strikingly similar to The News Tower.
|The Alcazar Hotel and Miami News Tower|
photographed in 1932.
The News Tower opened on Jan. 2, 1925.
Miami News, June 29, 1962: New Page in Life of Tower
Miami News, March 22, 1964: The Dowager of the Boulevard