Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Army recruits train on Miami Beach during WWII

Army recruits outside the Colony Theatre on Lincoln Road, Miami Beach,  
in November, 1942.

Army recruits standing in line entering the Poinciana Hotel on Miami Beach
which was taken over by the military in 1942.
-Photos via LIFE magazine archives

Miami Daily News, April 9, 1942.

Related story from the Miami Daily News, Dec. 5, 1942

Monday, June 29, 2015

Jerry Lewis acted in and directed 'The Bellboy' at the Fontainebleau Hotel in 1960

Trailer for "The Bellboy"


Click to enlarge.


In 1960, comedian Jerry Lewis spent four weeks at the Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach, acting in and directing "The Bellboy.

From Miami New Times:
Shot almost entirely inside the Fontainebleau, the movie is full of interior shots that showcase the hotel's old school elegance steeped in '50s and '60s glamor. We're talking pure Rat Pack. The Bellboy treats us to a visual tour as Lewis spazzes around its chic design. It's a great movie to see if you want a glimpse of Miami Beach before it was invaded by the Armani Exchange and Mansion.

During his Hollywood career, Lewis was mostly a box office draw, only starting to fade out towards the mid-sixties. When he filmed The Bellboy, he was at the top of his game. The film's premise is a basic confused identity story, with Lewis playing both a bellboy at the hotel, as well as himself--a world famous movie star staying at the hotel.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Rare color film from 1941 of Pan Am's seaplane terminal in Coconut Grove


Pan American Airways System Terminal Building,
3500 Pan American Drive, Miami.

c. 1934. 

Pan American Airways System Terminal Building,
3500 Pan American Drive, Miami.
c. 1934.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Coral Gables in the 1920s

Coral Gables first mayor and city commissioners.
Photographed on the occasion of the city's incorporation, April 28, 1925.
L. to R. Edward "Doc" Dammers, first Mayor of Coral Gables;
Telfair Knight, V.P. & Gen'l Mgr. C. G. Corp; George E. Merrick, developer of
Coral Gables; F.W. Webster, V.P. C.G. Corp. and J. F. Baldwin, Treasurer C.G. Corp.
(Click all images to enlarge.)

Four girls at the Venetian Pool, ca. 1920s.

Caddy boys at the Biltmore Hotel Golf Course, Feb. 24, 1925.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Goodyear blimp postcard - circa 1939

"Returning from a ride in the Goodyear blimp, Miami, Florida." ca. 1939.

Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Latin Quarter on Palm Island, Miami Beach


The Latin Quarter, Palm Island, Miami Beach.

From the Miami Daily News, Dec. 22, 1942.

The Miami News, Aug. 27, 1959.

The Miami News, Aug. 27, 1959.

The Miami News, Aug. 28, 1959.
(Click here to enlarge.)

Miami Daily News, Oct. 11, 1940: Palm Island Club Leased To Famed "Latin Quarter"


Miami Herald - Sunday, July 25, 1993
by GEOFFREY TOMB, Herald Staff Writer

Created from muck and sand, with Roaring '20s fame for its craps-shooting, illegal-whiskey pouring casino and resident mobster, Palm Island today is a three-street community surrounded by sea water, guarded by a gatekeeper, entered only by bridge or boat.

"Full-time security," responds Lisa MacIsaac of Wimbish Realty when asked to describe the island's No. 1 selling point. She cites prices of "less expensive homes in the low to mid- $500,000 range."

Bargains are available, however. A motivated seller has knocked $150,000 off the asking price for Casa Contenta at 10 Palm Ave., an eight-bedroom, eight-bath walled manse built in 1924. Snap it up for $3.75 million, reduced from $3.9 million.

Despite its facade of exclusivity, Palm Island is a democratic place where you may not be able to afford to live but have free use of its streets and million-dollar park.

"The streets are open for the public whether security guards are there or not. People can just drive on. They can't stop you," said Marshall Kanner, president of the 300-member Palm-Hibiscus-Star Island Association, which supplies the round- the-clock gatekeeper.

In fact, whether for roundball or roulette, the public has been coming and going from Palm Island since day one.

That was in 1919 when bay-bottom sand was sucked up and deposited there to form it, halfway between Miami and Miami Beach, a bridge length north of what is now MacArthur Causeway.

Building lots sold out before the job was finished and quickly the island enjoyed its banner year: 1922.

Ed Ballard, co-owner of the French Lick Casino, opened the Palm Island Club, a snoots-only casino where prohibited alcohol flowed freely and admittance was for tourists only. Logic was the cops would look the other way if only out-of-towners got fleeced. Both did.

Big Bill Dwyer, a New York bootlegger and race track owner (Miami's Tropical Park) took over the club next. One show offered bandleader Earl Carroll's Vanities Revue, featuring, according to a Miami Herald reporter, a naked showgirl in a huge glass of champagne.

But the cops began refusing to look the other way. Refurbished, renamed, it opened as the Latin Quarter in 1939, run by New York producer Lou Walters , father of ABC's Barbara Walters. Gambling was gone.

By the 1950s, tourists no longer wore tuxedos, television changed nightlife and the Latin Quarter was in decline. Gutted by fire in 1959, the club's shell stood as a ghost of Miami's flamboyant past.

Neighbors complained until Metro condemned the site in 1968.

The island's most famous resident was Chicago mob boss Al Capone, who in 1922 bought 93 Palm Ave. for $40,000. Seller was Clarence Busch, of the St. Louis beer barons, whose family also owned 94 Palm Ave. across the street.

With a 100-foot dock on the water, Capone spent $200,000 to create a winter command post with a gate-guest house, boat house, main house and coral rock grotto.

Capone left the property for eight years, sent to prison for income tax evasion in 1931. He returned in 1939, a broken, diseased wreck. He died there in 1947.

The home is still splendid, hidden behind a tan and white wall and gatehouse, lined with royal palms and a flaming royal poinciana.

The old Busch estate at 94 Palm Ave. is empty, now being redone. In 1979, guru Maharaj Ji, "God on Earth" to four million followers of the Divine Light Mission, lived there, paying $8,800 a month rent for the eight-bedroom home.

Corporate raider Victor Posner lives down the street at 39 Palm Ave., a six-bedroom, five-bath home where weeds have overgrown the tennis court.

Under attack by the Securities Exchange Commission, Posner has fallen on hard times. But Palm Island's fortunes have never been higher.

Newest resident is Univision talk show hostess Cristina Saralegui, who moved into 64 Palm Ave. in January. The eight- bedroom estate, built in 1932, is assessed at $1.59 million.

"If you are a celebrity, you feel very comfortable there," said Marcos Avila, Cristina's husband.


1919 -- Island created (with Hibiscus) when developer Locke Highleyman pumps bay-bottom sand into retaining walls. All lots sell before job is completed.

1922 -- Palm Island Club opens at 159 Palm Ave. First, ultra-chic gambling, Prohibition-era casino to have tourist-only policy.

1922 -- Mob king Al Capone pays $40,000 for home at 93 Palm Ave. Scarface Al adds $200,000 worth of improvements.

1939 -- Palm Island Club is renamed the Latin Quarter .

1939 -- After eight years in prison, a "slack-jawed paretic" Al Capone returns to Palm Island home where he dies, Jan. 25, 1947.

1941 -- Three weeks after Pearl Harbor, New York producer Lou Walters , father of ABC's Barbara Walters, opens Latin Quarter 's winter season with "Blackouts in Rhythm," featuring showgirls dressed as lightning bugs. In heyday, stars such as Sophie Tucker, Jimmy Durante, Martin & Lewis and Jane Russell ($15,000 a week in 1947) perform.

1953 -- Declaring the end of "the gangster curse" on Palm Island, developer Nat Ratner, operator of Ocean Drive's Clevelander Hotel, offers 20 new three-bedroom, two-bath, waterfront homes for sale at $38,500.

1958 -- Palm Island residents object to Metro's plans to develop Dodge Island as major port. County offers to plant trees to screen view of commerce.

1959 -- Latin Quarter burns.

1968 -- Metro Commission condemns club site and orders land cleared.

1975 -- Island Park dedicated.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Miami's Bay Front Park and Biscayne Bay with Skyline of Miami Beach in Distance (1951)

Click here to enlarge.

Detail from main photograph.
(Click images to enlarge)

Detail from main photograph. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Beauty contest winners at the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables (1924)

Photograph by William A. Fishbaugh.
(Click image to enlarge)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Florida East Coast Railroad Station in Downtown Miami

Video and text via Wolfson Archive:
The 1960s: A Last Look at Miami's Railroad Station

On May 20, 1913, Henry Morrison Flagler, industrialist, founder of Standard Oil and builder of the Florida East Coast Railroad, died.

Reaction in Miami was sober and subdued. The Miami Daily Metropolis (a paper founded with Flagler's money) noted the passing of a "Great financier ... drawn to South Florida by its salubrious climate" who had invested more than "fifty million dollars in Florida alone."

Fifty years later the Florida East Coast's Miami station, a wood frame structure built in 1912, was torn down. Reaction in Miami was gleeful.

"It's Coming Down This Week!" shouted the Miami "News" in a front-page headline. The accompanying story reported that the railroad had talked about demolishing the "rattletrap passenger station" seventeen times since 1940 and noted that an FEC vice president "used the word 'predict' in telling County Manager Irving McNayr about the demolition."

Miami News, Sept. 23, 1963.
(Click to enlarge.)
The FEC station, located just north of the County Courthouse, was hated in Miami, seen as a traffic-snarling obstacle in a city where just about everybody drove. By early November, the station was history.




Dade County Courthouse and Florida East Coast Railroad
station, (building with dark roof center left of courthouse,) in 1962.

(Click here to enlarge.)


Curbed Miami: Future FEC Downtown Miami Station

Views of County Causeway, (later renamed MacArthur) 1930s

Postcard from 1940s.
Click images to enlarge.

Postcard view of County Causeway and Star Island, (center) 
from Miami Beach.  

Yachts moored off County Causeway, 1933 or 1934. 
Photo by Gleason Waite Romer.
(Click here to enlarge)

County Causeway (later renamed the MacArthur) to 
Miami Beach, 1930's

Monday, June 15, 2015

Postcard for Sun Line Helicopters - 1960s

Sun Line Helicopters - 1050 MacArthur Causeway, Miami, Florida - Sightseeing by helicopter is one of Miami's finest attractions. Thousands of visitors annually enjoy the incomparable panoramic view of the Gold Coast from a Sun Line helicopter. (Postcard circa 1960's.)

Friday, June 12, 2015

Vintage 1960s Miami Beach postcards

Click images to enlarge.
[via Miami Beach digital archives]

Miami Beach looking north from 23rd Street with Collins Avenue to the right (1960s)

Click here to enlarge.
{via Miami Beach digital archives]

Click here to enlarge.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Flagler Street in the 1930s and 40s

(Click images to enlarge)



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Hotel Row, Miami Beach - 1960s

Hotel Row on Miami Beach looking north - circa 1960s.

Click here to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

1972 postcard ... Miami Beach — Convention Capital, USA

Click images to enlarge.
[via Miami Beach digital archives]

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Quarterdeck Club in Biscayne Bay

In 1940, Commodore Edward Turner built a large house on a barge and pilings near Crawfish Eddie's and named it the Quarterdeck Club. When it opened in November, membership cost $150 by invitation only and the club became one of the most popular spots in Miami. The club's popularity grew after an article about the club appeared in Life magazine on February 10, 1941.
LIFE Magazine, Feb. 10, 1941.

"A little luncheon party is staged by Leo Edwards, Miami auto dealer, who
built the first shack in Quarterdeck Club waters six years ago."
From LIFE Magazine, Feb 10, 1941. (Click images to enlarge)
"Shangri-La is handsome houseboat of Commodore Edward Turner, former
whisky salesman who founded Quarterdeck Club."

From LIFE Magazine, Feb. 10, 1941.

Quarterdeck Club opens, Miami Daily News, Nov. 17, 1940

Edward Turner, founder of Quarterdeck Club, arrested in New York for running "black market whisky ring," Miami Daily News, Dec. 22, 1943

Quarterdeck Club slot machine raid, Miami Daily News, May 30, 1949

Quarterdeck Club raided by state beverage agents, Miami Daily News, Dec. 18, 1954

Quarterdeck Club Destroyed by Fire, Miami News, Sept. 5, 1961

Stiltsville: Miami's Treasure Island, Ocean Drive magazine