Selected Events for Architecture and Design
YearMonthDayEvent Related
Resource
1899November12A fire tore through much of white Miami. Among the buildings destroyed was the Lobby Pool and Billiard Parlor. It was the building in which voters met to incorporate the City of Miami only three years earlier. After this second severed fire in the city's history, higher standards were implemented throughout many neighborhoods. Black areas such as Colored Town, however, remain deprived of fire protection as well as other basic services, such as paved streets and sewage systems. 
1920  Carl Fisher's Roman Pools and Casino open at 22nd Street and the Ocean.display
1921November27The first lots were sold in Coral Gables. Conceptualized by George Edgar Merrick, the city began with the Merrick family grove and a Mediterranean architectural style. By 1926, the city covered 10,000 acres and had netted $150 million in sales with over $100 million spent on development.display
1929November14A Sears Roebuck store opened in downtown Miami at the corner of the County Causeway (later renamed the MacArthur Causeway) and the newly redesigned Biscayne Boulevard. The building was designed by the Chicago firm of Nimmons, Carr, & Wright, and is today remembered as the first Art Deco building in the city. The facade has been incorported into the design of the Performing Arts Center, due to open in 2006. 
1930  Miami Beach's Art Deco boom began as a host of developers began to build in that style. 
  The Boulevard Shops on Biscayne Boulevard were built. One block away from Miami's first Art Deco building - the Sears Roebuck store - this group of upscale retail shops was another fine example of this type of architectural design. They were designed by Robert Law Weed. 
1935  The Miami area began to emerge from the Great Depression. The recovery in South Florida preceded that which occurred in other cities. By the mid-1930s, a string of new hotels built in the Art Deco style began to rise from the ruin caused by not only the Depression, but the hurricane of 1926. 
1940  The National Hotel opened in Miami Beach. Designed by Roy France, it was one of the last large hotels built in the Art Deco style. 
  The Deco Grossinger Beach Hotel opened. Later to be called the Ritz Plaza Hotel, it was designed by L. Murray Dixon in classic Art Deco style. Seven years later, the Delano Hotel opened directly across the street. 
1946  The Sherry Frontenac opened in Miami Beach. The construction of this hotel, designed by Henry Hohauser, marked a shift in the epicenter of tourist activity from the Lincoln Road area of Miami Beach to an area just north where hotels such as the Sherry Frontenac, the Delano, and the Fontainebleau were being built. There were certain aspects of the hotel's design, such as its smokestacks and "gangplank" bridge, that were quintessentially Art Deco.display
1948  The Saxony Hotel opened in Miami Beach. It was designed by Roy France, who also designed the National Hotel of 1940. The Modernist Saxony was part of a new generation of hotels built in Miami and Miami Beach. It and many of the other new buildings lacked the ornamental Art Deco motifs that were to be seen for the last times in the designs of the Sherry Frontenac and the Delano hotels.display
1949  The Casablanca Hotel opened. Roy France designed the hotel, which was named after the famous film staring Humphrey Bogart. The hotel can be described as Modernist in its design, but it also incorporated elements of the International Style and Hollywood-themed kitsch. The latter of these came to influence the way developers in Las Vegas, Nevada designed their resorts decades later.display
December The Sans Souci Hotel opened at 3101 Collins Avenue in Miami Beach. The hotel's partners had hired architect Roy France to design the structure. When they became disappointed with his work, however, they brought in someone else. The Sans Souci would become the first hotel in the Miami area designed by the architect Morris Lapidus. While the exterior was left much as France had originally intended, the interior was infused with the style of Lapidus.display
1951  The Bombay Hotel opened. The hotel's name was later changed to the Golden Sands Hotel. It was the first hotel in Miami Beach to offer its guests a parking garage. Norman M. Giller designed the building. On why his was the first hotel to have a garage, Giller said that, "in the Art Deco days we were in a Depression, so nobody was thinking about cars, because not too many people had them." 
1953  The Lido Spa opened on Belle Isle along the Venetian Causeway. 
1956January03George Engle unveils the Coconut Grove Playhouse. It was a renovated movie theater, yet resembled a Broadway playhouse with its lavish quarters for star actors and actresses, gold plumbing fixtures, and top-notch dining rooms and bars. It opened with the American premier of "Waiting for Godot." 
1957  The Deauville Miami Beach Resort Hotel opened on Miami Beach. It stood on the site of what had been the McFadden Deauville Casino, and hosted acts such as the Beatles, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, and Dean Martin. Melvin Grossman, a protege of the renowned Modernist architect Morris Lapidus, designed the hotel. 
1960  The Lincoln Road Mall was built in Miami Beach. Lincoln Road business owners felt threatened by the trend towards building large tourist hotels with their own selection of upscale shops, such as the Fontainebleau, that were blocks away from Lincoln Road. They taxed themselves in order to raise the necessary funds for a large revitalization project. Morris Lapidus, designer of the Fontainebleau and other Miami Beach hotels, was hired for the project. Soon, the Lincoln Road Mall became one of the most significant arena for Modernist architecture in Miami Beach.display
1963  The Bacardi U.S.A. building at 2100 Biscayne Boulevard was built. The building, which was designed by Enrique Gutierrez of Puerto Rico's firm of Sacmag International, is one of the many examples of Modernist architecture along Biscanye Boulevard. Unlike others, however, the Bacardi U.S.A. building incorporates a number of Latin American and Spanish motifs, such as Meso-American ball courts and mosaics done in tiles glazed in Spain. 
1971  Maurice Gusman purchased the Olympia Theater. Architect Morris Lapidus was hired to restore the historic building. It was later transferred to the City of Miami and renamed Gusman Hall. 
1976June The Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL) was established. Five designers were responsible, and their goal was to preserve the Art Deco style and all historic well-built buildings in Miami Beach.display
1979May14The Miami Beach Art Deco District was listed as an historic landmark in the United States national register. It was the first district created in the twentieth-century (largely in the 1930s and 1940s) to receive this designation.display
1988  Barbara Baer Capitman's Deco Delights was published. She had fought since the late 1970s to preserve the Art Deco style in Miami Beach and historic buildings throughout Miami.display
October12The Senator Hotel was demolished. Author and preservationist Barbara Baer Capitman had called it a "symbol of the Deco District." Nevertheless, the Royale Group proceeded to raze the strcture as the nearly seventy year-old Capitman was taken away by Miami Beach police. The company was seeking to build a parking garage on the site to service their other nearby properties. 

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