Miami’s colorful Art Deco Historic District
In 1896, when Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast (FEC) railway line reached Biscayne Bay, Miami was called Fort Dallas. It was an unincorporated border colony, established as the Indian Seminole War Fort in 1836. Within a year, it was incorporated and crowned with a Flagler Hotel with electric lights, elevators and a swimming pool.
Only 125 years later, Miami is today the third richest city in the world. At the time of its constitution, its citizens numbered about 300; Today, it has more than 300 high-rise buildings, giving Miami the third-tallest skyline (third only after New York and Chicago) in the United States.
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History-loving tourists might be interested to know that Miami also has the greatest concentration of Art Deco architecture of any city in the country, most of which is neatly contained within Miami’s Historic Art Deco District.
Four of Miami’s 10 historic neighborhoods include the Art Deco Historic District (ADHD); the district contains 800 listed historic buildings, which however are not Art Deco. Some are Mediterranean revival and some are MiMo â Miami Modern. Each represents a distinct era in Miami’s architectural history, and each predominates in a different part of ADHD.
RELIVE THE MEDITERRANEAN
The oldest of these is the Mediterranean revival, so named because it is a revival of the ancient architectural styles of the countries bordering the Mediterranean, i.e. Spain, France, Italy. , Greece, Turkey and North Africa. The defining characteristics of the Mediterranean revival are the stucco walls, which can be painted in white, salmon pink or pumpkin orange, etc., the barrel tiled roofs, the wrought iron fittings and the arched windows and doors. This style was all the rage in Florida and California in the 1920s, and Miami, though only 30 at the time, was born fashion-ready.
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Mediterranean Revival-style architecture is scattered throughout Miami, but the best place to experience its vibe is along bougainvillea-draped EspaÃ±ola Way between 14th and 15th Streets in the South Beach district of ADHD.
EspaÃ±ola Way, Miami’s first commercial development, was built in the 1920s as an artists’ colony. Today it is a promenade lined with restaurants, bars and shops; this is where you will want to relax after a day of visiting ADHD. Authentic Spanish, Cuban and Mexican cuisine, aromatic hand-rolled cigars and salsa dancing can keep you awake late, so you might want to book a room at one of the charming, historic hotels restored here for the duration of your stay. South Beach stay.
In the 1930s, the Great Depression sobered up much of the world. Even the Art Deco design has become a little less romantic, entering its second, slightly more industrial phase called Streamline Moderne, Miami, however, being apparently incapable of any level of harsh sobriety, has incorporated elegance into the Streamline Moderne style. playful of the French word that defined it. In other words, the buildings of this era may have lacked the original Decorative Arts style with its modern European motifs, as well as ancient Egyptians and even Mayans, but in Miami it still presented itself delightfully in color. pastel from French. confectionery. At night, bathed in the glow of Art Deco neon lights, these same colors lend a deliciously salacious atmosphere to the infamous South Beach district where Art Deco Streamline Modern predominates.
MiMo, or Miami Modernism, was all the rage in the 1950s and 1960s. The Miami Design Preservation League (https://mdpl.org/) describes MiMo as having asymmetrical characteristics with “slender angles, cutouts of cheese, kidney and amoeba shapes, futuristic jet and space age shapes, mosaic murals. [and] anodized aluminum in gold and copper. Sounds pretty much good for the psychotic, rock ‘n roll, doo-wapping, bongo-thumping, hula-hooping, ticky-tacky madness of the era.
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The greatest concentrations of MiMo style architecture are, according to the MiMo Biscayne Association: “the wonderland of modest motels along Biscayne Boulevard between NE 50th and NE 77th streets,” Miami’s hippest historic destination. ” ; North Beach’s’ grand and beautiful collection of mid-century modern neighborhoods and landmarks; âthe Morris Lapidus / Mid-20th Century Architectural Historic District encompassing globally recognized icons such as the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc hotels in Lapidusâ¦;â and finally, âon the east island of Bay Harbor Islandsâ¦ regarded as the one of the largest concentrations of mid-century architecture in the country “.
Our history is manifested in our architecture, and nowhere is the history of the first half of the 20th century so visually present than in the unspoiled historic neighborhoods of young Miami.
Before you go, please plan your trip by visiting the Art Deco Museum and https://www.miamiandbeaches.com/things-to-do/history-and-heritage/art-deco-historic-district.
Cynthia A. Williams ([email protected])