Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
This article is about the section of Miami known as South Beach. For the neighborhood of the same name in Staten Island, New York, see South Beach, Staten Island. For the television series of this name, see South Beach (TV series).
South Beach (or "the Beach" as known to its locals) is a section of Miami Beach, Florida that encompasses the lower 23 blocks of the island from the point south of 1st Street to 23rd Street. This area was the first section of Miami Beach to be developed starting in the 1910s, thanks to development efforts of Carl Fischer, the Lummus Brothers, John Collins, and others. The area has gone through numerous changes over the years --some man-made and some due to the forces of nature, like the hurricane of 1926 that destroyed much of the area.
South Beach started as farm land. In 1870, Henry and Charles Lum purchased 165 acres for coconut farming. Charles Lum built the first house on the beach in 1886. In 1894 the Lum brothers left the island, leaving control of the plantation to John Collins, who came to South Beach two years later to survey his land. He used the land for farming purposes, discovering fresh water and extending his parcel from 14th Street to 67th in 1907.
In 1906, South Beach's first bar, Mac's Club Deuce (which still exists today), opened its door on 14th Street.
In 1912, Miami Businessmen the Lummus Brothers acquired 400 acres of Collins, in an effort build an ocen front city of modest single family residence.
Carl Fischer, a successful entrepeneur who made millions in 1909 after selling a business to Union Carbide, came to the beach in 1913. His vision was to establish South Beach as a succesful city independant of Miami. This was the same year that the famous restaurant Joe's Stone Crab opened.
On March 26, 1915, Collins, Lummus, and Fisher consolidated their efforts and incorporated the Town of Miami Beach. South Beach is born. In 1918 the Mac Arthur Causeway was completed. The Lummus brothers sold their oceanfront property to the city from 6th Street to 14th, which was then and is now the area known as Lumus Park.
In 1920, the Miami Beach land boom began. South Beach's main streets, 5th Street, Alton Rodd, Collins Avenue, Washington Avenue, and Ocean Drive were all suitable for automobile traffic. The population was growing in the 1920s, and several millionaires such as Harvey Firestone, J.C. Penney, Harvey Stutz, Albert Champion, Frank Seiberling, and Rockwell LaGorce built homes on Miami Beach. President Warren G. Harding stayed at the Flamingo Hotel during this time, driving up interest.
In the 1930s an architectural revolution came to South Beach bringing Art Deco, Streamline, and Nautical Moderne architecture to the Beach. To this day, South Beach remains the world's largest collection of Art Deco architecture.
By 1940, the beach had a population of 28,000. After the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the Army Air Corps took command over Miami Beach.
Beginning in the late 1970s through the 80s, South Beach was used as a retirement community with most of its ocean-front hotels and apartment buildings filled with elderly people living on small, fixed incomes. This period also saw the introduction of the "cocaine cowboys," drug dealers who used the area as a base for their illict drug activities. The TV show Miami Vice used South Beach as a backdrop for much of its filming due to the area's raw and unique visual beauty.
While many of the unique Art Deco buildings, such as the New Yorker Hotel, were lost to developers in the years before 1980, the area was saved as a cohesive unit by Barbara Capitman and a group of activists who spearheaded the movement to place South Beach on the National Register of Historic Places.
In the late 1980s, a renaissance began in South Beach with an influx of the fashion industry moving into the area. Most major modeling agencies had offices in South Beach, and fashion photographers used the area as a backdrop for their photo shoots.
Today the South Beach section of Miami Beach is a major entertainment destination with hundreds of nightclubs, restaurants and ocean-front hotels. The area is popular with international tourists as well, with German being the third most spoken language after English and Spanish.
Lincoln Road is an open-air pedestrian mall, and is considered the premiere shopping area in South Beach.
- South Beach Magazine Articles with photos on South Beach Hotels, Shopping, and Clubs.
- Lincoln Road Shopping Guide List of all Lincoln Road shops in the South Beach section of Miami Beach.
- South Beach Restaurants Reviews of South Beach Restaurants.
- South Beach Map Here is a big map of South Beach, including local attractions, museums, theatres, and the marina.
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