Miami Beach started out as a coconut plantation amid a jungle of mangroves when two entrepreneurs Henry and Charles Lum purchased 160 acres of what is now South Beach. In the year 1912, the Lumnus brothers founded the Ocean Beach Realty Company in Miami Beach as they planned to build an oceanfront city of modest homes.
The following years saw rapid development on Miami Beach with the “longest wagon bridge in the world” – the Collins Bridge (now the Venetian Causeway) being constructed and the opening of various restaurants and casinos on the oceanfront, which included the infamous Joe’s Stone Crab. The first hotel in Miami Beach, the W. J. Brown Hotel, opened its doors to customers in 1914 and with it Miami Beach arrived on the traveling scene in the United States. The stage was set for the story of Miami Beach to begin.
During the 1920′s, Miami Beach flourished as a playground for multi-millionaires like Harvey Firestone, Albert Champion, and J.C. Penny. Hollywood celebrities soon discovered Miami Beach and very quickly it became a resort and entertainment destination to rival Palm Springs and Las Vegas. In the mid-1930′s, bold new architectural forms made their appearance and the Miami Beach building boom exploded during Art Deco’s second phase. Today, Miami Beach retains a rich and uniform appearance with many buildings preserved as excellent examples of Art Deco, Streamline Moderne, Nautical Moderne and Tropical Deco designs. Following the 1930′s and 1940′s, Miami Beach entered a golden era and was considered America’s Riviera.
In the 1996, the city of Miami Beach celebrated one hundred years of existence as an independent, self-sustaining tropical paradise. During its existence, the city has seen two world wars, the elegance and extravagance of the nations golden age – the 1920′s, and the tragedy of the Great Economic Depression. Places such as the Art Deco National Historic District, Espanola Way and Lincoln Road are just a few reminders of its rich and varied heritage. Miami Beach is famous for its wide sandy beaches, warm tropical water, year round sunshine, and non-stop action. Whether you are a Miami native playing in your city’s backyard, a snowbird, or a sun-seeking adventurer, Miami Beach is guaranteed to stimulate you.