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Let’s start from the corner of Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue at the green marker. Walk north on Collins Avenue. This street was named for John S. Collins, the pioneer farmer and developer of Miami Beach, who in 1907, at 70 years of age, started an avocado plantation, and built the first bridge to the mainland in 1912.

To your right are four classic hotels representative of the third great building boom from 1945 to 1965.

First is the Ritz-Carlton South Beach (ex. DiLido) (1953), which reflects the Miami Modern Architecture, or "MiMo," a style that local architect Morris Lapidus, who also designed the Fontainebleau and Eden Roc Hotels, pioneered in the 1950's. It has now been completely remodeled and has become a Ritz Carlton timeshare property.

Next door is the Sagamore (1948), also totally refurbished with a lobby reminiscent of a modern art gallery.

After this comes the National (1940), which has won admiration for its thoughtful and expert renovation in 2003. The 205 foot infinity pool shaded by palms is a sight you should not miss.

Finally in this impressive block is the famed Delano (1947). Hispanics please note the accent is on the “e” not the “a”! At the time it was the tallest hotel in Miami Beach. It has now been completely remodeled by famed interior decorator Phillipe Starck, whose use of the colour white is predominant throughout the property. By all means attempt to access the lobby and pool area.

Left to right: DiLido, Sagamore, National and Delano
Delano's winged tower and National's dome

17th. Street:
Turn left on 17th. Street. Note the smart remodeled Cadet Hotel (1941) on your right.

On the north-east corner of 17th. Street and Washington Avenue is the large domed synagogue Temple Emanu-el (1947).

Opposite, on the north-west corner, is The Fillmore Miami Beach at The Jackie Gleason Theater (1948). Designed by three of Miami Beach’s most prominent architects, this theatre now specializes in modern popular music and is owned by the Live Nation group. The whimsical mermaid reclining out front is by artist Roy Lichtenstein.

Facing the theatre you can see the box-like campus of Michael Tilson Thomas’ New World Symphony, America’s orchestral academy. Designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry (Bilbao), it was opened in January of 2011. Facing the theatre is a public park. During certain concerts you can sit in the park listening to the music while watching the performance projected on the giant white wall facing you.

Turn left on Washington Avenue. To your left is the little Green View hotel (1939). At one time it overlooked a golf course, then the area was developed and the "green" view became an ugly parking lot. Now, happily, it's got its "green view" back again.

Temple Emanu-el
The Fillmore at Jackie Gleason Theatre

Turn right on Lincoln Road.

Lincoln Road:
Developer Carl G. Fisher was a great admirer of President Abraham Lincoln, so one of the first ocean to bay streets cut through the mangrove swamp in the incipient village of Miami Beach was called Lincoln Road. It was planned as a shopping street to rival 5th. Avenue in New York and nationally known department stores such as Bonwit Teller and Saks Fifth Avenue anchored the mall.

Around 1960, Morris Lapidus was commissioned to redesign Lincoln Road. Lapidus' design, complete with gardens, fountains, shelters and an amphitheater, reflected "MiMo," style. The road was closed to traffic and became one of the nation's first pedestrian precincts.

Miami Beach Community Church:
First point of interest to your left is the Miami Beach Community Church. This was the first house of worship erected in the City. Enter the church to see the lovely stained glass windows.

Lincoln Theatre:
Next to your right on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue is the Lincoln Theatre (1935). Now converted to an H & M store, it is a wonderful example of Streamline Moderne architecture and the rounded corner juxtapositioned with its neighbour the Sony Building (1936) across the street make a striking photo.

You can continue down Lincoln Road to the end. There are many historical buildings on the street, most carefully restored is the Sterling Building (1928), on the 900 block, which was renovated in 1986 and heralded the most recent renaissance of Lincoln Road. Also the newly renovated Colony Theatre (1934) on the 1000 block.

Miami Beach Community Church
Lincoln Theatre

Return down Lincoln Road to Collins Avenue, and this time turn right.

Berkley Shore Hotel:
On the right is one of the most delightful Art Deco hotels in the district, the Berkley Shore Hotel (1940). These were probably not the original colours!

Loews Miami Beach:
To the left, after a nondescript condominium, is one of the few “new” hotels of Miami Beach, Loews (1998). This was built after the destruction of existing Art Deco hotels, but fortunately the finest of them, the St. Moritz (1939) was preserved as part of the Loews hotel complex.

Royal Palm and Shorecrest:
Right next door is the Royal Palm and Shorecrest Hotels (1939 and 2002), which were condemned and torn down in 1995. The city was able to oblige the builders to replicate the two hotels within the new complex, which seems to have worked extremely well.

Warsaw Ballroom (now Señor Frog's):
Continue past more low-rise Deco hotels to the corner of Espanola Way. Here you will come across the in-famous Warsaw Ballroom (1940), originally Hoffman’s Cafeteria, and now Señor Frog's. It is well worth stopping off here for some refreshment. The interior of this remarkable building is stunning. And to top it all, the prices are quite reasonable.

Espanola Way:
Turn left here into Espanola Way (1924-5). This is Miami Beach’s attempt at being Mediterranean. Originally planned to cover 5 blocks, only two blocks were completed. Stroll down past the romantic Clay Hotel (1925), art studios and restaurants to Plaza de España, then return to Washington Avenue and turn right.

Warsaw Ballroom (now Señor Frog's)
Espanola Way

Feinberg-Fisher Elementary School:
Return to Washington Avenue and turn right. Set back from the street on the right is the original Ida. M. Fisher Elementary School (1920). Named in honour of Carl G. Fisher’s mother, the style is Mediterranean Revival, popular prior to the Art Deco period.

Miami Beach Post Office:
At the end of the next block, to the right, is the Miami Beach Post Office (1937). This is built in Depression Moderne style during Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal era, and was the first building to be renovated in the Historical District.

Drexel Avenue:
Turn right on 14th. Steet for a short block to Drexel Avenue. Here turn left to view a lovely block of eclectic styles of construction. No. 1250 (1939) is Streamline Moderne, 1236 (1930) is Mediterranean Revival and 1218 (1925), also Mediterranean Revival, but heavily ornamented.

Old Miami Beach City Hall:
At the end of Drexel you will pass into a small European style plaza. To the right is the new Miami Beach Police Station. To the left is the impressive nine-story Old Miami Beach City Hall (1928). In 2008 the city completely renovated this structure. Enter the building and walk through to Washington Avenue.

Old Miami City Hall
Essex Hotel

11th. Street Diner:
On the corner of 11th. Street is the 50’s style 11th. Street Diner. This unusual restaurant was built in New Jersey in 1948, and arrived in Miami Beach in 1992. Stop here for reasonable refreshments.

On the right side of Washington Avenue are a series of interesting buildings. The Kenmore Hotel (1936), Taft Hotel (1936), Bel Aire Apartments (1950) and the Davis Hotel (1941). In between is the Coral House (1922). This house in a vernacular style is made of local oolitic limestone, typical of South Florida in the early part of the 20th century.

Wolfsonian Museum:
On the right hand side of the avenue is the unmistakable fortress-like building of the Wolfsonian Museum, which was originally a storage facility. It must be that the word “eclectic” was coined here. It calls itself “The Museum of Thinkism”, and the 120,000 exhibits cover art and design between the years of 1885 to 1945. Created in1986 from the collection of local entrepreneur and philanthropist Mitchell Wolfson. The very reasonable entrance fee makes a visit to this unusual museum highly recommended.

Essex House Hotel:
From here, turn left on 10th. Street. On the north-west corner of Collins Avenue is the lovely Essex House Hotel (1938). A classic in every way. Don’t miss the glorious lobby (remember, dress the part!).

Lummus Park
Ocean Drive

Lummus Park
At the end of 10th. Street is Lummus Park. This 20-acre oceanfront property was sold to the incipient City of Miami Beach for US$ 40,000 in 1915 by the Lummus Brothers, original developers of Miami Beach

Miami Design Preservation League:
The Miami Design Preservation League headquarters is facing you. MDPL is a non-profit organization devoted to preserving, protecting, and promoting the cultural, social, economic, environmental, and architectural integrity of the Miami Beach Architectural Historic District. MDPL was originally organized by Barbara Capitman in 1976 and is the oldest Art Deco Society in the world. There is a small museum exhibit and gift shop.

Beach Patrol Headquarters:
Go around behind the building to see the whimsical Beach Patrol Headquarters (1934), pretty much world famous by now. This is also a good area to cross over the dunes to see the vast expanse of South Beach.

Ocean Drive
You are now half way down Ocean Drive. To be honest, it’s almost too much to absorb. The five-block stroll to the northern extremity is a wealth of sights and sounds. Lining the left of the street are attractive and bustling sidewalk cafes, sizzling bars and night clubs and wonderful 1930s hotel lobbies. On the right are the palms and greenery of Lummus Park. There can’t be a more fascinating beachfront than this anywhere in the U.S.A.

Versace Mansion and Victor Hotel
Ocean Drive. 14th. block

The first building to your left is the Clevelander, which has undergone renovations and reconstruction of the pool area.

Between this and 11th. Street, is Congress Suites at The Strand on Ocean. This development entailed renovating four existing historic buildings, including the Congress (1936) and Bon Air (1934), back to their original art-deco facades, as well as building a new, contemporary structure with an outside courtyard and tropical landscaping.

On the corner of 11th. Street is Casa Casuarina, better known as the Versace Mansion. It was on these steps on the 15th. July 1997 that Gianni Versace, returning from breakfast at News Café, was gunned down by assassin Andrew Cunana. The building is now a private club.

The rest of the block has been acquired by Hyatt as the Victor Hotel (1937), which has been completely renovated.

The last hotel on the 12th. block is the Carlyle (1939), made famous by the 1996 film “The Birdcage” with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.

On the opposite corner is the Cardozo (1939), owned by Emilio and Gloria Estefan, it was featured in a 1959 Sinatra film “Hole in the Head” and “Something about Mary” in 1998.

On the 14th. block Hilton has purchased four properties and has set them up as timeshares. They seem to flow together particularly well. The Crescent (1938), McAlpin (1940), Ocean Plaza (1941) and Penguin (1948).

From here, turn right towards the seashore and take the attractive beachwalk, which will take you past the swimming pools of the Royal Palm and Loews Hotels, back to Lincoln Road.

Lummus Park

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