Did the 1926 Hurricane cause death and destruction on the Venetian Causeway?

A look at the Venetian Causeway in 1926, with Belle Isle and Miami Beach at the far end.

Once again, we’ve found an historic photo of Belle Isle and the Venetian Causeway in the early days; this one from 1926, the year the causeway was completed.

According to the caption, from P&A Photos, “this photo shows the new Venetian Causeway, the Pride of Miami, which connects Miami with Miami Beach. The Causeway was snapped in many places during the hurricane that swept through the lower portion of Florida. Many cars were swept into the water with the consequent loss of life.”

The cutline information dates the photo 9-20-26.

When the Venetian was completed in 1926, Belle Isle (originally Bull Island) was the only island on the path; Rivo Alto, DiLido, San Marino, San Marco and Biscayne were dredged and filled and developed as part of the causeway plan.

There are several accounts of damage and death on the causeway in the fabled Sept. 18, 1926 hurricane, including one from Florida writer Stuart McIver,  published by the Sun Sentinel in 1993, recounting how Miamians believed the storm was over when the eye passed over the area:

Thirty-five minutes after the eye’s arrival, the winds returned, fiercer than ever, increasing to 140 m.p.h. in Fort Lauderdale. A storm surge of 12 feet in some cities rolled up rivers and canals.

In Miami, Foster Stearns looked out across the newly completed Venetian Causeway. He saw the sea wash over a car headed back to the mainland. In an instant, the vehicle and its occupants were gone.

We’ll add this to our Belle Isle Blog historical collection of posts, which includes the story of the J.C. Penney estate, Herbert Hoover’s visit, the development of the islands, and the construction of the causeway.


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