A 1920s postcard shows lush Belle Isle, early Rivo Alto, Fisher’s Flamingo Hotel

A 1920s view of Belle Isle facing east.

Belle Isle is the only “natural” island on the Venetian Causeway. We know the other Venetian Islands — Rivo Alto, DiLido, San Marino, San Marco and Biscayne — were dredged, filled and linked with the roadway between 1923 and 1926.

Our latest postcard find (thanks, eBay!) shows Rivo Alto in the foreground, Belle Isle, and the western edge of Miami Beach with Carl Fisher’s classic Flamingo Hotel.

You can see that most of Rivo Alto is open space, though the streets and a couple of homes have been built.

This photo shows the Joseph Adams and J.C. Penney estates.

Compare the postcard view to the above early 1930s photo of Belle Isle, taken from the north facing south, which also shows the Flamingo.  This is from the Florida Memory Project, subject of an earlier blog post.

Finally, here’s a 1923 photo from east to west that shows Miami Beach, Belle Isle, and a sandy and vacant Rivo Alto as the only island along the Venetian Causeway path.

!923 photograph shows view to Miami across Venetian Causeway.


7 responses to “A 1920s postcard shows lush Belle Isle, early Rivo Alto, Fisher’s Flamingo Hotel

  1. Really enjoy these “pics from the past”….thanks!

  2. Rosemary Ravinal

    Keep them coming. These photos build a sense of pride in and place. Question: we know the story of J.C. Penney, but cannot find info on Joseph Adams. Was this the Adams Candy family?

  3. All those beautiful pines are long gone…Now, we’ve got one type of palm everywhere… Clearly, the CMB Parks Department motto is: When in doubt, plant a dumb palm tree. Appalling!

  4. Reply to Rosemary: The Joseph Adams estate in the 1940s became the first home of the Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, part of the University of Miami. Adams was an early UM Trustee, but I haven’t found anything documenting how he made his money.

    • Rosemary Ravinal

      I found information on Dr. Joseph H. Adams. See this clip from a Sarasota newspaper from 1933.
      Adams was a pioneer in sun-ray research or helio-therapy, the science of curing with the aid of the sun. Adams hailed from Brooklyn, NY. He founded the Joseph H. Adams Foundation, which long after his death continued to fund research on sun-related therapies.
      When President-elect Hoover visited Belle Isle in 1928, he stayed at one of the Adams Estate’s guest cabins and toured Biscayne Bay in Adams’ yacht, the Amitie. There are aerial photos of the Adams Estate on http://www.floridamemory.com. The Adams parcel seems to span what is now Costa Brava, 16 Island, and Belle Plaza.


    We don’t know if anyone else has noticed an accumulation of shopping carts by and around the bus stop and hedges in front of the Standard. We have contacted Publix, Fresh Market and Office Depot numerous times and only Office Depot has picked theirs up. A polite phone call doesn’t seem to do the trick, and as we have no other means at our disposal physically short of removing them ourselves, the support of the BIHA is needed. Thanks for your help and feel free to let us know what you think.

    JC Garcia and RM Stambaugh, 5 Island Avenue


  6. Mary Kennedy Baumslag

    Make the Standard pay to remove them. It must be guests (!!!)
    who use them and then just assume someone else will clean up
    after them. Why else would they be there?

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