Category Archives: History

Those Miami Beach centennial Coke bottles? Yeah, they’re at Publix in Sunset Harbour

IMG_4255We don’t know if you just have to have these, but if you do — on sale now.

IMG_4256It’s just part of the huge Beach 100 celebration.

Belle Plaza introduces lecture series with Jan. 14 talk on “American Shindler”

The folks at the Belle Plaza condominium, 20 Island Ave. are introducing a lecture series with a talk on Wednesday, Jan. 14, about Varian Fry, an American journalist credited with helping to free more than 2,000 Jews from the Nazis in World War II.

The talk starts at 7 p.m. in the card room. It will be led by Belle Plaza residents Diana Pollin and Alain Guyot , who have studied Fry’s life extensively.

Fry was a foreign corresponent for The Living Age, an American journal, and visited Berlin in in 1935 and witnessed and wrote about Nazi abuse against Jews for the New York Times.

He also helped raise money to support European anti-Nazi movements. When the Germans occupied France in 1940, Fry went to Marseille as an agent of the newly formed Emergency Rescue Committee in an effort to help people flee the Nazis.

Pollin and Guyot received The Marseille Provence Cultural Committee prize in 2013 for their work. Their project involved giving a virtual life to the demolished Villa Air Bel where Fry resided and hid the famous artists and writers during his time in Marseille. They are authors of the French language book “La Villa Air-Bel 1940 un phalanstere d’artistes.” Their most recent book, in English, is “Thirty Two Acres of Paradise, Varian Fry at Air-Bel, Marseille.”

 

Flash from the past on Dade Boulevard

IMG_3766We photographed this throwback Friday truck at 6:45 a.m. at the corner of Meridian and Dade Boulevard.

Tell the truth. Don’t you miss Burdines?

Murder, dead body dumping and Belle Isle

So, file this post under “know your neighbors,” and “interesting people who live on Belle Isle.”

Twenty years ago, a woman was murdered, allegedly by her husband, and her body was dumped in Biscayne Bay.

Yesterday in Miami-Dade criminal court, 9 Island Avenue resident Alan M. Gold revealed how he helped dump the body with the accused murderer, Cliff Friend.

He said they put her body, stuffed into a bag, on a boat at the marina docked behind Gold’s Belle Isle condo and motored out to sea.

We don’t want to spoil the rest of Miami Herald reporter David Ovalle’s amazing story. There more to it, for sure.

We live in an interesting place.

Beautiful Belle Isle from the air

Belle Isle, Friday morning, June 20.

Belle Isle, Friday morning, June 20.

Thanks to Belle Isle Residents Association vice chair Charles Urstadt for this great snapshot out our island from a Friday morning flight out of Miami International Airport.

One more trip down memory lane: the Biscayne Bayfront in the 1930s and 1940s

This postcard, mailed in 1938, appears pre-development.

Mailed in 1938, a pre-development view from the old Venetian Hotel.

We found a couple more old postcards that show The Miami Herald property before The Herald built its bayfront headquarters in the early 1960s, so we thought we’d add them to the blog and create a gallery that shows different views in different years.

Your BelleIsleBlog is guilty of not being able to get enough of this….we admit it. But with The Herald leaving last week it’s 50-year headquarters last week, and portions of The Miami Herald sign coming down on Friday, and the prospect of Genting tearing the building down between now and year end, well…

So let’s look closer at what it looked like before the Knight brothers built Florida’s largest commercial building, which is what One Herald Plaza was upon completion in 1963.

Betwen the Venetian and County causeways (MacArthur wasn't a hero yet)

Between the Venetian and County causeways (MacArthur wasn’t a hero yet)

Here’s the tightest view we’ve seen of the Venetian Hotel, as well as the Boulevard Shops (now a historic landmark on the site) and some other small structures. Click on it to check out the detail. The postcard back describes non-stop traffic on the causeways.

1940backAnd here’s a look at the rest of the postcards we’ve found with the same general view.

Residences and the Venetian Hote, undated.

Residences and the Venetian Hotel, undated.

More of a step back view, mailed in 1930.

More of a step back view, mailed in 1930.

1939 view of Biscayne coast, from east to west.

1939 view of Biscayne coast, from east to west.

A look back at the Miami causeways and shoreline — before The Miami Herald

This postcard shows residences and a hotel on The Herald property

This 1930s postcard shows residences and a hotel on The Herald property

It’s a nostalgic time on the west end of the Venetian Causeway.

The Miami Herald printed its last newspapers  two weeks ago at 1 Herald Plaza, on the mainland between the Venetian and MacArthur causeways.

1939 view of downtown looking west.

1939 view of downtown looking west.

Since then, office and news gathering operations have been moving to the news organization’s new home in Doral.

The final newsroom employees — and few from other departments — are scheduled to finish packing this week and all will be working in Doral by Friday afternoon.

Some time after that — it’s not clear when — property owner Genting plans to tear down The Herald building to make way for its planned resort (no, it won’t be a casino — at least not yet).

The Miami Herald in 2006.

The Miami Herald in 2006.

The Herald’s been on the property for 50 some years. BelleIsleBlog has been trolling eBay again, finding old postcards that provide a view at the bayside property between the Venetian and MacArthur Causeways before The Herald built its offices and printing plant in the early 1960s. The Herald moved to One Herald Plaza from a location on South Miami Avenue in April 1963.

Another view of the Causeways, circa 1939.

Another view of the Causeways, circa 1939.

The postcards show another Miami — when the port was off an undeveloped Watson Island, and the shoreline south of the MacArthur Causeway (then the County Causeway) featured huge oil tanks. Biscayne Island, the first on the way east on the Venetian Causeway, was barren, used as a landing strip.

The postcard above shows the Boulevard Shops (originally the Shrine Building when buit in 1930) on Biscayne Boulevard — and the Trinity Cathedral to the west of the Venetian Causeway entrance. Both remain, dwarfed by the city that grew up in the next 80-plus years.

Circus elephants cross the Venetian Causeway west drawbridge, with under-construction Herald building in background.

Circus elephants cross the Venetian Causeway drawbridge, in 1960, with  Herald building property in background.

Construction on The Herald building began in 1961, and finished with the building opening on April 5, 1963.