from the Archives

The Blackstone Hotel

1930’s postcard and 1930 ad for The Blackstone Hotel at 830 Washington Avenue that was designed by B. Kingston Hall. Nathan Stone built this 13 story Mediterranean revival style hotel in 1929 to accommodate his northern Jewish customers who came to Miami Beach and were turned away at other hotels. Assisted by his wife and son Alfred, they opened the largest and tallest hotel on South Beach at the time, in less than one year after construction began. Blackstone was actually the Anglicized surname of “Schwartzstein”. Nathan was also the father of Richard Stone, Florida’s 1975 US Senator. Richard grew up in the hotel handing out keys and carrying luggage for the guests. In 1934, V.H Nellenbogen remodeled the hotel. In that same era, George Gershwin composed Porgy and Bess while relaxing in the buff in the rooftop solarium of the hotel. In 1953 Henry Hohauser did the remodeling of 88 apartment units. “In 1954, despite the fact that blacks had virtually no rights on the beach, the Blackstone Hotel booked a convention for the Black Methodist Episcopalian Church. The Blackstone often went against the prevailing winds of Miami Beach and although its events received threats from racist groups, there were no major incidents.”** In 1988, there were also some renovations but overall the structure has remained essentially unchanged over the years. Photograph below shows the current Blackstone building today that offers apartment rentals.

**Description by RuskinARC

1930 ad announcing First Winter Opening of The Blackstone;
Courtesy of the Kinerk/Wilhelm Collection
Current day photo of The Blackstone Apartments
1930's postcard for The Blackstone Hotel at 830 Washington Avenue

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