from the Archives

The Helen Mar

The Helen Mar Apartment Hotel at 2421 Lake Pancoast Drive was designed by Robert E. Collins in 1936 for John Marsa, a contractor. Helen, the locals say, was the name of Mr. Marsa’s mother, and ”mar” is both a part of Marsa’s surname and the Spanish word for sea. The stucco facade of the structure was adorned with black vitrolite horizontal bands. The elaborate parapet was enhanced by the individual balconets projecting from the windows. The interior has 10-foot-plus ceilings, fluted columns and stylized crown moldings. The building’s front entrance is accessible also by a footbridge that stretches across Lake Pancoast. The building was renovated and restored several years ago in keeping with many of the original Art Deco design elements.

Shown is the front and back of 1940’s vintage postcard of The Helen Mar Apartment Hotel.

Back of postcard for Helen-Mar Apartment Hotel; “Overlooking The Ocean and the Helen-Mar Gardens–The last word in luxurious living–The freedom and convenience of your own tastefully furnished apartment–with no housekeeping cares–Living rooms 16×23 feet…twice the size of the average “large” hotel rooms–Complete hotel service–Details and floor plans upon request”
Photograph of the back of the Helen Mar building
Current day photo of the Helen Mar credit to

Front of postcard for The Helen Mar Apartment Hotel at 2421 Lake Pancoast Drive

What would Miami Beach be like without Historic Art Deco, Mediterranean, and MiMo buildings?

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