These 1926 vintage photographs of the days after the “Great Miami” Hurricane were generously gifted to the MDPL in early 2018 by Alice McCollam Neary. Her father Hugh Kenneth McCollam was hired as an engineer for Carl Fisher after he graduated from Yale in June 1925. He was one of the pioneers that helped Carl Fisher dredge up Miami Beach’s dunes and swampland to make it the tropical paradise we know today. He was still working for Carl Fisher on September 19, 1926, when the Great Hurricane hit South Florida. The cyclone caused immense destruction throughout the islands and across southern Florida. It destroyed hundreds of structures in its path leaving thousands of residents homeless. After the storm, Hugh Kenneth McCollam was instrumental in the repairing and the re-building of Miami Beach. Unfortunately, he was permanently blinded while doing some metal work, which left him unable to continue his position. Alice McCollam Neary’s father passed away when she was only 20 years old. She married the first cousin of George Neary, who recommended she donate these historic photographs to the MDPL.
The Blackstone Hotel
In honor of Black History Month we call attention to the Blackstone Hotel on Washington Avenue