from the Archives

Excerpt from 1940 Life Magazine

Read Time: 3 mins

Excerpt from 1940 Life Magazine article entitled “Miami & Miami Beach; Biggest U.S. Winter resort has biggest boom”….. 
“In 1912 Miami, Fla., was a sleepy town of 7,500 people and Miami Beach, three and half miles away across a tidal lagoon, was an untidy sanc bar populated principally by crabs and mosquitoes. In that year an enterprising young Indiana automobile millionaire named Carl Fisher descended on the town and, with the assistance of two elephants, Nero and Rosie began turning it into a winter resort. Miami and Miami Beach have been booming ever since. Currently, Miami has a population of about 140,000 and Miami Beach of 20,000. The two combined are easily the No. 1 playground of the world’s most playful nation. The season of 1940 has been greatest in the history of the Miami’s. Fifty new hotels built since last year have been packed since first of the year. A swarm of more than 500,000 visitors will have spent a total of around $80 million by the time the season ends in April. Miamians will then run up about 50 more hotels in anticipation of next year’s swarm. Chief attraction of Miami’s natural and artificial amenities is of course the climate. This year was not only that of its biggest boom but also that of one of its severest cold waves. As a rule a winter day in Miami is like a June day north of the Mason and Dixon line. The climate is by no means all that Miamians have to offer. For outdoors sports, there are swimming, fishing, horse and dog racing, golf, tennis. For indoor sports there are gambling, dancing etc. Native Miamians are calm and conceited characters who labor under the delusion that the name of the place should be pronounced “My-am-muh”. It should not. Visiting Miamians come in all sizes but can, for convenience, be divided into two groups; celebrities and non-celebrities. The latter call the former collection “slepperties” and follow them around. What 1940 will be memorable for to Miamians is the night of Jan. 28, when the temperature dropped to a low of 31 degrees in the third week of the longest severe cold spell since 1917, when the thermometer registered 27 degrees. This winter’s cold snap not only ruined millions of dollars worth of Florida’s vegetables and citrus fruit but also added a new note to the ordinarily happy confusion of life in the sun. Cold winds rendered the fishing impractical, porch-sitting unpleasant, swimming preposterous and even “slepperties-hunting” difficult… Newspapers ran photographs of local icicles, as a unique freak of nature.”

In 1940, fifty new hotels were built in Miami Beach since the prior year and were packed since first of the year.

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

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