‘Streamline Dreamtime’ Art Deco Weekend (1988)

Read Time: 3 mins

Editors Note: The Barbara Baer Capitman archives “Historic Threads” project is partly sponsored by the Department of State, Division of Historical Resources and the State of Florida. We’re highlighting important documents that tell the story of Miami Beach, coinciding with National Historic Preservation Month sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

In 1988, the Miami Design Preservation League held its 11th Annual Art Deco Weekend. The festival’s theme was Streamline Dreamtime. Ocean Drive and the Art Deco District were slowly progressing from a hopeful dream to an innovative reality.

The festival was held on Friday, January 15th through Sunday the 17th, and this was the first year Art Deco Weekend would expand one block south – covering Ocean Drive from 13th Street to 8th Street. Newly restored hotels in the Streamline Moderne style provided the iconic back drop to the festival – and its reason for being.

Ocean Drive’s hotels had been transformed with new street cafes, restaurants, and lobby bars. Facing the hotels were a long line of booths featuring 80 vendors selling Art Deco-inspired goods. Antique automobiles were on display, along with delicious, international food, and refreshing tropical drinks.

In March of 1986, voters approved a $3 million bond issue to revive Lummus Park and the surrounding area. Two years later, in 1988, contractors were hired by the city of Miami Beach to widen the sidewalks on the west side of Ocean Drive between 5th and 15th Street. Lummus Park included a new grassy area which had now been widened to 100 feet, old-fashioned street lights, 5 newly installed public showers, coconut palms, and a pink sidewalk.

Ocean Drive had two eight-foot-wide parking lanes on each side of the street for parallel parking, as well as two, eleven-foot-wide lanes for driving, and three feet of grass became a sidewalk on the edge of Lummus Park for strolling.

The festival was also an opportunity for continued awareness about important preservation issues within the district. Events were programmed to draw attention to the endangered Senator Hotel, whose owner was looking to demolish the structure and replace it with a parking lot.

According to a Miami Herald article, this included the town’s first public slumber party, where supporters were invited to wear “Save Our Senator” nightshirts. The preservationist “partiers” wore black armbands and marched in a candlelight procession.

Streamline Dreamtime highlighted the less glamorous side of the 1930s, the Great Depression. On Lincoln Road, artists put together a Deco Echo Artists’ Ball. Artist organizer Stewart Stewart told the Miami Herald: “We’re declaring the beginning of the end of the depression on Lincoln Road. The reason we’re saluting the depression of the 30s is people went through bad times, stuck it out, survived and prospered and we’re hoping the same thing will happen to Lincoln Road.”

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