Española Way: Miami Beach’s Historic Mediterranean Plaza

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Located between 14 and 15th Street from Collins Ave to Jefferson Ave, Española Way is one of the oldest historic districts in Miami Beach.

Instantly recognizable for its peach stucco buildings with striped shades, it was built by Francis F. Whitman in 1922 and then known as “Whitman’s Spanish Colony.”

The colony was later purchased by N.B.T. Roney, one of the city’s most prolific builders, and the Spanish Village Corporation, in 1925 during the first great Florida land boom.

Espanola Way Open house 1988
Open House on Historic Espanola Way, 1988 (From Barbara Baer Capitman Archives)

Roney envisioned the area as an artists’ colony. The creation of the village was influenced by former New Yorkers who felt the city lacked an area for artists to congregate, as they would in New York’s Greenwich Village or in the artists’ quarter in Paris. 

Architect Robert A. Taylor modeled the village after San Sebastian and Fontarable on the coast of Spain and Biarritz and Cannes in France. 

The street was designed in the Mediterranean-revival style to complement its sub-tropical location and appeal to the city’s predominant and growing use of Spanish architecture. 

The district was historically designated in 1986 by the City of Miami Beach. You can read the full designation report here.

During the 1920s, its shops included antique stores, bookstores, furniture stores, tea houses, and other fashionable businesses.

Today, the area is known for its late-night salsa dancing and Spanish flair. It is home to many unique restaurants (like Paperfish Sushi, A la Folie Cafe, and Craft South Beach), boutiques, and hotels (like the Esmé, El Paseo, and the Casa Victoria Orchid.)

Related post from our archives: Española Way

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