The Biscayne Times

Apr 20th
When Miami Beach Was Really Hot PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul S. George, BT Contributor   
April 2018

A view of our past from the archives of HistoryMiami

FPix_PictureStory_4-18or Miami Beach, the 1950s were the best of times. By then the island resort had assumed its place as the nation’s premier winter playground, with hotels that lined Collins Avenue for miles (as seen in this photograph taken in 1959).

Its clubs and restaurants drew Hollywood royalty, and the high-end stores on Lincoln Road catered to them, as did those in the winding corridors of posh hostelries, which obviated the need for guests to leave the premises.

The stage was thus set for Miami Beach’s ascendancy in the early postwar era as waves of tourists, flush with dollars after years of economic stagnation and sacrifice, flocked to many of the hotels that became known as the most glamorous in Miami Beach and in the nation -- hotels like the Sagamore, Delano, Sans Souci, and Saxony in the south and Mid-Beach areas of Collins Avenue.

There guests enjoyed glamorous poolside amenities, fine food, and fabulous entertainment. Media personalities like Walter Winchell and Arthur Godfrey broadcast their popular radio shows from Miami Beach, while movie stars embraced Miami Beach as their vacation destination.

The Place Pigalle, a glamorous burlesque house, offered its French Quarter Follies; the sparkling Saxony’s Night Cap Lounge was the place to be for many; others sought out the venerable Five O’ Clock Club.

With the opening of the fabulous Fontainebleau Hotel in 1954, followed by the Eden Roc, Deauville, and Carillon hotels, areas once located far north of the resort heart of Miami Beach now became popular with the island’s tourist industry. And the stars followed, led by Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, long before their presence and antics brought Las Vegas’s tourist industry to the fore.

The shows, restaurants, and nighttime entertainment making up this world-famous resort grew as the Fifties unfolded, outstripping anything seen before, while bringing it unprecedented exposure and ever increasing numbers of visitors. Miami Beach was the place to be in that fabulous era.


Paul George is historian at HistoryMiami Museum. To order a copy of this photo, please contact HistoryMiami archives manager Ashley Trujillo at 305-375-1623, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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Pix_PictureStory_4-19A view of our past from the archives of HistoryMiami