|Miami Beach Home of Irving Collins: September 1926|
|Written by Paul George - Special to the BT|
A view of our past from the archives of HistoryMiami
The mighty hurricane of September 17-18, 1926, affected many parts of sprawling Dade County, none more so than Miami Beach, which felt the storm’s fury first.
From Miami Beach, the storm, with winds in excess of 130 miles per hour, continued west, smashing into downtown Miami, Riverside (today’s East Little Havana), and Coral Gables before crossing into the hinterland and across the Everglades.
More than 100 Dade County residents lost their lives to the storm; thousands were left homeless; an untold number of buildings suffered severe damage and even destruction.
In this photograph, taken in the immediate aftermath of the storm, the beautiful two-story masonry home of Irving Collins, standing at 5011 Pinetree Dr., Miami Beach, was badly damaged. Collins was one of three sons of John Collins, the founder of modern Miami Beach, who moved south from New Jersey in the early 1900s to help their father develop his vast holdings. Designed by Russell Pancoast, a prominent architect and Irving Collins’s nephew, the home stood just north of John Collins’s extensive avocado grove.
Built at the outset of the 1920s, the home’s “ideal” location on two waterways (the Flamingo Waterway is in the foreground of the photograph and Indian Creek is in the center), made it especially vulnerable to water surges resulting from high winds.
The damaged home was quickly rebuilt by Irving Collins, as were many other structures in a stricken community that responded quickly and positively to a grave crisis.
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