Thursday, February 14, 2013

Miami Beach's first hotel - Brown's

Miami Beach was a popular spot in 1921 (LOC)

Scotsman-turned-New Yorker William J. Brown beat developer Carl Fisher into the hotel biz in Miami Beach at First Street and Ocean Drive. Opened for the 1915-16 winter season (Miami Beach was incorporated Mar. 26, 1915), Brown’s 36-room hotel, a two-story pine structure, offered basics of the time with kitchen facilities on the first floor.

By all accounts it was a busy, if plain, place. Carl Fisher’s wife, Jane, entertained there Christmas 1921 after her husband opened the much more glamorous Flamingo Hotel in 1920.

Brown sold the property, opened as the Atlantic Beach Hotel, in 1922.  It went through a series of owners and names, including the Star Apartments during the 1990s. By then the original pine structure had been covered in stucco with some pieces blown off during Hurricane Andrew. But the building survived and is now the site of the popular, upscale restaurant Prime 112 Steakhouse at 112 Ocean Drive. (For recent photo, see: )

Kleinberg, Howard. Miami Beach, a History.  Miami: Centennial Press (1994).
Miami News, Dec. 23, 1921 p. 1.

Tags: first hotel in Miami Beach, Carl Fisher, William J. Brown

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