Miami Beach wasn’t always the swanky, tourism friendly city that it is today. Much like the rest of South Florida, it has a rich history dating back to the late 1800s when it was a piece of empty land purchased by Henry and Charles Lum for the absurdly low price of 75 cents an acre. Considering how valuable the barrier island is now, that price is fascinating.
It wasn’t until 1876 that Miami Beach saw its first development called the Biscayne House of Refuge, which served as a haven for shipwrecked individuals. After a failed attempt at turning the island into a coconut plantation, agriculturist John Stiles Collins formed the Miami Beach Improvement Company in the early 1900s, which coincidentally marked the first time the island was ever referred to as “Miami Beach”. With the help of American entrepreneur Carl G. Fisher—also known as the father of upscale Fisher Island—Collins would create the Collins Bridge, which was at the time the longest wooden bridge in the world. Today that bridge has since been replaced and now goes by the familiar name of the Venetian Causeway.
Through the Miami Beach Improvement Company, the city began to make strides towards becoming the metropolis it is today after Collins oversaw the development of residential projects, a casino, and an oceanfront hotel. John Collins passed away in 1928 but his legacy is permanently remembered: frequently traveled Collins Avenue is named after him.
Miami Beach officially became a city in 1917 and after Carl Fisher took over development, it quickly began to attract wealthy industrialists that sought to build winter homes. As the city’s tourism grew, many hotels began to emerge signaling the beginning of a huge building boom that have helped turn the city into what it is today: a culturally rich, valuable, and incredibly diverse barrier island.
Z Ocean Hotel South Beach is one of the top hotels on the island and a perfect way to get a feel for the city lifestyle and ambiance. Our all-suite Miami Beach hotel is just a couple of feet from the sunny beaches. Get to know the city and soak in its many sights by calling 1-877-688-4232 to book a stay at our South Beach hotel this Memorial Day weekend.