Ocean Drive South beach

The History of Ocean Drive

The skyline of Ocean Drive in South Beach is iconic – it’s been featured on television and in print photography thousands of times. This street is the heart of South Beach’s Art Deco district; this area gives visitors a chance to see this beautiful, historical architecture from a past era, which was saved and preserved by preservationists over the years.

Basic Facts About Ocean Drive

Ocean Drives stretches from South Point (just south of 1st street) and continues north to 15th street. This street is at the epicenter of the Miami Art Deco District; this district houses 900 historically preserved buildings. The Art Deco buildings this street is known for is the hotels. Some popular hotels include; the Colony Hotel, Clevelander Hotel, and the Cavalier Hotel.

A Brief History of Ocean Drive

In the 1910s, Miami pioneer Carl Fisher was a crucial role in the evolution of South Beach becoming a resort destination. In 1913, Fisher completed the area’s first luxury hotel, and soon thereafter created the Lincoln Road shopping district. By 1920, a South Beach land boom began and hotels and mansions began popping up left and right. In the two decades to follow, the South Beach Art Deco era began, which is when many of the area’s hotels were built with this style of architecture; many of these hotels were on Ocean Drive. The Cavalier was one of these hotels and was designed by architect Roy F. France in 1936; it is still considered a masterpiece of the Art Deco movement.

From the 1930s until now, the architecture on Ocean Drive is a combination of different styles from different architects; this area is considered to be an “Art Deco capital” and is home to the largest concentration of 1920s and 1930s resort-style architecture. The Art Deco we see today is influenced by the 1924 Paris Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, which was Paris design fair that celebrated the decorative arts’ relationship with technology. A lot of Mayan and Egyptian motifs were used at this time with clean lines and geometric patterns, but in South Beach the themes were also nautical and tropical in nature. By the 1930s and 1940s, a style referred to as the Steamline Moderne evolved; this was an industrial design with smooth edges and horizontal striping and vertical embellishments. This style’s unique features set it apart from anything else is can be seen all over Miami Beach with neon lights and brightly colored buildings.

Over the years, the buildings began to look run down on Ocean Drive due to age and the saltwater air; they were in much need of repairs and renovations. In the 1980s, South Beach began to go through a “renaissance” as the community realized these buildings with the Art Deco architecture were priceless, and restoration began.

Stay On Ocean Drive

People travel from all over to have a glimpse of South Beach’s famous Art Deco district. The Cavalier is a newly renovated Art Deco hotel, and it sits right on Ocean Drive. By staying in the Cavalier, you will not only get to enjoy this hotel’s personal Art Deco accents, but you will be in close proximity to other notable South Beach Art Deco architecture. To book your stay at the Cavalier, call 305-671-1199 or click here.

Experience the Art Deco District

South Beach is home to the Art Deco District. This area is historic and beautiful, featuring eclectic architecture from the 1930s and 1940s. A person should take a stroll down Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue if they’re interested in checking out these unique and style on restaurants, boutiques, and hotels.

For those who want to learn more about this historic area, the Miami Design Preservation League offers an Art Deco District Walking Tour every day of the week. These 90-minute walking tours give visitors an introduction to Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival, and Miami Modern (MiMo) styles that are found in the district. The tour brings groups around hotels, restaurants, and other commercial structures – outside and inside.

The tours cost $25 and $20 for seniors, veterans, and students. Tours happen on Fridays through Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Reservations are not necessary. If you’d like to go on a tour, visit the Art Deco Welcome Center (1001 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach) about 10 to 15 minutes before the tour leaves. Tickets can be purchased online, as well.

Some South Beach Art Deco-designed buildings include: Senor Frogs, The Webster, and The Cavalier Hotel. The Cavalier Hotel, which was designed by architect Roy F. Franc in 1936. Recently, this beautiful building has undergone extensive restorations that have updated its Art Deco look with a modern twist. The outside façade is still the original architecture; it is bright pastel colors. The hotel rooms have been updated with new eclectic features like Chicago brick walls and soothing shades of wood. Rooms also include decorative chandeliers, lighting fixtures, full-length paintings, baroque-colored photos, chrome fixtures, Carrera marble, and more.

Visit South Beach’s Art Deco District

People come from all over to visit South Beach’s iconic Art Deco District. It’s something definitely worth seeing in real life. At the Cavalier Hotel, you can even stay in one of these historic buildings in the heart of South Beach. To book your stay at the Cavalier, call 305-673-1199 or click here.