• Carlton south beach
  • Carlton south beach
  • Carlton south beach
  • Carlton south beach

South Beach History


Miami Beach History

Carlton Hotel South Beach LobbyThe Carlton South Beach Hotel is proud of its location in the traditional heart of South Beach. The people visiting the area aren’t just amazed by the beauty of our property and the oceanfront, but are able to bask in the rich history that the area has to offer.

Within a short distance, people can enjoy our museums, historical buildings and see the natural growth of the area. All of this while staying at the Carlton South Beach Hotel.

Prior to the late 19th century, most of South Florida was sparsely populated frontier territory. Miami was a small settlement with a few plantations. Julia Tuttle (think the Julia Tuttle causeway) recognized the areas' value as a strategic seaport. In 1895 she traded land to Henry Flagler (think Flagler Street) in exchange for his extending his railroad to Miami from West Palm Beach. The city reincorporated the following year when the railroad was completed.

A Quaker farmer from New Jersey named John Collins (think Collins Avenue) purchased property on one of Miami's barrier islands. In 1913, he and Carl Fisher (think Fisher Island) had a bridge constructed connecting the island to the mainland. Biscayne Bay was dredged, creating more waterfront property and stabilizing the island. In 1915, this area was incorporated as Miami Beach.

This became a popular winter getaway with people coming from the north to enjoy the warmth and beaches that South Florida had to offer. Big hotels and estates were constructed during the roaring 20's and through the prohibition era. Movie stars and famous people were regularly seen in the area, from politicians to Al Capone. Al Capone used his stay in Miami Beach as an airtight alibi for his participation in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

The area fell on hard times just prior to World War II, but had a resurgence when many of the large hotels were used to house soldiers while they were trained in the area. After the way, many returned to the area to settle, having enjoyed the warm weather and lush tropical environment during their stay.

In fact, by 1960, South Florida had doubled the population that it had prior to the war.

As transportation become more readily accessible to the general public, more people were able to take quicker trips, leading to a loss of some business for awhile to other resorts. Many of the previously prestigious hotels fell into disrepair and some were demolished. A large influx of refugees from not only Cuba, but many other countries as well, put a big strain on the area’s resources. The seedier side was reflected on television with the advent of Miami Vice and the movie Scarface.

A renaissance revitalized the city in the 1980s and early 1990s with many new buildings being built throughout the area. This increased job opportunities and reestablished Miami Beach as one of the premier travel destinations in the world.

The boom in construction continues with new condo developments and construction occurring everywhere. You have only to look around to see several bildings being constructed.

And while this construction occurs, one thing remains constant: the beauty of the island and the relaxed atmosphere represented by Miami Beach being the place to get away from it all, without leaving anything you want behind.

We hope that you will join us on South Beach and stay at the Carlton South Beach Hotel.

If you need any more information, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be glad to help you in any way we can.