Incredible Historic Photos of Miami’s Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, also known as Villa Vizcaya, Miami’s exotic, paradisiacal house museum, recently celebrated its centennial. Built in 1917 for International Harvester scion James Deering, the house is a sublime melding of art and architecture into a cohesive, exotic whole.

Since the beginning, Vizcaya has been published in magazines, newspapers, and periodicals. In 1917, the entire June issue of Architectural Review was devoted to Vizcaya. By then, the house had just been completed and work was well underway on the gardens. In the November 1950 issue of National Geographic, Vizcaya, by then a house museum and no longer a private residence, was featured with luscious, full color photography.

Photos from both of these old spreads, in Architectural Review and National Geographic Magazine, are time capsules to a bygone time, showing just how much and how little the house has evolved. The photos show the rooms of the house more fully decorated than they are today. There was more furniture, for one thing. Check out what Vizcaya looked like in a bygone era,  in the photos below.

The east facade.
The north side of the house.
Entrance to the secret garden.
The Laundry Wing.
The south facade.
Biscayne Bay, with the barge to the east.
The tea house.
The tea house.
The front drive.
The rooftop terrace of the boat house (now demolished).
Powder room in the boat house (now demolished).
Entry vestibule to the boat house (now demolished).
The boat house (now demolished).
The ‘barge.’
The ‘barge.’
Looking from the tea house to the south facade.
The entrance driveway.
Plan of the gardens.
The gardens.
The reception room.
The pool grotto.
An interior (the gift shop currently occupies this space).
An interior (currently occupied by the gift shop).
The breakfast room.
The breakfast room.
Gate to the breakfast room.
Grand staircase.
The reception room.
The reception room.
The living room.
The living room.
The living room.
Upstairs colonnaded hallway.
The courtyard.
The courtyard.
The library.
Colonnade in the courtyard.
Entrance Hall.
The courtyard.
The front gate.
The gardens.


The living room.
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