Vintage Postcards of Miami Beach Street Scenes Show the Urban Side of a Vibrant Subtropical Resort Town




A variety of vintage postcards of Miami Beach, found in the Flickr collections of two avid postcard collectors Phillip Pessar and More_Than_Sunshine, show a side of Miami Beach as seen from the sidewalk, the street, or even the curb. These aren’t postcards of glamorous hotels, Ocean Drive, cresting Atlantic waves, verdant palm trees, or even the beach, although all of those things unsurprisingly appear as often as possible. These are postcards of Miami Beach’s more urban side, relatively speaking. In the 1930s and 40s, luxurious shopping streets, beachfront bathing casinos, boxy department stores, and waterways lined with fancy hotels were pretty much as urban and gritty as it got in this fun and pleasure-loving resort town.

Lincoln Road, Miami Beach’s original commercial heart, and a world-class shopping thoroughfare with stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bonwit Teller, and even a Dusenberg automobile showroom, appears the most, but also showing up are a few of the beach’s many luxurious estates, and a spectacular orange and purple-tinted sunrise. Then there are Collins and Washington Avenues, lined with theaters, restaurants, hotels, and nightclubs. The County Causeway, which we know as the MacArthur Causeway today, snaked its way across Biscayne Bay to Miami Beach’s southern end, often used by fishermen who leaned up against the concrete balustrade to catch a bite. And just like today, it passed Watson Island, home of the Goodyear Tire Blimp for many years.

For more fascinating vintage postcards from the Big Bubble, check out a booming Downtown Miami, and this parade of many of Miami Beach’s grandest hotels through history.

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