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The Fontainebleau: 1955

March 30, 1955. "Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach. General view. Morris Lapidus, architect." Photo by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.

March 30, 1955. "Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach. General view. Morris Lapidus, architect." Photo by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.


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Eden Roc lawyers paying a visit

Maybe that explains the Caddies. Fontainbleu won a landmark judicial decision in the 50s allowing it to block the neighboring hotel's sunlight.

Re: Can Someone Explain This To Me

Thank goodness for all of the extra area in these photographs. Some of the best discussions on Shorpy have come from spotting something in the fore/background.

Flying Wood

Has anyone taken lumber inventory at the Palm Beach Air National Guard lately?

Can Someone Explain This To Me

I am just an amature amateur photographer, but I have been waiting for someone else to pose this question, or make this comment. So, here goes. why did the professional leave all of that foreground trash in this great photo, and not crop it out? Thanks.

[Because he knew that it would be cropped out when printed, either photographically or in printed materials, such as in a brochure, portfolio, etc. Even without the trash, that large empty area would not have been included. Keeping it off the negative would have required moving closer, cutting into either the building or the breathing room around it. -tterrace]

Firestone Estate

The Fontainebleau was built on the Firestone Estate, Harbel Villa, on Millionaire's Row. It was named for Harvey Firestone (think tires) & wife Idabelle. Architect Lapidus designed the curved hotel around the mansion, which was later torn down.

[The hotel was most certainly not designed "around the mansion," which was razed in January 1954, before construction on the Fontainebleau began. - Dave]

edit: My bad for trying to retell the story from memory. No doubt the plan never included the mansion, but, as a kid, I distinctly remember seeing the hotel being built around it, as seen in this photo from Miami Archives:

Harvey Firestone spent his winters on the estate from 1924 until his death there in 1938. During that time, Firestone, who never lost his common man senses, went to "work" almost every day to the large Firestone Tire Store at Flagler Street and 12th Avenue in Miami where he sold tires to awestruck motorists.

What is it?

It's interesting to see the very first stage of construction on the site of the Fontainebleau, but you didn't identify the large building in the background.


does anyone know what that means on the end of those logs on the beach?

True architecture!

What could be more cool and appropriate for Miami Beach than a building that looks a lot like a backyard air conditioner evaporator!

They could have built next door one that looks like an ice cream cone...

1954 and two '53s

The middle one I believe is a convertible.


That's the hotel James Bond used the telescope to see Auric Goldfinger's cards from Goldfinger's penthouse suite, and where the woman covered in gold died. Also where Jerry Lewis' movie "The Bellboy" was filmed and where the Jackie Gleason variety show (with the June Taylor Dancers) was broadcast live.

[Gleason's show was taped at the Miami Beach Auditorium, not the Fontainebleau. -tterrace]

This is what it looks like these days.

Their clientele

The two Cadillacs has to say something about them.

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