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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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American Splendor: 1955

American Splendor: 1955

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

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The Streets of Miami

I'm guessing this is the same place that Allan Sherman mentioned in his song "The Streets of Miami". "I'm going to the Fontainebleau / Pardner, it's mod'ner."

Best of both worlds

This lobby manages to be elegant and sophisticated yet tacky and cheesy. I like it and I don't.

Clearly a Staged Photo

No ashtrays. (Well, maybe one -- see if you can find it).


Lapidus always tried to make ordinary visitors feel extraordinary. He wanted the guests to feel like a Cary Grant or a Grace Kelly while they were in this hotel. To transport them to someplace 'special' and well removed from their normal lives.

And the title of the architect's autobiography is

"Too Much Is Never Enough," by Morris Lapidus (1996). This is a sly reference to the motto attributed to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, "Less is more" (even though he never actually said that, in English or in German).

Tres classy

All those Roman statues and busts make me want to drink tea with my pinky sticking straight out.

Opulent Extravaganza

If you thinks the lobby was something, take a gander at the building itself. A midcentury postcard is attached.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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