History of Miami Beach & Tour of Fountainbleau

Bob briefly goes over the history of Miami Beach, describing the role a few key individuals played in the area's development. Later, Bob takes a water taxi tour, the perfect vantage point from which to notice how the skyline tells the story of the city's history. Visiting the Fountainbleau, Bob introduces the decadent, even flamboyant, architectural design of Morris Lapidus.

Clip Summary

Bob gives a brief history of Miami Beach-- from its humble beginnings in plantation farming (1880s) to its rise as a tourist mecca, and as a winter destination for elites (1920s).

Miami developed from the farm envisioned by Quaker farmer John Collins into the luxurious adult playground imagined by developer Carl Fisher.

Bob takes a water taxi tour of Miami, looking north from South Beach, along Biscayne Bay, past the soaring skyscrapers and million-dollar condominiums being built today, to the mid-rise residential structures of the 1960s and 70s.

Next, Bob visits the Fontainebleau, an architectural gem and a Miami icon. This curving white hotel, designed and built in 1954 by architect Morris Lapidus, is now a Hilton Resort near Miami's Art Deco District.

As an architect, Lapidus flew in the face of conventional architecture, using curves instead of straight lines, and avoiding corners, in his designs. His grand spaces and stairways were reminiscent of French Chateaux.

Lapidus's fanciful design was initially panned and ridiculed, but it still stands as a testament to the excesses of Miami Beach in the Post World War II era.