The Everglades Hotel

Rooftop Pool2

I wrote this poem based on a Miami hotel stay in the nineteen eighties.

The Everglades Hotel was built in 1926, one of the first steel-framed buildings in Florida and Miami’s largest and best-appointed hotel at the time.  It stood beside Biscayne Boulevard, US Highway One, which separated it from Biscayne Bay.  Just after it was completed the devastating hurricane of September 1926, known as the Great Miami Hurricane, struck, causing even more damage than the infamous hurricane Katrina of 2005.  The Everglades Hotel was flooded with bay water, but stood firm to temporarily house homeless survivors.

Everglades 1926 thumbThere is a photo of the new-built hotel, with contemporary traffic on Biscayne Boulevard in the State Archives of Florida (at https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/32162 )

 

During World War II the hotel was leased by the US Navy to house officers, and later the first television antenna to bring TV to Miami (station WTVJ) was erected on its cupola.  By the late nineteen fifties the hotel’s owners were struggling financially and Jimmy Hoffa of the Teamsters got involved, leaving a trail that played a part in his conviction and imprisonment in the sixties.  It appears to have been Hoffa who insisted on the addition of the rooftop pool and nightclub to revitalise The Everglades.

Everglades 1962 thumbThere is a photo from 1962 showing the roof and pool at http://www.pbase.com/donboyd/image/78387215

 

In 1987 Bayside Marketplace opened across the Boulevard, one of the attractions that drew an English family to stay in this modestly priced hotel, with a rooftop pool, of whose history we knew nothing.

The hotel survived into the twenty first century, but only just.  In 2003 the redevelopment of its valuable site was planned and on January 23rd 2005 the shell of the hotel was imploded with a series of timed explosive charges.  In twenty seconds it was all over, bar the settling of the dust cloud.

Everglades 2003 thumbThere is a photo of the hotel as it looked in 2003 at http://www.emporis.com/images/details/202151/exterior-view-from-the-northeast

and footage of the 2005 implosion at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11VoeesURgw

The 49 storey twin condo towers of Viscayne now occupy the site.  I’m sure the view is good.

This is the 1987 photo scan that inspired the poem, kids waiting to dive into the Everglades rooftop pool:

Everglades three

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