Portrait: John S. Collins, the founder of Miami Beach

Wednesday, 27 November 2019 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Miami, Portrait

John S. Collins © floridamemory.com

John S. Collins © floridamemory.com

John Stiles Collins was an American Quaker farmer from Moorestown Township, New Jersey who moved to South Florida and attempted to grow vegetables and coconuts on the swampy, bug-infested stretch of land between Miami and the ocean, a barrier island which became Miami Beach. John S. Collins died in 1928 at the age of 90. Collins Avenue and the Collins Canal, both on Miami Beach, are named in his honor.

Although the farming venture was not successful, with involvement from his family, notably his sons and sons-in law, John S. Collins also became a land developer. He and his family formed the Miami Beach Improvement Company in 1911, instituted the first recorded use of the term “Miami Beach”, and built the Collins Bridge across Biscayne Bay from the established City of Miami in 1913. They built a casino, an oceanfront hotel and began residential development of the island.

Pine Tree Drive, originally planted as a windbreack by John S Collins © Daniel Di Palma/cc-by-sa-4.0 Venetian Causeway towards Miami Beach © Daniel Di Palma/cc-by-sa-4.0 Venetian Causeway towards Miami Beach © Daniel Di Palma/cc-by-sa-4.0 Collins Canal © Daniel Di Palma/cc-by-sa-4.0 John S. Collins © floridamemory.com Miami Beach, Belle Isle and Venetian Causeway in the 1960s © State Archives of Florida - Florida Memory Opening of the Collins Bridge © Florida Photographic Collection - Vaoverland
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Miami Beach, Belle Isle and Venetian Causeway in the 1960s © State Archives of Florida - Florida Memory
The Collins Bridge project ran short of funds and the 2.5 mile (4 km) long wooden toll bridge was in danger of not being completed when 74-year-old Collins struck a deal with automotive pioneer and millionaire Carl G. Fisher (1874–1939) to loan him the needed funds in exchange for 200 acres (800,000 m²) of land. Fisher later described John Collins as “a bantam rooster, cocky and unafraid.”

The Collins Bridge was located at the southern terminus of promoter Fisher’s Dixie Highway project, which brought traffic from the mid-west as part of the National Auto Trail road system. Collins, his family, and Fisher all became very wealthy with the development of Miami Beach, which had a 400% increase in resident population between 1920 and 1925.

Read more on MiamiBeach411.com – John S. Collins Biography and Wikipedia John S. Collins (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.








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