Day 16: More Florida – Miami Area

The Seven Seas Motel on Biscayne Blvd. in Miami has not been snatched up and restored/redeveloped yet but I suspect it will be soon. The midcentury modern motel itself has “good bones”:

The Ball & Chain signs in Miami are probably vintage. The letters on the facade might be original and the projecting sign might have been retexted over the years. This undated photo from the bar’s website is probably from at least the 1950s. Modern paint on the side of the projecting sign’s can reads “Fuller Sign Co. 1935”:

The La Carreta Cuban restaurant in Miami opened in 1976 and this sign is probably from then:

Carreta translates as “oxcart”. There’s an even bigger bulb-studded wheel in the parking lot.

This business in Miami opened in 1950 and I’m betting that this skeleton sign in the window is from then:


This sign is in Miami Beach. The apartments were built in 1951 and this sign is probably from then:

This giant cigar is located on “Calle Ocho” (SW 8th St. in the Little Havana neighborhood) in Miami:

This terrazzo apron (entrance tile floor) is located at what is now a thrift store in Miami:


This Gold Dust Motel sign in Miami was built this year as a recreation of the original sign. Either that, or the owner was able to stir up the missing sign which was missing for many year but possibly stashed somewhere. The motel was built in 1957 and got a complete rehab. Here’s a vintage postcard of the place:

The neon lettering on the sign of the mini tower is gone now. The pool and porte cochere are still there.

This bit on another postcard show what the sign looked like at night. I’m guessing it was not animated:

By the 1970s, a rooftop neon sign and a new neon pole sign were added. Slabby rocks were added to the tower:

Matthew Bamberg’s Retro Sign Blog shows what the sign looked like on the tower at that time — painted blue and the word “MOTEL” moved up for some strange reason:

And here’s what the sign looks like now:

I shot a LOT of midcentury/Art Deco apartments and motels in the Miami area. Here are just a couple. The Shore Apartments from 1948 in Miami Beach:


And the King Cole Apartments in Miami Beach from 1962:

The canopy sign at the Casablanca Hotel in Miami Beach:

This Dairy Queen in Miramar was built in 1956:

And, lastly for this post, the repurposed Firestone building and sign in Miami. The building and sign were constructed in 1929. They were nearly demolished in the early 2000s when Walgreens bought the property but, fortunately, preservationists stepped in. Here’s what the building and sign looked like originally — note it was touted as having the “world’s largest and most modern, one-stop service station”. I wish I could read the neon letters at the bottom of the sign:

Supposedly, five of the original Firestone letters were incorporated into the new sign. However, I don’t think that happened. And if they were, they are gone now:



This post got held up a bit since I was busy watching the Neon Speaks online presentations. If you missed it, you can still catch ALL four days’ worth of recorded videos online by purchasing a “passport” here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/neon-speaks-2021-all-event-passport-to-recordings-registration-157148345933

At that link, click on “View Details”:

And here’s the full schedule for what you might have missed:
https://neonspeaks.org/schedule-2021/


That’s it for now. I’ll be back next weekend with more.

Happy trails,
dj & the dogs

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4 thoughts on “Day 16: More Florida – Miami Area

  1. Ball & Chain:
    The current owner is Bill Fuller (Barlington Group) , the same name that (coincidently?) appears as the sign company. Also it seems unlikely that the Copa Lounge was there for over 20 years & never took down the name of the previous bar. What seems more likely is that the great signmaker, Bulldog Neon made or refurbed something to great effect when the club reopened in 2014.
    https://ballandchainmiami.com/history/
    La Carreta:
    This opened as the Trio Diner. The big wheel on the side has always been there. I think that it was originally a water wheel.
    Eagle Army-Navy:
    Used to one in many neighborhoods
    Firestone:
    The one on Alton Road, Miami Beach has been repurposed into three restaurants, but they made a deal with Firestone to keep the old sign on the roof.
    The CopperTone Girl:
    You must have covered this preservation on a previous visit.

    • Thanks for the comments. Yes, the Ball & Chain sign could be a recreation. Or it could have been stashed somewhere. I’m familiar with Jim Winters/Bulldog Neon’s work. I wonder what inspired the Trio Diner to build wagon wheel signs. Yes, I know Eagle Army-Navy was a chain. Yes, I have the Firestone on Alton and the Coppertone sign at my website. My blog is just a little diversion. My website has been my big focus for the past 20+ years: roadarch.com

      • I think that the Trio Diner’s wheel was a water wheel, but I can’t find any pix. My dad did, amongst many, many things, repair trailers. Trio had the steel siding & I remember sitting in a booth, as a child & looking out where he was repairing a wall near the wheel (or maybe it was the wheel), where a car ran into it. Cars parked head into the wall. I love what you do – I’m sure that I’ve seen the Coppertone Girl there.

    • I do remember talking to Bill Fuller & Jim Winters the night they were installing the neon sign. I don’t know the history of it though

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