[Via the Miami Beach Women's Club/South Beach Group]
In late 2012, Curbed Miami published a series of photos from the Wolfsonian Museum of the exterior and interiors of the Miami Beach Women's Club, a beautiful but forlorn structure covered in dust on 24th Street and Pine Tree Drive. But it was intact. Three years later the historic mediterranean revival clubhouse is resplendent, having undergone a restoration by the South Beach Group, which owns the Catalina, the Whitelaw, the Riviera, and the Croydon Hotels, that appears to have touched every inch of the property, bringing it back to life. It is now used for meetings, events, photography, and film shoots.
Historic details abound throughout the original structure, from the wooden ceiling beams and floors (likely made of Dade County Pine) to the chandeliers, lighting fixtures, doors, and the bright green wooden shutters. Sadly the building's original red barrel tile roof is has been replaced even though, like many roofs just like it around Miami, the tiles were more than likely handmade in Cuba and really quite irreplaceable. You just don't tear off those roofs. The duplicate still looks quite good though, and the building is still sublime.
According to Frank Luca, Chief Librarian at the Wolfsonian, the club was founded on December 15th 1926, just two months after the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 in the spirit of restoration after that colossal storm:
In the wake of the devastating storm, some of Miami Beach's most renowned and influential women—including distinguished novelist Mrs. Clayton Sedgwick Cooper (ie., Elizabeth [Goodnow] Cooper)—established the club with the intent of fostering neighborly friendship and community. The "book shower" they organized at the Pancoast Hotel, for example, resulted in the donation of 899 volumes and the creation of the Miami Beach Public Library (present-day Bass Museum) in Collins Park. The members originally met at the home of the founding president, but Miami Beach real estate promoter Carl G. Fisher (1874-1939) so appreciated the women's efforts to create a culturally rich atmosphere and contribute to a thriving winter season that in March, 1927, he donated a site on which the ladies could build their very own club house. Though damaged by a fire, that historic structure still stands today.
· Miami Beach Women's Club [South Beach Group]
· Look Inside the Dusty, Preserved Miami Beach Women's Club [Curbed]
· Women's Club members visit the Wolfsonian Library [Wolfsonian-FIU]