Residents and visitors curious to explore South Florida’s hidden gem, Surfside, can look forward to one-hour historical tours of the area, which will be offered free of charge on Sunday, January 27 and Sunday, February 17 at 11 a.m.
South Florida native and HistoryMiami’s Resident Historian, Dr. Paul George, known for his ability to remember the most notable details about South Florida’s people and places, will spearhead the Surfside Historic Walking Tour, which will depart from Surfside’s Community Center (9301 Collins Avenue).
Dr. George will take attendees back in time to the most eminent landmark building in the community, The Surf Club, a place of myths and legends. Participants will be able to hear all about the place that was once the setting for lavish galas, black-tie dinners and booze during the Prohibition. The club was the gathering place where the rich and famous like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Elizabeth Taylor came to enjoy privacy and be seen at the same time.
A stroll through Collins Avenue’s historic district will expose attendees to the area’s collection of Art Deco and Miami Modern architectural buildings constructed between 1946 and 1957, both styles becoming a defining symbol of the area. The tour will bring history to life highlighting the town’s Mediterranean-revival-style buildings and homes still in existence, which were designed and built inspired by The Surf Club.
Dr. George will showcase the history of Surfside’s quaint, two-block downtown area on Harding Avenue, which was nonexistent prior to the immediate aftermath of World War II. Attendees will also learn about the area’s beloved and protected loggerhead turtles, which return each year to lay eggs on the beach. The work of local artists will also be highlighted as the group walks past the “Tales of the Seaside Turtles,” a fiberglass turtle exhibit that pays homage to these fascinating creatures.
“Surfside’s past social, cultural and architectural landscape has evolved into what today is one of South Florida’s most sophisticated, under-the-radar beach towns,” said Surfside’s Tourism Director Lindsay Fast. “It’s a great feeling to be surrounded by all of this history and to be able to, for the first time ever, share this knowledge with residents and visitors alike. We invite everyone to partake in this very special event that they will undoubtedly treasure for a long time.”