Vizcaya Timeline

1910-04-12 02:36:12

First Ties to Florida

James Deering’s father William Deering builds a home in Coconut Grove. Celebrated interior decorator Elsie de Wolfe introduces James Deering to Paul Chalfin, who would become Vizcaya’s artistic director. James Deering and Paul Chalfin begin to plan the creation of a winter home in Miami, Florida and visit France and Italy to gain design inspiration and source furnishings and antiques. James Deering meets F. Burrall Hoffman, who would become Vizcaya’s architect.

1910-07-07 19:10:57

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1910-11-20 02:36:12

Mexican Revolution

The outbreak of the Mexican Revolution results in an influx of Mexican immigrants to the U.S.

1910-12-01 02:36:12

Miami Herald Published

The first edition of The Miami Herald is published by Frank Shutts with the backing of industrialist Henry Flagler.

1912-02-20 02:36:12

Vizcaya Land Purchase

Deering purchases 130 acres of bay-front land from Miami landowner and businesswoman Mary Brickell. F. Burrall Hoffman is asked by Paul Chalfin to become Vizcaya’s architect.

1912-04-15 04:14:12

Titanic Sinks

The RMS Titanic strikes an iceberg while crossing the Atlantic on its maiden voyage and sinks. Dinnerware ordered by James Deering and destined for Vizcaya was on the ship.

1912-09-11 04:14:12

Overseas Railroad to Key West

The Overseas Railroad to Key West, built by Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway opens with the arrival of a five-car train in Key West. Miami’s first “skyscraper” – Burdine’s department store, consisting of five stories – opens for business.

1913-04-15 04:14:12

Lyric Theater Opens

The 400 seat Lyric Theater opens and serves as a venue for performances, movies and vaudeville for Miami’s black residents. Artists such as Aretha Franklin, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald and B.B. King would perform there over the next 50 years. Miami makes alcohol consumption illegal after six years of efforts by the Anti-Saloon League. Collins Bridge, which crossed Biscayne Bay between Miami and Miami Beach, opens. At the time of its completion it was the longest wooden bridge in the world.

1913-04-15 04:14:12

Excavations Begin

Deering reviews initial plans for Vizcaya. The site for the Main House is cleared and excavations begin. James Deering’s father William dies in Coconut Grove.

1914-06-28 05:56:24

Outbreak of World War I

After 36 years of work, the Panama Canal is completed, cutting the distance from the east to west coast by more than 8,000 miles. Archduke Franz Ferdinand is assassinated on June 28 in Sarajevo, leading to the outbreak of World War I.

1914-09-15 05:56:24

Construction Begins

Construction begins on Vizcaya’s Main House. In June, Paul Chalfin and James Deering meet landscape architect Diego Suarez. In November, Suarez accepts Chalfin’s invitation to design Vizcaya’s gardens.

1915-01-03 09:02:03

Vizcaya Village

Construction of the Vizcaya Village begins.

1915-10-03 09:02:03

Miami Beach Incorporated

Miami Beach is incorporated as the City of Ocean Beach, with 33 voters.

1916-03-03 09:02:03

The Kampong

The horticulturalist and plant collector Dr. David Fairchild establishes The Kampong as his winter home, and creates an “introduction garden.”

1916-12-25 09:02:03

Deering Takes Up Residence

Construction of the Main House is completed. Deering and a party of guests arrive by boat on Christmas Day.

1917-04-06 08:47:56

U.S. Enters World War I

The U.S. enters World War I by declaring war on Germany on April 6. The Russian Revolution overthrows the old power structure, and leads to Civil War.

1917-07-09 08:47:56

Renown for Vizcaya

An edition of Architectural Review is dedicated to the estate, and articles about Vizcaya also appear in issues of Vogue, Architecture and Building and Harper’s Bazaar. John Singer Sargent visits Vizcaya and creates watercolors of Deering, the property, and staff. Sargent was a friend of Charles and James Deering.

1917-11-09 08:47:56

Dorsey Park

D.A. Dorsey, one of the first African-American millionaires in the South, sold land to the City of Miami to establish a park for African Americans. The park, named Dorsey Park is still located on Northwest 17th Street and First Avenue.

1918-04-06 08:47:56

Garden Planning

Chalfin produces the final plan for the Lagoon Gardens. French-born American sculptor Gaston Lachaise is commissioned to create site-specific sculptures for the gardens.

1919-03-19 10:41:24

Coconut Grove is Incorporated

Coconut Grove is Incorporated

1919-03-19 10:41:24

First Film

Vitagraph Studios films The Woman Game (1920) at Vizcaya with director William P. S. Earle and actors Elaine Hammerstein and Jere Austin.

1919-06-18 10:41:24

Treaty of Versailles

The Treaty of Versailles is signed in Paris, officially ending World War I

1919-10-28 22:40:26

Prohibition Begins

Congress passes the Volstead Act, the popular name for the National Prohibition Act. The act establishes the legal definition of intoxicating liquors as well as penalties for producing them.

1920-07-19 22:40:26

Open Weekends

The Village and parts of the gardens are opened to the public on weekends

1921-02-22 09:59:03

The City Beautiful

George Merrick creates Coral Gables, the first planned city in the U.S. Phineas Paist, who had worked as Paul Chalfin’s associate on Vizcaya, is hired to oversee the “artistic” conception of the Spanish-themed “City Beautiful.”

1921-06-22 09:59:03

Vizcaya Gardens Complete

Construction of Vizcaya’s gardens is complete.

1922-02-22 09:59:03

The Stone House at Cutler

Charles Deering (James’ brother) begins construction of his Stone House at Cutler, adjacent to the existing frame Richmond Cottage on the property.

1922-08-18 19:52:26

Women's Right to Vote

The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified on August 18, granting American women the right to vote

1923-02-20 02:36:12

Miami Times Founded

The Miami Times is founded by Henry E. S. Reeves, providing a much-needed voice for Miami’s black community. The newspaper continues to publish today.

1923-02-21 02:36:12

James Deering Dies

James Deering dies on September 21 aboard the SS City of Paris liner from France to U.S. Vizcaya is passed to Deering’s brother Charles.

1925-09-20 02:36:12

UM Founded

The University of Miami is established in Coral Gables.

1926-09-19 20:51:04

The Great Miami Hurricane

The Great Miami Hurricane devastates South Florida and causes extensive damage to Vizcaya. It wrecks all of Deering’s boats, and damages the garden, outdoor sculptures and garden furnishings. Booker T. Washington High School is established in Overtown. The Olympia Theater opens in downtown Miami. Originally built to play silent movies and called the “Miami Theater and Office Building,” its name was changed to reflect its Mediterranean-influenced design. The Tower Theater opens on SW Eighth Street, providing Miami with one of the finest state-of-the-art theaters in the South. The theater would later provide an important introduction to American culture for many of the Cuban families who moved to the area in the early 1960s.

1927-02-05 00:00:00

Charles Deering Dies

Charles Deering (James’ brother) dies in Miami. Vizcaya and all of its furnishings pass to Charles’ daughters, Marion Deering McCormick and Barbara Deering Danielson.

1927-10-26 00:00:00

The Jazz Singer

The first motion picture to feature synchronized sound, The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson, is released in US movie theaters.

1928-10-26 00:00:00

Capone Purchases Miami Beach House

Notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone purchases a house on Palm Island in Miami Beach.

1929-10-24 00:00:00

Stock Market Crash

On October 29 the U.S. Stock Market crashes, leading to bank failures and nearly a decade-long depression in the U.S. economy, popularly known as the Great Depression.

1933-12-05 00:00:00

Prohibition Repealed

Prohibition is repealed. Hitler becomes the Chancellor of Germany.

1934-12-05 00:00:00

First Restoration

At the invitation of Deering’s nieces, Paul Chalfin returns to Vizcaya to oversee the estate’s first restoration, with the intention of opening it as a privately owned museum.

1935-09-04 00:00:00

Vizcaya Museum Opens, Briefly

The Vizcaya estate is opened seasonally to the public as a privately owned museum. However, a category five hurricane hits on Labor Day, and devastates South Florida. Damage to Vizcaya is so extensive that Deering’s heirs have to put on hold efforts to operate the estate as a museum.

1937-06-01 00:00:00

Amelia Earhart

On June 1 Amelia Earhart takes off from Miami in an attempt to fly around the world. Her plane disappears a month later over the Pacific.

1938-06-01 00:00:00

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden opens

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden opens its 83 acres to the public.

1939-09-01 00:00:00

World War II Begins

World War II begins. The U.S. declares itself to be neutral.

1941-12-07 09:24:14

Pearl Harbor

Japan bombs Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The U.S. declares war on Japan, and enters World War II.

1945-05-08 09:24:14

World War II ends

World War II ended with the unconditional surrender of the Axis powers. On 8 May 1945, the Allies accepted Germany's surrender.

1945-12-07 09:24:14

Heirs Convey Land to Catholic Charities

Barbara Deering Danielson and Marion Deering McCormick convey the south section of the Vizcaya property – 130 acres in all – to Mercy Hospital and the Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine, who fill in the lagoon to build a hospital and a school.

1946-05-08 09:24:14

NAACP Established

A branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is established in Liberty City.

1950-05-25 09:24:14

Korean War Begins

The first American rocket launches from Cape Canaveral. The Korean War begins.

1952-02-20 02:36:12

Conveyance to Dade County

Barbara Deering Danielson and Marion Deering McCormick convey the main house and remaining 30 acres (including the village, hammock, and gardens) to Dade County for $1 million in revenue bonds. They finance an additional $50,000 to cover costs of opening the estate to the public, donate the entire contents of the house, and agree to give the County a three-year option to purchase the Village.

1953-03-20 02:36:12

Dade County Art Museum

In March, Vizcaya opens to the public as the Dade County Art Museum. Its first director is Robert Tyler Davis. The Korean War ends.

1954-03-20 02:36:12

Vizcaya Volunteer Guides

The Vizcaya Volunteer Guides program is founded. Volunteer guides offer tours of the Main House, a service that continues today.

Vizcaya Timeline

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