The Deauville hotel, around since 1957, is being demolished. The resort at 67th Street and Collins Avenue has been declared an unsafe building and has been closed for several years.
But did you know that another Deauville hotel was on this site?
The original Deauville opened in 1926 as a place for society dinners, entertainment and swim shows. The Mediterranean-inspired property was purchased by a health enthusiast in 1936 and became known as the MacFadden-Deauville.
The original Deauville was demolished in 1956 to make way for a MiMo-style hotel that went onto fame as a place for Miami Beach vacationers and a stop on the Beatles’ visit to the United States in 1964.
Let’s look back at the original coverage in the Miami Herald from 1926, when the first Deauville opened, and 1956, when it was set for demolition.
Club Deauville opens
Published Feb. 4, 1926, in the Miami Herald
More than 700 guests taxed the supper club accommodations of the new Deaville Casino to capcity last night as Club Deauville was formally opened. A gay throng of merrymakers assembled early and stayed late.
Completed in the brief span of two months, the casino will present a varied list of entertainment for Miami and Miami Beach visitors and residents. The event last night presented only the social side of the casino. The swimming pool will formally open Saturday.
Overlooking the ocean, the supper room and dining room, respectively, occupy the exteme north ideas of Italy, France and Spain.
The swimming pool and bathrooms will open the latter part of the week. A summer of swimming stars will appear throughout the remainder of the winter season.
Making way for the new Deauville
Published March 9, 1956, in the Miami Herald
The venerable Macfadden-Deauville Hotel at 6701 Collins Ave. will be torn down this year to make room for a new new 430-room hotel and shopping center.
A 99-year-lead, giving possession of the hotel property to Irving Pollack and Charles Yavers was signed Thursday. total rental involved is $12,000,000.
The property was leased from E.M. Loew, nationally known theater and nightclub operator.
Pollack and Yavers formerly owned and operated the Nautilus and Monte Carlo hotels.
The property has 500 feet of frontage on the ocean and Collins Avenie and is 300 feed deep.
When the hotel opened in 1926, it was known as the Club Deauville and operated as a gambling casino.
It was later acquired by physical culturist Bernarr Macfadden and was operated as the Macfadden-Deauville.
Pollack and Yavers announced that destruction of the hotel will begin about April 15.
History of the Deauville
By Howard Kleinberg
“Largest Swimming Pool In Florida Opens Today,” proclaimed the advertisement in the Feb. 6, 1926 Miami News. It was, being 165 feet long and 100 feet wide.
Built by former Carl Fisher land salesman Joseph Elsener, the Deauville Casino at 61st Street and the ocean was planned as an entertainment capital. Dining rooms, ballroom dancing, entertainers, exhibitions by champion swimmers and divers and state-of-the-art bathing facilities were the features offered. There also were lockers, bath houses and some rooms with private showers.
The pool was on the second story behind the hotel rooms, and there are constant references in old clippings to the gaming tables at the old Deauville.
Somewhat mysterious about the location of the original Deauville is that some newspaper ads and articles at the time of its opening place it at 61st Street and Collins; others at the same time place it at 67th Street. Perhaps it is because that area of Miami Beach was so remote in those days that street locations were approximated. Anyhow, 6701 Collins Ave. is the long-established address of the old Deauville, just as it is the new Deauville.
Despite the ambiance, the pool and the gaming tables, the Deauville was just too far north of civilization. Business was poor, and Elsener sold it to a former Broadway showgirl who inherited a $27 million trust fund when her first husband was killed in an auto accident.
Born Lucy Cotton, she would marry five times and wind up with a title of princess — her last husband being an exiled White Russian prince. As Lucy Cotton Thomas Magraw, she bought the hotel and renamed it the Beautiful Deauville, according to Helen Muir’s “Miami, U.S.A.”
When she found herself caught up in allegations that the hotel was being run in concert with gangsters and gamblers, she leased it in 1933 to health faddist Bernarr Macfadden.
It promptly was renamed the Macfadden-Deauville. Macfadden introduced health foods to the hotel, and it played to moderate success until taken over by the Army during World War II. The condition of the hotel had deteriorated and the Army moved out.
When Lucy — now Princess Lucy Cotton Thomas Magraw Eristavi-Tchitcherine — sold the hotel in 1944 for $750,000, it set off a series of legal battles in which she regained control of the hotel in 1948; the battles followed her in death in 1948.
Macfadden used his 33-year lease of the hotel to launch unsuccessful campaigns for the 1936 Republican presidential nomination, the 1940 Democratic nomination for senator from Florida and the 1948 Democratic nomination for governor of Florida.
The Macfadden-Deauville was torn down in 1956 and replaced with a new Deauville Hotel.
First night performance
Published Feb. 7, 1926, in the Miami Daily News
Marking the beginning of a new chapter in amusements of Miami Beach, the opening of the new Deauville casino Saturday night drew one of the most brilliant and colorful crowds of the season.
Situated at the ocean terminus of Sixty-first st., the casino contains a number of entertainment features.
Night life at the casino is enhanced by the California Ramblers and the Varsity Six which play continuous music from 10 p.m. on. A feature of the opening program was Kay Durban and Basil Durant in a series of ballroom steps. Salt and Pepper, late of “Gay Paree,” appeared in intimate entertainment with banjos.
During the day the Seventh Regiment band of New York, directed by Lieut. Francis W. Sutherland, played. This band entertained the Prince of Wales during his last visit to New York and has been engaged for the season.
Throughout the season main attractions are expected to be water sports, which will be carried on by Olympic champions. Attempts to shatter records will be made, according to Joseph Elsener, president of Beach Properties, Inc., and director of the casino.
The swimming pool of the casino is the only one in the south where official recognition will be given champions who establish new records, he said. It is 165 feet long and 100 feet wide with a depth of 3 1/2 feet on both ends and 14 feet in the center. It holds nearly 1,000,000 gallons of water.
Among features are actinic rays for the use of bathers who desire the “sun cure,” physical culture and lounge laundries, a day restaurant and the supper club.
Gertrude Ederle, whose recent attempt to swim the English channel attracted worldwide attention, will give exhibitions for the next two seasons at the Deauville. With here are Aileen Riggin, breast stroke champion; Alma Wycoff, underwater swimming champion of the Women’s Swimming Association of New York, and Pete and Jim Holland, life guards.
Besides Mr. Elsener, officers of the casino company are Arthur Hand and Wallace T. Kirkeby.
This story was originally published March 15, 2022 11:42 AM.