Footloose in South Beach

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Discovering South Beach Deco: Walking Tours in the Miami Beach Art Deco District is the only walking tour guidebook to Miami Beach in print, and the first to be published in over ten years. Meet the authors at the Street Fair of the Miami Book Fair International, November 12-14, 2004.

Beside a long expanse of palm trees and beachfront, a community of unique and wonderful twentieth century buildings sets a splendid stage for South Florida’s most famous playground.

Whether you are strutting along South Beach’s famous Ocean Drive or strolling within its charming neighborhoods, the buildings weave a fabric that defines the distinctive character of the city. They are colorful, appealing, and whimsical. Some are fantastic, and many are downright glamorous.

Most of the buildings in South Beach were designed by a small group of architects between the 1920s and the 1940s. The work went largely unheralded, and was almost forgotten following World War II. The buildings languished for over twenty years, in danger of being lost forever, until preservationists discovered them and led a charge to save them. In 1979, one square mile of “Old Miami Beach” became the first twentieth century historic district to be listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Now popularly known as the Art Deco District, this is the home of one of the largest concentrations of first-half twentieth century architecture in the world, most of it a unique adaptation of Art Deco Style. The human scale of the buildings and the cozy size of the district make South Beach an ideal place to explore on foot.

Discovering South Beach Deco: Walking Tours in the Miami Beach Art Deco District is the only walking tour guidebook to Miami Beach in print, and the first to be published in over ten years. The work began early in 2003, when Richard and Valerie Beaubien took a break from their High Tech careers and set out to discover South Beach for themselves. Instantly captivated and curious, they searched for a guide book to help them explore the district, its architecture and history. After coming up empty-handed, they decided to write the book they could not find on that trip. Some eighteen months and six pairs of shoes later, the couple published this guide to over 300 buildings.

Discovering South Beach Deco is written for a broad audience with little to no architectural training, just a love of walking and a sense of fun.

Eight tours, from one half mile to two miles long, lead the reader through the Art Deco District. Each tour includes a detailed route with a map, historical background, photographs, commentary on the buildings, and pointers to food, museums and other attractions.

A history chapter introduces the architects, colorful personalities and risk-takers who shaped the environment and the character of South Beach.

A chapter devoted to style explains the local architectural progression and offers a field guide to the prevalent styles within the district.

Meet the authors at the Street Fair of the Miami Book Fair International, November 12-14, 2004. Signed copies of Discovering South Beach Deco will be available at discount prices.

Discovering South Beach Deco: Walking Tours in the Miami Beach Art Deco District is now available from the publisher at http://www.domanipress.com, and will soon be available (November 1, 2004) at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and book and gift stores. Details: ISBN 0-9760238-0-6, cover price $18.95, paperback, 304 pages.

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Richard Beaubien
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