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Travel Back to 1926: A Rare & Intimate Miami Vintage Film

In 1926, Louis O. Normandin and his wife, Estelle, got on a train and ventured to Miami Beach. Upon arrival, they instantly took to the Florida sun, catching rays at the Biltmore Hotel and other hot spots in Miami Beach and Coral Gables.

Now, years later, Miami Living was able to lay their hands on this rare video footage that was taken by the two love birds on their vacation. Edited by Rick Helin, Historian & Film Archivist, this rare film takes you back in time.

Who were the Normandin's?

Louis was the owner of a buggy manufacturer that was founded in 1875 by his grandfather. At the start of the business, Amos Normandin, the great grandfather of the current Manager, realized that the buggy owners would constantly bring in their car rigs for repair. Seeing this a prominent issue, Amos finally came up with an idea.

In 1905, Amos would convince customers to test drive a few of the automobiles on consignment in his stable. Later convincing his customer that they should trade up on a new car rather than waste money making repairs to the dying form of transportation, the buggy.

Once Louis joined the family business, it was formed into a car dealership. One of the first of its times. As a way to escape Louis's hectic working schedule, he and his wife went to the Biltmore Hotel to relax, play golf, dive from extreme heights, and swim in the resort's oversized pool. Some of the many activities that tourists still participate in.

What was 1926 like?

Casual sportswear first hit the streets in 1920. Women and men alike were wearing bathing suits, tennis attire, sailor blouses, and large brim hats on all occasions. Poolside or not.

Gambling was in full effect and tourism was booming in South Florida. Areas including Coral Gables and Miami Beach were experiencing unprecedented growth. Until the 1926 Hurricane hit the city, sparking a major downfall that led to the great economical depression.

All these events play a substantial role in history, making the city of Miami what it is today. Here lies the film that captures the true essence of what Miami Beach and Coral Gables still stand for.

Film courtesy of Louis O. Normandin. Film edited by Rick Helin

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