History of Miami – John Collins (3 of 4)
Episode 3 of 4
In 1912, the Collins family founded the Miami Beach Improvement Company. When the construction of the bridge started, the real estate activity in Miami Beach increased significantly since many investors predicted it was going to bring many tourists to the beach.
Later that year, the family was short of money and the bridge was not complete yet with almost half a mile still to be built. However, John Collins was able to trade 200 acres of his land on the beach for an investment from Carl Fisher, an Indian auto parts mogul. This investment brought the project back to life. The 74 year old Collins was able to keep his promise he made to his children, by building the largest wooden bridge in the world (at the time) connecting Miami and Miami Beach.
In June 12, 1913, Collins’ bridge was completed. Since Miami Beach was growing and Collins knew he could not let that opportunity go, he decided to build a hotel together with his son-in-law. On the other hand, Collins always kept working on harvesting. In 1922, Miami Beach boasted the largest avocado and mango groves in the world. However, this kind of business disappeared with time in Miami Beach. This land was destined for tourism.
With the bridge completed, it was obvious that Miami Beach had to be focused in tourism. It started growing through that path. There are many more interesting facts to be known about John Collins’ life. Continue reading the last episode on the life of John S. Collins and his influence in Miami Beach.