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The Miami Beach Bandshell gets recognized in the National Register of Historic Places

Jonah Gouin
Aerial view of the Miami Beach Bandshell.

The Miami Beach Bandshell, a South Florida staple and gathering spot for locals where musicians and performers showcase their work, is now nationally recognized as a historic site.

Located on the corner of Collins Ave and 73rd Street, the outdoor amphitheater has been added to the National Register of Historic Places — the federal government’s official listing of sites, buildings, districts and structures that are deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance.

The venue - until recently known as the North Beach Bandshell - was built in 1961, in a premium beachside location.

Its eye-catching modernist design was conceived by mid-century architect Norman Giller, who is behind many other iconic buildings and structures in South Florida, including The Carillon Hotel in Miami Beach and the original Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood.

Giller is also one of the founders of Miami Modern — or MiMo — a regional style of architecture that developed in South Florida during the post-war period.

"Think of it as a mid-century take on a Greek and Roman amphitheater. The design itself is based on circles, that's the way it's shaped. And there are two entrances with towers and circular canopies," said Donald Worth, who’s on the board of directors for the Rhythm Foundation, which manages the Bandshell.

“The Bandshell is the last surviving structure of its kind in Miami Beach, out of four that once brought entertainment to the post WWII generation,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.

“Now that the city has completed an important renovation to the complex, the bandshell is well positioned to welcome another generation of Miami Beach residents and visitors with top-notch entertainment and cultural programming.”

The Rhythm Foundation has managed the Miami Beach Bandshell since 2015. The foundation brings music-acts — mostly international — to venues in South Florida, including the Bandshell.

“It's a complicated process to apply for this designation,” said Worth.

“We worked with the city of Miami Beach to do it, submitted the application, and the National Park Service basically approved their application in August. And we're thrilled with that.”

Before the Bandshell was recognized nationally, the city of Miami Beach designated it as historic in November 2021. According to Worth, this would ensure that the site is taken care of properly and protected.

“What this means is if the city wants to make any changes to the Bandshell or do more than that… that has to go in front of the city of Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board,” said Worth. “We want to be good shepherds of this building.”

More possible updates could come for the Bandshell, according to Worth. On the ballot this up-coming midterm elections in November, the city of Miami Beach will have a referendum on a $150 million general obligation bond issue for culture and arts facilities.

The Bandshell is slated to receive $3.2 million for needed improvements.

“Now that the Bandshell is both designated historic by the city of Miami Beach and is on the National Register of Historic Places, we can make sure that the needed improvements are consistent with historic preservation guidelines,” said Worth.

Sherrilyn Cabrera is WLRN's PM newscast and digital producer.
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