It is January 14th,1926 and trains are south bound marked " Miami Biltmore Specials " have dropped off all the famous and elite northern passengers.The Giralda Tower ( modeled after the famous Cathedral of Seville Spain ) is being lite for the first time.Dressed to the hilt 1,500 guest from all over the world are ready to celebrate in this Grand Opening Gala.Champagne is flowing from table top fountains as guests dance to jazz from one of three orchestras.Builders, dreamers and partners ,hotel magnates John McEntee and George E. Merrick look on with smiles on their faces.And coffee is served from a massive Gorham Urn designed especially fir this Grand Occasion.The Miami Biltmore hosted both European Royalty and Americas most rich and famous.Frequent guests included,The Duke and Duchess of Windsor,Babe Ruth,Ginger Rodgers,Judy Garland,Bing Crosby,the Rossevelts. the Vanderbilts,Al Capone(who owned a speak easy and a now haunted suite) in the hotel,Franklin D. Roosevelt ( who had a private White House Office in the hotel )and on and on.And they were all served coffee from a beautiful Gorham Urn.Guests enjoyed polo,gondola rides,fox hunts, fashion shows,beauty pageants,and coffee was served.Aquatic shows staring Ester Williams were given in the Grand Pool, the largest in the world at the time measuring 22,000 square feet.So large in fact that even water ski shows could be accommodated.That is when swimming instructor Johnny Weissmuller ,aka Tarzan wasn't giving swimming lessons.Gala balls,Weddings,World Class Golf Tournaments and Tennis matches were held on the 150 acre grounds of this tropical paradise.And coffee was served.The Miami Biltmore was also known as The American Rivera was designed by Schultz and Weaver a New York architectural firm.Inspired by Mediterranean design and decorated with painted ceilings,mahogany and wrought iron accents,fountains,marble from Italy,crystal chandeliers, plants and trees and large bird cages filled with live tropical birds.And a beautiful silvered urn sat center stage with coffee for guests. On September 18th,1926,the Great Miami Hurricane swept through with 150 miles an hour winds,devastating most of Miami.The Biltmore with only slight damage was quickly transformed into a a shelter for over 2,000 that were left homeless. And coffee was served.It also served as a hospital during WWII and as part of The University of Miami's Medical School until 1968.So with no more ado I present to you a treasure that once played part in so many lives and times in history.This beautiful specially designed and made by Gorham, Silver Plated Coffee Urn measures 21" high,31" in diameter and 18" from handle to handle.Yes there is some age appropriate issues: as shown in photos the interior has lost some plating,there is a 3" x 2" indentation where it looks like it may have been dropped at one time.And Beside the Large intricately and lovely " B " mark there is some shallow surface scratches.Granted my photos are not worthy to presenting you with such a unique piece and fir this I do apologize.The perfect showpiece for any Miami historical or civic society,business or private collector. Enjoy!
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