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What was the hotel Carver in Miami's Overtown like in 1974, in colorized photos?

The Hotel Carver was a major hub for Black visitors to Overtown during the 1950s and early 1960s, serving as one of the neighborhood's most prominent hotels.

In 1990, the Miami Herald described the Carver as "the place to stay in Overtown", along with the Mary Elizabeth and Sir John (later renamed Lord Calvert) hotels.

The Carver Hotel was an elegant, important establishment within the Overtown community, which was known as the "Harlem of the South" during the segregation era.

When I-95 cut through Overtown in the 1960s, destroying many historic businesses and entertainment venues, the Carver Hotel's patronage declined until it went out of business in the late 1970s.

The Carver Hotel building was eventually abandoned and demolished sometime after it closed down in the late 1970s.

Overtown itself was once known as "Colored Town", and was settled by Black workers who built Miami's railroads and hotels during the segregation era.

Similar to Miami Beach, which had a "whites only" policy, Overtown in the 1940s and 1950s was a vibrant center of Black, Latino, and some white nightlife and entertainment on the mainland.

The construction of I-95 through Overtown in the 1960s was part of a larger pattern of "segregation by design" that impacted the neighborhood.

Today, an extra sales tax on property purchases by non-Florida/non-US residents in Miami-Dade County goes towards an affordable housing subsidy program to support working-class residents.

The Overtown Performing Arts Center, originally built in 1947 as the Ebenezer Methodist Church, now serves as an event space in the historic heart of the neighborhood.

Colorized photos from 1959 show the contrast between the lively, neon-lit streetscapes of Overtown and the more upscale development on the other side of the causeway in Miami Beach.

Overtown's history is closely tied to patterns of racial segregation and displacement, which are explored in a StoryMap project examining Miami's past housing discrimination.

In the 1940s and 1950s, Overtown was home to "shotgun shacks" where residents lived, highlighting the neighborhood's working-class roots and the impacts of historic segregation.

The Hotel Carver's elegant accommodations catered to a Black clientele who were not welcome in the "whites only" hotels and establishments on Miami Beach during the Jim Crow era.

The decline of the Hotel Carver and other Overtown businesses was directly linked to the construction of I-95, which severed the neighborhood and disrupted its economy.

Today, efforts are underway to preserve Overtown's history and support its working-class residents, including through affordable housing initiatives funded by a new tax on non-resident property buyers.

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