Nestled along the southwestern edge of Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve, the Deering Estate is Miami’s premier landmark that showcases the best of South Florida’s historic architecture and natural environment. As a 21st Century museum destination for tourists and local residents, a variety of signature events, programs, tours and classes are offered throughout the year. Including a variety of fun and festive events such as our historic ghost tours in the fall and various outdoor activities in the summer.
Exploring Florida’s Historic Landmarks at Deering Estate
The oldest existing buildings on the estate are those built by the Richmond family and Charles Deering. In 1896, Samuel H. Richmond built a pioneer home for his family on the estate as part of the settlement of the Town of Cutler. In 1900, an addition to the home was built and then opened to the paid public as The Richmond Hotel – the first hotel between Coconut Grove and Key West. The graceful Mediterranean revival–style Stone House, built by Charles Deering to showcase his valuable art collection, was constructed in 1922.
From 1913-1918, Charles Deering purchased the land and renovated the Richmond Inn, the area’s only hotel. Adding a pump station, carriage and car garage, generator house, and boat turning basin as support structures. Deering’s winter residence became a self-sustaining homestead for he and his wife, Marion. Over the next few years, Deering invited renowned botanists, David Fairchild and John Kunkel Small, to implement a restoration of the area’s natural environment. In 1922, he also contracted the notable Coral Gables’ architect Phineas Paist to build the Stone House, a 13,000 square foot Mediterranean Revival home capable of housing the massive art and furnishings collection he was relocating from his homes in Spain, New York and Chicago.
In 1916, Deering purchased and renovated the Richmond Inn, the area’s only lodging facility, and established it as a winter home for himself and his wife Marion, adding additional support structures to establish a self-sustaining homestead. Over the few next years, Deering brought in renowned botanists David Fairchild and John Kunkle Small to implement a restoration of the area’s natural environment. Deering contracted the notable Coral Gables architect Phineas Paist to build a fireproof structure capable of housing the massive art collection he was removing from his homes in Spain, New York and Chicago. By 1922, the Stone House was completed and was being filled with the tapestries, paintings, books and antique furnishings he had spent decades collecting while the tropical hardwood hammock and endangered pine rocklands returned to fill in the land around his homes.
The Preservation of a Florida Historical Site
Charles Deering died in 1927, but the estate remained with his heirs until 1986 when it was purchased by the State of Florida and added to the National Registry of Historic Places. Most of Deering’s original art collection was donated to the Art Institute of Chicago and the Libraries at Northwestern University by his daughters. Today, the Deering Estate is managed by Miami-Dade County’s Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department and supported by the Deering Estate Foundation, Inc. Some original items can be seen in the homes today, as well as the tropical hardwood hammock and endangered pine rocklands are preserved to transport our guests to the past. You are able to book tours of the property including our seasonal ghost tours of the historic grounds.
The Estate is Also Home to Historic Geological Landmarks
Deering Estate is also home to the Cutler Fossil Site and Cutler Burial Mound. The Cutler Fossil Site, excavated in the 1980’s, revealed a Paleo-Indian shelter and bones of mega fauna from the Pleistocene Era when sea levels were considerably lower. The Cutler Burial Mound is a prehistoric mound on the Charles Deering Estate, and one of the few surviving prehistoric mounds in Miami-Dade County. The mound is about 38 feet by 20 feet at the base, and about five feet high. Artifacts from the mound are from the Glades II and III periods. The mound is believed to contain 12 to 18 burials of the Tequesta. The Cutler Burial mound is accessible only via guided Natural Area Tours.