Sunday, June 22, 2008

Interama: The theme park in North Miami that was never built

Herald article here. Watch the video. Photo gallery of renderings here. Historical Museum info here. (The Interama site is just down the street from here.)

They called their dream Interama -- a Disney World for South Florida, a futuristic theme park, a permanent, groundbreaking World's Fair by the bay in North Miami.

From 1951 to 1975, Interama's promise as a gateway for the Americas captured the imagination of local planners, famous architects, five U.S. presidents and one powerful cheerleader -- iconic Claude Pepper, who represented Florida in Congress for decades.

Interama instead morphed into a massive boondoggle that drained millions in public money. At the end, all that materialized was cleared land prepped for construction.

Now the ups and downs of the famously failed project has become the newest exhibit at downtown Miami's Historical Museum of Southern Florida.

''Interama -- Miami and the Pan-American Dream'' brings the project back to life 40 years after its first scheduled opening date: July 4, 1968.

The exhibit, which opened Saturday and runs through Jan. 25, was prompted by two University of Miami architectural professors' unexpected discovery.

Allan Shulman and Jean-Francois Lejeune were researching a book at the Florida State Archives in Tallahassee, Shulman said, when they uncovered boxes of untouched Interama paperwork, photographs, models and plans, renderings, brochures, pamphlets and other memorabilia. . . .

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