United States Coast Guard Air Station at Dinner Key
One of the former Coast Guard hangars
|Architect||United States Coast Guard; Fred Howland|
|Architectural style||Mission Revival/Moderne|
|NRHP Reference #||02001535|
|Added to NRHP||February 20, 1975|
Dinner Key is a marina complex in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, Florida along the shore of Biscayne Bay on South Bayshore Drive. It was originally an island, but was connected to the mainland in 1914 by filling in the intervening space. An early source attributes the name to the fact that the island was a convenient place to stop to eat while traveling by boat between the mouth of the Miami River and Snapper Creek south of Miami. Dinner Key is accessible by public transit via the Coconut Grove Circulator from the Miami Metrorail at Coconut Grove and Douglas Road stations.
A United States Naval Air Station was established on Dinner Key in 1917. NAS Dinner Key, commanded by Lt. Cdr. Marc Mitscher, was the second largest naval air facility in the U.S. and was used to train seaplane pilots. The Air Station was closed shortly after the end of World War I and taken over by commercial operators. The Navy returned to Dinner Key during World War II, operating there from 1943 until 1945.
Dinner Key served as a base for Pan American World Airways's flying boats during the 1930s and 1940s. It was one of the world's largest airports and the main hub for air traffic between North and South America. The inaugural flight from Dinner Key to Panama took place on December 1, 1930. Charles Lindbergh, who was a technical adviser to Pan Am, surveyed some of the early air routes. Because of inadequate landing facilities along the South American route, flying clipper ships were utilized by Pan Am, forming a vital link between North and South America. After the technological advances of World War II and the construction of suitable airports in South America made seaplanes largely obsolete, Pan Am transferred its operations back to Miami International Airport that had opened to flights in 1928 as Pan American Field. Pan Am's final flight to Dinner Key took place August 9, 1945.
The United States Coast Guard operated an Air Station at Dinner Key from 1932 until 1965, when operations were transferred to the Opa-locka Airport. The former barracks and mess building were added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on August 10, 1995. On December 19, 2002, the US Coast Guard Air Station Hanger at Dinner Key was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Today, Dinner Key is used primarily as a marina. Three of Pan Am's original four hangars remain in use for boat storage. The old Pan Am terminal building has served as the Miami City Hall since 1954. It was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on February 20, 1975.
Dinner Key Auditorium
One of Pan Am's hangars was used for many years as an exhibition hall and auditorium, the Dinner Key Auditorium. It was recently renamed the Coconut Grove Convention Center. This was the site of the March 1, 1969 incident in which Jim Morrison of the Doors was arrested for allegedly exposing himself to the audience.
More recently Burn Notice, a USA Network television action drama series, has used the Convention Center for production of the show for six seasons. USA Network has agreed to use the convention center for the production of a seventh season of Burn Notice which will air starting in summer 2013. The show will increase its rent from $240,000 to $450,000 a year, just enough to cover the city’s demolition costs, plus taxes, a studio spokeswoman confirmed. As of late, longtime Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff expressed a desire to raze the Coconut Grove Convention Center and build a bay-front park, noting a $1.8 million city cache in grant dollars for the project. Demolition of the Coconut Grove Convention Center commenced on Tuesday, November 5, 2013. It is expected to take 30 days for the site to be completely razed and cleared.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- Munroe, Ralph M. and Vincent Gilpin. (1930) The Commodore's Story. New York: Ives Washburn. p. 119
- Taylor, Theodore (2006). Magnificent Mitscher. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. p. 48.
- Munroe, Ralph M. and Vincent Gilpin. (1930) The Commodore's Story. New York: Ives Washburn. p. 330
- "Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms". National Park Service (NPS). Retrieved 26 December 2012.
- National Register of Historic Places - Dade County listings - URL retrieved October 24, 2006
- Miami City Hall history - URL retrieved June 18, 2006
- Mary Werbelow, Jim Morrison and the Doors - URL retrieved June 18, 2006
- Tays, Alan (December 11, 2005). "For Today, ABA's Floridians More than a Memory". Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- "Burnotice: Production".
- McGRORY, KATHLEEN (8/10/12). "Burn Notice; We'll Write the Scripts, Thanks". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
- Florida, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides, 2004, pg. 83
- Pan American Airways System Terminal Building, 3500 Pan American Drive, Miami, FL at the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)