Miami's City Hall started out as Pan American's Seaplane Terminal. The terminus, once the largest and most modern marine air facility in the world when it was built in the early 1930's, has been Miami's City Hall since 1954. The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and is Art Deco architectural style.
Having undergone extensive restorations, various elements of the interior have regained their original look such as the ceiling, the wall murals and the beams. The ceiling consists of panels depicting the signs of the Zodiac painted in a sleek modern style. The beams holding up the ceiling are decorated with stylized "wings" and bands in the Pan American colors. Covered with paint during the 1950's, the murals near the ceiling depict the history of flight, from Leonardo Da Vinci's designs to the modern Clipper planes flown by Pan American.
Don't be put off by the somewhat formidable security guard at the entrance. It is a public building and well worth visiting inside. Take special note of the wonderful photo collection on the ground and first floors depicting the history of PanAm.
Dinner Key served as a base for Pan American World Airways' 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. After the technological advances of World War II made seaplanes largely obsolete, Pan Am transferred its operations to Miami International Airport.
One of Pan Am's hangars was used for many years as an exhibition hall and auditorium, the Dinner Key Auditorium. This was the site of the incident in 1969 in which Jim Morrison of the Doors was arrested for exposing himself to the audience.
Today, Dinner Key is used primarily as a marina and is the largest in Florida.
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