A 7alle of iJwo Women
Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Mlaijoric 1larris Carr
Segment: Dancing and swimming on Miami Beach
Source: Interview with Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Videotaped at the Douglas House in Coconut Grove,
June 16, 1983.
Length of Segment: 00:02:45
Transcript and audio recording are copyright 1983-2009 Florida International University.
Interviewer: Do you remember spending a great deal of time out of doors when you were a child?
MSD: Well, not in the very cold weather, my dear! (laughs)
Interviewer: Oh yes.
MSD: I was no great athlete. In the winter, at college, before we, snowshoeing or skiing was
fashionable. We snowshoed a lot; I snowshoed a lot in the snow, and I was brought up in small sailing
boats and canoes and all that. So I was very much interested in water, and lakes as well as the ocean
and the rivers, and I learned to swim very early, but of course developed swimming down here. That
was once one of the great attractions for me here was the swimming in Miami Beach when it was still
just subtle really, it was just filled and there were hardly any houses on it. We'd go over from Miami
either on the old Collins Bridge, the old wooden bridge, or you'd go over in a little bit of a steamboat to
the beach and cross over the beach on a boardwalk to the wonderful swimming beach, in the South
Beach, which has always been one of the best beaches anywhere around; there aren't any undertows.
And then eventually, the beach up where the Roney Plaza is now, that was the Fisher, the Fisher
Pavilion, well it was called a pavilion, I've forgotten its name. Well, anyway, you could walk up and
down the beaches in bathing suits and a gang of us would go over, perhaps early in the morning before
dawn, and go swimming and have a fire on the beach and cook breakfast. Or we would do it in the
evening and run up and down the beaches and swim and all that. So the open air, you see, so once that
open beach business all summer long was simply wonderful. You didn't mind the hot weather because
you were in and out of the salt waters so much, and then later down here we have this lovely little Tahiti
Beach that George Merrick had built when he built Coral Gables, and that, you see, was near the house,
so you'd swim. Oh, we'd go swimming, groups of us, three-four times a week down there. And all
Sunday mornings with parties and picnics and all that. So the swimming and the beaches were a very
important part of our lives, a very pleasant part, that so many people now don't know anything about at
all, which is so silly. That was a great thing, the swimming.