Culture & Art

Retail Reveries

Synonymous with sophisticated South Florida shopping sprees, extravagant holiday displays and the latest in fashionable housewares, accessories and clothing, we offer a heartfelt memorial to an institution near and dear to anyone of Sunshine State extraction.
Text by Ryan Jarrell. Before photo courtesy of Verne O. Williams; Miami News Collection, HistoryMiami; After photo by Marcelo Araica | May 9, 2018 | Culture & Art

We are speaking, of course, of Burdine’s Department Store. Originally established as a dry goods warehouse by ex-Army officer William Burdine, by 1912 the business had transformed to a department located securely in the center of our nascent city. Taken in 1938 on the corner of Flagler & S. Miami Ave., this landmark location of the cherished chain was still in the expanding stages at that time. The Biscayne Hotel, also pictured, was demolished soon after World War II to make space for the increasingly popular retail conglomerate. Owned by Macy’s, Inc., since 1956, 2005 saw the nationwide chain consolidate the failing brand under their name. Although we of course love our centrally situated Macy’s, we can’t help but think that Downtown Miami is a little less distinctive without that signature Burdine’s charm.