About the Architect

Henry Hohauser (1895 – 1963)

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Henry Hohauser, Courtesy of HistoryMiami Archives

Henry Hohauser was considered one of the most prolific architects in Miami. He is the designer of the Essex House Hotel. Henry was born in New York City in 1895. It is very probable he did not finish college, however, he attended classes at Pratt Institute of Technology in Brooklyn, New York City. His father owned a plumbing and heating business and forced Henry to work for him. They did not have a good relationship so Henry moved to Connecticut. In this state, Henry won a contest for designing a temple in a Jewish community. When he got his architecture’s license from New York he started working for his cousin William Hohauser, Henry knew he was unfairly payed, so as soon as he could he left William’s business and started his own office. Henry hired an ex model, Grace, as his secretary and in 1923 they married.

Hohauser and wife 2
Grace and Henry Hohauser. ca 1950. Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory.

Henry and Grace could not have children, but had a boxer dog named Danny. They were very fond of Danny, who would play the piano at family gatherings. In 1933, after experiencing multiple sinus infections, Grace’s  doctor recommended  leaving New York for other city. In the early 1930’s , Henry and his wife moved to Miami. He started working as a real estate agent in partnership with two friends and, when he got his Miami architecture’s license, he started working in his own architecture office. His office was placed in Henry Hotel, designed by himself. Henry created more than 300 buildings in Miami. Among his works can be mentioned apartment buildings, hotels, stores, restaurants and theaters. He was even the designer of a small house for his brother Sam. Henry’s nephew, Robert Hauser, told in an interview that Henry designed it, Sam built it and, Leo, another cousin, did the plumbing. Nowadays, the Hohauser family conserves the house and it has always been inhabited by a member of the Hohauser family. Henry’s hobbies included boating, playing golf, and attending boxing matches. As an anecdote, Robert told that his uncle Henry used to invite him to watch the fights at the Miami auditorium where they watched several great boxers fight one of them being Muhammad Ali.

Henry was active in the Jewish community, he used to go to Beth Jacob Social Hall and Congregation at 301 and 311 Washington Avenue in Miami Beach. It is now known as the Jewish Museum of Florida.  At the end of 1950’s Henry decided to leave Miami believing his work was not appreciated enough, so he and his wife Grace returned to New York City. Back in New York city, Henry stopped designing buildings and started working as a financial planner. He died of a heart attack in 1963.

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Wolfsonian-FIU’s Hohauser Archive Collection

Among Henry Hohauser’s principal buildings in Miami Beach, we can mention:

  • The Cardozo Hotel (1939), 1300 Ocean Drive in Miami Beach.
  • The Colony (1935) 736 Ocean Drive.
  • The Century Hotel (1939) 140 Ocean Drive in Miami beach.
  • The Park Central Hotel (1937) 640 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach
  • The Essex House Hotel (1938) 1001 Collins Avenue
  • The Edison Hotel (1935) 960 Ocean Dr Miami Beach
  • The Crescent (1941) 1420 Ocean Drive Miami beach
  • The Davis (1941) The Scene, Formerly the Park Washington Resort, this is actually a collection of four hotels: the Davis, Taft, Belaire and Kenmore.
  • Collins Plaza (1936) 318 20th Street, Miami Beach FL renovated 2013 renamed Riviera Suites
  • Collins Park Hotel (1939), 2000 Park Ave It includes a glass entryway and rounded corners
  • Neron Hotel (1940) 1110 Drexel Ave. It was demolished in 1982
  • Beth Jacob Social Hall and Congregation 301 Washington Avenue in Miami Beach. It is now part of the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU.
  • The Parc Vendome (1936) 736 13th Street Miami Beach
  • 1020 6th Street Apartments
  • 5363 LaGorce Drive in Miami Beach

Many of these buildings are now protected by the Miami Art Deco Preservation Society’s efforts, particularly by Barbara Capitman.

 

Sources:

http://dpanther.fiu.edu/dpanther/items/itemdetail?bibid=FI14010425&vid=00001#

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Hohauser

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beth_Jacob_Social_Hall_and_Congregation

https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/135903