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Trip back to postwar luxury trailer park
Reminders of a bygone tourist paradise on Biscayne Boulevard

this article is from the May 25th Miami Herald!

Back when Biscayne Boulevard was still on the tourist circuit, 107th Street was a destination -- and not for blue-light specials.

It's only a memory now, but where a Kmart stands today, Ollie Trout's Trailer Park was a showplace when U.S. 1 was a novelty. So Jacki Biggane of the Greater North Miami Historical Society couldn't resist pointing at the shopping carts and cars during the bus tour Saturday as if the ghosts were still visible.

''They had tea dances and an outdoor bar with a dance area,'' Biggane said. ``It was a lovely trailer park. All up and down the avenue, it was all trailer parks and tourist courts. Because, remember, U.S. 1 was the way everybody drove in to Florida before I-95.''

Biggane and Rick Ferrer, a historical preservation specialist for Miami-Dade County, led the tour Saturday as part of the society's second History Fest. This year the tour concentrated on areas along Biscayne Boulevard in North Miami, Biscayne Park and Biscayne Shores; next year, the west side will be featured.

In the boulevard's postwar heyday, there was nothing trashy about Trout's park.

''At $5 a day, [it] was the most expensive and luxurious in post-Depression America,'' Travel and Leisure magazine wrote last year.

``Ollie guaranteed palm trees on every parking spot, and had servants racing from the clubhouse to the trailers bringing cold drinks and sandwiches.''

Nearby you can still see remains of the competing Royal Court Inn, which featured tiny trailer-sized cabins that now stand vacant awaiting redevelopment.

''These were for people who didn't want an apartment-style vacation. They wanted their cars parked right next to it,'' Ferrer said.

''These may be the last wooden tourist cabins left in the county,'' Ferrer said, adding that the county considered seeking historical protection for them but decided against it.

It would have been an epic court battle, and the cabins have been allowed to deteriorate since the 1970s, when they were used as cheap rentals.

Another reminder of the early road culture: the Sun 'n' Surf Motel at 111th Street. It will soon fall to redevelopment, Ferrer said.