Miami Beach

Looking at when Belle Isle was Miami Beach’s star island

These days, when people think of Miami Beach island luxury, minds leap to Star Island, home over the years to such celebrities as the Gloria and Emelio Estefan, Shaq, Lenny Kravitz, Rosie O’Donnell and Wil Smith.

But back in the 1920s and 1930s, Belle Isle was the Beach’s island star. The way it commanded the public imagination is abundantly clear from news coverage, historical photos and postcards of the mansion from that era.

And the headliner was the J.C. Penney estate.