Rather than retouch the ceiling and merely repaint the symbols, the
acoustical problem that was thus presented had to first be re s o l v e d .
Evergreene Studios made hand tracings of the zodiac symbols and sent them
to their New York Studios to be replicated on canvas. Sound absorptive
cellulose, was then sprayed onto the original ceiling and in conjunction with
a product called Snaptex, which stretches the canvas containing the tracings
over the ceiling, the original ceiling replete with all the various symbols was
recreated, exactly as when the terminal first opened.
Upon its completion, the Dinner Key terminal also featured an elegant upper
deck restaurant and people would gather there to view the activity in the
waiting area below, as well as on the observation deck outside, from where
the arriving Clippers could be seen. These original windows, that once
overlooked the terminal waiting area from the dining room – investigations
indicated that the windows had been covered with drywall many years prior
– were thus exposed, painted and restored to their original color. All of the
fixtures will replicate the precise detail of the light fixtures found in the
Additionally, the massive, motorized Globe, once located in the lobby of the
terminal and the focal point of passenger interest, is now located in the
Museum of Science in Miami. It will, however, be symbolically recalled
through the recreation of a mosaic map of the western hemisphere depicting
the original Pan American World Airways routes via a new terrazzo floor that
will go in the building’s outer lobby.
The history of the City of Miami City Hall and Pan
American World Airways are forever entwined in what
once was the Pan American Seaplane Terminal at Dinner
Key. When construction began in 1933, the Dinner Key Terminal and
Airport was the most modern and largest marine air facility in the
world, leading the way to Pan Am’s future role as an international
leader in aviation, transportation of people, property and mail.
Since 1954, the City of Miami City Hall has occupied the former Pan
American terminal, originally referred to as the “Air Gateway between
the Americas” and has endowed it with its own history as a city now
known worldwide as “the Gateway to the Americas.” Indeed, this
slogan also represented the eventual reach and worldwide recognition of
Pan American World Airways, and the building today still represents
an important part of aviation transportation history, as well as, the
adventure, prestige and glamour that two internationally famous
symbols – Pan Am and Miami – have bestowed upon it.
The actual terminal space is currently being transformed into a stateof-
the-art meeting space for the City Commission. This will include a
new wood dais, new and additional seating, increased public access
throughout, vastly improved lighting and audio, as well as, providing
for state-of-art technology. Once again the building is poised, at the
beginning of the 21st Century, to continue its prominent role in the
world as the center of Miami’s city government, just as it once did as a
transportation hub for Pan American World Airways.