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Holsum Bakery: A Beloved South Miami Holiday Tradition

Riviera Theater Image Courtesy Cinema Treasures

Holsum Bakery: A Beloved South Miami Holiday Tradition

Merita Bread sign courtesy Orlando Magazine
The Merita Bread sign that greeted I4 travelers through downtown Orlando. If you were lucky, bread was baking and the smell was incredible. Image courtesy Orlando Magazine

Holsum Bakery: A Beloved South Miami holiday tradition. For residents of South Miami when Fuchs Baking Company, later known as Holsum Bakery, was in business on U.S. 1 in the growing community, the smell of fresh bread was a daily joy to their lives and each holiday season, the plant was decorated with a new theme each year.

Almost everyone loves that fresh baked smell. When you have a large professional bakery nearby it can be even more overwhelming. Just ask those who drove I-4 in Orlando during the days when Merita Bread operated a nearby bakery.


Riviera Theater

The Holsum Bakery building was located at 5750 S. Dixie Highway (U.S. 1). The bakery was housed in a large building that was originally constructed in 1925 as the Riviera Theater.

In 1910, brothers Robert and Harold Dorn left the cold winters of Chicago settling in an area known at the time as Larkin. Their plan was to make their fortune in the fruit business, selling locally and shipping fresh citrus north.

Robert especially bought into the hype of 1920s Florida real estate, building several commercial properties. His largest and most elaborate project was the Riviera Theater, completed in 1926.

Riviera Theater Image Courtesy Cinema Treasures. The building would soon become home to Holsum Bakery which became a beloved South Miami holiday tradition.
Riviera Theater Image Courtesy Cinema Treasures

The exterior of the building featured a wide and inviting staircase with arched entries. Attentive theater goers would have seen many decorative carvings, coat of arms displays, and decorative, yet functional lighting fixtures. The barrel tile, hip roof showcased the Mediterranean influence popular in Miami during the period.

The theater was built of steel and concrete. The ceilings reached a whopping thirty-seven feet high, supported by hand painted beams. Columns lined the aisles along the gently sloping floor which led to the stage area.

Facing the stage to the left was a large Wurlitzer organ with pipes installed on both the left and right hands sides of the stage. Seating was divided into three sections with two aisles creating left, center, and right sections. Total seating was around 1,000.

Actress Laura LaPlante image courtesy Wikipedia
Actress Laura LaPlante Image courtesy Wikipedia

The theater opened to much fanfare, and with the September 4, 1926, opening showing of Her Big Night, starring Laura LaPlante, the theater looked poised to become a grand success. However, the Riviera was a victim of circumstances beyond the control of the Dorn brothers.

In mid-September 1926, hurricane tracking and forecasting were still a thing of the future. In the days before satellite imaging, hurricane tracking planes, and computer models, residents relied on reports out of Washington D.C. The problem being, Washington relied heavily on reports from ship captains. The Weather Bureau of the day knew of the storm but Richard Gray, head of the Miami branch of the Weather Bureau was unaware of what was barreling through the Atlantic that second week of September. It was not until the late evening of September 17, less than twelve hours before landfall, that hurricane warnings were posted. The deadly 1926 hurricane would be like nothing anyone there had ever witnessed.

Robert Dorn and his family were attempting to take a few days of vacation when they were caught in Palm Beach by the dramatically dangerous weather. The Sunday paper highlighted the damage to the region and Dorn had no idea the condition of the Riviera.

Candy You Ate As A Kid

Fighting road flooding, traffic congestion, and bridges of uncertain stability, the family made it safely to their home which had miraculously survived. Dorn was to find the Riviera suffered little damage and he was able to have the theater put back in working order quickly. Unfortunately for Dorn, electric service took several weeks to be repaired. Theater goers, eager to escape the realities of life for a couple of hours, were forced to wait for repairs.

Despite having defied the ravages of a category four hurricane, the Riviera could not withstand the onslaught of the bursting of the Florida land boom and the coming of the Great Depression. Many residents found themselves in dire straits financially, and a night at the movies was no longer in the budget, as they tried to wait out the bust.

The Riviera was a casualty of the crashing of the Florida land boom, closing some time in 1927. Dorn entertained several ideas to reopen the facility, such as creating a nightclub, but the financial realities kept the facility closed for many years before, in 1934, the Riviera found a new life.

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Fuchs Bakery/Holsum Bread Company

When Charlie Fuchs, Sr. arrived in south Florida during the early 1910s, he and his family opened a small bakery, cooking and selling out of their Homestead home. Quickly finding success, Fuchs purchased the local Noble Bakery in order to expand. With the help of a hired baker, and Charlie, Jr. returning from service in the Great War, the business thrived.

With the addition of a new bakery located near the Redland Hotel and having opened an ice cream parlor, the Fuchs were working hard, but showing meaningful results. Charlie Jr., drove a delivery truck, helping not only deliver bread, but spreading the Fuchs Bakery name across the region.

Charlie Sr. retired from the business in 1924. Needing to further expand, Charlie Jr. initiated talks to acquire the Riviera Theater building from the Dorn family. The building had been sitting vacant for nearly a decade and Robert Dorn believed selling the property was the best option.

Major interior alterations were made to the structure but the exterior, including the large open stairway leading to the arched entrances was preserved. Over the years, the name changed, eventually settling on Holsum Bread Company, often just called Holsum Bakery.

The Fuchs family did much to ingratiate themselves to the community. Not only did they sell bread right out of the oven to walk in customers, they delivered their fresh made bread throughout south Florida. One report states that they even shipped bread to Puerto Rico and Cuba. A newspaper account from 1949 made the claim the bakery had the capacity to turn out 10,000 loaves of bread per hour.

Annual Holiday Exhibit

While Holsum Bakery and Fuchs Bakery were best known for their bread, they were also famous for their annual Christmas exhibits. These exhibits drew thousands of spectators each year and were never the same, so there was always a reason to return each year.

Just when these exhibits started is open for debate. In trying to research this question, I have come up with published dates of 1937, 1939, and 1940. I suppose for our purposes here, if we were to say, “around 1940,” I think we would be quite safe.

Below, I present to you a series of postcard images I have collected featuring the Holsum Bakery annual Christmas exhibits from 1949 through 1958. I have seen a card featuring the 1948 exhibit but I have yet to add this one to my collection. If there are postcards before 1948 or after 1958, I have not seen them.

Holsum Bakery 1949 Christmas Display Holsum Bakery A Beloved South Miami Holiday Tradition.
Holsum Bakery 1949 Christmas Display


Holsum Bakery 1950 Christmas Display Holsum Bakery A Beloved South Miami Holiday Tradition.
Holsum Bakery 1950 Christmas Display


Holsum Bakery 1951 Christmas Display Holsum Bakery A Beloved South Miami Holiday Tradition.
Holsum Bakery 1951 Christmas Display–notice the water tower in the left rear of the image not shown in other images


Holsum Bakery 1952 Christmas Display. Holsum Bakery A Beloved South Miami Holiday Tradition
Holsum Bakery 1952 Christmas Display


Holsum Bakery 1953 Christmas Display. Holsum Bakery A Beloved South Miami Holiday Tradition
Holsum Bakery 1953 Christmas Display


Holsum Bakery 1954 Christmas Display
Holsum Bakery 1954 Christmas Display


Holsum Bakery 1955 Christmas Display
Holsum Bakery 1955 Christmas Display


Holsum Bakery 1956 Christmas Display
Holsum Bakery 1956 Christmas Display


Holsum Bakery 1957 Christmas Display
Holsum Bakery 1957 Christmas Display


Holsum Bakery 1958 Christmas Display
Holsum Bakery 1958 Christmas Display


Focusing on the restoration of movie theaters in Atlanta, Biloxi, Birmingham, Durham, Memphis, and Tampa, Janna Jones provides a record of the architectural history and preservation of the opulent urban picture palace. Reflecting our fascination with the past, she re-creates the magic of the early years of theaters throughout the southern United States, their demise in the mid-20th century, and their renaissance in the 1970s as the preservation movement swept across the country. Click the photo or THIS LINK to learn more and order your copy of The Southern Movie Palace. 

1941 Orange Bowl Parade

In keeping with the holiday theme, the Miami Dade Public Libraries Special Collections has these two images from the 1941 Orange Bowl Parade. It is interesting to note, the one photo is taken in front of a theater building, showing a Boris Karloff film, The Ape, something that only a few years prior might have showed at the Riviera. Be sure to note the parade watchers in the windows high above ground level.

1941 Orange Bowl Parade Image Courtesy Miami Dade Public LIbraries Special Collections. Holsum Bakery A beloved South Miami Holiday tradition.
1941 Orange Bowl Parade Image Courtesy Miami Dade Public Libraries Special Collections
1941 Orange Bowl Parade Image Courtesy Miami Dade Public Libraries Special Collection. Holsum Bakery A Beloved South Miami holiday tradition.
1941 Orange Bowl Parade Image Courtesy Miami Dade Public Libraries Special Collections

Fuchs Family

Charlie Fuchs, Sr. passed away in 1940. An online memorial may be found using THIS LINK.

Charlie Fuchs, Jr. passed away either in 1949 or 1956 depending upon the source. He was killed in a hunting accident on an airboat while in the Everglades. In 1956, the city of South Miami renamed Blue Water Park, Fuchs Park, in honor of Charlie, Jr. An online memorial for Charlie, Jr. may be found using THIS LINK.

The Building in Recent Years

During the early 1980s, the Holsum Bakery moved operations to Medley, FL leaving the building empty and at the hands of real estate developers. The property was purchased, and the Riviera/Holsum Bakery demolished in 1986, replaced by a shopping mall. Property owners attempted to pay homage to the history of the property, naming the mall, Bakery Center with the AMC Bakery Center 7 Theatres as a tenant.

Bakery Center proved short lived and by 1996 this too was demolished to make way for the Shops at Sunset Place. According to Cinema Treasures, the rear portion of LA Fitness and the western edge of the parking garage are located where the Riviera once stood.

A Different Riviera Theater

The name Riviera Theater is certainly not unique and in 1956 another Riviera Theater was opened in south Florida. Located in Coral Gables, the theater seated 1,281. The theater was turned into a twin plex in 1974, before becoming a five plex in 1986. The theater ultimately closed in 1999. It appears the building was demolished in 2021. Several interesting images may be found on the Cinema Treasures website. If you click the link, be sure to scroll down to the comments for additional photos.


I hope you have enjoyed this trip back in time to when Holsum Bakery was a beloved South Miami holiday tradition. If you have photos or stories of the Riviera Theater, the Dorn or Fuchs family, or the South Miami Holsum Bakery facility I would love to see them and with your permission, add them to this post or create a new post for your material. Please feel free to comment on this post, or send me an email.


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Cinema Treasures.

Florida Master Site file

“The Holsum Bakery Building.” Historical Association of Southern Florida Update. Volume 5 No. 2 (December 1977).

Miami Dade Public Library System. “Capacity 10,000 Loaves an Hour.” Article dated September 20, 1949. Miami Vol. 54: 1949-1950 Agnew Welsh Scrapbooks. 36.

Miami Dade Public Library System. “Florida’s Tallest Yule.” Article dated December 17, 1950. Florida Vol. 66: 1950 Agnew Welsh Scrapbooks. 75.

Miami Dade Public Library System. Untitled article. Dade County Vol. 22: 1951 Agnew Welsh Scrapbooks. 19.

South Miami Magazine.


This post may contain affiliate links, including Amazon links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.  


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Ormond Indian Burial Mound Historic Marker

Historic Marker placed by City of Ormond Beach

Ormond Indian Burial Mound

In May 1982, when Dixon H. Reeves, and his wife Harriett, paid contractors to break ground on a house site at the corner of south Beach Street and Mound Avenue in Ormond Beach, they did not fully comprehend the damage they were going to do to an irreplaceable cultural artifact. In fact, once the city manager issued a stop work order, the Reeves sued the city for damages. The property ownership reverted to Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Barron, who the Reeves purchased the property from, and the Reeves eventually received a $4,000 settlement from the city.

Ormond Indian Burial Mound
Ormond Indian Burial Mound

Where the Reeves wish to build their home was the site of a Timucuan Burial Mound. In Timucuan society, bodies were not buried but instead they were placed on top of the ground and dirt piled on top. In some instances, the flesh was allowed to decay, and the bones were bundled and placed at the mound site. At times, items owned by the deceased were broken and included in the interment.

Despite the mound having received considerable damage through the years, including digging by “pot hunters” and construction of adjacent roadways, archaeologists believe as many as 125 Timucuans had been buried on the site. For anybody caught digging on this, or similar sites, you will more likely than not be charged with a third-degree felony. See this link for additional information.

With a lack of consensus among city leaders a fund was started to help purchase and preserve this sacred site. The Barron’s agreed to sell the property to the city for $55,000. Despite confirmation on the importance of the site from professional anthropologists and archaeologists, it took an anonymous donation of $30,000, along with the fundraising drive, to help secure the sale as shortsighted elected city officials balked at the price and potential ongoing costs.

Today, the site is owned by the City of Ormond Beach and is a park in a residential area. Visitors can see the mound from all sides, surrounded by roads and houses. Parking is available across the street at Ames Park so please do not park on park lands or in the yards or drives of nearby property owners. Please do not climb on the mound as it is a fragile archaeological site.


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Sign Text


Historic Marker placed by City of Ormond Beach
Historic Marker placed by the City of Ormond Beach and the Ormond Beach Historical Trust

The Ormond Mound was constructed by the prehistoric people of this area sometime after A.D. 800. The skeletal remains of more than 125 early native (sic) Americans are buried in this sand burial mound. Interring bodies in earthen mounds was a common burial practice in the late pre-historic period. The bones of most of the deceased were “bundled” and buried during special ceremonies. As more bodies were buried and covered with layers of sand, the mound grew over time. The Mound is preserved as one of the finest and most intact burial mounds in Florida through the efforts of the community that worked to save this site in 1982.

City of Ormond Beach

Ormond Beach Historical Trust



This marker is placed by the City of Ormond Beach and is not a part of the Florida Department of State marker program.



If you wish to learn more about Timucuan culture there is an excellent book I can recommend.

Perhaps the definitive book on the subject is written by Dr. Jerald Milanich, The Timucua.  

This is the story of the Timucua, an American Indian people who thrived for centuries in the southeast portion of what is now the United States of America.

Timucua groups lived in Northern Florida and Southern Georgia, a region occupied by native people for thirteen millennia. They were among the first of the American Indians to come in contact with Europeans, when the Spaniard Juan Ponce de Leon landed on the Florida coast in 1513. Thousands of archaeological sites, village middens and sand and shell mounds still dot the landscape, offering mute testimony to the former presence of the Timucua and their ancestors.

Two hundred and fifty years after Ponce de Leon’s voyage the Timucua had disappeared, extinguished by the ravages of colonialism. Who were the Timucua? Where did they come from? How did they live? What caused their extinction? These are questions this book attempts to answer, using information gathered from archaeological excavations and from the interpretation of historical documents left behind by the European powers, mainly Spain and France, who sought to colonize Florida and to place the Timucua under their sway.

I also recommend taking a look at this page from the National Park Service. 

Great magazines at low prices for students & educators. Click to save up to 90% off the cover price.

Timucua Mode of Drying Fish, Wild Animals, and other Provisions Courtesy Florida Memory
Bry, Theodor de, 1528-1598. XXIV. Mode of Drying Fish, Wild Animals, and other Provisions. 1591. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. <>, accessed 22 October 2022.

The State Library and Archives of Florida (Florida Memory), has an excellent page of Theodor de Bry’s Engravings of the Timucua. These incredible works of art date from before the year 1600. The 42 pieces are all available for viewing and low resolution copies are available for download. A sample de Bry image is seen at the left.


Daytona Beach News Journal

Florida Master Site File VO00240

Ormond Beach Historical Trust, Inc. “The Story of the Timucua Indian Burial Mound in Ormond Beach, Florida.” Pamphlet published April 2000.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products. 

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National Park Service Awards Preservation Grants to Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Duckett Hall at Benedict College

National Park Service awards $9.7 million for preservation projects at Historically Black Colleges and Universities     

News Release Date: August 10, 2021

WASHINGTON – The National Park Service (NPS) today announced $9.7 million in
grants to assist 20 preservation projects for historic structures on campuses
of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in 10 states.

Duckett Hall at Benedict College
Duckett Hall at Benedict College in South Carolina was awarded a $500,000 preservation grant.
AJ Sjorter Photographer

“HBCUs have been an important part of the American education system for more than 180 years, providing high-level academics, opportunities, and community for generations of students,” said NPS Deputy Director Shawn Benge.The National Park Service’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities Grant Program provides assistance to preserve noteworthy structures that honor the past and tell the ongoing  story of these historic institutions.”

Since 1995, the NPS has awarded $77.6 million in grants to 66 HBCUs. Congress appropriates funding for the program through the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). The HPF uses revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf to provide assistance for a broad range of preservation projects without expending tax dollars.



Projects funded by these grants will support the physical preservation of National
Register listed sites on HBCU campuses to include historic districts, buildings, sites,
structures, and objects. Eligible costs include pre-preservation studies, architectural
plans and specifications, historic structure reports, and the repair and rehabilitation of
historic properties according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the
Treatment of Historic Properties.

This years’ grants will fund projects including a window restoration project for
Centennial Hall at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, FL, the restoration of pews
and stained-glass windows for the Antisdel Chapel at Benedict College in Columbia,
SC, and the stabilization of Hermitage Hall for future rehabilitation at St. Augustine’s
University in Raleigh, NC.

For more information about the grants and the Historically Black Colleges and
Universities program, please visit Applications for another $10
million in funding will be available in the winter of 2021.

Grant Recipients 

Alabama         G.W. Trenholm Hall Preservation Project Alabama State University
Alabama         Williams Hall Historic Preservation Project – Phase II Miles College
Florida              Preservation and Restoration of Centennial Hall Edward Waters College
Georgia             Park Street Methodist Church Roof Restoration Clark Atlanta University
Georgia             Fountain (Stone) Hall Windows Restoration Morris Brown College
Kentucky          Renovation to Jackson Hall Kentucky State University
Maryland           University Memorial Chapel Roof and Gutter Repairs Morgan State University
Maryland           Rehabilitation of Trigg Hall University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Mississippi         Preservation Initiative for Ballard Hall, Pope Cottage, and Jamerson Hall Tougaloo
College $500,000
Mississippi         Oakland Chapel Repairs Alcorn State University
North Carolina Historic Preservation of Hermitage Hall St. Augustine’s University
North Carolina Restoration of Estey Hall Shaw University
North Carolina Preservation of Biddle Memorial Hall – Phase II Johnson C. Smith University
North Carolina Rehabilitation of Carnegie Library – Phase III Livingstone College
South Carolina Historic Wilkinson Hall HVAC System Schematic Design and Replacement South
Carolina State University $500,000
South Carolina Antisdel Chapel Renovation Project Benedict College
South Carolina Duckett Hall Preservation Project Benedict College
Virginia             Rehabilitation of Vawter Hall – Phase II Virginia State University
Virginia             The Academy Building Project Hampton University
West Virginia  Canty House and East Hall Restoration West Virginia State University                                                                            $197,219

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Florida Preservationist Summer 2021 Issue Available

Florida Preservationist cover Summer 2021
Florida Preservationist cover Summer 2021
The Florida Preservationist Summer 2021

I have just received the new issue of The Florida Preservationist. If you are a member of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation be on the lookout for it. If you are not a member, why not.

There are several interesting articles this quarter including an update on renovation work being done at the Lummus Park Cottage in Miami. If you are interested in the Seminole Wars you will want to read the article Billy Bowlegs and the Cow Cavalry: The Fogotten History of the Fort in Fort Meyers.

There are plenty of lighthouse aficionados out there and the article Reef Lights of the Florida Keys: Masterpieces of Victorian Architecture is for them. The settlement of Cosmo, located in Jacksonville receives a short write up before the issue ends with the article Tactical Preservation: Wood Rot in Historic Buildings.


This is not a scholarly journal; the articles are very short and not footnoted. The brief articles are interesting to read and appropriate for entry-level preservationists. I look at this as just a benefit for being a member of the organization.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may
receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views
and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors
providing products.