Miami's most beloved cinema theater
Miami Dade College's historic Tower Theater is one of the city's crown jewels. Located alongside Domino Park in Little Havana, the theater was built in 1926 in a Mediterranean Revival architectural style.
Its first offering was the silent romantic comedy, The Palm Beach Girl.
In 1931, the theater underwent transformation to the Art Deco style of architecture.
Due to the large influx of Cuban exiles in the 1960's, Tower Theater Miami began to add Spanish subtitles to its movies.
Some in the Cuban exile community attest to the theater's significance, claiming it helped them learn English and helped them acculturate.
Soon the theater altered its programming to include English-language films with Spanish subtitles, and eventually Spanish-language films.
The film La Cuba de Ayer premiered at the Tower Theater in 1963. Television footage from that night depict Cuban exiles in attendance.
The theater became known for hosting special events such as this one.
Teatro Tower as it was known in Spanish, closed its doors in 1984.
Over the next 20 years, it was sold twice: once in 1987 as part of the Latin Quarter Specialty Center and again in 1991 to the City of Miami.
In 2002, the City of Miami authorized Miami Dade College to manager the theater's operations.
A historic landmark, Tower Theater Miami brings a respite from the ongoing glare of a phone or computer screen while treating moviegoers to unique cultural experiences on the screen and beyond.
Film still moves people to their core and this iconic setting gives audiences the opportunity to enjoy cinema in its true splendor with carefully curated movies.
The Tower is thought of as the “big box retailer” for Little Havana. Tower Theater patrons regularly patronize the shops and restaurants in the surrounding area, helping support the local economy.
- Miami Dade College Cultural Affairs Department
- Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives
Special thanks to:
Dr. Paul S. George. Professor, History,
Miami Dade College Department of Social Sciences.
Resident Historian, HistoryMiami.