Before 1900 there was no Allison Island. All that existed was a small clearing in the mangrove swamps at the mouth of Indian Creek. Overrun with alligators, the site offered little opportunity for settlement. However, in 1912 when legendary real estate developer Carl Fisher set out to create a tropical paradise on a barrier island called Miami Beach, he also decided to build a smaller yet equally beautiful island as a tribute to his friend and business partner, Jim Allison.
Under Allison’s ownership, the island Fisher created remained undeveloped for several years. However, in January 1926, after several failed real estate ventures, Jim Allison opened a luxurious and state-of-the-art hospital on the tip of the island intended to serve the wealthy homeowners who had flocked to Miami Beach. The building was designed by acclaimed architect August Geiger and featured Mediterranean style with and colonial Spanish influences. Unfortunately, the hurricane of 1926 ended the real estate boom in South Florida and Allison’s hope of profitability.