Memory & Honor
Georgette Scott Campbell first came to Miami in 1917 from her birthplace, Waycross Georgia. She and her sister Willie owned and operated a restaurant, the Royal Cafe, in Overtown. in 1934 she moved to New York City. She opened a tea room in Harlem and became a well know and popular hostess there. In 1940, she moved back to Miami and bought a lot in Brown's subdivision. The thirteen-room house, located at 2540 NW 51st Street, was built according to her plans, with the architecture in the Streamline Modern Style and the furnishings in the lavish, English Tudor style. Georgette's Tea Room House opened in 1940 as a guest house and meeting spot for Black entertainers and community activists. Georgette Scott Campbell opened the tea room after her brief stint in Harlem.
MOST SURPRISING FACT: Overtown was a hub for Black entertainment during and after World War II. After the war, these entertainers were popular around Miami Beach clubs and hotels. However, their opportunities to perform were limited due to segregation.
Famous Entertainers such as the Ink Spot, Billie Holiday and Nat "King" Cole once ate and slept at Georgette’s Tea Room during their Miami performances in the 1940s and 1950s. They weren’t allowed to stay overnight at other hotels — even the places that paid them to perform.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: Georgette died in 1962 but the property received a historic designation in 1990. However, it’s changed hands many times since then. In 2018, the property was about to go up for sale. Luckily it was saved. The owners were supportive of making sure the old Tea Room stayed in the hands of the community. Now, the building is getting some much-needed attention.
The building’s history is important not only to the neighborhood association, but to the entire city. The Miami-Dade County Office of Historical Preservation is working on next steps for Georgette’s Tea Room, whether that’s a historic designation of individual properties, joining a historic district, or a combination of many different efforts.