James Deering (1859 – 1925) was an industrialist and early developer of Miami, Florida and the builder of Villa Vizcaya, an Italian Renaissance-style estate in Miami facing Biscayne Bay, complete with sculpted gardens. He used it as a winter home from 1916 to the time of his death. (It is now open to the public as the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.)
James Deering’s older half-brother, Charles, graduated from the United States Naval Academy and studied art in Paris before entering the family business. James attended Northwestern University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining the Deering Harvester Company in 1880. By the turn of the century, James Deering owned homes on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago and in nearby Evanston, as well as in New York City and at Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris. His name appeared in social columns as an active partygoer, traveler and cultural ambassador, hosting visiting French dignitaries at his homes in New York and Chicago. He never married. For his work in promoting agricultural technology in France, James Deering received the Legion d’Honneur in 1906.
The main house at Vizcaya is distinguished for its Italian Renaissance-inspired architecture and its lavishly designed interiors, filled with European, Asian, and American artifacts spanning two millennia. The many statues which line the garden areas, and may be found all over the premise, are of a Greek style and upon closer examination actually appear to be pagan gods from the Greco-Roman era. Perhaps most curious of all is what appears to be a sacrificial altar made of a white marble, and carved with protruding goat faces on the corners of the altar, and with a cow skull between the heads of two lions on the front and back. Two pillars made of coral stand beside this altar which have symbols engraved that at first glance appears to be Celtic, but are more probably representative of the Oak Tree of Gernika; a symbol which represented freedom in the original Vizcaya/Basque province of Spain. This fascinating symbolism should be made note of upon a visit to the museum, as such extensive research and effort was put into the architecture of the grounds. Unlike many other house museums from this era, Vizcaya still possesses almost all of its original furnishings, offering an experience of great historic integrity. The gardens are notable for introducing a European design aesthetic to a subtropical context—a daring premise that resulted in early and ongoing experiments to identify appropriate plant specimens. While Vizcaya’s style evokes faraway places, local stone, soil and plants reflect Deering’s desire to showcase Miami and its natural beauty.
By 1922, the estate included a lagoon dotted with manmade islands, to the south of Vizcaya’s manicured gardens, and a village, on the west side of South Miami Avenue, with fields for grazing livestock and growing produce. Deering built the village with the intent of making Vizcaya virtually self-sufficient. This idea evoked the spirit of European precedents while compensating for the limited services and commodities available in early twentieth-century Miami. The village’s buildings housed staff quarters, an automobile garage, workshops, and an array of barns for domesticated animals. Fortunately, the village survives, and its splendid collection of buildings is  in the process of being restored for public enjoyment.
Deering’s motivations for building such a lavish estate are somewhat mysterious. By the time the Main House was completed, Deering’s health had begun to fail, although he did manage to entertain notable guests, including silent film stars Lillian Gish and Marion Davies. Deering was generally described in his later years as a reticent man with impeccably proper manners leavened by a sense of humor. It would be tempting to characterize him on the basis of Vizcaya as a Gatsby-esque figure, if not for the fact that the estate did not become a locus of large wild parties. By 1923, the gardens were opened to the public on Sundays and Deering reportedly watched the crowds from the shadows of his private balcony, anxious to know the numbers who had attended but unwilling to make contact or to take credit for his hospitality in person. In some personal letters, he expressed the hope that his nieces and nephews would enjoy the estate, and built tennis courts, a bowling alley, a billiard room and a swimming pool to encourage them to visit.
Port City Java appointments.(PEOPLE NEWS)(Michael Foster,James Deering joined Port City Java, a hospitality industry.)(Brief Article)
Jun 20, 2005; Port City Java has made two additions to its executive staff. James Deering has joined the company as director of franchise...