John Stiles Collins was a farmer from New Jersey who moved to South Florida to grow vegetables . He attempted to grow coconuts and vegetables on the swampy stretch of land between Miami and the ocean – a barrier island which became Miami Beach.
John Collins also became a land developer. The Collins family formed the Miami Beach Improvement Company in 1911, and were the first to record the use of “Miami Beach” and built the Collins bridge across Biscayne Bay from Miami in 1913. The bridge opened as the “longest bridge in the world.”
In 1928, John Collins died at age 90. Collins Ave on Miami Beach was named in his honor.