Beginning in 1913, Charles Deering began amassing land for his Cutler estate, roughly 30 miles south of his existing 212-acre home and experimental plant nursery in Buena Vista. His half-brother James’ estate thirteen miles away, Vizcaya, was begun around the same time. Working closely with botanist John Kunkel Small and naturalist Charles Torrey Simpson, Deering relocated non-native plants from Buena Vista to create working and experimental farms, while simultaneously preserving the site’s significant swaths of native mangrove forest, hardwood hammock and pine rockland.
Located along the edge of Biscayne Bay, the estate includes the Richmond Inn, which Deering renovated as a family residence. Between 1916 and 1922, Deering hired architect Phineas Paist to design a Mediterranean Revival stone mansion to complement the inn. The mansion, oriented towards the water, looks out over a broad open lawn and a keyhole-shaped boat turning basin with parallel jetties planted with evenly-spaced palms. The palm-lined roads and cultivated areas were part of a working estate that also incorporated rustic bridges and boardwalks passing through native woodlands and hammocks. The property also contains significant geological features and pre-contact Native American archaeological sites.
In 1985, the State of Florida and Miami-Dade County purchased the property, adding 34 acres to the south and 45 acres to the north. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew caused significant damage to the estate; since then the County and the Deering Foundation have begun to restore the ecological systems surrounding the estate. At 444 acres today, the property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.