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Tuesday, July 09, 2019

New park benches dedicated to 'Grove Legends'

Have you visited the South Grove's Four Corners Park lately?  It's the four corners where Palmetto Avenue crosses Plaza Street. It has been a dedicated public space since 1910 and a group of neighbors is trying to get the City of Miami to designate it as an official public park.

To to make it a little nicer they recently installed six benches there. Each is dedicated to a Coconut Grove citizen who has made significant contributions to the Grove community. "They makes the place more welcoming," said a neighbor, Glenn Terry.

Some of the honorees are  living, some are not, and one is even mythical king. All have ties to the park's neighborhood. The public is invited to visit the benches and to learn more about the “Legends of The Grove."   

Here's how they are described in the park's brochure:
     
THELMA GIBSON, 1926- Born in Coconut Grove, Ms. Gibson has been - and continues to be - an important West Grove leader. She became a nurse in 1947 and went on to lead important public health initiatives that continue to this day. Ms. Gibson lives on Franklin Avenue, three blocks north of the park.

BOBBY INGRAM, 1937-  Bobby is Coconut Grove’s legendary troubadour. The former U.S. Navy submariner began his musical career in the 1950’s and was, at one time, David Crosby’s partner in a folk duo.  His latest album, “Postcards From Coconut Grove”, is a local treasure. His cottage is on the east end of Palmetto Avenue.

CHARLIE CINNAMON, 1922-2016- Charlie was South Florida’s premier publicist and a WW II veteran. He brought Broadway shows to Miami and he founded the Coconut Grove Art Festival. He lived in the 1919 historic bungalow adjacent to the wooded area. His young nieces used to play in its dense foliage and they gave this magical place its name, “Charlie’s Woods."

KING MANGO, 1982- The Mango King is a mythical figure who leads the Grove’s annual holiday parade,“The King Mango Strut”. His bench is dedicated to the volunteers who have produced this zany affair since 1982.

EBENEZER STIRRUP, 1873-1957- Bahamian born, E.F. W. Stirrup was an early leader and philanthropist in the Grove’s African-American community. He built over 100 homes in our seaside village. His own 1897 home -at 3242 Charles Avenue- has been fully restored and is now a bed and breakfast.  It is just west of Main Highway’s Regions Bank.

JANET RENO, 1938-2016- Ms. Reno was first woman to serve as our Country’s Attorney General. The Harvard law grad spent her early years in her family’s Avocado Avenue home. Her honors include serving as our county’s State Attorney, and, as the Grand Marshall of the 2002 King Mango Strut. She once told Terry, the project's director, “I used to love riding my tricycle in this neighborhood."

The benches were financed by a grant from the Miami Foundation. Four Corners Park is open everyday from sunrise to sunset.  

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