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Sunday, November 23, 2014



Image result for image harry troeger cabin miami Today I am writing about two unique Miami houses that deserve to be enjoyed by future generations.Palmetto Bay's Harry Troeger built his simple cabin himself in 1949.  He lived there with no electricity, car, or running water.   He was happy enough with his movie theater doorman job, poetry books and Buddhist faith.    Fifty years later, after a neighborhood grew up around him, the county threatened to tear down his house deeming it "unsafe".   It didn't seem right for a person to live without electricity or a lawn mower.   Good people like Katie Sorensen and Thorn Grafton stepped in and were able to get Harry a reprieve.  He died there, at 92, in 2008.  A developer bought the property at a tax auction last July for $77,000 and announced plans to replace it with a MacMansion.     This made Harry's friends furious and they filed an appeal preserve it.  It was scheduled to be heard before the county's Historic Preservation Board on December 2. This had little effect on the laughing developer.Last Thursday he sent his demolition crew to Palmetto Bay.  Hours later Harry's historic hand-built house was reduced to rubble. .     

                              Rich man, poor man, both should be remembered.  That goes for their magnificent creations as well.

     December's hearing will now decide if the developer will be penalized for not following the preservation board's instructions.

     In a better world Harry's house would have been preserved. The county government and the City of Palmetto Bay would not have dropped the ball.  Future generations would be able to visit the Troeger Meditation Garden and marvel at how a simple man once lived. 
     A few miles north, the good people of Coconut Grove are fighting a similar battle. They hope to preserve this pristine residence built in the 1920's.  Set on two spacious lots, the original owners could have owned the chain of theaters that Harry worked for.

  Harry's house is headed for Mount Trashmore but you can help us keep this 90-year-old treasure, an example of what we love about Coconut Grove.  Do we need the two MacMansions slated to replace it?  This beauty is located in the South Grove,  at 3529 St. Gaudens Rd.


 Help preserve the historic 1920 home.
Help preserve what we love about Coconut Grove.

   Come to a hearing with the Historic Preservation Board at 3pm, December 2, at Miami City Hall.  We need people who care about their community.  You can work for a better future by preserving our past at that important gathering.

         For more information go to

1 comment:

  1. There is a third historic house no one ever mentions. The 120-year old E.W.F. Stirrup House -- the 2nd oldest house in Miami and the oldest house on Charles Avenue -- has undergone nearly a decade of Demotion by Neglect at the hands of a rapacious developer.