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Tuesday, June 14, 2016


     Charles Avenue marks the beginning of the West Grove, South Florida's first African-American community. 
As you enter off Main Highway the faded Grove Playhouse is on your right, a sad sight since it closed ten years ago.

   On the left is something quite different, a historic house in the midst of a meticulous renovation. The two-story wooden structure was once the opulent home of West Grove pioneer, Ebenezer Stirrup. Several years ago a developer bought it with plans to knock it down and build another white box. Fortunately, angry citizens and preservation laws thwarted his efforts. 
    Now he is doing the next best thing (which is actually the best thing) by re-building the house. A year from now it will be the "Stirrup House", a snazzy b&b.  
    If this 100-year-old structure was built with 3,000 boards, it looks like 2,998 of them are being replaced.  Stick by stick the Stirrup House is becoming something we can be proud of.
     Maybe when the crew finishes, they can cross the street and re-build the playhouse.
                                 _______   OTHERS ON CHARLES        There are many other beautiful "old ladies" lining Charles Avenue.

   Just next to Stirrup House is this Key West charmer.

And here are a few more,

The Mariah Brown House    


Halfway down this five-block historic street is what we fear most,  A boxy, window-less monster that sneers at its surroundings.  Front porch? Forget it (who'd want to side outside?)   And windows?  They'll pass. Nobody inside wants to look outside. And one more thing, don't bother knocking on the front door.
 There isn't one.   


      Want to learn more about preserving the Grove's historic buildings?  The Grove 2030 Preservation Group is meeting tonight (Wed., June 15) at the Coconut Grove Women's Club.  6:30 p.m.


    Here's a creative solution to a re-occurring problem. It might slow  traffic too.  

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