There Goes Our History: Coconut Grove Edition

No better way to welcome me back to Miami from another trip to Puerto Rico than to read about this atrocity happening at the Grove.

The Miami Herald reports (with video!) that the oldest church building in Miami, the original 1912 Mission-style chapel at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Coconut Grove, is being demolished to add new classrooms for the school (ok, semi-understandable) and retail space (you’ve gotta be friggin kidding me). All this even when local historians asked for a one-week stay of demolition to seek a better solution and put it on the table.

I wish I could say I am surprised, but I’m not. In my experience, the prevailing attitude in the general South Florida area, and in Miami in particular, has been one of complete lack of respect for what little history we have left. When I walk the Grove, I continue to be amazed that The Barnacle is still there, so that this piece of Grove and Miami history has been demolished to build new classrooms that could have been, I assure you, built somewhere else on the premises, and (to add salt-loaded insult to bleeding injury) retail space — because the Grove needs more retail space! — is just another log to add to the fires of my apathy.

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