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Sunday, October 3, 2010


A hundred of us gathered at the Grove Bookstore last Thursday to celebrate a new book on our village's history, Images of America: Coconut Grove. After neighbor Bobby Ingram sang a few songs the authors, Arva Moore Parks and Bo Bennett, told us about their project.

"Coconut Grove is a very special place", said Arva, "Its residents have fought for over a hundred years to keep it keep it unique, from being overrun by special interests".

A gathering at the Barnacle in the 1880's (photo by Ralph Middleton Munroe).

Many of us were thanked for lending photos to the project. Over 250 archival photographs were used to illustrate our history. Here are a few of them....

Wait, before we get started, let me show you a photo that is not in the book. Historical? Maybe. Hysterical" For sure! Its my friends gathering after the King Mango Strut in the 1980's. (Photo by Michael Carlsbach). While this one didn't make the cut it shows how we've come in a hundred years. Back then men weren't allowed to show off their boxer shorts in public.

This is our neighbor, Bobby Ingram, singing with his partner David Crosby back in the 60's. "Bob & Dave" sang at The Flick, The Gaslight, and any where else they could make a buck.
Photo by Bobby's wonderful wife, Gay Ingram. Yes, its in the book. While Bobby continues to be a popular South Florida performer, David moved to California years ago and hasn't been heard from since.

On the right is "Glenn & Bill", they were a regular comedy act at the Grove's Yuk It Up! comedy club in the 1980's.
Okay, okay. I made this up. The photo is actually in the book because Bill Dobson and I started the King Mango Strut parade back in '82. Here we are posing at our pre-parade"Trashdance" in 1984. Held in the barn at Shell Lumber, you couldn't get in unless you handed over five bucks and dressed in garbage.

When Arva writes a book on the history of the Strut, this photo will surely be in it. It's Austin Burke having a great time as Grand Marshall in the 1988 parade.
"Little Burkie" was a well-known clothier who appeared on his own zany TV commercials when I was a kid. When he died a year after this parade, his wife said in his obituary, "Miami loved my husband. He really knew it when thousands cheered him in the King Mango Parade."
It is only fitting that I end this piece with something that really
does appear in Arva and Bo's book. I took this photo of a group
in the '83 Strut that epitomizes how wonderful the Grove's great
parade can be.
These are the members of Miami's NOW chapter marching as FLAW, Florida Ladies Against Women. With signs like, "I'd Rather Be Ironing!" and "Paying me half as much as a man is too much!", they got their point across while having a good time.
I think Phyllis Schlafly would have been proud.
Images of America: Coconut Grove is a part of a series that celebrates the history of cities and towns across the country. It is available at the Grove Bookstore, Books and Books, and Shell Hardware Store.

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