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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Miami in Miami-Dade County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Elizabeth Virrick Park

 
 
Elizabeth Virrick Park Marker Side 1 image. Click for full size.
By Tim Fillmon, November 4, 2019
1. Elizabeth Virrick Park Marker Side 1
Inscription.  Elizabeth Virrick was born in Winchester, Kentucky in 1897. After studying architecture and interior design at the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University, she moved to Miami with her husband in 1925. Virrick met Coconut Grove activist and black Episcopal preacher Theodore Gibson at a meeting of the Coconut Grove Civic Club in 1948, and it was there that she became aware of the poor living conditions for African Americans in Coconut Grove. To address this problem, Virrick cofounded, with Gibson, the Coconut Grove Citizens Committee for Slum Clearance. Virrick pushed for improved sanitation, access to running water, and garbage collection in Coconut Grove. By the early 1950s, Virrick was recognized as “Miami’s number one slum fighter.” In addition to her work in Coconut Grove, Virrick also crusaded to fight corruption in low income, African American neighborhoods, which included the unsuccessful lone opposition of the construction of I-95 through the Overtown area. She successfully fought against the extension of I-95 south into Coconut Grove along the US 1 corridor. Throughout the post-World War II era, Virrick sought to make
Elizabeth Virrick Park Marker Side 2 image. Click for full size.
By Tim Fillmon, November 4, 2019
2. Elizabeth Virrick Park Marker Side 2
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sure urban renewal projects benefitted the community rather than the landlords.

By the 1960s, Virrick was deeply involved in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s "Great Society," a campaign for fair housing, increased job opportunities, and social service programs. Many Miamians agreed that for their city, Virrick "fired the first shots in the war on poverty." Virrick’s legacy of activism is honored in numerous places in Miami, including the Elizabeth Virrick Village public housing project, the Virrick Gym, and here, Elizabeth Virrick Park. This park was designed by architect Kenneth Treister on a 3.5-acre parcel on the border of the historic black and white sections of Coconut Grove. Treister worked in conjunction with Virrick and Miami City Commissioner Alice Wainwright to make the park a reality. The park opened in 1963, and by 1970 had a public pool. Treister assisted with design of a new community center as part of a larger restoration of Virrick Park in 2002. The center expanded in 2006 with the addition of a public library branch, also named for Virrick. This park continues to be a beloved community gathering place and a testament to Virrick’s accomplishments in Miami.
 
Erected 2017 by The Mayor Tomas Regalado, The City of Miami in Coordination with Alexander Adams and the Florida Department of State. (Marker Number F-967.)
Elizabeth Virrick Park Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tim Fillmon, November 4, 2019
3. Elizabeth Virrick Park Marker

 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureCivil RightsParks & Recreational AreasWomen. A significant historical year for this entry is 1897.
 
Location. 25° 43.818′ N, 80° 15.016′ W. Marker is in Miami, Florida, in Miami-Dade County. Marker is at the intersection of Hibiscus Street and Percival Avenue, on the left when traveling north on Hibiscus Street. The official address for the park is actually on the west side while the marker is on the east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3255 Plaza Street, Miami FL 33133, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Architecture (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Historic Coconut Grove Cemetery (approx. 0.4 miles away); Churches (approx. 0.4 miles away); Evangelist Street Charles Avenue (approx. 0.4 miles away); Mariah Brown House (approx. 0.4 miles away); George Allen Avenue (approx. 0.4 miles away); St. Mary First Missionary Baptist Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); Charles Avenue (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Miami.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 9, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 8, 2020, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 80 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 8, 2020, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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