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

Coconut Grove Playhouse

 
 
Coconut Grove Playhouse Marker Side 1 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, January 24, 2018
1. Coconut Grove Playhouse Marker Side 1
Inscription.  (Side 1)
This theater is one of the few structures in downtown Coconut Grove that typifies the flamboyant era of the 1920s. Envisioned by Miami entrepreneurs Irving Thomas and Fin Pierce, The Grove was a luxurious movie theater designed in the Spanish Rococo style by noted architect Richard Kiehnel, who also designed the Miami Senior High School, the Scottish Rite Temple, and many South Florida homes. The Grove was the most elaborate theater with the largest capacity in Miami. Before its opening in 1926, Thomas sold the theater to the movie studio Paramount Enterprises, Inc., believing that the studio could bring in larger attractions. As one of Paramount’s 11 theaters in Southeast Florida, it was equipped with the latest model Wurlitzer pipe organ and was one of the few air conditioned buildings in the area. In addition, the building served multiple purposes with storefronts on the ground floor, offices on the second, and apartments on the third. The theater enjoyed a brief period of success before it closed during the Great Depression in the 1930s.
(Continued on other side)
(Side 2)
(Continued
Coconut Grove Playhouse Marker Side 2 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, January 24, 2018
2. Coconut Grove Playhouse Marker Side 2
Click or scan to see
this page online
from other side)
During World War II, the theater was used as a training school for U.S. Army Air Corps navigators. Following the war, the building was closed until 1955 when it was purchased for $200,000 by George Engle, who decided to transform it into a performing arts center. Engle hired prominent Modernist architect Alfred Browning Parker to redesign the theater. The remodeled theater opened on June 3, 1956, as the Coconut Grove Playhouse and was Miami’s first live theater. The opening was headlined by the U.S. premiere of Samuel Beckett’s masterpiece “Waiting for Godot.” After changing ownership multiple times, the theater was purchased by the State of Florida in 1980. Despite its turbulent history, the Coconut Grove Playhouse evolved into one of the most important regional theaters in the country and remains a beloved venue for the theatrical community in Miami.
 
Erected 2015 by Coconut Grove Civic Club and the Florida Department of State. (Marker Number F-900.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureEntertainmentWar, World II. A significant historical year for this entry is 1926.
 
Location. 25° 43.546′ N, 80° 14.681′ W. Marker is in Coconut Grove, Florida, in Miami-Dade County. Marker is at the intersection
Coconut Grove Playhouse and Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, January 24, 2018
3. Coconut Grove Playhouse and Marker
of Main Highway and Charles Avenue, on the right when traveling south on Main Highway. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3500 Main Highway, 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. E.W.F. Stirrup House (within shouting distance of this marker); Charles Avenue (within shouting distance of this marker); Mariah Brown House (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ransom School (about 600 feet away); The Barnacle (about 700 feet away); Coconut Grove Library (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named The Coconut Grove Library (approx. ¼ mile away); Cocoanut Grove Public Utilities Company (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Coconut Grove.
 
Coconut Grove Playhouse image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, January 24, 2018
4. Coconut Grove Playhouse
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 1, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 31, 2020, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 148 times since then and 46 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 31, 2020, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Jul. 1, 2022