Historic Markers Across Florida

Coconut Grove Library

Marker ID: FLHM F-887
Location: 2875 McFarlane Ave, Coconut Grove, Miami, FL
County: Miami-Dade
Coordinates: N 25° 43.603    W 080° 14.432
  25.72671666    -80.24053333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMXNET


Coconut Grove Library

(Side 1)
This library stands as testament to the tenacity of Coconut Grove's pioneering citizens. Established by the Pine Needles Club, an organization for young girls formed by local teacher Mary Barr Munroe, the first library operated out of a room above Charles Peacock and Son's grocery store in the 1890s. Munroe held classes in the room until the library was built in 1901. The first books in the library's collection were donated in 1895 by Louise Carnegie, wife of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, who had visited the area earlier on a yachting trip. The books were originally housed in other locations and primarily used by local bibliophiles. Ralph Middleton Munroe, owner of the Barnacle and Commodore of the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, donated the land for construction of the library building. In doing so, Commodore Munroe stipulated that the grave of his late wife, Eva, would be maintained on-site. Writer and conservationist Kirk Munroe, husband of Mary Munroe, donated the building. The building was reminiscent of a single story English Cotswold Cottage with a clipped-gable roof and was constructed from Miami oolite, a native limestone.

(Side 2)
The Coconut Grove Library Association operated the small building until 1957, when the City of Miami offered to build a new air-conditioned facility. The association's trustees reluctantly accepted. In 1963, the city commissioned local architectural firm T. Triplett Russell and Associates to design the modern library. In his designs Russell paid homage to the original library design by incorporating oolithic limestone into the wall construction and a clipped-gable roof for the new building's westernmost wing. The two-story building is defined by a steep, hipped A-frame roof structure. Horizontal metal slats on the exterior shade a wide and un-air conditioned wood veranda space with built-in seating. Like the original building, the new library was built from local materials such as Dade County Rocklands slash pine. Below is a photo of the 1901 library.

Florida Heritage Site
Sponsored by Coconut Grove Civic Club
and the Florida Department of State