Historic Markers Across Florida

U.S. Coast Guard Station Hanger

Marker ID: FLHM F-892
Location: 2600 Bayshore Dr, Coconut Grove, Miami, FL
County: Miami-Dade
Coordinates: N 25° 43.905    W 080° 14.019
  25.73175    -80.23365
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMXNF1


U.S. Coast Guard Station Hanger

(Side 1)
This seaplane hangar was a part of the first permanent United States Coast Guard Air Station in the country. Built in 1932, the hangar served as a crucial center for Coast Guard aviation in Florida. Planes from Dinner Key carried out rescue and evacuation missions alongside planes from other Coast Guard air stations in the Florida Keys following the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. During World War II, aviators provided anti-submarine patrol and convoy support. In addition to aiding in the protection of the nation's coasts, aviators conducted rescue missions to help sailors from merchant ships targeted by the Nazi Kriegsmarine. The Dinner Key Coast Guard maintained an active presence in the community after the war, and played an important part in search-and-rescue missions during the mass Cuban immigration rescue in the 1960s. By 1965, when the Coast Guard air station unit moved its operations from Dinner Key to the Opa-locka Airport, the station had evolved into the busiest air-sea rescue facility in the world.

(Side 2)
This hangar is the oldest building associated with the air station. After the air station on Dinner Key was decommissioned, the City of Miami purchased the hangar in 1972 for use as a gymnasium. Named for local activist Elizabeth Virrick, the gymnasium originally hosted a boxing program for young men, but has since been used for other activities including sailing and other water sports. After suffering severe damage from Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the building was restored with the assistance of a grant from the Florida Division of Historical Resources. The U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Hangar/Virrick Gym was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

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