Saving Miami History

Saving Miami History.

Advocacy For Regional Preservation of Heritage for Economical Stability.
 by Wiliiam Coulthard / Edited by Ana Bikic Miami Art Reviews. 

Carol Cohan's book Coconut Grove
Carol Cohan’s book Coconut Grove Playhouse back cover Pickering Press 1987
Miami Art Reviews Inc.
 
 A region that relies upon tourism needs an entertainment industry. Historical sites are an integral part of this service orientated economy and the degradation and destruction of cultural interests undermines the formula a region has inherited over the decades and centuries. History is the repeated story that entertains, they are the tourist industry‘s product line and without them a region is no different than any other as a destination. 
 
  Although Miami Dade has beaches,National Parks and a pool side party image, most of our visitors are children and the retired if we include resident’s families,snow birds and annual holiday trippers. Their interests are based on more traditional pursuits that require a more intellectual approach to entertainment. Beaches and night clubs, gambling and sports are good for some but to attract an audience appreciation for the arts requires having a strong local history that is more appealing to opera lovers and art collectors, who in turn buy apartments and return each year. 
  Miami Dade County has an immediate or recent history in comparison to European regions but what interests visitors beyond just the pleasure and joy of visiting is to be entertained, educated and have memorable experiences that can be shared with friends upon returning home. Saving local history plays a vital role when tourists return home, they carry with them the stories behind the places they’ve visited. A region’s history actively stimulates  intelligent and curious minds, between natural pleasures of parks and beaches to complete the experience of an exciting and fulfilling trip to their friends. The ancient Romans understood this economic formula providing not just arena entertainment but also galleries of archival history to accompany libraries and monuments. Their tourist cities provided the very best in spas and sports but the most successful cities like Pompey and Pila had preserved and prepared more ancient sites to excite a more affluent and studied clientele.
  Miami, Miami Beach and the  Miami Dade County, as a whole, must be mindful as it expands to what foot print of the past it wipes away.  If an iconic house sitting in full view is the cover picture of an old story related to the region’s past with  internationally known cultural references; it follows that the home’s destruction would bring strong negative feed back from previous and possible visitors. If a City is seen not to care about it’s heritage then it is seen not to care about it’s visitor’s experience. So why should they return? or talk well to others?   Persuading for a location based on others opinions and published experiences, a reputation by region or location should be seen as a regional and  residential responsibility for everyone wishing to live in a successful area and enjoy  the benefits that come from an active tourist economy.  
      The history, architecture and intellectual property of local myths and stories that enrich the visitors experience of our region are vital to the tourism industry as a whole, without them Miami would be boring and predictable. Our local history adds variety to regional destination and encourages opportunities for creating new local attractions. Preservation is therefore a vital part, not an after thought, it is at the heart of our very image and if we are seen to not care what is torn down, our ineptness to protect our own interests will be ridiculed internationally.  Currently the Coconut  Grove Playhouse and the famous Star Island Mansion are up for destruction.
Now is the time to save them, like Miami did with the Daily News / Freedom Tower 12 years ago. Developers and their investors must realize history has unique and has brand name status and that the stories behind the history are an intellectual property that belongs to all the region’s residents, compromising local stories  compromises future potential. Destroying history actually limits future development.
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