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Ralph Middleton Munroe

Posted by on Mar 28, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

The Commodore turns 164 years old

Commodore MunroeRalph Middleton “Commodore” Munroe is one of Coconut Grove’s earliest settlers and was a successful businessman, yacht designer, avid yachtsman, photographer, author, naturalist and prominent Coconut Grove resident.

Munroe was born on April 3, 1851 in New York. Raised in Staten Island, Munroe was a descendant to William Munroe, who created the first lead pencil and manufactured it shortly after the war of 1812.

While growing up, Munroe was influenced by conservationist Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson that taught him the importance of preservation.

After attending military school, he enrolled at Columbia University in New York to study drafting that later helped him with his yacht designs.

As a young man, he was fascinated with boats and at the age of 26 jumped at an opportunity to sail to Key West, Florida with relatives in 1877. Along the way they sailed past Biscayne Bay and discovered the beautiful wilderness beside the coast and the inhabitants alongside the Miami River. Munroe took notice of the mild climate, subtropical landscapes, and friendly people he met in South Florida.

Upon his return to New York, Munroe met Eva Hewitt and the couple was married in 1879. A year later they had a baby girl. Sadly, Eva Munroe developed tuberculosis. Per the advice of the doctor to take her to a warmer climate, Munroe brought his wife, along with her sister, who was also sick, and her brother to Miami, Florida where he remembered the weather was warm. The baby remained with her grandmother in New York.

There he setup camp along the north bank of the Miami River in hopes that his wife would recover, but despite his effort, the illness claimed both Eva and her sister in 1882. Another tragedy came into his life upon his return to New York. His baby daughter had passed away from influenza.

Munroe returned to South Florida later that year along with his brother-in-law. Together they helped their friends, the Peacocks, build Coconut Groves first hotel on the shore of Biscayne Bay called the Bay View Villas (later changed to the Peacock Inn) and it opened the following winter.

Barnacle Coconut GroveFor several years later, Munroe would split his time between New York and South Florida, often staying at the Bay View Villa until his decision in 1886 to make Coconut Grove his permanent residence. He purchased 40 Acres of Bayfront hammock (tropical hardwood forest) land for $400 and one of his sailboats valued at $400. A total purchase price of $800.

In 1887, Munroe built a boat house that became his home, workshop and favorite gathering spot for the local sailing community. Soon after the construction of the boat house, a group of residence created the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club (still in operation today) and elected Munroe as Commodore, a title he held for 22 years. His boat house became the initial home of the newly founded club. Within those 22 years, Munroe designed over 55 different boats. His last surviving vessel, Micco, was destroyed by hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Frequent visitors made the boat house an inadequate spot for a residence so he built for himself a home on the ridge above. It was not your typical pioneer house. The house was originally designed as a unique one story square bungalow with a hipped roof structure having each point facing North, South, East and West. He constructed it partly from salvaged ship timber. It called his home the “Barnacle.”

Barnacle Coconut GroveAbout a decade later when more room was needed, Munroe lifted the original structure adding a first floor below. Today the Barnacle still stands in its original location making it the oldest home in Dade County.

On a return trip from visiting family in New York in the fall of 1894, Munroe met his second wife Miss Jessie Wirth. They married that spring and later had 2 children; a daughter, Patty, and a son Wirth.

Ralph Munroe was an active leader in the Coconut Grove community. Because of his early influence from conservationist and his love for nature, he successfully fought against the developers proposals to create artificial islands off shore. He also came against engineers who proposed piping raw sewage into the Bay. He fought to keep Coconut Grove as he found it, spending his life protecting its unique subtropical character.

This Coconut Grove Pioneer helped establish the first library, post office, churches, schools and a look into South Florida’s history through his photography.

Ralph Munroe lived in Coconut Grove until his death on August 20, 1933 at the age of 82.

 

As one of Miami’s best realtors, you will find that I am honest & knowledgeable with over 10 years of experience selling homes in numerous areas within Miami-Dade. As a Miami native, I not only know but specialize in many neighborhoods including Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Key Biscayne, Miami Beach, High Pines, and South Miami.

If you are considering buying or selling your home and would like to work with an excellent realtor who specializes in any of these areas, feel free to contact me directly at 786-488-9756 or email me at John@JohnSeidel.com today for your consultation. I look forward to hearing from you.

Check back with us frequently as we are constantly posting the latest sales, statistics, and local news on Miami’s Real Estate market.

“I Will….” Wall in Coconut Grove…

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

‘I Will’ wall in Coconut Grove provides inspiration and optimism

What will you do to help better your World? That’s the question that Rabbie Getzy Fellig of Chabad of the Grove asks. Among the many negative stories we hear, he felt that it is time to show that there is still good in our world.

Read the article below from the Miami Herald to see how Rabbie Fellig accomplishes this:

Coconut GroveAll it took was some pieces of ordinary plywood, a can of black chalkboard paint, and rainbow-colored chalk to create a wall of hope.

On Monday night, the Chabad of the Grove erected a 25-foot-long chalkboard called the “I will” wall at Bet Ovadia synagogue along Coconut Grove’s Main Highway facing one of the area’s popular jogging paths.

“It’s time to show that the world is a good place,” said Rabbi Getzy Fellig of Chabad of the Grove, also known as Avenue J. The project was partially driven by the negative news in the headlines, including a deadly house fire that killed seven Jewish children in Brooklyn on Saturday.

White spray-painted capital letters on the left side of the installation read: “To make a better world.” On the right side, lines of “I will ______” have been penned with the hopes, dreams and aspirations of joggers, school kids and passersby alike.

“I will help a poor person. I will adopt a dog (maybe). I will learn a new language,” says some of the writing on the wall.

Coconut GroveThe chalkboard, which was Fellig’s and Rabbi Eli Muchnik’s brainchild, came to life after a successful experiment to engage people during the Coconut Grove Arts Festival.

During the festival, one of the chabad’s rabbis handed out slips of paper asking people to pledge to do a good deed for their community.

Dozens of people took part.

“It was just doing something nice,” Fellig said. “People really loved it.”

The triumph of the good deed pledge materialized into the idea to create a massive interactive wall to turn people toward taking steps to make their worlds better.

Once the idea was set, then we were Googling ideas on how to put the board up,” Fellig said. The group stumbled across photographs of a similar project called “Before I Die” in North Carolina, which was part of a global art movement launched by artist Candy Chang in her New Orleans neighborhood in 2011.

“There’s so much bad news out there,” said Ben Temer, one of the members of the Chabad’s young professionals group involved in the project. “We’re hoping that we can shine the light on the positive things people want to do and raise awareness that there’s good out there.”

About 100 messages had been put on the wall as of Wednesday.

“The ‘I will’ wall is about getting people to stop and think, what am I doing today, tomorrow and the following day to make the world a better place than it is today,” Muchnik said in a news release. “There is so much good in people, inherit positive energy that exists within each of us, the proof is in the pudding, or the wall.”
By 8 a.m. Tuesday, it was covered with individual insights from anonymous men, women and children.

Coconut Grove“It was unbelievable,” Fellig said. “There’s just so many different types of responses.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Fellig sat watching the wall. Cars zoomed past. Some stopped, including one man in his 50s. He drove past the site, made a U-turn and got out of his car to take a picture of the board. The man picked up a purple piece of chalk and wrote, “I will forgive Mr. Lewis.”

“That’s probably the coolest thing yet,” said Fellig, who requested the Miami Herald to not publish more details about the man to protect his anonymity. “If it inspires someone or brings a smile to someone’s face, then we achieved our goal.”

There’s no indication of how long the wall will stay up or how many more boards will be added. On Wednesday, three more pieces of plywood were painted and placed below the original board to encourage more people to engage.

“It’s very surprising. I think it’s wonderful to see that people are taking time out of their day to help each other out,” said 14-year-old Benjamin Freeman, one of Fellig’s students at the synagogue.

“It seems like everyone is trying to be a better person,” Freeman said, his words hopeful. “I’m super proud of it.”

As one of Miami’s best realtors, you will find that I am honest & knowledgeable with over 10 years of experience selling homes in numerous areas within Miami-Dade. As a Miami native, I not only know but specialize in many neighborhoods including Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Key Biscayne, Miami Beach, High Pines, and South Miami.

If you are considering buying or selling your home and would like to work with an excellent realtor who specializes in any of these areas, feel free to contact me directly at 786-488-9756 or email me at John@JohnSeidel.com today for your consultation. I look forward to hearing from you.

Check back with us frequently as we are constantly posting the latest sales, statistics, and local news on Miami’s Real Estate market.

2 Florida bill’s that will affect condo purchases

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Holdout condo owners could get more for their units

Bill in the Florida House targets bulk buyers of condo complexes

Article by the Real Deal

MiamiTwo bills in the Florida House of Representatives and Senate could close a legal loophole that had some condo owners selling their units for under their original purchase price.

The bills targets bulk buyers of condo complexes who seek to convert the buildings into apartments. Under current law, a building’s condo status can be removed in certain situations, allowing investors to force any remaining tenants to sell their units.

Although state law says these buyouts should pay fair market value, some owners end up getting paid less than the value of their mortgages, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The bill would have buyers pay 110 percent of market value or original purchase price — whichever is greater.

It would also prevent removal of a building’s condo status until the first mortgages on each unit is completed.

Florida’s condo statutes were amended in 2007 to allow for the bulk purchase of units to help developers take over run-down or storm damaged buildings. If 80 percent of a building’s tenants voted yes and less than 10 percent voted no, the developers could pay the holdouts fair market value and remove them, the publication reported.

The housing downturn stalled many developers’ plans to convert complexes to rental apartments, and some units traded ownership in the mean time. Now, developers are resuming their plans, causing the current owners to face buyouts that in some cases are much lower than their mortgages.

 

As one of Miami’s best realtors, you will find that I am honest & knowledgeable with over 10 years of experience selling homes in numerous areas within Miami-Dade. As a Miami native, I not only know but specialize in many neighborhoods including Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Key Biscayne, Miami Beach, High Pines, and South Miami.

If you are considering buying or selling your home and would like to work with an excellent realtor who specializes in any of these areas, feel free to contact me directly at 786-488-9756 or email me at John@JohnSeidel.com today for your consultation. I look forward to hearing from you.

Check back with us frequently as we are constantly posting the latest sales, statistics, and local news on Miami’s Real Estate market.

Open House in Center Coral Gables

Posted by on Mar 24, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Coral GablesBrokers Open – Wednesday, March 25th from 12 to 2 PM

Classic Old Spanish home in Prime and Central location of Coral Gables. This 3/1 + 1/1 Guest Cottage home shows Traditional Finishes of the 1920’s. As you enter the Home, the Large Foyer opens up into the Living Room and flow through the dining room into the kitchen. Features include a working fireplace in the living room with its Beautiful Vintage Mantel, Wood and Tile flooring, Moldings around the Doors and Windows, and Carport. This home is uniquely charming and Central to the Miracle Mile shops, Village of Merrick Park, Restaurants, and Miami’s City Life.

Property Details: Main House: 3/1 – Guest Cottage 1/1 – 1,755 Total Sq Ft

 

     

 

325 Viscaya Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134

Asking: $699,000.00

As one of Miami’s best realtors, you will find that I am honest & knowledgeable with over 10 years of experience selling homes in numerous areas within Miami-Dade. As a Miami native, I not only know but specialize in many neighborhoods including Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Key Biscayne, Miami Beach, High Pines, and South Miami.

If you are considering buying or selling your home and would like to work with an excellent realtor who specializes in any of these areas, feel free to contact me directly at 786-488-9756 or email me at John@JohnSeidel.com today for your consultation. I look forward to hearing from you.

Check back with us frequently as we are constantly posting the latest sales, statistics, and local news on Miami’s Real Estate market.

Classic Old Spanish in Coral Gables

Posted by on Mar 23, 2015 in Blog, Coral Gables Real Estate, Listings | 0 comments

Old Spanish in Coral GablesLocation! Location!

Over 3,000 Adj. Sq. Ft, this 1927 Old Spanish Coral Gables home is situated in a Premium Central location to Miracle Mile Shops, Downtown District, Restaurants and the Granada Golf Course. This 4/2.5 + Den and 1/1 Guest House features wood floors throughout, working fireplace, some original light fixtures, updated electrical and plumbing, new water heater, 2 car garage and more. Step inside this Classic Gables home and Fall in Love.

 

015-1501952-mlsHome Features and Amenities:

• Central A/C Upstairs and Den Downstairs
• Individual A/C Units in Rest of Home
• Butterscotch & Oak Wood Floors Throughout.
• 2 Car Garage
• Updated Electrical
• Updated Plumbing
• Sewer
• Washer
• New Water Heater
• Roof 2002
• Working fireplace
• Original Lighting Fixture Above Fireplace, Chandelier at Stairs, and Picture Frame Molding in Living Room
• Tented 2 years ago
• Wood Beams Underneath House Re-Done

Property Details: Main House 4/2.5 – Guest House 1/1 – 3,00 SqFt

  • Exterior Front Exterior Front
  • Family Room Family Room
  • Sun Room Sun Room
  • Hall Hall
  • Staircase Staircase
  • Living Room / Dining Room Living Room / Dining Room
  • Kitchen Kitchen
  • Den Den
  • Master Bedroom Master Bedroom
  • Bedroom Bedroom
  • Court Yard Court Yard
  • Main Level Main Level
  • Second Level Second Level
     

447 Alcazar Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134

Asking: $849,000.00

As one of Miami’s best realtors, you will find that I am honest & knowledgeable with over 10 years of experience selling homes in numerous areas within Miami-Dade. As a Miami native, I not only know but specialize in many neighborhoods including Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay, Key Biscayne, Miami Beach, High Pines, and South Miami.

If you are considering buying or selling your home and would like to work with an excellent realtor who specializes in any of these areas, feel free to contact me directly at 786-488-9756 or email me at John@JohnSeidel.com today for your consultation. I look forward to hearing from you.

Check back with us frequently as we are constantly posting the latest sales, statistics, and local news on Miami’s Real Estate market.