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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Iconic Coppertone Girl sign may be reborn on Biscayne
Posted on Fri, May. 16, 2008
BY ANDRES VIGLUCCI
[email protected]
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/breaking_news/story/536408.html


One pig-tailed girl, 35 feet tall, seeks new home. Requires loving care. Will throw in frisky pup, stretched-out swimsuit bottom.

The famous Coppertone Girl sign that has hung in downtown Miami for nearly 50 years needs saving. Again.

The old gal is not in tip-top shape.

Proclaimed a historic treasure -- really -- and moved 13 years ago to a less-prominent spot on Flagler Street after her original Biscayne Boulevard perch was demolished, she has since endured damage by hurricane and, yes, sun.

Her torso and face are gone and, like so many South Floridians, she can't get insurance. (The carrier canceled her liability policy). Her owner, Dade Heritage Trust, a less-than-flush historic preservation group, can't afford her upkeep. Besides, she might be displaced soon by construction on the parking lot she overlooks.

So she's coming down, at 10 a.m. on Saturday -- just a prelude, her many fans hope, to a splendid rebirth.

The Miami icon will be gently transported to Hialeah, to the Tropical Signs of Florida shop, whose part-owner, Jerry Bengis, is the son of the man who made her in 1959. There she will be evaluated and -- if Coppertone owner Schering-Plough finds the bill palatable -- restored to her full, flashing neon glory.

''It looks very promising,'' Bengis said. ``I hope we can make this work. That sign is a part of Miami. It should be up there in this town forever.''

But where?

The answer will fall to the nonprofit MiMo Biscayne Association, which is adopting the Coppertone Girl from the trust. The MiMo group promotes revitalization of a historic district on upper Biscayne Boulevard that highlights the modern architecture of post-World War II Miami.

And what better place to hang an oversized, iconic 1950s Miami neon sign than a historic district celebrating fab MiMo design?

''It seems like a perfect match,'' said association director Fran Rollason. She hopes to place the Girl front and center on Biscayne Boulevard once more -- though a few dozen blocks north of where she started. ``We do want it, neon and everything.''

Rollason has a few spots in mind, but nothing firm, and won't say until it's certain the girl can be restored.

Today she may be pop art or nostalgic kitsch -- take your pick -- but the Girl was erected on the side of the Parkleigh Building in 1959 as pure commercial advertisement for Coppertone's tanning lotion, invented in the 1940s by a Miami Beach pharmacist, Benjamin Green.

There she would remain for 36 years, glancing back in perpetual surprise as her dog nips down on her suit bottom to expose a well-defined tan line. Big neon-lit letters spelled out the Coppertone name and its flashing slogan: First, Don't be a Pale Face, and later, Tan Don't Burn. (The company, which now makes sunblock, dropped the slogans after the dangers of sun exposure became clear.)

Several others were erected around South Florida. One version at the Golden Glades interchange had a mechanical dog continually yanking down on her suit.

But it was the Biscayne Boulevard sign that became a beloved emblem of Miami and its carefree heyday as a sunny beach resort for millions of residents and visitors.

''It became the most famous sign in the area. Everyone loved it. That's when they had the Orange Bowl parade downtown and all that,'' Bengis recalled.

Coppertone donated the sign to Dade Heritage Trust when the Parkleigh was demolished in 1992. Three years later, the city granted a special exception allowing it to hang on the side of the Concord Building, 66 West Flagler.

''So many people have a real affection for it. It's not the Freedom Tower, but it's important,'' said DHT executive director Becky Matkov. ``The value of landmarks is they're part of people's memories. It gives people a sense of familiarity and belonging in a place.''

The sign, apparently stripped of its electrical guts, has never been lit since. Only the girl, the pup and the letters spelling out Coppertone were hung on the new site.

Schering-Plough is willing to pay for renovation, reinstallation and maintenance so long as the price is reasonable, a company spokeswoman said. No amount has been specified.

But supporters note it's a good deal for the company: It gets not only community goodwill, but a big, attention-grabbing sign that otherwise would likely not be approved today.

''Coppertone hasn't done this kind of sign in years,'' Bengis said. ``There are others left, but they're nothing like this one. There's not too many cities in the country left where you can put these up. This should be some fun.''



The sign was originally erected on Biscayne Boulevard in 1959. -picture from miamibeach.plumtv.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
MiMo is not only found on the Biscayne corridor. That is why I created a new thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Pics around town.


-Entrance to Sunshine State Industrial Park


-Pepsi Cola Bottling Company


-The Fontainebleau Hotel


-The Eden Roc Hotel


-The Carillon Hotel (Soon Canyon Ranch)


-Miami Beach Hotel


-Miami Beach Fire Station


-Old Miami Beach Publix


-Old PanAm Training Center

Pics from www.mimo.us, www.Boston.com, www.agilitynut.com, www.mimobeach.com
 

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Biscayne Corridor Realtor
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fair enough

I cannot get enough Mimo so I will embrace this thread and step up my game on my adopted baby, the Biscayne Corridor thread for some healthy competition, some great pics so far in this thread! :cheers:

Since you started this thread you should have called it "addicted" to mimo :)

MiMo is not only found on the Biscayne corridor. That is why I created a new thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I cannot get enough Mimo so I will embrace this thread and step up my game on my adopted baby, the Biscayne Corridor thread for some healthy competition, some great pics so far in this thread! :cheers:

Since you started this thread you should have called it "addicted" to mimo :)
:cool:
 

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One Brickell CityCentre
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What are the exact boundaries of MiMo?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
^^ If you mean geographically, I don't think there is one other than South Florida. I believe Art Deco can fall in this category too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Miami Gardens Turnpike Plaza



http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.parsons.com/about/press_rm/potm/06-2007/art_main/main-photo.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.parsons.com/about/press_rm/potm/06-2007/index.html&h=383&w=575&sz=19&hl=en&start=163&sig2=I8pQ4qELHPjMe7_TpclbgQ&um=1&tbnid=F5doYDwI_9q9JM:&tbnh=89&tbnw=134&ei=8EcuSM6dC5iuiAHC6o3oAQ&prev=/images%3Fq%3D%2522Miami%2BModern%2522%26start%3D147%26ndsp%3D21%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DN

Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise is working to ensure that the turnpike system safely and efficiently meets the needs of drivers throughout the state. At the system’s south entrance, Parsons is helping the Turnpike Enterprise deliver on this goal through relocating the Miami Gardens Toll Plaza.

The plaza is being moved to separate it from the Turnpike’s interchange with an interstate highway. Parsons is designing the new toll plaza to accommodate both functional and aesthetic goals. The new design will make operations safer and faster while providing an innovative signature gateway to the Turnpike system...

...Other design elements have been coordinated with the City of Miami Gardens, which has many examples of Miami Modern architecture that was popular in the area following World War II. Parsons collaborated with the city concerning aesthetic treatments visible from a city recreational facility on the west side of the project, and we are incorporating the special aesthetic treatments they selected for the Turnpike bridge over Miami Gardens Drive.
 

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One Brickell CityCentre
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^^ If you mean geographically, I don't think there is one other than South Florida. I believe Art Deco can fall in this category too.
I mean from what street to what street and when did it become the MiMo district?
 

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What are the exact boundaries of MiMo?
MiMo is all over Miami, but the MiMo Historic District is from 50th St to 77th St along Biscayne Blvd, in essence all of the Upper East Side since the Upper East Side is the heart of MiMo, and it is run by a MiMo Historic Society; their website is at www.mimoboulevard.com. However, you can find tons of MiMo outside of this area in nearby Midtown, North Miami, Design District and a lot in Miami Beach. For example, one of my favorite Miami buildings, the Bacardi Building in Midtown:


 

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There are 27 blocks considered from 50th-77th street on Biscayne Boulevard with 115 buildings total with 65 buildings contributing that make up MIMO. This would be considered Mimo at Bibo,because the parameters are on Biscayne Boulevard only.
 

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Contents Under Pressure
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I love it! We lost a ton of that funky old Miami look when Sunny Isles transformed itself (some ways better/some ways worse). VERY cool to see this part of Miami latch onto it and embrace it. The Coppertone sign couldn't find a better home.

Nothing against downtown but that part of town just seems waaay cooler and more fun right now. If I was moving back that's where I'd look first.

(and great photo thread, btw!)
 

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Omni Forever
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Awesome pictures.

I have very fond memories of Motel Row.

I miss that old school Miami Beach feel. I still feel it when I look at the surviving hotels/buildings.

But Sunny Isles? Wow, that's definitely not my grandparents' Sunny Isles. It's more like Condo Row now.

I remember the one with the camels. My family would sometimes stay at a Best Western there when they wanted to get away from the bigger city. There used to be one farther south that consisted of 1950s cars.
 

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Contents Under Pressure
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^^The one with the camels was the Sahara. Tacky as hell but totally lovable in a campy way.

(btw, kevin, GREAT photos! love this thread, guys)
 

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Omni Forever
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There were a couple of cool ones.

Motel Row had its detractors, but whenever I went there, I felt like I was in the sleepy Miami the old generation talked about. It was a taste of the old, like a time machine in a sense. It had such a cool tropical feel. The laid back Miami feel I saw in old 60s films like Frank Sinatra's Tony Rome.
 
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