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What was not one of the Biscayne Bay area's characteristics which strongly attracted Ralph Munroe to it?

Ralph Munroe

Ralph Munroe (center). Ralph Munroe Collection, HistoryMiami, 84D-1.

In his book, The Commodore's Story, Ralph Munroe recalled his first encounter with the Miami River in 1877. Sailing up from Key West he described it as a beautiful clear-water stream, its banks lined with towering coco-palms and mangroves. Recalling the agreeable surroundings and salubrious climate, he returned in 1881 with his new wife, whose sick condition might, he hoped, be improved thereby. Unfortunately, such was not to be the case. She died and was buried here. In spite of that tragedy, the area had a hold on him which caused him to return each winter, until, in 1886, he made Coconut Grove his permanent home. "My favorable impression of Biscayne Bay was deep and lasting," Munroe recalled. "Undoubtedly, the first element in this was the incomparable climate. Along with this  . . . was the sea-lover's eager appreciation of this sailors paradise, in which storms, fogs, ice and many other marine hazards were either unknown or rare. There was also a keen fascination in the varied humanity drawn to the wilderness." On the other hand, Munroe was far less sanguine about the arrival of Flagler's railroad and the development it promised. While not denying the advantages incurred by the onset of these outside influences, Munroe looked back wistfully to an earlier isolated, unspoiled, sparsely populated period, known as "The Era of the Bay.”


Posted at 06:00 AM on May 5, 2014 | Permalink


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