History of Coconut Grove

Early Bahamian residents in West Coconut Grove.
source: Coconut Grove Village West: A Multiple Property Designation

“In no other neighborhood is the Bahamian influence on Miami as pronounced as Coconut Grove.”

The first permanent settlers of Coconut Grove were Edmund Beasley, an American sailor from Connecticut, and his Bahamian wife Ann Beasley; they settled in Barnacle State Park. In 1873, Ann Beasley rented land to another settler who opened a post office in the area, naming it Cocoanut Grove.

More people were attracted by its tropical location and eventually it grew into a town along with its first hotel, the Bay View House (later called Peacock Inn), in what is today Peacock Park. Staff for the hotel were recruited from Key West, where Bahamians had already settled.

Mariah Brown was Coconut Grove’s first Black Bahamian resident, arriving in 1889. Another Black Bahamian, Ebenezer Woodbury Franklin Stirrup, Sr., arrived in the neighborhood from Key West at this time and built his house as well as other houses in Coconut Grove in the shotgun style. This style mimicked houses found in the Bahamas, other parts of the Caribbean, and West Africa. The shotgun style homes are typically long and narrow with two rooms and doors on either end.

The community grew and thrived up until the City of Miami annexed Coconut Grove in 1925. That marked the turning point in which west Coconut Grove became marginalized and depleted of resources, which eventually fractured the community.

The Bahamian culture and history continues to be celebrated today, but efforts must be made to help west Coconut Grove return to its roots and become the thriving community it used to be once again.

source: Nebhrajani, Roshan. “The Early Bahamian History of Coconut Grove.” The New Tropic, 31 July 2017, thenewtropic.com/bahamians-coconut-grove.

Diagram of a Shotgun-style house.
Source: “Coconut Grove Preserves.” Coconutgrovepreserves.org, Dade Heritage Trust, 2020, coconutgrovepreserves.org/.

Read more:
The early Bahamian history of Coconut Grove
Explore Coconut Grove’s Historic Village West Neighborhood

source of images: The New Tropic