The Grove that time forgot

  • In the Jim Crow era, the West Grove was filled with businesses created by and for the segregated community. Ace Theaterwas one of many across Florida that entertained the generations who were barred from white businesses. Although the Coconut Grove Collaborative has proposed repurposing the landmark Grand Ave. building as a cultural cente, the plan remains a vision. Patricia Borns

  • West Grove police officer Beau Leonard is one of many trying to bringthe community's Bahamian heritage into the present. When not searching for a parking lot or a yard from which to operate, his Beau's Cafe On Wheels dishes conch fritters, conch salad. fried fish and pork souse to appreciate residents and occasional visitors. Patricia Borns

  • Rectangular wood "shotgun" houses like this one used to characterize the West Grove. The design is thought to have come by way of the Bahamian settlers from Africa. The way the rooms run in a self-ventilating line from front to back, like the sightline of a shotgun, may have inspired the name. Although a few such homes have been renovated and provide affordable housing, development will raze most of them make way for more profitable projects. Patricia Borns

  • The nearly completed trolley maintenance facility fronts Douglas Ave. The trolleys will not service the West Grove community, however. The rear of the facility where trolleys will be started up at 6:00 a.m. faces residential homes. Patricia Borns

  • Laurie Cook, right, of the grassroots group, Urban Resurrection, thanks West Grove residents who worked on the "One Grove" mural. The mural adorns the side of the market across from the trolley building. With Cook, right to left: Nathaniel Donaldson, Bonna Cooper, and Anara McDonald. Kyle Holbrooke of Moving the Lives of Kids (MLK) Community Mural Project worked with Cook and residents to create the mural. Patricia Borns / Miami Herald Staff

  • Lewis Benjamin and several West Grove colleagues do a brisk business cleaning cars inside and out for $10 Thurs. - Sun. in a parking lot loaded to them by owner Andy Parrish at the corner of Douglas Rd. and Grand Ave. Patricia Borns

  • Carrie Jackson, known to her clientele as the "Cookie Lady" (left), and Toya Johnson (right), owner of Barberdoll's salon, have slowly but steadily grown businesses on the commercially important corner of Douglas and Grand Ave. Patricia Borns

  • A worker on the controversial trolley-bus facility being relocated from Coral Gables to the West Grove, gives two thumbs up to the new "One Grove" mural across the street during a Sat. March 2, 2013 street party celebrating the mural's completion. Patricia Borns

  • Latasha and Latoya Stirrup (left and right) stand with mural artist Kyle Holbrooke for picture takers at a Sat. March 5, 2013 celebration of the completion of the "One Grove" mural on Frow Ave. The Stirrup sisters point to a likeness of their great grandfather E.W.F. Stirrup in the upper right corner of the mural. Stirrup was a Bahamian laborer who migrated to Coconut Grove and became a millionaire land owner, building over 100 homes and encouraged blacks to own them. Many of his constructions still stand in the West Grove, lived in by descendants of their past owners. Patricia Borns

  • Admirers gather in front of the new "One Grove" mural on Frow Ave. during a street party on Sat. March 2, 2012 celebrating the mural's completion. Behind them, a controversial trolley-bus garage rapidly nears its own completion next door toresidents in the West Grove. Patricia Borns

  • Headly Westerfield, a local blogger, stands in front of the circa 1897 E.W. F. Stirrup house at 3242 Charles Ave. A Bahamian laborer who migrated to Coconut Grove Stirrup became a millionaire land owner, building over 100 homes and encouraging blacks to own them. While many of those constructions remain, Stirrup's own home, a city-designated historic site, stands vacant with windows open to the weather, demolishing by neglect. A history buff, Westerfield has spent eight years obsessively researching the real estate machinations surrounding the property. Patricia Borns

  • As the Plymouth Colony was to New England, Coconut Grove was to Miami. The city's first settlers landed here from the Bahamas. Although largely forgotten by subsequent waves of Miamians, the names of the first families are revered in the community, where many descendants still live. Shown, historic Charlotte Jane Memorial Cemetery at 3575 South Douglas Rd. is filled with 19th and early 20th Century Bahamian settlers' graves. Patricia Borns

  • A solemn moment in historic Charlotte Jane Memorial Cemetery as members and friends of American Legion Post #182 honor servicemen and women at the 2011 West Grove Veteran's Day celebration. Patricia Borns

  • Choir member Louellen Washington sings "We Shall Overcome" during a service at Greater St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, which dates its founding to 1896. The service honored the 57 nations of Africa during Black History Month. Patricia Borns

  • Robed in African attire, Pastor Clayton Hodge, Sr. delivers a sermon themed "down, but not out," at Greater St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, which dates its founding to 1896. The service honored the 57 nations of Africa during Black History Month. Patricia Borns

  • Rectangular wood "shotgun" houses like this one used to characterize the West Grove. The design is thought to have come by way of the Bahamian settlers from Africa. The way the rooms run in a self-ventilating line from front to back, like the sightline of a shotgun, may have inspired the name. Although a few such homes have been renovated and provide affordable housing, development will raze most of them make way for more profitable projects. Patricia Borns

  • While developmers have yet to fulfill their plans for Grand Ave., Toya Johnson is among the West Grove entrepreneurs who run small businesses out of the commercial thoroughfare's storefronts. Her barber and beauty salon Barberdoll's near the corner of Douglas Rd. and Grand Ave. does a brisk trade among locals like young Rishaun Coffie. Patricia Borns

  • Lewis Benjamin and several West Grove colleagues do a brisk business cleaning cars inside and out for $10 Thurs. - Sun. in a parking lot loaded to them by owner Andy Parrish at the corner of Douglas Rd. and Grand Ave. Patricia Borns

  • A segregation-era wall that used to divide blacks and whites in Coconut Grove can still be seen from the yard of Kumquat Ave. resident Frank Kane. The City of Miami's approval of a trolley maintenance facility next to West Grove residences served to unite Kand and his neighbors with the community in protest. Patricia Borns

  • West Grove resident Grady Dinkins dons Mozambique attire for a service at Greater St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church honoring the 57 nations of Africa during Black History Month. The church dates its founding to 1896. Patricia Borns

  • Camilla Frost sings with fellow choir members during a Sunday service at Greater St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, which dates its founding to 1896. The service honored the 57 nations of Africa during Black History Month. Patricia Borns

  • Reverend Renard Dowdell directs the Sunday choir at Greater St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, which dates its founding to 1896. The service honored the 57 nations of Africa during Black History Month. Patricia Borns

  • West Grove residents say their opposition to the location of the trolley maintenance facility in their community united them. Across Frow St. from where the facility is under construction, Kyle Holbrooke of Moving the Lives of Kids (MLK) Community Mural Project fills in a mural overarched with the words in forest green paint, "One Grove." Laurie Cooke of grassroots group Urban Resurrection which coordinated the mural says the themes came from community members. "Back in the day, all of black Miami came here to dine and shop. It wasn't north Grove or wet Grove, it was just Coconut Grove. The things they miss from those days are in many ways the things they want to see now," she says. Patricia Borns

  • Barbecues and gatherings of friends are one of the pleasures of West Grove living. Ellis tribe, a.k.a. Mango Mann, dishes ribs and chicken with homemade barbecue sauce from a smoker trailer-hitched to his pickup truck . An arcane law banning mobile food venodrs from stopping keeps him moving Thurs. through Sun. on and off the side streets surrounding Grand Ave. Patricia Borns

  • West Grove resident Rihanna Coffee pause in front of a mural on Frow St. bearing her likeness. Located opposite the site where a cotnroversial trolley maintenance building is under construction, the mural was facilitated by Kyle Holbrooke of Moving the Lives of Kids (MLK) Community Mural Project and Coconut Grove grassroots group Urban Resurrection. Urban Resurrection's Laurie Cook says the mural's themes, overarched with the words "One Grove," were decided by the community. Back in the day, all of black Miami came here to dine and shop. It wasn't north Grove or west Grove, it was just Coconut Grove," she says. Patricia Borns

  • Seven Jenkins enjoys learning to identify animal sounds at St. Alban Child Enrichment Center. The center's Head Start programs have helped West Grove children succeed in school for over 58 years. Patricia Borns

  • (Clockwise:) Neia Williams, Nickori Smith, Sarrah Carrero, Seven Jenkins and Zion Carmichael learn to identify animal sounds with their teacher Beverly Montgomery (center) at St. Alban Child Enrichment Center. The center's Head Start programs have helped West Grove children succeed in school for over 58 years. Patricia Borns

  • Marlo Gibson (foreground) and Jayon Green race their training trikes during reecss at St. Alban Child Enrichment Center. The center's Head Start programs have helped West Grove children succeed in school for over 58 years. Patricia Borns

  • "I'm fast," says 7-year-old Jokari GibsonIn during a self esteem-bulding exercise in the Elizabeth Virrick Park gymnasium, led by Thelma Gibson Health Initiative staff. Among its many social services, the West Grove-based non-profit teams with teachers to deliver non-violence interventions like this one for at-risk children. The initiaive grew from a memoriial fund in memory of the late Reverend Theodure Gibson, one of Miami's first black commissioners. His widow Thelma Gibson, who in her 80s still reports to work at the Grand Ave. health initiative storefront, sees opportunities for West Grove youth as one of the community's greatest challenges. ‘ I think the entrepreneurial focus in the schools today is going to help, and I think our going into the schools and tutoring, showing children a better way of life, will help," she says. Patricia Borns

  • In her 80s, Thelma Gibson, wife of the late Reverend Theodore Gibson who was among Miami's first black commissioners, still reports to work at the Grand Ave. storefront housing the Thelma Gibson Health Initiative, where kids have been known to come by and ask for her autograph. Besides delivering social services to children seniors and families, Gibson has been an active participant in visioning compatible development for the West Grove. "A question I would be asking is, 'What does it do for the community?'" she says of the trolley maintenance facilty under construction next to residential homes on Frow and Oak Avenues. Patricia Borns

  • Gripping the fence with a hand disfigured in the Grenada conflict, West Grove resident Willie Easley III peers across his neighbor Dorothy Henry's fence at the trolley maintenance facility rapidly rising on the residential streets of Oak and Frow Avenues. "That's America for you," he says, Patricia Borns

  • Dozens of bricks in Elizabeth Virrick Park acknowlege the community members and organizations that bind West Coconut Grtove. Women leaders of the Coconut Grove Negro Women's Club award scholarships to help high school students attend college The oak-shaded park is dedicated to the late Elizabeth Virrick, who fought for social justice in West Coconut Grove. Patricia Borns

  • Kitchen manager Loucetta Fair (left) and volunteer Shelley Windell (right) prepare the salad for the lunch for homeless residents held every Wednesday at Greater St. Paul AME Church. The line is usually out the door for the generous fare, which at times includes fresh vegetables from church members' gardens. Patricia Borns