Miami-Dade County

County to South Miami: Find, protect missing Allen’s Drugs sign

The Allen's Drugs sign, on the Southwest corner of Red Road and Bird Road, has been a familiar sight for decades, but its mysterious disappearance has many worried.
The Allen's Drugs sign, on the Southwest corner of Red Road and Bird Road, has been a familiar sight for decades, but its mysterious disappearance has many worried. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Miami-Dade County’s preservation board has intervened in the mystery of the missing Allen’s Drugs sign with a plea to South Miami officials: Find the neon gem and consider designating it historic.

The much-loved sign, which has adorned the building at the corner of Bird and Red roads since the 1950s, was removed while the building was being painted. But it’s conspicuously not been put back, and the drug and medical supply store’s owner has refused to comment on its fate, prompting consternation from preservationists and ordinary Miamians accustomed to seeing its glowing beacon after dark.

“Though the store and diner remain open, the neon signage has recently been removed with no evidence of where it has gone, why it was removed, or if it (is) going to be restored and replaced,” reads a resolution approved by the county board on Wednesday by a 6-0 vote.

South Miami City Manager Steven Alexander said Thursday he had not yet seen the resolution and had no fresh intelligence on the sign’s whereabouts. Alexander said previously that the city had received no application for the sign’s reinstallation and did not request its removal.

The preservation board has no direct jurisdiction over South Miami, which has its own preservation program run by its planning department. Several blocks surrounding the Allen’s building are part of South Miami though they’re outside the main city boundaries.

Significant signs can be protected as historic landmarks either as an integral part of a significant building’s facade or by themselves. The city of Miami, for instance, designated the old Coppertone girl sign that once hung downtown and was relocated to the Miami Modern historic district on Biscayne Boulevard.

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