Marjory Stoneman Douglas championed Everglades conservation for the latter half of the 20th century. Her relentless advocacy has lately become associated with the high school bearing her name in Parkland, where the Feb. 14 shooting killed 17 people.
Some Miami residents are now rallying to honor Douglas’ memory. The state’s parks department is holding a public meeting Tuesday to determine the future of managing Douglas’ home in Coconut Grove’s Barnacle State Park.
Douglas lived in a thatch cottage she built herself on Stewart Avenue from 1926 to 1998, when she died at 108 years old. The state bought her home in 1992.
According to a 1995 city of Miami historic preservation board report, the home was intended to be used as a museum and a research center for Everglades education.
The state's parks department has managed the house since 2007.
"The department continually looks for opportunities to better manage our parks and improve visitor services," emailed Dee Ann Miller, a spokeswoman with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. "With this in mind, the Florida Park Service is holding a public workshop to obtain your input in developing the long-term vision for this important historic home."
But Theodora Long, director of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, says the home has been left closed to the public.
“Nothing has been done,” Long says.
Long used to read to Douglas when the author was in her 80s and 90s. Long, once a stay-at-home mom, says Douglas inspired her to work toward a cause.
“She wanted you to be an advocate,” says Long, who began volunteering at the nonprofit Biscayne Nature Center when Douglas opened it in the mid 1970s.
Residents like Long hope Tuesday’s public comments meeting sparks renewed interest in building back the home to its original state. It’s where Douglas penned most of her work, including her 1947 magnus opus “The Everglades: River of Grass.”
In 2015, President Obama designated Douglas' home a national historic landmark.
The public meeting will be held 5:30-8 p.m. at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club.