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Miami Beach Begins Restoration of Flagler Memorial

[1-12-09]  The preservation of Miami Beach’s rich history is evident in the new restoration project of the Flagler Memorial on Monument Island. Monument Island, a designated historic site, sits in the middle of Biscayne Bay surrounded by Star, Palm, Hibiscus, and Venetian islands. Through the decades, harsh marine exposure and vandalism has taken its toll on the 88-year-old monument built to honor South Florida pioneer Henry Flagler.

“We are very excited that our long-time efforts to restore this important historic structure has finally come to fruition,” said Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower. “Some call it our own Statue of Liberty.”

A team of conservators, under the leadership of the Miami Beach Capital Improvement Projects Office, are performing a comprehensive conservation treatment to revive the monument and sculptures, repair severely damage and missing elements, remove graffiti to prevent further vandalism attacks, and re-establish a sound fence that will not compromise the visitors and viewers experience of the structure. By mid-2009, the monument should once again be a beacon on Biscayne Bay.

Monument Island is a small piece of land, with a big history. At 96’ tall, the high obelisk structure with four allegorical sculptures at its base stands is a symbol of strength and fortitude and the apex of the circular island. Carl Fisher, who never actually met Flagler, dredged the island and built a monument to honor a man he had only heard about but admired. Flagler passed away in 1913. The monument was completed in 1921; and, in 1925, Fisher donated the island and the monument to the City of Miami Beach.