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KIRK MUNROE BIOGRAPHY

1850 September 15 - Kirk Munroe was born in a log cabin near Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. His youngest years were spent on the frontier and then his family moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts where he attended school until he was sixteen. Unsure of what he wanted to do in life, but loving the outdoors, he secured a job as a surveyor's helper on an expedition that crossed the great southwest from Kansas to California to find a route for the first transcontinental railroad. During this time he claimed he helped fight Indians and in one scrimmage he was wounded while eight of his comrades were killed.  He met such famous characters of the old west as Custer,  Wild Bill Hickok, and Kit Carson.

1876 - Becomes a reporter for the New York Sun newspaper

1879 - Becomes the first editor of Harper's Young People magazine.

1879 - Commodore of New York Canoe Club for five years.  He was one of the founders of the American Canoe Association in 1880. It still exists and in 2002 had 50,000 members.

1880 May 30 - A national organization of bicycle enthusiasts was founded by Kirk Munroe and a friend. Originally called the League of American Wheelmen, in 1994 it changed its name to the League of American Bicyclists.  Munroe held the No. 1 ticket.

1881 - Resigns from Harper's.  In future years he returns to the magazine during the summers as a substitute editor.

1881-82 - Takes a winter trip to Florida with his sailing canoe Psyche.  Circles most of the state in a 1600 mile cruise.

1883 September 15 - Marries Mary Barr.  They take a three month cruise from St. Augustine to Lake Worth.

1885 - They buy a property on Lake Worth.

1885-86 - Munroe and Mary cruise the great Florida reef, ending up in Biscayne Bay. Accompanying them are two Harper's boys, being tutored.

1886 -  They buy a property on Biscayne Bay in Coconut Grove which they name "Scrububs".  Later they build the first tennis court in Dade County and organize the first baseball team.

1886 - Wakulla, his first book is published.

1887 February 15 - Munroe becomes the co-founder of Biscayne Bay Yacht Club at a meeting at Scrububs along with Ralph Munroe.  Kirk remains its secretary for thirty-five years.  The Biscayne Bay Yacht Club still exists and is the oldest organization in Miami-Dade County.

1890-91 -  Cruises from Coconut Grove to the Ten Thousand Islands in Allapata, his thirty-five foot sharpie-ketch sailboat which he had Ralph Munroe build for him at Browns at the Tottenville yard.

1893 -  Paul Ransom comes to Coconut Grove with a letter of introduction to Kirk Munroe.  A week later Munroe sells Ransom the seven and one-half acre property next to Scrububs.  This becomes in 1896 the Pine Knot Camp and eventually Ransom-Everglades School.

1893 - Invited to the World's Fair in Chicago where he is voted most popular author by ten thousand children.

1893 - Trip to Alaska four years before the gold rush.

1895 June 15 -  The Coconut Grove Library was founded by the members of the "Pine Needles Club".  Mary Munroe was the president of this club.  In 1901 Kirk Munroe erected a library building on land donated by Ralph Munroe.  For many years Kirk Munroe was the President of the Coconut Grove Library Association. The Coconut Grove Library is the first library in Dade County.

1896 - Munroe is authorized by Ransom to begin building the school. Munroe signs a contract in January with a contractor to begin construction. Munroe and his wife take a trip to Key West. He visits the warship Maine.

1899 - Cruises the Canadian coast from Newfoundland to Hudson's Bay.

1903 - Takes a world tour which includes North Africa, Tibet, Burma, Java, Borneo, China, Korea and Japan.  Travels the length of China from south to north by rail. Sees the Russian battleships gathered in Port Arthur just prior to the great battle with the Japanese.

1903 - Returns home to the US - meets wife in San Francisco, together they tour the Canadian northwest

1904? - Travels to Central America, Mexico.

1905 - Last book published, For the Mikado.

1909 - Kirk celebrates his 59th birthday with Cree indians on a thousand mile trip through Canada.

1914 - In discussions with his neighbor, Munroe helps come up with the name of Deering's estate, "Viscaya" and its emblem, the sea horse.

1919 -  Coconut Grove is incorporated as a town.  One source says that Kirk Munroe ensures that the incorrect spelling "cocoanut" is not approved, but another source says this was done by his wife.

1919 -  Sells "Scrububs".  Buys a property elsewhere in Coconut Grove on a street called Leafy Way which he names "Kirkland House".

1922 -  September.  Mary dies.

1924 -   Kirk marries  Mrs. Mabel Stearns.

1926 -  Stearns places him in the Florida Sanatarium in Orlando.

1930 -  June 16th.  Kirk Munroe dies at age 79.  He is buried next to his beloved wife, Mary, at the Woodlawn Park Cemetery on S.W. 8th Street in Miami.



Last modified: 19 December 2011