THE COPPERTONE GIRL SIGN
written by John Bachay
As you drive south on Biscayne Boulevard through the MiMo Historic District, you see the iconic 35-foot Coppertone Girl sign proudly displayed on the north side of 7300 Biscayne Boulevard.
Benjamin Green, who emigrated from Slovakia to Cleveland in 1904, invented and developed the product that would evolve into Coppertone. He became a pharmacist and settled in Coconut Grove in 1943. He worked on the development of a tanning lotion since during this time everyone coveted a perfect tan. He literally “cooked” a formula on his stove in a coffeemaker and tested the product on his bald-head. Once finalized, Green sold his product to a pharmacy on Miami Beach that marketed the lotion to the public. Green sold his company to a group of investors in 1950. The company was sold again to Schering-Plough in 1957, who designed the Coppertone Girl ad campaign that gained national popularity.
While several Coppertone Girl signs were installed throughout Miami-Dade County, the MiMo district sign was originally installed in 1959 on the Parkleigh Building at 5th Street and Biscayne Boulevard. It remained there until Hurricane Andrew damaged it and the Parkleigh Building was demolished in 1992. Dade Heritage Trust adopted the sign and moved it to a new location from which it was removed for various reasons. The sign was reinstalled at its current location in 2008 through a collaboration between Dade Heritage Trust, who donated the sign to the MiMo Biscayne Association; Tropical Signs of Florida, who restored and rebuilt the sign; and Coppertone’s parent company, Schering-Plough, who donated approximately $100,000 for its restoration and installation.
The MiMo Biscayne Association is proud to be the owner and caretaker of the Coppertone Girl sign — a fabulous jewel in the MiMo Historic District.
1. The Miami Herald – 12/03/08
2.Antolin Carbonell – local historian