Homestead community members gathered July 10th to honor the life and legacy of Homestead pioneer Ruth Campbell with a memorial and lighting ceremony. The night began with an open house and reception at the Historic Homestead Town Hall Museum.
Ms. Campbell, a former Homestead Vice Mayor, was also the Museum’s first Director and spearheaded the effort to preserve the Town Hall.
As guests arrived, they mingled while looking at the museum’s collection of Homestead history exhibits and a special display of photos and memorabilia from Ruth Campbell’s time on City Council and as Museum Director. Once the sun began to set, the crowd moved outside to being the lighting ceremony.
Yvonne Knowles of the Historic Homestead Town Hall Museum Board, Homestead Main Street Organization, and Homestead Historic Preservation Board led the program for the evening, which included remarks from the Museum Board President Charlie Hudson, members of the Homestead City Council, and Homestead City Manager.
“This is part of the City of Homestead’s commitment to restoring our history and building our future—part of the overall revitalization of our Historic Downtown,” said Knowles. “Tonight, we honor the life and legacy of one of our Homestead pioneers and light this museum as a focal point for the future of Downtown Homestead.”
Together, the crowd led a countdown to the lighting of the Museum. As the lights blazed into action and illuminated the historic façade, Bing Crosby’s “I’ll Be Seeing You” played—signifying the fact that Ruth Campbell’s legacy will be seen in the Museum for years to come.
This historic structure was constructed in 1917, and is on both the local and the national registries of historic buildings. It served as the City of Homestead Council Chambers, Police Department, and Fire House until City Hall moved in 1975. In 1980, at the behest of local merchants seeking to increase parking along Krome Avenue, the City Council resolved to demolish the structure.
Thanks to donations from community members opposed to the demolition and a state grant for historic preservation, the building was restored and turned into a museum that opened to the public in 1994. Currently, it houses historical artifacts, photographs of early families and places, and a library and archives open to researchers. Learn more at www.townhallmuseum.org.