(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- Activities: Carl Thompson, the son of the late Larry and Penny Thompson (the park's namesakes) will share family photos and cherished stories about his parents' family life that was popularized in his father's famed Miami Herald daily column "Life with Larry Thompson." Carl will also present the park with the gift of his father's circa 1941 Remington Noiseless Portable Typewriter which he used to write his columns, while on family camping trips. The typewriter will become part of a permanent display at the park.
Background: Larry and Penny Thompson Park and Campground, with its 270-acre of natural South Florida woodland, bridle trails and hiking paths is considered one of the last portions of wilderness in Miami-Dade County.
In 1977 Larry and Penny Thompson Park and Campground was dedicated in memory of Larry and Penny Thompson, avid campers and Miami-Dade civic leaders who were staunch advocates of park preservation and beautification. Larry was a Miami Herald columnist and humorist for more than 25 years. His Miami Herald column "Life with Larry Thompson" was a mainstay for many South Floridians during the 1950s, 1960s and up until his death in 1973.
Each summer, the Thompsons would take their children on a cross-country camping trip lasting four weeks and thousands of miles. Over the years, they traveled to 48 states and most of the national parks. During these family road trips, Larry Thompson wrote his column using this portable typewriter, which he would perch on a picnic table at their camp site. The next day, he would air mail the column back to Miami where readers eagerly awaited the next installment of the Thompson Family adventure.
During the 1940s, Penny Thompson was a leader in women's aviation in South Florida, organizing international women's air races, publishing an aviation newspaper, spearheading the drive to name the Amelia Earhart Park in Miami after the famed aviatrix and serving as president of the Florida chapter of the Ninety-Nines, the international organization of women pilots. During World War II, she joined the Civil Air Patrol and flew her plane from the old Richmond Air Base (adjacent to the Larry and Penny Thompson Park) to search for German submarines in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1953 Larry Thompson interviewed Penny for a story about women pilots. They fell in love, the next year they were married and Penny became a part of the "Life with Larry Thompson" column. In 1954 the Thompsons had twins (Carl and Evellen) and the next year Penny organized the Mothers of Twins Club in South Florida. To celebrate her twins' April 1st birthday, she created the Miami Twins Easter Parade which became an annual event on Biscayne Blvd. in downtown Miami for many years.
About the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation & Open Spaces Department:
Nationally accredited, a three-time winner of the NRPA National Gold Medal Award and winner of the 2009 Florida Governor's Sterling Award for excellence in management and operations, Miami-Dade County Parks is the third largest county park system in the United States, consisting of 260 parks and 12,848 acres of land. It is one of the most unique park and recreation systems in the world. Made up of more than just playgrounds and athletic fields, it also comprises out-of-school, sports-development, and summer-camp programs; programs for seniors and people with disabilities; educational nature centers and nature preserves; environmental restoration efforts; arts and culture programs and events; the renowned Zoo Miami and the Deering Estate at Cutler; the Crandon Tennis Center, home of the Sony Ericsson Open; golf courses; beaches; marinas; campgrounds; pools; and more. For information about Miami-Dade County Parks call 3-1-1, or visit www.miamidade.gov/parks/.
Miami-Dade County Parks is supported by The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade a non-profit 501(c)3 organization supporting the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department's efforts to further develop Miami-Dade County's world-class parks system for residents and visitors. Its mission is to create a healthier, more livable and sustainable Miami community by ensuring the implementation of the Parks Open Space Master Plan and the development of year-round park and recreation programs for local children, adults and people with disabilities. For more information on the Parks Foundation, please visit www.parksfoundationofmiami-dade.com.
To request material in accessible format, information on access for persons with disabilities, or sign language interpreter services (7 days in advance), call 305-755-7848.