The little blonde girl whose dog tugs at
her bathing suit is synonymous with the Coppertone name and the famous
neon Coppertone sign has become synonymous with the city of Miami in the
nearly six decades since it was installed on Biscayne Boulevard.
"Schering-Plough, owners of the Coppertone trademark, donated the sign
to the citizens of Miami in 1991 and placed it in the care of the Dade
Heritage Trust, a nonprofit preservation organization. The Trust has
taken loving care of its adopted daughter ever since. After refurbishing
the critical parts that could be salvaged then — light boxes containing
the girl, her dog, and the letters that spell out Coppertone — the group
ceremoniously placed the sign on the east side of the Concord Building
at 66 W. Flagler St., not too far from her old home. Sadly, now this
second locale is no longer able to host the popular image."
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Rescue efforts have resulted in the removal of the sign from its current
home on the Concord Building across from the courthouse.
"The Miami icon will be gently transported to Hialeah, to the Tropical
Signs of Florida shop, whose part-owner, Jerry Bengis, is the son of the
man who made her in 1959. There she will be evaluated and -- if
Coppertone owner Schering-Plough finds the bill palatable -- restored to
her full, flashing neon glory.