Locals to Know: Christine Rupp preserves Miami’s local character and history

Today’s Locals to Know is sponsored by Dade Heritage Trust.

2022 marks this invaluable organization’s 50th anniversary of preserving all the places that make Miami the Magic City. You can support their work and immerse yourself in local history by checking out DHT’s calendar of upcoming events

Name: Christine Rupp

Facebook: @DadeHeritageTrustMiami

Instagram: @dhtmiami

What’s your favorite Miami memory? 

That’s a tough one seeing as I have been here for 29 years! September UM games at the Orange Bowl: hot and sweaty crazy crowds; foot-stomping; bad draft beer; Sebastian in the end zone; C-A-N-E-S; all soundtracked to Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.”  No [other] atmosphere in college football came close.

Another: serving tequila in a red solo cup to a barefoot Jimmy Buffet at a fundraiser and concert for the Miami Marine Stadium at the Coral Gables Museum — I think it was in 2012.  Gloria Estefan and Jimmy talked about their Marine Stadium memories and then performed — Gloria was Jimmy’s backup singer and Emilio played a paella lid with a drumstick. Needless to say, everyone was in Margaritaville!

Tell us about your work, whether that’s your job and/or any volunteer work. 

Firstly, I love my job! I am the Executive Director at Dade Heritage Trust. The Trust’s focus is on historic preservation and working to preserve our community’s architectural, environmental, and cultural heritage. I work with local governments as well as partner with nonprofits for programming and initiatives to encourage Miamians to learn about where they live.  We offer bike and walking tours, Baking in Historic Places, an awesome K-12 education program, and SO MUCH MORE. The Trust is working hard to preserve manmade and natural symbols of Miami history, and we are celebrating our 50th anniversary this year!

Pick a favorite local outdoor experience. What is it? What’re we doing? Who’s going with ya?

This is really difficult given everything Miami-Dade offers — the beach, snorkeling, kayaking, biking, boating, amazing parks, archeology, National Parks, urban forests. Let’s see… an Everglades Slough Slog, biking the Shark Valley Bike Trail, snorkeling around Bear Cut, and picking strawberries in the Redland. I’m sorry, but I can’t pick just one!

What’s your favorite local Instagram or TikTok account and why? 

Dade Heritage Trust, of course. We have cool events, and if you follow us you’ll know more about them!

If you could eat only one meal from a local restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

Really, with all of the great food in Miami? OK… I could eat stone crab every day of my life.  Probably pizza, too. I do a lot of cooking at home and sadly, my range of restaurant experience is probably not what it should be. Give me a slice of Casola’s and I’m a very happy girl.

What’s a project you’re working on (big or small) and how can our readers help you with it?

I think the most important project Dade Heritage Trust is working on now is our preservation initiative with affordable housing. We are in the process of purchasing our second apartment building in Little Havana — which has an amazing stock of historic buildings — in need of restoration to provide better living conditions for the tenants. The key is keeping them affordable, so, we purchase a building that meets the requirements for historic designation. From there we designate it, restore, rehab, and preserve the building in order to retain its affordability. There are some great economic incentives to do this type of work and we hope to become an example to the development community — specifically with demonstrating that rehab is more cost-effective than demolition and definitely better for the environment — and illustrate that with restoration the character of the neighborhood architecture stays intact.

How can readers help? By learning about where they live and understanding that in order for Miami to be sustainable, we need to help create a better Miami for all. Of course we all adore those beautiful, iconic Miami images like the beach and the glossy glass towers. But there is a Miami where people are struggling against the tide of new money and insensitive redevelopment of urban neighborhoods that have their own stories to tell, not to mention historic places and green spaces that deserve to be preserved due to their local importance. Great cities showcase their history and provide an interesting mix of old and new.

I encourage people to get civically engaged and explore all of Miami — Dade Heritage Trust can help on this front!

What are you looking forward to this year?

2022 is special, as it is DHT’s 50th anniversary. We have some really great community programs planned: monthly bike tours exploring a variety of Miami’s urban neighborhoods in partnership with the Friends of The Underline, UM’s Bike Safe program, Friends of the Commodore Trail and Bike Walk Coral Gables; themed walking tours of our Brickell neighborhood focusing on the architecture, history, Miami Circle and The Underline; Baking in Historic Places; tours of the historic buildings in the city of Miami’s Lummus Park and more. We also have events planned in partnership with many of Miami-Dade County’s historic venues, parks, and waterways. It’s going to be a great 2022! Visit dadeheritagetrust.org and follow us on social media to stay informed of all of these great offerings.

By The New Tropic Creative Studio
The WhereBy.Us Creative Studio helps clients big and small engage locals, through campaigns that use creative marketing, storytelling, events, and activations to build community, conversation, and impact.