The Deering Estate is a South Florida gem. Its rich history is rarely known at the level you will experience it with a screening of an award-winning 26-minute documentary film called On This Land, The Charles Deering Estate.
Becky Roper Matkov believes there is no better way of gaining an understanding of a community than to learn about its history. For her work over three decades to promote and protect Miami’s historic places, she was honored in 2015 with the State of Florida’s Mary Call Darby Collins Award for dedication and action that “forever changed the course of historic preservation in Florida.”
Becky is a graduate of Duke University, where she majored in English literature and played leading roles in stage productions. She received a master’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Becky worked as a newspaper reporter and magazine writer and founded the award-winning Preservation Today magazine. She is the co-author of the book Florida’s Historic Restaurants and the editor of the coffee-table book Miami’s Historic Neighborhoods.
For 18 years Becky served as executive director of Dade Heritage Trust, Miami’s largest nonprofit historic preservation organization. During that time she co-produced a public television series, appeared on radio and TV shows and led efforts to preserve the Freedom Tower, the 2000-year-old Miami Circle, the historic Miami City Cemetery, Old Miami High, the Hubbard/Alvarez Bungalow, the Dice House, the Miami Marine Stadium, the Miami Herald Building and the archeological remains at MetSquare of the Tequesta, Ft. Dallas and Royal Palm Hotel.
Becky has cared deeply about the Deering Estate since it was first purchased by the State of Florida in 1985, attending its opening tea dance and visiting the then newly discovered Cutler Fossil Site. She was Florida manager of The Elizabeth Ordway Dunn Foundation when it awarded the grant that led to the creation of the Deering Estate Foundation in 1989. She has been a board member of the Deering Estate Foundation since 2009.
A former chairman of the State of Florida’s Historic Preservation Advisory Council, Becky currently serves on the boards of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation and the Stiltsville Trust.
Becky is a past president of the Junior League of Miami and a member of the International Women’s Forum. An alum of Leadership Florida, she has served on the boards of Palmer Trinity School, The Villagers, Inc., the Prologue Society and the Governor’s Council for Sustainable Florida.