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the essential on-line guide for information about Coral Gables, Florida
Sightseeing Opportunities in Coral Gables
Coral Gables was carefully and thoughtfully designed to be a beautiful city. Many of the early buildings, both public and private, set a standard of elegance that still defines the tone and ambience of the city we know today. Many of these treasures have been designated as historic landmarks.

Merrick's grand city entrances and regional thematic villages remain a testament to this penchant for celebrating international styles of architecture. His talent for creating unique amenities set Coral Gables apart from other communities decades ago, and the foundation he literally laid within his 10,000 acres of "back country" have continued to blossom. Celebrated and embraced by sequent generations, these jewels of oolite stone, bricks and mortar have been maintained and embellished faithfully within the parameters of Merrick's original intentions.

Many of these well known locations offer the visitor a glimpse of the past, even as they continue to reflect the style and grace that defines Coral Gables.

Venetian Pool and Casino
2701 De Soto Boulevard, phone 305-460-5306
One of the outstanding treasures of Coral Gables, Venetian Pool, once the site of a rock quarry, was designed in Mediterranean Revival style by Phineas E. Paist to resemble a natural lagoon in a Venetian setting. Located at 2701 DeSoto Boulevard four blocks south of Coral Way on Granada, the pool is open most days of the year for a small admission fee.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
10901 Old Cutler Rd., phone 305-667-1651
One of the world's preeminent botanic gardens, it boasts extensive collections of rare tropical plants including palms, cycads, flowering trees and vines. Opened to the pubic in 1938, the 83-acre garden offers a variety of programs in environmental education, conservation and horticulture. A narrated tram tour takes visitors through the lush and extensive garden. The garden was designed by renowned landscape architect William Lyman Phillips, a member of the Frederik Law Olmsted partnership, and the leading designer of South Florida parks during the 1930s. An international leader in tropical plant research, Fairchild plays an important part in preserving the biodiversity of the tropical environment.
The Biltmore Hotel Resort
1200 Anastasia Avenue, phone 305-445-1926
Constructed in 1926 at a cost of more than $10 million, this unique Mediterranean Revival resort, country club, convention center and championship golf course is located at 1200 Anastasia Avenue.

Designed by architects Schultze and Weaver, it includes a 10-story main block, 7-story wings, 15-story central tower and a hipped roof. The grand tower was inspired by Giralda Tower of Seville, Spain.

Goldolas traveled along the waterways and the grand ballrooms were filled with the affluent clientele of the boom era.

Coral Gables Merrick House
907 Coral Way, phone 305-460-5361
The original home of the Merrick family, purchased sight unseen in 1899, formerly the Gregory Homestead. The house was upgraded from a small wooden structure to a majestic oolite rock Classical Revival home in 1906.

The back country cabin came with two acres of guavas, which were juiced to make jelly, a local delicacy.

The signature gabled tile roof made of "coral rock" influenced the naming of the newly improved structure, the community and the city. Interestingly, George Merrick's mother Althea wanted to name the property "Guavonia" but the clan was thankfully influenced by President Grover Cleveland's summer home "Gray Gables."

In the rear, a fern-draped rock grotto features shady sitting areas, running water and a small pond -- the perfect place to repose on a hot summer afternoon.

The property is now a city museum with guided tours.

City Hall Historic District
405 Biltmore Way, phone 305-460-5201
Designed by architects Phineas Paist and Denman Fink, this majestic building features three stories made from limestone quarried from Venetian Pool, a classic tile roof, and three stage clock tower.

Across the street, mighty oaks provide shade for George Merrick Park.

The courtyard has been the scene of many city events and celebrations and the site is home to the farmers' market that runs from January through March each year and the Merrick Festival in April.

Historic Coral Way
S.W. 24th Street - Coral Way between LeJeune Road on the east and Red Road on the west
The lush canopy of mature oaks that line Coral Way between LeJeune Road and Red Road offer a cool, attractive setting for many historic homes located along this beautiful drive, among them the Merrick Family's home known as Coral Gables.

Coral Way begins at Brickell Avenue in Downtown Miami and continues west to SW 137th Avenue, but the section that includes Miracle Mile and the lushly tree lined historic section of Coral Gables stands apart as uniquely beautiful.

Notable Scenic Roads

Before building Coral Gables, Merrick served 15 months as a Dade County commissioner in 1915 and 1916, during which time he directed roadway funds to build Coral Way, Red Road, Granada Boulevard, Bird Road and a number of other principal thoroughfares that would later serve his emerging community.

If everything in Coral Gables was to be a work of art, the roads would be no exception. With wide boulevards, reflecting pools and fountains, tropical flowering trees, swaying palms, lush gardens and giant banyan trees that created tunnels of green canopy to shade the way, driving down the roads in Coral Gables was simply a scenic experience in itself.

Alhambra Circle takes the passenger on a guided tour of the city. From the entrance at Douglas, it passes through an expansive esplanade and downtown's tallest buildings. It continues west by the Country Club with a fountain plaza and past some of the nicest homes in the city before passing the Alhambra Water Tower. Here it turns south along the elegant Country Club Prado, past the Biltmore Hotel, through a quiet neighborhood of golf and waterfront homes toward the University of Miami.

Granada Boulevard features a lovely entrance at 8th street and travels south past the country club and Coral Way, Venetian Pool and the elegant DeSoto Plaza Fountain. It continues past the Biltmore Hotel, following the waterway near Blue Road, the Riviera Country Club and University of Miami. South of US1, Granada waterfront homes are some of the most exclusive in the city and the road curves gently east before it ends at Sunset Drive near Cartegena Plaza.

Old Cutler Road, famous for its tree lined canopies as it winds along the coastal ridge south, was built between 1915 and 1919. Originally named Ingraham Highway, it connected Coconut Grove and Miami with the towns of Cutler and Homestead, continuing on to the Everglades. Today, it passes through Coral Gables most exclusive waterfront homes in Sunrise Point, Cocoplum, Gables Estates, Old Cutler Bay, Hammock Lakes, Snapper Creek, Gables By The Sea, Deering Bay and Kings Bay.

Alhambra Water Tower
intersection of Alhambra Circle, Greenway Drive, De Soto Boulevard and Anderson Road
Buit in 1925 and designed to look like a lighthouse, the magnificent 110 foot Alhambra Water Tower sits at the western edge of the Granada Golf Course at the intersection of Alhambra Circle and Ferdinand Streets.

The inner steel structure of the water tower was covered with an artistic exterior as an example of how even the most utilitarian elements of city infrastructure could become works of art under Merrick's imaginative direction.

The tower was faithfully restored in 1993, including the copper-rib dome, multicolored frescoes and sun dial on the southern face and today remains a local landmark on the register of historic places in Coral Gables.

De Soto Plaza and Fountain
intersection of Sevilla Avenue, Granada Boulevard and De Soto Boulevard
Only eight blocks long, DeSoto Boulevard connects the historic Biltmore Hotel with Biltmore Way, leading into downtown Coral Gables.

Bisecting this gently curving scenic road through the upscale residential area where the boulevards of De Soto and Granada intersect with Sevilla Avenue, a traffic circle plaza decorated with a majestic fountain is accented by colorful flowers and tall palms.

From this point, you are only blocks from City Hall, Coral Way, Granada Golf Course, Venetian Pool, the historic Congregational Church, Merrick House, the David William Hotel, Miracle Mile and the Biltmore Hotel and Golf Course.

Colonnade Building
169 Miracle Mile, phone 305-441-2600
George Merrick's land office was located here in the heart of Coral Gables at 169 Miracle Mile at the intersection of Ponce de Leon Boulevard. The signature oval-shaped grand rotunda ballroom features 6,000 square feet of space three stories tall, complete with clouds and blue skies painted on the ceiling.

Refurbished and mated with the Westin Colonnade Hotel and office complex, the original building is well complimented by the design of the newer additions. A popular Italian restaurant, a panini lunch cafe and an exotic antique dealer are just a few of the merchants located at the street level.

Country Club of Coral Gables
997 North Greenway Drive, phone 305-448-7464
Designed by Merrick to be a social centerpiece for his affluent community, the country club is located at 997 North Greenway Drive.

Completed in 1923, the building was re-opened in 2004 after 19 months of construction to refurbish the aging property to its previous glory.

Families have enjoyed the restaurant and bar, the ballrooms and theme parties, the large pool and outdoor setting for decades.

Country Club Historic District
area generally bounded by North and South Greeway Drives, surrounding and including the Granada Golf Course
The homes surrounding the Granada golf course along North and South Greenway Drives and Granada Boulevard are designated as a unique historic district.

Some of these outstanding homes open their doors for special historic tours during the winter season.

The low traffic and beautiful open spaces on the greenway drive circuit make it very popular with runners, joggers and pedestrians in the twilight hours.

Matheson Hammock Historic District
area generally bounded by Journey's End Subdivision and a portion of the Coral Gables deep waterway to the north, the Snapper Creek property to the south, Old Cutler Bay Subdivision and Avocado Land Company to the west; and Biscayne Bay to the east
In 1930, wealthy land owners of the Matheson family donated a large tract of heavily wooded hammock forest to the county for the purposes of public recreation. The park extends from Old Cutler Road (once known as Ingraham Highway) east to Biscayne Bay.

The property is bordered by Fairchild Tropical Gardens and the State of Florida Preservation area to the south, creating a large undeveloped natural bayfront with mangroves, shallow water and turtle grass in the flats.

The park is very popular for family picnics in the hammock and swimming at the beach. The full service marina and docks are home to many pleasure boats and the boat ramps are busy on the weekends. Wind surfers and kite surfers frequent the shallows where consistent bay breezes offer water sport enthusiasts ideal conditions.

The popular Redfish Grille, overlooking the beach, saltwater pool and Biscayne Bay, serves seafood specialties and All-American favorites with indoor and outdoor seating all year.

Miracle Theatre
280 Miracle Mile, phone 305-444-9293
The Miracle Theater at 280 Miracle Mile was built in 1947 with its sumptuous Art Deco lobby and bold marquee.

The City of Coral Gables purchased the historic movie house in 1995 and the restored theater became a performing arts center with its 600-seat mainstage auditorium. In 1998, a 300-seat second stage was completed.

Actor's Playhouse produces a number of quality productions each season and the location of the theater on Miracle Mile offers a myriad of good dining opportunities within easy walking range, including the dazzling Caribbean cuisine of Ortanique, located in the theater building.

Old Police and Fire Station (Museum)s
285 Aragon Avenue, phone 305-460-5093
Now designated as the Coral Gables Museum, this historic building is located at 285 Aragon Avenue at the N.E. Corner of Aragon Avenue and Salzedo Street.

Built in 1939 in the Mediterranean Revival style, the building was designed by famed architect Phineas Paist and built by the Works Progress Administration with limestone obtained from Florida Keys, featuring Depression Moderne sculpture on the facade.

Coral Gables Waterways
In addition to thousands of acres of bayfront property in Coral Gables, developer George Merrick boasted more than 40 miles of waterways throughout the "Miami Riviera," weaving inland from Biscayne Bay through exclusive neighborhoods.

Gondoliers from Venice ferried passengers on real gondolas along the placid route from the Biltmore Hotel to Tahaiti Beach. Picnics and romantic boat rides were a popular pastime for residents and visitors.

Cocoplum Marina is near the mouth of the waterway where boats access the channel into Biscayne Bay. The waterway travels west into the city, passing Cartegena Plaza, where Old Cutler Road, Sunset Drive, Ingraham Highway, Cocoplum Road and LeJeune Road intersect. It continues north along Riviera Drive north of Bird Road where it reaches the Biltmore Hotel. Another leg of the waterway ventures west through the University of Miami with its large lake, then east to Granada Boulevard near the Riviera Country Club.

Pinewood Cemetery
Erwin Road just south of Sunset Drive, phone 305-460-5093
The oldest remaining pioneer cemetery in Dade County, Pinewood fell into a state of disrepair until the late 1980s when a dedicated group of preservationists began efforts to improve the condition of this historic site.

This 4 acre parcel was never officially designated a burial ground, but was commonly used as such since 1897, with a few graves dating back to the 1840s.

Members of the Gregory family, original owners of the homestead where the Merrick's built their Coral Gables home, are buried here at the intersection of Sunset and Erwin Roads.

Coral Gables Woman's Club
1001 & 1009 East Ponce de Leon Boulevard, phone 305-448-7080
Built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Depression, this historic building at 1001 East Ponce De Leon Boulevard features two distinct grand halls, occupied by the Woman's Club and Junior Woman's Club.

Designed by architects William Merriam and George Fink (Merrick's uncle), it stands as a rare example of Depression Moderne style with local oolite limestone rock and terra-cotta panels. Coral Gables first library, at Douglas Entrance, was moved to this building where it remained until the new library was built on Riviera Drive.

George Merrick Troop 7 Boy Scout Property
1107 South Greeneway Drive, phone 305-443-7973
Merrick set aside an outdoor environment for scouting before it became the middle of the Granada Golf Course. He built a rustic log cabin for the boys in 1926. It burned to the ground in 1971, but the old chimney still remains as a historic landmark with a marker and the scouts of Troop 7 still meet there every Wednesday evening in their more modern building at 1107 South Greenway Drive.
Girl Scout Little House
3940 Granada Boulevard, phone 305-253-4841
At the intersection of Granada, Bird and University Drive, this intimate little bungalow on the Gables Waterway has been home to girl scouts since the late 1920s at 3940 Granada Boulevard.
Doc Dammers' House
1141 Coral Way
The pioneer rock home at 1141 Coral Way was built by famed Coral Gables land salesman Doc Dammer, who earned a reputation for giving away valuable prizes to those that would attend his sales pitches from the back of a wagon. He later lead a team of more than 3,000 salesmen promoting Coral Gables to upscale buyers across the country and around the world. When George Merrick established the city of Coral Gables in 1925, Doc served as the first mayor.
Cocoplum Woman's Club
1375 Sunset Drive, phone 305-665-5731
This historic building in the south Gables is located on Sunset Drive, about five blocks east of Red Road at 1375 Sunset.
Santiago Street Historic District
South of 8th Street, 4 blocks east of Granada, this historic district includes many early homes. The most significant examples of Mediterranean Revival architecture are located in the first block from 8th Street. Addresses include: 810, 811, 814, 822, 832 and 910 Santiago Street
The Architectural
Theme Villages

As many as twenty international theme villages may have been planned by Merrick, but only seven were completed. The homes were generally concentrated tightly in the manner of the European urban environment.

Chinese Village
A complex of eight homes designed by Yale graduate Henry Killam Murphy, a leading authority on Oriental architecture -- located on Riviera Drive, just south of US1.

Dutch South African Village
At the southern end of LeJeune Road at San Vincente, group of homes were built in the distinctive style of the Dutch Afrikaner motif.

Florida Pioneer "Colonial" Village
The architectural style featured in these residences is an amalgamation of the Colonial Revival and Greek Revival movements. Merrick's Pioneer Village makes use of the indigenous building materials available in South Florida like oolite stone and dense Dade County pine. This collection of homes is located on Santa Maria just north of Blue Road.

French Country Village
Designed by famed architect Edgar Albright, this village in the 500 block of Hardee at
San Vicente includes stunning French Country residences on both sides of the street.

French City Village
A small group of large homes on Hardee and Cotorro at Leonardo, just east of Maynada, designed to reflect the urban French style of the late 19th century.

French Normandy Village
West of LeJeune on Alesio and Viscaya, these two story homes with signature large exposed wooden beams feature flowered window boxes and lush interior courtyards.

Italian Village
These homes based on Italian Renaissance style are located just west of Riviera at Altara, the area generally bounded by San Antonio Avenue, San Esteban Avenue, Monserrate Street and Segovia Street.

Plazas

Alhambra Plaza
A wide median runs east and west down the center of Alhambra from Douglas to LeJeune.

Balboa Plaza
A small fountain marks this small but beautiful setting where Coral Way Intersects with South Greenway Drive, DeSoto Boulevard and Anderson Road.

Cartagena Plaza
Celebrating the first sister city of Coral Gables, this circular plaza established in 1957 marks the intersections of old Cultler Road, LeJeune Road, Sunset Drive, Cocoplum Road and Ingram Highway.

Columbus Plaza
Coral Way, Intersection of Columbus Boulevard and Indian Mound Trail

DeSoto Plaza and Fountain
Intersection of Sevilla Avenue, Granada Boulevard and DeSoto Boulevard

Granada Plaza
Granada Boulevard and Alhambra Circle

LeJeune Plaza
Coral Way and LeJeune Road

Ponce De Leon Plaza
Coral Way and Granada Boulevard

Segovia Plaza
Intersection of Coral Way, Segovia Street and North Greenway Drive

City Entrances

Alhambra Entrance
Suggesting twin towers and a bridge, the stone archway entrance to Coral Gables at Alhambra Circle is located where Madeira Avenue meets Douglas Road.

Country Club Prado Entrance
Often used as a backdrop for photographs of brides, the picturesque entrance at SW 8th Street and Country Club Prado (one block east of Red Road) features a long reflecting pool and open porticos with a fountain in the shade of mature oaks.

Coral Way Entrance
The entrance at Red Road was designed and built by the Coral Gables Garden Club featuring twin columns and scalloped walls accented by brightly colored bougainvilleas.

Douglas Entrance
"La Puerta Del Sol"

Built in 1925 in the Mediterranean Revival style by architects Walter de Garmo, Denman Fink, and Phineas E. Paist, the original distinctive three story stone structure featured a tile hipped roof, 90-foot belfry tower and a 40-foot curved arch across the road. Built at a cost of a million dollars as the main entrance to the city from Miami, it included a commercial and residential complex.

Granada Entrance
A stone archway accented with beautiful plants and ornamental flowering trees marks the Granada Road entrance to Coral Gables from SW 8th Street.

Miracle Mile Entrance
At Douglas Road and Coral Way, two large columns with broad fountains and colorful flowerbeds mark the eastern entrance to Coral Gables and the start of Miracle Mile.

Historic Churches

Coral Gables Congregational Church
Built in 1924 by Merrick for his father, the sytle is Mediterranean Revival, designd by architects Kiehnel and Elliott. The Baroque belfry is its most prominent feature with sculptural relief over the main entrance. One of the earliest religious structures in city, it was designed as a replica of a church in Costa Rica.

Church of the Little Flower
Built in 1925, this beautiful church is located near the Biltmore Hotel at 2711 Indian Mound Trail. The region surrounding the church is designated a historic district border by Valencia, Palermo, Palos and Indian Mound Trail.

Historic Schools

Coral Gables Elementary School
Located on Ponce at 105 Minorca Ave, this unique building, designed by architect Richard Kiehnel, was constructed in Mediterranean Revival style. This complex of five 2-story buildings was begun in 1923 and completed in 1926, including two enclosed courtyards connected by shed-roof loggias.

George W. Carver Middle School
Located south of US1 at 238 Grand Avenue in the MacFarlane Homestead Subdivision Historic District.

Ponce De Leon Middle School
This was the only high school in Coral Gables until Coral Gables High School was built in 1951. Now serving as a middle school, the building is located just south of US1 across from the University of Miami at 5801 Augusto Street.

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