Coral Gables

George Merrick, a son of a Congregational minister, Solomon Merrick, was not even thirty years old when he embarked on the construction of Coral Gables. His familyfirst came here when he was only a child, escaping the raging blizzard happening in New England at the time. They were actually headed for Miami, but, because of a yellow fever quarantine, they decided to settle west in an area known then as “pine land.
George had a vision, a vision of a city inspired by the fury and tumult of the Old Testament. But instead of constructing a confining biblical fortress, as described by Ezekiel, Merrick proceeded to convert the plantation into a modern residential city with open inviting gates, wide avenues, trickling fountains and lush greenery, stretched into an immense garden commensurate with southern Florida. A visit to the city would begin with a passage through one of eight elaborately designed entrances intended to evoke the feeling of passing through the gates of an exotic walled city of antiquity.
He also traveled extensively. He traveled to Mexico ,and also almost all of Europe. This, and also his loved for Walt Whitman’s poems, for Washington Irving’s Alhambra, his knowledge of the English and American city-gardens, the City Beautiful movement, was certainly intended to seek clarity and practical technical solutions needed to create Coral Gable’s grandeur. But the seeds of these ideas might have sprouted from his Bible readings. Merrick wanted to begin the creation of this city right after his fathers death. Unfortunately, no bankers would give him a loan to begin his city. They did not believe he had the potential to construct such a city. The considered him a sort of dreamer, because he readpoetryy and wrote some himself. He finally got the money by selling lots to people living in Miami.
Florida was one of the things that Merrick loved. In 1920, while he was already working on the shape of Coral Gables, he wrote a po…

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