Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Coral Gables - 1920s Concept City

To get into Miami from the faraway "Everglades" campground meant running the gauntlet of the racetrack known as the Dixie Highway, which determined us to check out other noted highlights while we were in the area. Great! First up was Coconut Grove! In spite of numerous claims to fame (and probably as many to infamy), this Miami neighborhood simply didn't do it for us. Vaguely defined geographically and running the gamut from the City Hall housed in the original Pan American Airline seaplane operations building on Biscayne Bay to acres of run down city housing and all that that entails, the "Grove", also known as Miami's food court, turned out to be a brief stop. At least we escaped without being mugged! Coral Gables was our other target and this turned out to be a more enjoyable visit. One of the earliest ever planned communities, and precursor both of the gated community and the homeowners association, Coral Gables remains notorious for its rigoous aesthetic regulations. Developed by George Edgar Merrick during the Florida land boom of the 1920s, the city's architecture is predominantly Mediterranean Revival Style with a number of quirky exceptions. For example, there is a Chinese Village section, a couple of French sections and even a Dutch South African section among others. By 1926, the city covered about 15 square miles and currently stands at more than twice that area. Merrick designed the downtown commercial district to be only four blocks wide and more than two miles long including an exclusive shopping area known as the Miracle Mile. In 1925, the city was selected as the home to the University of Miami, which was constructed approximately two miles south of downtown Coral Gables. A rather authoritarian approach to casual country living perhaps, but property prices have certainly benefited from it. See more features here.

1 comment:

A&A said...

how pretty :)