The founder of the City of Coral Gables, George Merrick (1886-1942), published Songs of the Wind on a Southern Shore, and other Poems of Florida (1920), a collection of more than 30 songs and poems honoring the South Florida landscape of his day. You can choose any to download through this University of South Florida link: http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/202/songs-of-the-wind-on-a-southern-shore-and-other-poems-of-florida.
Merrick purchased and developed the land that would become the City of Coral Gables. He also was among the founders of the University of Miami (the main campus resides in Coral Gables). My grandfather was one of a number of builders who benefited from Merrick’s foresight by constructing several homes in Coral Gables in the mid-20th century. They remain beautifully situated in the lovely neighborhoods of this carefully preserved city.
The iconic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables maintains an ongoing exhibit honoring the memory of the town father.
Learn more about George Merrick by visiting The Coral Gables Merrick House at 907 Coral Way in Coral Gables. According to the Merrick House website (https://www.coralgables.com/coral-gables-merrick-house):
“Step back in time to the Roaring Twenties when visiting the Coral Gables Merrick House, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. View 14 rooms on your docent-guided tour, and afterwards roam the grounds to see the historic grotto filled with koi, the heritage garden, and the lily pond. The expansive wraparound porch set amongst the flora is a beautiful backdrop for photographs.
“Inside this charming home, you will view original family furnishings, period architectural details, and artwork created by family. You will hear the fascinating story of the Merrick family’s rise to become millionaires and learn about George Merrick who was a poet, farmer, and founder of the City Beautiful Coral Gables. George’s poetry book, garden books, and note cards are available for purchase after your 50-minute tour.”
Additionally, a statue of him is visible in front of the Coral Gables City Hall.
The George Merrick House is the fourth stop on Florida Author Adventures Trail #2.
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