When Nook Sales Experts match a buyer with their dream home, the only thing as important as architectural style is the neighborhood. That’s why we’re bringing you the #NookNeighborhoods series, where every Wednesday you’ll find cool history and culture to make sure you don’t overlook an area that could have the best nook for you.
George Merrick would beam with pride at how his dream of Coral Gables thrives today. Returning to Miami in the 1890s after his father passed away, Merrick looked over the grapefruit groves and citrus plantation and saw a future community in the Garden City style. This design was meant as an alternative for the working class, so they didn’t have to choose between farms or quickly overcrowding cities. They could enjoy planned neighborhoods where there was support for businesses and landscaped residences to enjoy the natural world around them.
Merrick’s vision initially included canals and Mediterranean style homes. Each village expanded to a separate international theme, such as Dutch South African, where Marion Sym Wyeth designed farmhouses in the tradition of South Africa’s Dutch colonists. Henry Killam Murphy arranged ornamental homes in the Chinese Village, connected to one another by a wall. You can visit the 15th century inspired French Normandy Village designed by John and Coulton Skinner, or 18th-century French country Village that houses both rustic and farmhouse styles. And if none of those styles tickles you, try the French City Village, Italian Village and Florida Pioneer/Colonial Village.
Coral Gables also followed the City Beautiful plan, emphasizing beauty in every corner, facade and interior. Its future seemed very bright, but Merrick was not around to see it. Between a 1926 hurricane and The Great Depression, Coral Gables did not see a renewal of interest until post World War II, by which time Merrick had died.
Visit this town today and the architecture will still transport you to the Mediterranean; in fact, if you build in the this Style then you receive cash incentives. The National Register of Historic Places list Coral Gables City Hall, The Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables Merrick House and Venetian Pool. Green space occupies more than thirty percent of available land, including golf courses and parks. The University of Miami offers a steady stream of younger people who respect that architectural history in every building they see. Don’t fret that it’s a party town; UM students tend to take their partying to the busier parts of Miami and leave their residences in peace.
If you want to move to Coral Gables, though, you’ll find even more incentive in the quality of living than the classic architecture. Many Miami residents feel their safest here, with lower crime rates and much milder traffic than anywhere in the Miami-Dade area. You still have access to all the amenities and leisure activities you could want, but without the sometimes aggravating parts to living in a big city. The city’s Economic Development branch prioritizes improving the quality of life so people can live and work where they love and you can see it in every corner of this Miami nook.
Even today, Coral Gables sustains Merrick’s vision, providing an oasis to families who need a bit of city and a lot of home with an abundance of green.