Re the Oct. 12 story Coral Gables to spend $1 million on monuments in two traffic circles: The story said that the project will create Coral Gables’ first new monument in 85 years and that “no one knows why Coral Gables stopped constructing such grand monuments after [George] Merrick’s death in 1942.”
However, in 1989, the members of the Coral Gables Garden Club created the Adopt an Entrance Project. The purpose was to recognize and praise Merrick’s remarkable achievements by building monuments that our city founder planned but was unable to complete because of the Great Depression. The project also sought to add beauty and luster to our city.
The Garden Club’s 21-year effort, which raised $1.4 million, constructed and donated to the community the following monuments: the beautiful entrances and fountains at Red Road and Coral Way, Miracle Mile and Douglas Road and Ponce de Leon Blvd. and Southwest Eighth Street; the 12-foot George Merrick bronze monument in front of City Hall; and the life-size bronze monument of Althea Merrick, George’s mother, at the Merrick House.
The Garden Club/Coral Gables partnership involved the entire community’s spirited financial support, and residents, businesses and visitors were the project’s beneficiaries. Our motives are not to receive glory, but to maximize Coral Gables’ talents and resources to enhance our community. The Coral Gables Garden Club commends the city’s new monument initiative and looks forward to future projects of monumental impact.
Betsy Adams, chair, Adopt an Entrance Project, Coral Gables Garden Club, Coral Gables