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Fourth Annual Founder’s Day Ceremony in Coral Gables held on June 3 2024


Coral Gables founder George Edgar Merrick was born on June 3, 1886, less than 15 years before the turn of the century. He grew into the “modern renaissance man” of the 20th century—an entrepreneur and visionary; a millionaire who gave away most of his fortune before he lost the rest of it; a public servant and civic leader; an author and a poet.

On a balmy Monday afternoon in June, a group of Gables movers, shakers and HPACG members gathered at Merrick House for a celebration of George Merrick’s birthday. The festive “Founder’s Day” event honored the man who turned a South Florida pioneer village into one of America’s premier garden cities, which it remains to this day as it approaches the Centennial.of its 1925 incorporation.

“By Invitation Only”

At this 4th annual Founder’s Day tribute, sponsored by the Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables, and hosted by the Merrick House Governing Board, guests and dignitaries were reminded of one of the primary sources of Merrick’s vision — the 1832 book by American novelist Washington Irving, “Tales of The Alhambra.” In memorializing this inspirational work, local historian and Irving scholar, Rabbi Howard Berman, spoke of its foundational importance to the look, feel and tone of our master-planned community — up to and including the naming of our streets, av enues and boulevards. HPACG President Karelia Martinez Carbonell introduced speaker Berman and presented the rare copy of Washington Irving’s book* that she had sourced online to add to the Merrick House archives. In attendance, among other notables, were Mayor Lago, Vice Mayor Anderson and Commissioners Fernandez and Menendez and former mayors James Cason and Dorothy Thomson.



If there was an underlying theme to this congenial gathering, it was authenticity. The setting, the provenance, the attendees, even Merrick himself…existed in the here and now. At the very least for one memorably enchanted afternoon.

*A gift from Drs. Karelia and Marino Carbonell
On June 3 2024, this book “Tales of the Alhambra” by Washington Irving Putnam & Co.1882 Hudson Edition was bestowed to the Coral Gables Merrick House. This completes the Merrick House’s Washington Irving collection. The donated book is the same year and publisher as the collection in the House, however, the edition is different. Currently the Hudson Edition is displayed on a stand on the desk in the downstairs “office.” Legend has it that in 1921 George and Eunice Merrick sat down at their honeymoon cottage Poinciana Place with Frank Button’s map of the city and used Tales of the Alhambra and The Conquest of Granada to choose the names for Coral Gables streets. The original book has been missing from the collection since the House was opened as a museum in 1978. It is presumed that the Merricks never returned it to Althea’s home [Merrick House].


Please Email us:   HPACG P.O. Box 347944 Coral Gables, FL 33234