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Third Annual Founder’s Day Ceremony in Coral Gables


In June, the Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables commemorated the third annual “Founder’s Day” in recognition of George Merrick’s birth anniversary, his life, and his legacy. Two years ago, the City of Coral Gables issued a Proclamation to mark the 135th anniversary of George Merrick’s birth and proclaimed it “Founder’s Day” — launching the annual tradition. Last year, the city went a step further and officially recognized, by unanimous resolution, June 3rd as “Founder’s Day in Coral Gables” in honor of Coral Gables Founder George E. Merrick.

The theme of the ceremony this year celebrated Merrick’s legacy and his love of beauty and architecture. George Edgar Merrick wore many hats. On June 3, 1925 [Merrick’s 39th Birthday], during a newspaper interview, Merrick was asked what he wanted to do after he accomplished his “monumental city,” and he responded, “After that I may be able to sit down and do what I have always wanted to do–write.” An indication that building a city did not totally define him.

An elegant Champagne reception was held at the newly restored H. George Fink Studio, a hallmark example of Mediterranean Revival architecture, which the City of Coral Gables purchased in 2016. Guests benefited from a special presentation by architect Ana Alvarez and her team at Martinez Alvarez Architects along with conservator Caroline Dickensheets of RLA Conservation, who discussed the restoration and conservation project. Their collaboration was instrumental in the Fink Studio winning the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art Florida Chapter 2022 Addison Mizner Award for Historic Preservation. Ana and Caroline honored Merrick through their work in restoring one of the first buildings in Merrick’s fledgling city. The Fink Studio received Local Historic Landmark Designation in 1984.

Vice Mayor Rhonda Anderson and The Honorable Dorothy Thomson were in attendance. Thomson was the first and [to date] the only woman Mayor in Coral Gables, who in 2006 played a significant role in Merrick’s legacy. She was chair of the fundraising committee that commissioned Merrick’s statue in front of city hall.

The private event, chaired by Association President Karelia Martinez Carbonell, garnered an intimate number of guests that included donors and friends of the organization who care about historic preservation and for the man whose vision they strive to preserve every day. Dignitaries present included representatives of our city’s civic society. Thank you to Mayor Vince Lago, for his support and blessing and Belkys Perez, Economic Development Director, for her hospitality. Belkys and her team are poised to be great stewards of the Fink Studio.


The Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables is a 501c3 non-profit founded in 1991. The Association promotes the understanding of the importance of historic resources and their preservation. For more information and/or to support the mission of HPACG, please visit

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