Coral Gables, Florida
Coral Gables, officially the City of Coral Gables, is a city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States, located southwest of Downtown Miami. The United States Census Bureau estimates conducted in 2019 yielded the city had a population of 49,700. Coral Gables is a Mediterranean-themed planned community known for its historic and affluent character reinforced by its strict zoning, popular landmarks, and tourist sights.
Coral Gables, Florida
|City of Coral Gables|
Downtown Coral Gables in April 2010
"The City Beautiful", "The Gables"
Location in Miami-Dade County and the state of Florida
U.S. Census Bureau map showing city limits
|Incorporated||April 29, 1925|
|• Mayor||Vince Lago|
|• Vice Mayor||Vacant|
|• Commissioners||Rhonda Anderson, Kirk Mendez, Michael Mena, and Jorge Fors, Jr.|
|• City Manager||Peter Iglesias|
|• City clerk||Billy Y. Urquia|
|• City||37.31 sq mi (96.64 km2)|
|• Land||12.93 sq mi (33.48 km2)|
|• Water||24.38 sq mi (63.16 km2)|
|Elevation||10 ft (2.8 m)|
|• Density||3,844.67/sq mi (1,484.43/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|Area code(s)||305 and 786|
|GNIS feature ID||0280801|
Coral Gables is home to the University of Miami.
Coral Gables was one of the first planned communities, and its planning was based on the popular early twentieth century City Beautiful Movement. It is infamous for its strict zoning regulations. The city was developed by George Merrick during the Florida land boom of the 1920s. The city's architecture is almost entirely Mediterranean Revival style, mandated in the original plan, with an emphasis on Spanish influence in particular, such as the Coral Gables Congregational Church, donated by Merrick. The domed Catholic Church of the Little Flower was built somewhat later, in a similar Spanish Renaissance style. Early in the city's planning and development, Merrick shared his vision for Coral Gables as "a most extraordinary opportunity for the building of 'Castles in Spain'," as explored in Coral Gables historian Arva Moore Parks' 2006 book George Merrick's Coral Gables: Where Your 'Castles in Spain' are Made Real. Merrick's success in executing this vision for the city would catch the attention of Spain's King, Alfonso XIII, who awarded Merrick the Order of Isabella the Catholic for his support of Spanish culture in Coral Gables.
By 1926, the city covered 10,000 acres (4,000 ha) and had netted $150 million in sales, with over $100 million spent on development. That year also saw the opening of the Biltmore Hotel and Gulf Course, a major landmark in region.
Merrick meticulously designed the city with distinct zones. For example, he designed the downtown commercial district to be only four blocks wide and more than 2 miles (3.2 km) long. The main artery, now known as Miracle Mile, bisected the business district. Merrick could boast that every business in Coral Gables was less than a two-block walk. The city used to have an electric trolley system, which was replaced by the popularity of modern automobiles, but now a new free circulator trolley system, initiated in November 2003, runs down Ponce de León Boulevard. Another distinctive and character-defining feature of the city planned by Merrick are the themed Coral Gables Villages that date to the 1920s and were designed to expand the city's architecture beyond Spanish influence to include Italian, French, and Dutch South African among others.
In 1925, roughly simultaneous to the founding of Coral Gables, the University of Miami was constructed on 240 acres (97 ha) of land just west of U.S. Route 1, approximately two miles south of downtown Coral Gables. By the fall of 1926, the first class of 372 students enrolled at the university.
During World War II many Navy pilots and mechanics were trained and housed in Coral Gables.
Coral Gables has traditionally placed high priority on historic preservation. The city passed its first preservation ordinance in 1973 as many of its founding structures from the 1920s began to reach their 50th anniversaries. Further ordinances were enacted in the 1980s establishing the Historic Preservation Board and in the 1990s establishing the Historic Preservation Department, now called the Historical Resources & Cultural Arts Department. As part of the city's historic preservation program the Historical Resources Department is tasked with researching and identifying significant properties and local landmarks for listing in the Coral Gables Registry of Historic Places as well as on national historic registers. The department also reviews modifications to locally designated landmarks and initiates grant proposals. The Historic Preservation Board is a quasi-judicial body that votes on local landmark designations and other issues pertaining to the historic character of the city.
Coral Gables is located at It is bordered on the west by Red Road (West 57th Avenue) north of Sunset Drive (South 72nd Street) and West 49th Avenue and Old Cutler Roads south of Sunset Drive. It is bordered on the north by Tamiami Trail/U.S. Route 41 (South 8th Street), except for a small section that extends north of 8th Street for eight blocks between Ponce de Leon Boulevard and Douglas Road (West 37th Avenue). On the east, it is bordered by Douglas Road (West 37th Avenue) north of South 26th Street, Monegro Street south of South 26th Street to Cadima Avenue, Ponce De Leon Boulevard south of Cadima Avenue to South Dixie Highway (U.S. Route 1), LeJeune Road (West 42nd Avenue) south of U.S. 1 to Battersea Road, and by Biscayne Bay south of Battersea Road. On the south, it is bordered by the Charles Deering Estate..
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 37.2 square miles (96 km2). 13.1 square miles (34 km2) of it is land and 24.0 square miles (62 km2) of it (64.64%) is water.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
|Coral Gables Demographics|
|2010 Census||Coral Gables||Miami-Dade County||Florida|
|Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010||+10.7%||+10.8%||+17.6%|
|Population density||3,621.2/sq mi||1,315.5/sq mi||350.6/sq mi|
|White or Caucasian (including White Hispanic)||91.0%||73.8%||75.0%|
|(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian)||40.1%||15.4%||57.9%|
|Black or African-American||3.0%||18.9%||16.0%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||53.6%||65.0%||22.5%|
|Native American or Native Alaskan||0.1%||0.2%||0.4%|
|Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian||0.0%||0.0%||0.1%|
|Two or more races (Multiracial)||1.8%||2.4%||2.5%|
|Some Other Race||1.4%||3.2%||3.6%|
As of 2010, there were 20,266 households, of which 11.4% were vacant. In 2000, 24.45% had children under the age of 18 living with them. In Coral Gables, 61.11% were family households, 17.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.89% were non-families. The average household size was 2.36, and the average household had 1.68 vehicles.
In 2000, the city population was spread out, with 17.4% under the age of 18, 14.58% from 18 to 24, 25.02% from 25 to 44, 27.01% from 45 to 64, and 16% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.44 years. The population consisted of 51.31% females and 48.69% males.
In 2015, estimated income figures for the city were as follows: median household income, $93,934; average household income, $150,808; per capita income, $57,195. About 7.6% of citizens were estimated to be living below the poverty line.
As of 2000, Spanish was spoken at home by 51.06% of residents, while English was the only language spoken at home by 43.83%. Other languages spoken by the population were French 1.09%, Portuguese 0.80%, Italian 0.72%, and German speakers made up 0.53% of the populace.
As of 2000, Coral Gables had the eighteenth highest percentage of Cuban residents in the US, with 28.72% of the populace. It also had the sixty-fourth highest percentage of Colombian residents in the US, at 2.27% of the city's population, and the sixteenth highest percentage of Venezuelan residents in the US, at 1.17% of its population.
Coral Gables is a pedestrian-friendly destination. Located four miles from Miami International Airport, the "City Beautiful" has around 140 dining establishments and gourmet shops, and many notable international retailers. Among the landmarks in Coral Gables are the Venetian Pool, Douglas Entrance and the Miami Biltmore hotel.
The city of Coral Gables has its own newspaper, Coral Gables News, which is published bi-weekly and Coral Gables is covered by several local and regional radio and television stations, several Coral-Gables-focused websites, and one weekly printed newspaper that is part of Miami Community Newspapers.
The Gables' one remaining printed newspaper, The Coral Gables News Tribune, is still published twice monthly and is part of Miami's Community Newspapers, now also online.
At the University of Miami in Coral Gables, The Miami Hurricane, the official student newspaper, is published twice weekly.
Residentially, Coral Gables holds several of the wealthiest zip codes (33156, 33143, 33133, and 33146) and neighborhoods in the United States, such as Hammock Oaks, Old Cutler Bay, Gables Estates, Tahiti Beach, Snapper Creek and Lakes, Cocoplum, and Gables By The Sea.
Major economic contributors to Coral Gables include:
- The University of Miami, the largest employer in Coral Gables since the city's founding.
- Baptist Hospital of Miami, the second largest employer in Coral Gables.
- Bacardi Limited, which has its United States headquarters with 300 employees at 2701 Le Jeune Road.
- Capital Bank Financial has its headquarters in Coral Gables.
- Intelsat has its Latin American headquarters in Suite 1100 at One Alhambra Plaza.
- Fresh Del Monte Produce has its headquarters in Coral Gables.
- ExxonMobil has marine fuels operations in Suite 900 at One Alhambra Plaza in Coral Gables.
- MasTec, the second largest Hispanic-owned company in the United States, is located at 800 South Douglas Road.
- Odebrecht Construction, Inc. has over 300 employees at its location at 201 Alhambra Circle.
- American Airlines maintains the Ponce de Leon Travel Center at 901 Ponce De Leon Boulevard.
- MoneyGram has its Miami Office in Coral Gables.
- Dolphin Entertainment is an independent film studio that is located in Coral Gables.
The City of Coral Gables also provides a free trolley service, with a trolley running a continuous circuit up and down Ponce de Leon Boulevard during the day.
Coral Gables is served by rapid transit on Douglas Road at Douglas Road station, at the University of Miami at University station, and near Sunset Drive and Red Road at South Miami station, connecting the city with Downtown Miami and Miami International Airport.
University of Miami
Coral Gables is the location of the University of Miami, a private university ranked in the top tier of national universities, with particular national status in the fields of business, engineering, law, marine science, medicine, communications, and music.
Primary and secondary schools
Coral Gables schools are part of the Miami-Dade School District, which serves Miami-Dade County. The district has several high schools in Coral Gables, most notably Coral Gables Senior High School and International Studies Preparatory Academy, both of which educate students in grades nine through 12. It also has a K-8 school, Coral Gables Preparatory Academy (formerly Coral Gables Elementary School), with two campuses, including a historic campus located on Ponce de Leon Boulevard. Henry S. West Laboratory Elementary is another school for K-6. Finally it has two middle schools: George Washington Carver Middle School located on Lincoln Dr, and Ponce de Leon Middle School located across from The University of Miami on the East side of U.S. Route 1 on Augusto Street. Present day George Washington Carver Middle was moved to the current location on Grand Avenue on land donated by George Merrick. When Carver died in 1942, the school was renamed in his honor.
Gulliver Academy – Marian C. Krutulis Campus, a PreK-8 school that is a member of Gulliver Schools, is within Coral Gables. The management offices of Gulliver Schools were formerly located in Coral Gables. The lower campus of the Riviera Schools is located in Coral Gables.
The historic St. Theresa Catholic School, a PreK-8 school is located near Coral Gables Biltmore Hotel. St. Philip's Episcopal School, the French-American School of Miami, and St. Thomas Episcopal Parish School, all PreK-5 schools, are also located in Coral Gables.
- Juan Alvarez, former professional pitcher for the Anaheim Angels, Florida Marlins and Texas Rangers
- Zach Banks, racing driver
- Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist
- Shane Battier, former professional basketball player, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies and Miami Heat
- Bruce R. Berkowitz, mutual fund manager
- Columba Bush, former First Lady of Florida
- Jeb Bush, 43rd Governor of Florida
- Marty Bystrom, former professional pitcher for the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies
- Maxine Clark, the founder of Build-a-Bear Workshop
- Colleen Corby, model
- Alice Dixson, actress, commercial model, and former beauty queen
- Gail Edwards, actress, It's a Living, Blossom, Full House
- Gus Gandarillas, former professional pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers
- Juan Ramón Jiménez, Nobel Prize-winning author
- Dane Johnson, former professional pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays
- José José, pop singer
- Soia Mentschikoff, legal scholar and law professor at Harvard Law School
- Marilyn Milian, judge, The People's Court
- Thurston Moore, singer, songwriter and guitarist of Sonic Youth
- Alonzo Mourning, former basketball player for Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat and New Jersey Nets
- Jesús Permuy, architect, human rights advocate, businessman, and radio host
- Mimi Rogers, actress
- Roy Sekoff, founding editor Huffington Post
- Pamela Smart, murderer convicted in notorious case
- Oliver Sollitt, Illinois state representative and businessman
- Jonathan Vilma, former professional football player, New Orleans Saints and New York Jets
- Dewing Woodward, artist, philanthropist, and first art professor at the University of Miami
Places of interest
- Hotel Colonnade in Coral Gables
- Biltmore Hotel
- Coral Gables Museum
- Coral Way
- Miracle Mile
- Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
- University of Miami
- Venetian Pool
- Village of Merrick Park
- Coral Gables Villages
- Riviera Schools
Festivals and events
- Festival of Art, University of Miami, held in January
- Carnival on the Mile, Miracle Mile, held in February/March
- Festival Miami, University of Miami, Gusman Concert Hall, held in October
- Junior Orange Bowl Festival, held in December–January
- Miracle Mile in Downtown Coral Gables
- Miracle Theater on Miracle Mile
- Typical residential street in Coral Gables
- DeSoto Fountain
- Coral Gables City Hall with its statue of Merrick
- Venetian Pool is a Coral Gables public swimming pool.
- Giralda Avenue in Coral Gables
- Giralda Plaza
- Alhambra Water Tower
- Miracle Theater on Miracle Mile
- Gardens at Merrick Park
- Ponce de Leon Boulevard
- Downtown Coral Gables along Alhambra Circle
Coral Gables has seven sister cities, according to the Coral Gables website:
- Aix-en-Provence, France
- Cartagena, Colombia
- Granada, Spain
- La Antigua, Guatemala
- Province of Pisa, Italy
- Recoleta, Argentina
- Quito, Ecuador
In popular culture
The 2014 indie point-and-click adventure game A Golden Wake is based on the founding and development of Coral Gables in the 1920s.
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