Coral Gables was incorporated just a year prior to the Miami Springs incorporation. It was developed by George Merrick who had planned the community with a Mediterranean Revival style. As you know, Glenn Curtiss, the founder of Miami Springs had established Miami Springs with a Pueblo Revival style.
One of the characteristics that makes Coral Gables unique within South Florida has been the use of beautiful gateways and entrances that clearly identify that you’ve entered a distinct and unique neighborhood. Below are some of the examples of entrances to Coral Gables:
Coral Gables Granada Entrance:
As you can see below, this is a grand entrance with an archway building greeting entrants onto Granada Boulevard at SW 8th Street. I’m not proposing something this grand, but this is definitely one of the most beautiful entrances in South Florida.
Coral Gables Ponce De Leon Entrance:
Here is a very simple entrance with a relatively small concrete column and light at Ponce De Leon Boulevard and Flagler Drive. This isn’t extravagant or extremely costly. Obviously, this is something the City of Miami Springs can afford. This is probably too small, but if we add architectural elements throughout the City of Miami Springs, this provides a minimum scale we should look for.
Douglas and Sevilla:
As you can see below, Coral Gables hasn’t rested on its legacy of beautiful entrances and is constructing new entrances at Douglas and Sevilla. Again, these are architectural elements that indicate you’re in Coral Gables.
Coral Gables Prada Entrance:
I’ve always thought Prada Entrance (near SW 8th Street and 57th Avenue) has a similar feel to Curtiss Parkway. It’s a large green space that separates the northbound and southbound lanes.
I’m sure many of us have seen many brides to be and quinceañeras having a photo shoot at this beautiful and classic location.
Coral Gables Coral Way Entrance:
This entrance on Coral Way and 57th Avenue has columns and a water feature.
Coral Gables Douglas Entrance:
Of course the grandest of them all is Douglas Entrance. Today, it no longer serves as a roadway as the entrance was closed off to public through traffic decades ago. But originally, this was one of the main entrances into Coral Gables. Again, this is far grander than what we envision for our community, but you can see how George Merrick’s vision was executed into fruition throughout Coral Gables.
Curtiss Mansion Entrance
What should Miami Springs use for its entrances. I believe we need to look no further than the vision Glenn Curtiss had for our beautiful City. The entrance below features columns and pathways similar in concept to what Coral Gables has, but in our uniquely Pueblo Revival style.
Old Miami Springs Entrance Sign on Bridge
The following sign was sponsored by the Civic Club of Hialeah atop the Warren Pony Swing Bridge. I’m not sure if it would meet today’s height requirements, but the bottom line is that an archway could be created to welcome entrants to Miami Springs.
Old Miami Springs Bandstand & Architectural Elements
Check out the concrete elements, walls, curves, embedded planters, light poles, and the original band stand from the Circle. According to the Miami Springs Historical Society and Museum, this is a “1925 photo looking north through the Miami Springs Circle with the Clune/Stadnick building still under construction in the background with some kind of temporary scaffolding next to it. It also shows the Hialeah First State Bank to the left, the bridge across the Miami Canal with downtown Hialeah on the other side, & the Curtiss Bright Administration building behind & to the right of the Clune/Stadnick building.”
As you can see, we have examples of what can be done architecturally at our entrances to embrace our history and original vision Glenn Curtiss had.
Glenn Curtiss’ Vision
Glenn Curtiss had a grand vision for South Florida and especially for Miami Springs, Hialeah, and Opa-Locka. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to make all of his vision come to reality. In September of 1926, all new construction came to a halt in Miami-Dade County in the wake of the Great Miami Hurricane. Many investors and speculators lost everything they invested during the Florida land boom of the 1920s.
Then, in August of 1929, Great Depression hit South Florida like a great hurricane halting any hint of recovery until after the second World War.
As we approach the Miami Springs centennial, we should ask ourselves “Can we improve the entrances to Miami Springs to the grandeur and beauty that would make Glenn Curtiss proud?”
As someone who grew up in Miami Springs from 1950 to 1973, I am whole heartedly in favor
of such a project maybe including a Curtiss Mansion entrance, Pan Am entrance, Stadnik entrance, Cavalier entrance, etc. Whatever the names chosen, it is a great idea for one of
America’s finest small towns. You might even consider a Roy France Sr. entrance. He designed many of the arte deco hotels on Miami Beach and whose partner and son Roy France Jr resided at 240 DeLeon Dr. Just a few thoughts. Hope the project will be approved and a great success.
I think that we should definitely upgrade the entrance of Miami Springs from 36th Street. There’s one there now which it totally ridiculous. Let’s get that done first and then we will see the other possibilities.
I am surprised that with everything that is going on in this country, state, county and city, that Nestor thinks that we should be concerned about things that will cost millions of dollars to change, and will not in any, way improve our quality of life.
Coral Gables boundaries are not defined by waterways with historical bridges. We already lost the bridge on East Drive; need we lose more?
Perhaps there are those who don’t care; after all, we gave away our fire dept, water dept and our schools are no longer community schools. Wait, the county will be back to build a ghetto here to support their failing Metro Rail.