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The School That George Built Turns Ninety Years Old

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When George Merrick starting building Coral Gables out of his family's farmland in the 1920s, he envisioned a school in the form of a Medieval Spanish castle. The local school board vetoed the idea, preferring something a bit less, well, pricey and ostentatious. Merrick paid for the school out of his own pocket (he was later paid back), commissioning early Miami architect Richard Kiehnel to design a building with Medieval-high ceilings, archways, Corinthian columns and dolphin and sea horse bas reliefs. Just before its completion in 1924, Merrick lauded the building for the "far better influence through beautiful things which inspire high ideals in the minds of children," according to a new exhibit at the Coral Gables Museum, in honor of the school's upcoming 90th birthday. The show, curated by Giselle Portuondo with the consultation of the A-ranked school's only sixth principal in 90 years, Graciela Cerra, features architectural plans, historic photographs and other memorabilia, and runs till Feb. 2. —Emily Schmall · Coral Gables Elementary To Celebrate 90th Anniversary [Miami Herald]
· Inspiring High Ideals [Coral Gables Museum]