George Merrick's 7 Unique Villages In Coral Gables

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By: Dona Spain

Although George Merrick’s original mandate for Coral Gables was strictly Spanish and later Mediterranean, his vision expanded to include several unique “villages” scattered throughout the city. Many more were planned, including English, Moorish, Persian and Swedish, but only seven were built.

Pioneer Village

Santa Maria Street

Designed by John and Coulton Skinner, the homes are inspired by the Greek period and have tall white pillars, two-story porticoes, wide verandas, slate roofs and white picket fences. All the homes back up to the Riviera Golf Course, which was originally part of the Biltmore Golf Course.

French Normandy Village

LeJeune Road and 400 block of Vizcaya Avenue

Designed by John and Coulton Skinner, these homes are in the French Normandy style found in 15th-century towns in England and France. The houses are constructed of hollow tile with stucco walls supported with timber beams. Now single-family residences, in the 1930s they were men’s dormitories and fraternity houses for the University of Miami. Soldiers lived here during World War II.

Chinese Village

5100 blocks of Riviera Drive and Menendez, Castania, Maggiore and Sansovino Avenues

The Chinese Village is made up of eight Chinese Compound-style residences designed by Henry Killam Murphy in 1926. They are brightly trimmed and roofed in red, yellow, blue and green. Decorative gates and walls provide security as well as a sense of communal living, typical of the Chinese style.

Italian Village

Monserrat, Palmarito and Altara Avenues 

These imposing residences can be identified by their street-fronting entrances, walled gardens and exterior stairways. Frank Wyatt Woods designed them in 1926 in a style typical of Italy’s 17th-century villas.

French City Village

1000 block of Hardee Road 

These homes were modeled after 18th-century French town homes. They have enclosed courtyards and kitchen gardens, open-air porches, French doors and ornate moldings. Mott B. Schmidt designed the homes along the north side of Hardee Road and Philip Goodwin designed those on the south side.

French Country Village

500 block of Hardee Road

Designed by Phillip Goodwin, Frank Forster and Edgar Albright, the homes were inspired by country farmhouse estates and 18th-century chateaux. All were built country style with big back yards. Some distinctive qualities include round and square towers, carved wood and wrought iron balconies, red brick, keystone and tall ceilings.

Dutch South African Village

LeJeune Road, Riviera Drive, Maya Street

Designed by well-known Palm Beach architect Marion Syms Wyeth, these homes resemble the farmhouses of wealthy Dutch colonists; they are L-shaped and U-shaped. Exterior features include high-domed arches, walled gardens, scrollwork and steeply pitched roofs.

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