A rare official map of Coral Gables, released by the Coral Gables Corporation in January 1924, has made the 2,600 mile trip from La Jolla, CA back to Coral Gables after 96 years, where it will be put on permanent display at the Coral Gables Museum, it was announced today by Executive Director John Allen.
The map which was created over a year before Coral Gables was incorporated, has been donated to the Museum by the City’s Vice Mayor Vince Lago and his wife Olga. Lago discovered the map online, where it was being auctioned by a firm specializing in rare antique maps. There was spirited bidding for the piece, but realizing it was a unique opportunity, the Vice Mayor prevailed. He stated, when presenting it to the Museum, “Our family is blessed to be in a position where we could purchase this wonderful work for the Museum, where it can displayed in perpetuity for all to enjoy.” At the suggestion of the Lago family, the map will be displayed in honor of the late Arva Moore Parks in the Museum’s “Creating the Dream” gallery. Parks personally created this permanent exhibit and remained its curator until her passing away earlier this year. “Olga and I are very happy that we are able to personally acknowledge and pay tribute to Ms. Parks in this special manner,” Lago added.
The 19.5” by 19.5” comprehensive map was executed by the Morrison-Wood Company exclusively for the Coral Gables Corporation and George E. Merrick and is in pristine condition. Every lot in the original section of what was referred to as “America’s Finest Suburb” is delineated to scale, Allen said. It is also unique in that many sites familiar today are highlighted and identified in red lettering, including the first fire station, the Venetian Pool, the site of the Biltmore Hotel, as well as numerous buildings that have long since disappeared, including the Coral Gables Inn and the College of Young Women of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, which occupied both sides of Almeria, near Indian Mound Trail.
In accepting the gift with Allen, the Museum’s Chair, Christopher Spuches added “This is truly an outstanding treasure, and the Museum is honored to have this important piece of Coral Gables history. On behalf of John Allen and our entire Board, we are very grateful to the Lago family.”The map, with new customized and protective framing will be completed in the near future, and will be unveiled at a reception to thank the Lago family for their generosity.