Scenic USA - Florida

Venetian Pool

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Venetian Pool - Coral Gables, Florida

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     Carved from a huge section of coral rock, the Venetian Pool opened in 1924 as part of the Venetian Casino. Following a Mediterranean theme, the pool and resort were just a small part of a new South Florida city called Coral Gables. George Merrick joined the growing number of Gilded Age designers that set out to create an elite city under Florida's palm trees and sunny skies. City planners set up a community with distinct sections for residences, country clubs, business centers and recreation areas. The city's Mediterranean revival style was planned right down to the smallest details, such as street lamps, roofing tiles, paint colors, entryways and plazas.
     Almost overnight, Coral Gables saw the addition of 600 homes, 65 miles of paved streets and 80 miles of sidewalks. Inspired by the early 20th century Vizcaya Estate of John Deering, landscape architects, construction workers, master craftsmen, and finally, the rich and famous poured into Coral Gables.
     Located on a four acre abandoned rock quarry, architect Phineas Paist transformed a quarry pit into an 820,000 gallon spring fed pool. An island was created to accommodate Venetian style gondolas, and a high dive was erected over a grand waterfall. The Venetian Pool was completely drained every day to allow a symphonic performance in the evenings. Continuing the daily ritual of draining and refilling the massive pool into the 21st century has created a great deal of concern from environmentalists. Making better sense, the water is now pumped back into the aquifer using natural filtration, allowing the pool to retain its marvelous emerald waters.

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