Venetian Pool

In 1923, Coral Gables’ founders had a problem: an unsightly rock pit in the middle of the fast-growing community. The Venetian Pool — one of the first public pools in South Florida — was born in 1924. Founder George Merrick got the idea to turn the coral rock pit — where much of the rock for the community’s entrances was mined — into a lavish Venetian lagoon. Merrick and his chief designer and architect, Phineas Paist, created a picturesque cooling-off spot fed by an underground aquifer complete with mooring posts, bridges and a sandy beach.  The pool became the centerpiece of the planned community. Concerts were held there. It was drained so an opera could be performed on its floor. Swimming movie star Esther Williams and  Tarzan actor Johnny Weismuller took to its waters. During the hot South Florida summers today, you’ll still see families taking a dip and exploring the waterfalls and grottos.
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