The Saving of the Lights

May 2018

Just before Christmas in 1922, Coral Gables turned on more than 500 electric streetlights to illuminate eight miles of “white way” boulevards and streets. According to The Miami Daily Metropolis, they were “standards of attractive design,” and the event was reported to “arouse great interest” and “increase the well-known beauty of Coral Gables.”  

Today an estimated 65 rusty, crumbling light fixtures remain of the once graceful White Way Lights. Designed by Denman Fink and Phineas Paist, the cast iron bases were crafted to portray the four sides of life in Coral Gables: Art and Architecture, Horticultural Planting, Labor, and Industry. Designated a City Historic Landmark in 1981, efforts are now underway to have ownership transferred from FP&L so the City can begin to restore the survivors.  

The remaining fixtures are on University Drive from Granada to Ponce de Leon, and on Riviera Drive between University and Granada. You can still see remnants of their original verdigris and silver paints. Look closer and you can read the inscription around the top of the base: “Coral Gables – The Miami Riviera, FLA.” 

— Karen F. Buchsbaum