Let There Be Lights (Again)
Once upon a time – back in the early 1920s – “White Way” streetlights illuminated eight miles of streets, boulevards and avenues in Coral Gables. “The person who sees the White Way for the first time will appreciate it not for its iron and steel, but for its beauty and grandeur,” a 1922 advertisement touted.
Most of the streetlights were in the Arcadian style, a one-piece cast iron pole weighing 250 pounds. They stood on Alhambra Circle, North Greenway Drive, Granada Boulevard, Coral Way and Country Club Prado. Two of them stood in front of Coral Gables’ first public building, the Coral Gables Golf and Country Club. Almost all have been lost to time and the elements.
In a private-public partnership between the city and the Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables (HPACG), the two Arcadian lights that once graced the front of the golf club have now been restored and replaced. In a ceremony last month, public officials – along with HPACG executive director Dr. Karelia Martinez Carbonell – dedicated the twin lights.
“Today we collectively bring back a piece – or two – of lost history to Coral Gables,” said Dr. Carbonell, to a place “where [city founder George] Merrick once stood and addressed the merits of buying into his dream.”
Raul Valdés-Faúli, in one of his last public acts as mayor, thanked preservationist Greg Dalkranian, who acquired five Arcadian streetlights with their original fixtures in 2017. It was Dalkranian who later came across a 1925 photo of the historic country club that showed the lights in place. He presented his restoration proposal to the HPACG in 2019, which then approached the city for help. The rest, as they say, is history.