Arva Moore Parks

Johanna Lawshea

Arva Moore Parks is the former chief curator, interim director, and chair of the Coral Gables Museum. She is the author of numerous books on Florida history, including The Forgotten Frontier: Florida through the Lens of Ralph Middleton Munroe and Miami, the Magic City. The story of developers selling off the Sunshine State is as old as the first railroad tracks laid across the peninsula. But seldom do we hear about the men who actually built a better Florida. In George Merrick, Son of the South Wind: Visionary Creator of Coral Gables (University Press of Florida), Parks recounts George Merrick’s quest to distinguish himself from the legions who sought only profit. Merrick was green before green, a New Urbanist before the movement had a name. He reinvested in education, affordable housing, and other progressive causes. But the Great Depression ravaged Miami, and Merrick’s idealism cost him his fortune. He died with an estate worth less than $400. With unprecedented access to the Merrick family and a treasure trove of Merrick’s personal letters, documents, speeches, and manuscripts, Parks presents the remarkable story of George Merrick and of one of the nation’s most iconic planned cities.