Venetian Pool, the city of Coral Gables' public swimming pool.
|Location||Coral Gables, Florida USA|
|Area||4 acres (16,000 m2)|
|NRHP reference #||81000193|
|Added to NRHP||August 20, 1981|
Venetian Pool, opened in 1924 as "Venetian Casino," was created from an old coral rock quarry abandoned in 1921 on 4 acres (16,000 m2). The pool was founded by George Merrick as part of the development of Coral Gables, which was created in Mediterranean Revival style and utilized a large amount of coral for ornamental features of the community. The remaining quarry was reconfigured by architect Phineas Paist and designed by artist Denman Fink. Named for Mediterranean city of Venice, Italy, the pool included a Venetian style bridge and classic mooring posts.
The Venetian Pool has gone through several phases. A large additional island was created to allow Venetian style gondolas to dock alongside though the gondolas were later removed. A high diving platform was constructed above the grand waterfall and was also later torn down. Early in its history, the pool was regularly drained completely to permit the Miami Symphony to perform in it, taking advantage of the quarry's natural acoustic qualities. In 2001, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Coral Gables, the pool was once again drained for an orchestral performance. A 1989 renovation restored many of the pool's original features.
The pool ranges in depth from four feet to depths of over eight feet near the grand waterfall, with a two-foot kiddy pool near the lifeguard station; the station is atop a bridge leading out to an island with two full size palm trees on it. A grotto, where natural water-filled caves stretch back over twelve feet into the hillside, is located across the pool from the island. There is a sandy sunning area for sunbathers and a café area that is commonly used for weddings and receptions. A walking path surrounds the whole complex.
The pool received a massive historical restoration in 1989. The pool has recently had another major renovation which took eight months to complete (September 8, 2008 - April 30, 2009) and has since re-opened to the public again.
The pool has come under criticism from environmentalists due to the massive amounts of fresh water it uses daily, raising concerns that the process of completely draining the pool every night and refilling it the following day was depleting the Floridian aquifers. In 1998 a solution was devised to drain the water back into the aquifer, using natural ground filtration, thus recycling the precious natural resource, while allowing the pool to maintain its fresh, clear water.
- National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "Venetian Pool History". Venetian Pool. City of Coral Gables. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Steig, Stacey. "A History of Coral Gables". Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Venetian Pool". The Cultural Landscape Foundation. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
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