Organizations join to reacquaint community with local treasure

Organizations join to reacquaint community with local treasure

Standing by an original artwork of the Douglas Entrance that was the library’s original site are (l-r) Coral Gables Library Advisory Board chair Lisa Bennett, Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables president Karelia Martinez Carbonell, and Coral Gables Mayor James Cason.

The Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables (HPACG) joined the City of Coral Gables, the Library Advisory Board, and the Coral Gables branch library staff to offer a presentation about the history of the historically designated Coral Gables Library.

Gables Mayor James Cason joined guests and took time to peruse the many artifacts, original artworks, and archival photographs of the library’s many original supporters.

The program featured two guest speakers who highlighted important details of the library.

Lisa Bennett, HPACG board member and past president, and chair of the Coral Gables Library Advisory Board, gave a presentation on the history of the Coral Gables library and plans for its future.

Local architect Thorn Grafton, grandson of Kay Pancoast, whose mural is celebrating its 45-year anniversary at the Coral Gables Library, followed Bennett’s presentation. When Grafton was approached to speak, he immediately agreed, saying, “I never turn away a chance to honor my grandmother.”

The event took place in the Margaret M. Beaton Meeting Room. Beaton, a dedicated employee, served as the Coral Gables librarian for 36 years. Jane Maranos, HPACG and Library Advisory Board member, curated the archival display that included the original registration book where borrowers would sign their name and promise to return the borrowed books.

Charter members of the library from the Coral Gables Woman’s Club included Mrs. Solomon (Althea) Merrick, Mrs. George Merrick, Mrs. H. George Fink, Mrs. Frederick Wardlaw and Mrs. Don Peabody who is credited with spearheading the library effort. Club members obtained the donation of the first 300 books by writing letters to the authors requesting copies. Other donations were received including 100 books from the private library of William Jennings Bryan.

Founded in 1991, the Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables (HPACG) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a mission to promote the understanding and importance of historic resources and their preservation. For additional information visit

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