Coral Gables, Florida – The future of the prized portion of Coral Gables is at risk as the City’s Preservation Commission considers its historic landmark status.
Bonnie Bolton stands on the precipice of a conservation battle to save our Lord’s garden.
“It’s very frustrating to have to fight this city,” Bolton said. “I remember going to this garden like I was four (or) five years old.
“It’s horrible to see this being demolished.”
The garden was originally designed by renowned architect Robert Fitch Smith.
“There are statues there, there are caves,” said Bolton.
No longer publicly available after being purchased by a private developer two years ago.
Standing behind the foliage of the plants mentioned in the Bible, and putting down roots there decades ago, Boston says, they earned the designation of the Biblical Gardens.
“There’s plaque all over the inside,” she said.
They are a tribute to war heroes. There is one of his plaques on the outside wall that describes this garden as a ‘sacred place’.
However, Warren Adams, Coral Gables Historic Preservation Officer, believes the Historic Preservation Commission members did not meet the “minimum eligibility criteria for designation as a local historic landmark.” He said he was.
Adams told board members on Wednesday that while Robert Fitch Smith was indeed a prominent architect, he was not a landscape architect.
Additionally, while Fitch-Smith’s name is listed as the architect on the 1951 Wall/Walk Permit, Adams asked how he knew Fitch-Smith designed the garden. .
“There is a question of who designed this property,” Adams said. “The intent, the Biblical Garden, is no longer there.
“The Biblical Garden does not exemplify the historical, cultural, political, economic, or social trends of the community.”
He also warned that if historically designated, it was not just the garden, but the entire site, which now includes a special needs school.
Bolton believes the city should purchase land for its residents to preserve green spaces and the community’s generations of garden history.
“Unfortunately, there is so much development going on in Coral Gables that it really threatens the character of the city,” Bolton said.
Coral Gables is known as City Beautiful, and Mr. Bolton claims the mature trees, like those in his garden, help it live up to its name.
“It’s the trees that make the city beautiful,” she said. “[The gardens]should be open to the public and part of the city’s parks department.”
See Historical Designation Request below.
Coral Gables City Code re: Historic Preservation Standards (Designation criteria are described in Article 8, Paragraph 8, 103)
Copyright 2023 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved.