The Vote that Saved the Biltmore

The Edifying Legacy of Dorothy Thomson

November 3, 2022 – August 13, 2023

Permanent Collection Galleries

This exhibition explores the life of Dorothy Thomson as a public servant of the City of Coral Gables, whose legacy includes the preservation and restoration of the Biltmore Hotel with the crucial guidance of Arva Moore Parks. Thomson also supported the redevelopment of Miracle Mile and the passing of a city ordinance for the protection and promotion of Mediterranean-style architectural structures. The exhibition features personal objects, photographs, memorabilia, and other printed materials related to her electrifying transition from the privacy of a tranquil household to the dynamic public arena as a city commissioner and first female mayor, leaving a lasting imprint on The City Beautiful. It will be accompanied by a publication and is organized to celebrate Dorothy Thomson’s 90th birthday.

The show is curated by Christina Chiang, CGM’s Curator of Urban and Architectural History, with the collaboration of Amanda LeVasser, Archivist from the Raul E. Valdés-Fauli Coral Gables Archives.

Special thanks to the Allen Morris Charitable Foundation, Business Improvement District of Coral Gables, Coral Gables Woman’s Club, Coral Gables Garden Club, Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables, Torre Construction, and Coral Gables Community Foundation. 

Top: Arva Moore Parks and Dorothy Thomson

Bottom: Mayor Dorothy Thomson’s license plate, made even before she was elected