chateau petit douy miami 300x210It is a rare sight to behold, and one easy to overlook in the midst of Brickell’s concrete jungle of skyscrapers , banks and office buildings: Miami’s only known French château at the corner of Brickell Avenue and SW15th Road.  

The two-story, 5,837-square-foot Château Petit Douy, sporting two octagonal towers with tent roofs, parapet gable roof and dormers, crenellated garage roof, and trefoil arch windows with leaded or stained glass, was built in 1931, at a cost of $365,000, by a prominent Miami couple,  John Murell (George Merrick s attorney ) and Ethel Murrell*, known for their strong community activism.  The building is patterned after the fourteenth century Priory St. Julienne de Douy in l’Eure-et-Loir, in France.    

Originally designed by architect Martin L. Hampton**, and after changing hands several times since Ethel Murrell passed away (The property belonged to the late cancer surgeon Everett Sugarbaker and was sold to the owner of Inyx Inc a pharmaceutical company in 2006), the "Petit Douy"  is in the process of being restored to restaurant and hospitality space by Commercial real estate developersMast Capital and historic preservation architect,Richard Heisenbottle.  According to floor plans furnished by broker Michael Comras, the space will be leased as a private club and restaurant.  1500 Brickell Ave, Miami 

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chateau

*John Murrell, who came to Miami in 1921 served as George Merrick’s attorney and also represented other pioneer families, including the Brickells. Mr. Murrell founded the Miami Humane Society and instigated the successful use of teams of black and white officers in the Miami Police Department.

*Ethel Murrell, an attorney, author, and lecturer, graduate of UM Law school in 1934, is best known as one of Florida’s leading feminists. Mrs. Murrell drafted the Married Women’s Emancipation Bill which was passed in Florida in 1943 and was elected president of the National Women’s Party in 1951.  

** Martin L. Hampton was part of a group of architects collaborating with George Merrick in the creation of Coral Gables. Hampton also had an extensive practice in Miami Beach and designed such buildings as the Old Miami Beach City Hall, the Embassy Hotel, and numerous private residences.

 

 

Photos by Phillip Pessar  courtesy of Comras Company 

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