Addison Mizner (12/12/1887 – 2/5/1933) is one of the best known society architects of the roaring twenties and has created exceptional examples of Palm Beach Real Estate. A natural born talented artist, never having attended a single architecture class; he landed an apprenticeship with San Francisco architect Willis Jefferson Polk, and quickly was promoted to partner. He eventually moved to New York and designed many projects, including U.S. President Coolidge’s “Summer White House,” White Pine Camp in the Adirondack mountains.
In 1918, terribly down on his luck, Mizner made his way to Palm Beach by suggestion of Paris Singer – heir to Singer Sewing Machines. Singer had purchased the 160 acres that had once been Alligator Joe’s. Mizner was commissioned by Singer for one of his first Palm Beach projects – the Everglades Club. It was originally planned to be a convalescent home for soldiers returning from WWI, however the project turned out so beautifully that Singer opened a private social club instead. Nothing like it had ever been seen before, and it launched Mizner’s career and Palm Beach!
The dining room at the Everglades Club.
Palm Beach‘s sub-tropical climate and chance for hurricanes suited Mizner’s Mediterranean-style use of stucco, iron, coquina stone, and terra cotta tiles. He eventually opened a shop and manufactured many of these design elements. Combining Spanish architecture with Gothic and Venetian styles, he introduced loggias, fountains, pecky cypress exposed wood beam ceilings, towers, bridges, columns, and amazing gardens which were as exceptional as his houses.
Mizner built an apartment and showroom across Worth Avenue from the Everglades Club. He also created Via Mizner and Via Parigi, named for Paris Singer. Down the via’s were gardens and fountains, small shops and apartments. These via’s are still enjoyed today.
Mizer was commissioned to build neighboring El Mirasol in 1919 by Edward T. Stotesbury; Casa Bendita for John S. Phipps; and The Munn brothers’ estates: Louwana (currently on the market for $28M) in 1919 for Charles Munn; and Amado in 1921 for Gurnee Munn. The segment of road between Wells Road and Country Club was rerouted to the middle of the island in 1923 so the families did not have to share their ocean views. This paradise would be reserved only for the most privileged.
Mizner’s other Presidential home was built originally for Rodman Wanamaker, La Guerida in 1923. It was sold to John F. Kennedy for $120,000 during the Great Depression in 1933. This became Kennedy’s “Winter White House.”
El Solano, his own home built in 1925 – ultimately was purchased by John Lennon.
Mizner only built 38 homes in Palm Beach, and only some still stand. In the 1960’s, Casa Bendita was demolished. In 1957, Playa Riente, one of Mizner’s largest estates and arguably one of the most elaborate and detailed works, was demolished after a divorce. There are a few on the market today, click here to view the current offerings.