Marion Sims Wyeth arrived in Palm Beach in 1919 and spent the next sixty years designing numerous mansions and projects including Mar-A-Lago, Casa and the Norton Museum of Art. His work was so successful that he eventually was elected a fellow of the American Institute of Architects.
Wyeth was born in 1889 in New York City to a medical family. In 1882, his father founded the New York Polyclinic Hospital (which became Cabrini Medical Center), and his grandfather was known as the “Father of Gynecology” and founded our country’s first Women’s Hospital in 1855 (which is now a part of St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital). Wyeth graduated from Princeton in 1910, and he also studied in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts where he was awarded the Prix Jean LeClerc in 1913 and the Deuxieme Prix Rougevin in 1914. Marion Sims Wyeth was the father of four children, and he made it a point to be home for lunch daily. His evenings were spent at Palm Beach social engagements.
His work employed the Spanish style of Addison Mizner in a way that reflected his French training. His style is described as refined and traditional and he was known for his simplicity and consistency – he created residences for important clients all over the island of Palm Beach. Moorish ceilings, iron-grilled windows and balconies, courtyards, and tiled roofs were all design features Wyeth liked to employ.
Wyeth was hired by Marjorie Merriweather Post to build Hogarcito in 1921 on the Everglades golf course. Post and her second husband, Edward F. Hutton purchased the piece of property for one hundred dollars. The Spanish-style home with a 3-story tower was quickly put together, however – Mrs. Hutton felt the home was too small. Wyeth was commissioned to transform the house into an eight bedroom palatial retreat. The home was still too small. She called upon Wyeth again to design a home on a new piece of land further south – and that is when he designed the basic plans of Mar-A-Lago. This project was taken over by Joseph Urban, but the original $1 million estimate ballooned to over $8 million in just three years. A reluctant Mr. Wyeth was brought back to finish the 115-room project that sprawls from ocean to lake, as implied by the name – Spanish for “Ocean to Lake.”
Since there are only approximately 100 homes in Palm Beach that Wyeth designed, there are currently only a few Wyeth homes on the market. You can see a couple of your options here.