Marion Sims Wyeth
Courtesy Historical Society of Palm Beach County
Marion Sims Wyeth (1889-1992) was born in New York, a son of Florence Nightingale Sims and Dr. John Allan Wyeth, a Civil War poet, surgical pioneer, and founder of New York's Polyclinic Hospital, the first postgraduate medical school in the U.S. Marion’s grandfather, Dr. James Marion Sims, founded the field of gynecology, and the first woman’s hospital in history. Marion Sims Wyeth graduated from Princeton’s School of Architecture in 1910 and École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1914. He was secretary to the U.S. Ambassador in Rome before returning to New York, where he worked with American modernist architect Bertram Goodhue and the prestigious firm of Carrère & Hastings. Wyeth served as an army captain in World War I.
In 1919 Wyeth came to Palm Beach, while keeping a New York office with Frederic Rhinelander King. In Palm Beach they formed Wyeth and King in 1934, renamed Wyeth, King and Johnson in 1944 when William Royster Johnson became a partner. Wyeth designed the first Good Samaritan Hospital, the Norton Gallery of Art, and the Norton home, now the Ann Norton Museum at 235 Barcelona Road, West Palm Beach. Wyeth designed more than 100 houses in Palm Beach between 1920 and 1973 ranging from Mediterranean Revival to classical Georgian, French, and Colonial styles. Some of his designs that have been preserved include Mar-a-lago (1923-27 with Joseph Urban), the rectory of Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, and several private houses. In 1957 he designed the Florida’s Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee.
Wyeth served as a trustee of the Society of the Four Arts (1936-1969) and as its president (1956-1961). He became the first Palm Beach architect to be inducted into the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1954, and received the Test of Time Award from its Palm Beach Chapter in 1981.