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The fact that the state of Florida boasts the East Coast’s finest concentration of Spanish Revival architecture is due in large part to a single person, the illustrious architect Addison Mizner.  The son of a diplomat, Mizner was born in California in 1872, but moved to Guatemala as a boy, where he doubtless began to acquire his uncanny feel for the Spanish architecture of antiquity.  He returned to California to serve a three-year apprenticeship with San Francisco architect Willis Polk, whose efforts toward preserving the California missions had helped bring about the Mission Revival style of the late nineteenth century.  Thereafter, Mizner wandered about Europe and Central America, finally settling in New York in 1904 and establishing a practice.  However, his career did not begin in earnest until 1917, when at the invitation of his friend, sewing machine heir Paris Singer, Mizner moved to Palm Beach.  There, his raconteurial charm quickly made him the society architect of choice.  His first large commission, the Everglades Club of 1919, came courtesy of Singer and will be described in a later chapter; suffice it to say that in its design, Mizner rejected the Colonial Revival idiom then common in Florida in favor of his own eclectic yet superbly composed Mediterranean vocabulary.  He thereby laid the groundwork for what has arguably become the state’s signature style.  <br />
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Also in 1919, after being unable to find clay roof tiles that suited his taste for antiquity, Mizner established Las Manos (“handcrafted”) to produce barrel tiles by hand.  This would constitute the first unit of Mizner Industries, which later produced a vast range of exceptional handicrafts including wrought iron, decorative tile and pottery, cast stone, and carved wood for Mizner’s own projects and others.  <br />
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Pictured here is El Castillo, designed by Mizner for Wall Street tycoon John F. Harris and completed in 1928.  The house, whose design was strongly influenced by Mizner’s travel