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Palm Beach designates two Kings Road estates as landmarks

Posted On: 01-16-2016

By David Rogers

Daily News Staff Writer

Two homes once part of the fabled Cielito Lindo estate are now town landmarks.

On Wednesday, in two votes, the Town Council designated 122 Kings Road and 123 Kings Road.

»More Palm Beach Town Council coverage

The 20-room home at 122 Kings Road includes Cielito Lindo’s entrance hall, tower, master bedroom and other original rooms. The house at 123 Kings Road includes Cielito Lindo’s grand dining room and breakfast nook.

Cielito Lindo (“A Little Piece of Heaven”) was the 124-room mansion Marion Sims Wyeth designed for Woolworth heiress Jessie Woolworth Donahue. It was constructed in 1927 for an eye-popping $2 million.

“She did not spare any expense in the design of the house and grounds or the parties she hosted,” said preservation consultant Janet Murphy.

In 1947, when Donahue was ready to downsize, architect Byron Simonson saved most of the 45,000-square-foot Mediterranean Revival-style home from the wrecking ball by dividing it into five still-sizable houses, according to the designation report. Kings Road runs through what had been the mansion’s living room.

Murphy called 122 Kings Road the “largest and most evocative” remnant of Cielito Lindo.

“The residence’s most significant exterior features include the Moorish-influenced brick railings, bands and arches; geometric, interlaced wood details and this three-story tower,” Murphy said.

‘Ingenuity’

Councilman Dick Kleid complimented Murphy and consulting partner Emily Stillings for a thorough designation report that reads like a “romance novel” and tells the story of Palm Beach’s early social scene.

President Michael Pucillo agreed. “I also think the credit that you give Byron Simonson for his ingenuity in preserving this is important,” Pucillo said.

When Simonson converted 123 Kings Road into a single-family home, he turned a south-side interior wall into the new home’s main entrance. Cielito Lindo’s original entrance doors of carved wood with cast-stone trimmed were pulled from their original casing and installed as the main entry for 123 Kings Road, Murphy said.

Other original elements that were retained include terraces, chimneys and barrel-tile roofing with exposed rafters, according to the report.

 

 

 

Source: David Rogers, January 16, 2016, Palm Beach Daily News

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