Phineas E. Paist was born in Franklin, PA, the son of George W. and Margarette (Dempsey) Paist. He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, as well as the Drexel Institute (life drawing classes), and the Darby School of Painting (watercolor) and then began work with architect S. Gifford Slocum, an architect ordinarily associated with New York City who maintained an office in Philadelphia from approximately 1887 to 1890. During this early period Paist also worked for a second architect from out of town, Charles Schweinfurth. From 1893 until 1900 Paist lists himself successively as draftsman and architect in the Philadelphia city directories, and it may be speculated that his association with the office of G. W. and W. D. Hewitt began at this time. Certainly by 1900 he was employed by the Hewitts in their office in the Bullitt Building.
In 1902 Paist received the Cresson Traveling Scholarship, when enabled him to visit Europe. When that scholarship was extended for another year, Paist attended the ateliers of Chifflot and Duquesne in Paris. In 1906 he returned from Paris and rejoined the Hewitts. When G. W. Hewitt retired, Paist succeeded to a partnership in the firm and the name became Hewitt, Stevens & Paist. From 1909 until 1911 the office was known as Hewitt & Paist, but after Alfred Hoyt Granger, formerly of Chicago, joined the firm in 1910, the name was revised to Hewitt, Granger & Paist, and as that it continued until 1915.
In 1915 Paist began practicing on his own with an office at 1613 Chestnut Street. He is last found in the Philadelphia city directories in 1918. Following a brief period in New York City, Paist relocated to Miami, FL, where he soon associated with Harold Drake Steward (Paist & Steward). Eventually, according to Harold D. Steward, " . . . the firm was invited to come to Coral Gables, Florida to assist Mr. George Merrick who was the Founder and Developer of the City of Coral Gables. The firm designed a new City Hall, the Ground Sales Building and the Coral Gables Administration Building, plus many other fine buildings."
Paist died in Miami, having served as president of the Florida South Chapter of the AIA.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- T-Square Club
- Florida South Chaper (AIA)
- Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
- Drexel Institute
- Darby School of Painting
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