Guy King, Architect
Philadelphia Evening Times
Guy King, a specialist in resort and cottage architecture, was born in Tamaqua, PA, the son of Rear Admiral James W. and Clara A. King. His father was chief Engineer for the U.S. Navy. King's childhood was divided between Philadelphia and Boston, where he attended Episcopal Academy and Boston Latin High respectively. He did not graduate from high school, moving instead to Paris where he studied in the Atelier Girard, according to membership information which he submitted to the American Institute of Architects and to its Philadelphia Chapter. After three years of study, he returned to Philadelphia and became a draftsman, first with the Wilson Bros. and later with T. Roney Williamson. He also worked with Thomas P. Lonsdale and Walter Cope while pursuing a full carpenter's apprenticeship with Stacey Reeves & Sons and taking evening courses at Spring Garden Institute.
In 1885 King and Arnold Moses established Moses & King, followed in 1890 by the firm of Moses, King & Ferris, when engineer George F. Ferris joined the office. By 1896 King had divested himself of these arrangements, however, and was working independently at 431 Walnut Street. In 1914 his firm name was revised to Guy King & Co., probably to note the contribution of E. A. Wightman, who was more formally recognized in 1916 when the firm name became King & Wightman. By 1921 Wightman had left the office, and King returned to individual practice. Chiefly known for the wealth of cottages and bungalows for resort areas which he designed, King also was responsible for several hotels and, through his involvement with the Red Cross, a few hospitals. When he applied for AIA membership, King cited the People's Bank Building, Wilkes-Barre, PA, and a store for Richard Watson, 1731 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, among others, as examples of his work. In 1909 King was also involved in the design of an "aerial wharf for airships," a scheme reported by the Evening Times (23 September 1909) for constructing a landing stage on the roof of the Briarcliff Lodge on the Hudson River. This novelty item sure represents a departure from King's usual repertoire.
King joined the AIA in 1897 and was a member of the Philadelphia Chapter until he was asked to resign in 1902 because he took part in the controversial competition for the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg. In 1916 he was again suspended, this time from the national AIA, for his participation in the unauthorized competition for the Masonic home in Elizabethtown, PA. King was also a member of the T-Square Club, whose atelier he attended; he served as vice-president in 1893. As a member of the National Red Cross, King was involved in the Spanish-American War as a volunteer in both Cuba and Puerto Rico. He also held numerous local memberships and traveled extensively during his lifetime, not only to Europe, but also to Central America, North Africa, the West Indies, China and Japan.
Sandra L. Tatman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- Philadelphia Art Club
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- T-Square Club
- Vesper Boat Club
- Aztec Society
- Columbia Boat Club
- Millville (NJ) Elks Lodge
- Westmoreland Club
- Ecole des Beaux-Arts
- Spring Garden Institute
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