I have been researching the life and work of Murry S. King (1870–1925) (often spelled "Murray") for the better part of a decade. King was Florida's first registered architect, a noted American architect with a successful practice in Orlando, Florida, in the 1910s and 1920s.
born on July 13, 1870 in East Deer Township, Allegheny
son of Robert and Mary King. His birthplace was within a mile or two of where
we lived when we lived in Pittsburgh from 1987 to 1997. King moved to Orlando
from Pennsylvania in 1904.
offices in Rooms 22 and 23 of the Watkins Block in Orlando, King designed
handsome, dignified buildings, primarily in the Neo-Classical,
is noted for civic buildings of lasting elegance and
known of his designs is his last completed work, the stately Orange County
Courthouse building which is now the headquarters of the Orange
County Regional History Center (1927).
Constructed of variegated Indiana limestone from the Clear Creek Quarries of the
Indiana Limestone Company, the completion of the building was supervised by
Murry S. King's son, James B. King.
a charter member of the Florida State Association of Architects and served on
the Florida State Board of Architecture. He was a member of the
Institute of Architects.
the recognized leading architect among a group of architectural firms in Orlando
in the 1920s. The others included: Frank L.
M. Reynolds, Ryan
and Roberts (Ida
Annah Ryan and
group of architects was quite intentional about creating in Central Florida a
style of architecture that was suited to the region. Here is how they described
it in an article from The Florida Circle of May
"Just as architects of old
created styles to harmonize with their environment, so have the architects of
Florida been creating, from native motifs, a style that is carefully adapted to
the climatic conditions and surroundings of the state. This style has an
individuality all its own and should have a fitting name to express its origins
. . . The Florida Association of Architects will give a prize of $25.00 for the
name selected." Submissions were to be sent to King; the contest was to
conclude in November 1924 and the winning name announced
In 1890 Murry S. King married
Ruth Ann ("Anna") Riley Dible. Their children were: Leroy (1890), Florence
(1893), James B. (1894), Murry Jr (1896), Merrit (1896), Edward (1901), and
Pearl (1903), all of whom were born in Pennsylvania. His son, James B. King
entered into his architectural practice in the
King's first name appears both as "Murry" and "Murray" in contemporary sources
and in Orlando histories. It is spelled "Murray" in contemporary references
such as his own business listing in many issues of The Winter Park Post
and Orlando telephone directories, as well as the excellent photograph and brief
biographical sketch of "Murray S. King" available at the following:
a photograph of downtown Orlando with the sign outside his office, recently
found by my friends, Orlando historians Joy Wallace Dickinson and Rick Kilby,
shows the spelling as "Murry".
Murry S. King died in Orlando on
Sep. 20, 1925. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Orlando,