There was a never a fort in Fort Worth and the town’s namesake never had anything to do with the place either. William Jenkins Worth was a veteran of the War of 1812, the Seminole Wars and the Mexican War who was placed in command of the Department of Texas in 1849. Worth died of cholera shortly after arriving in San Antonio and less than a month later the camp established at the confluence of the West Fork and Clear Fork of the Trinity River, near present day Houston and Belknap streets, was named in his honor. The outpost was intended to check Indian activity in North Texas and was officially designated Fort Worth on November 14, 1849. When that activity shifted westward the U.S. Army followed and the camp was abandoned by 1853. Settlers moved into the remnants of the post and set about building a town.
The Civil War and economic hard times stifled the early growth of the settlement although pioneer residents managed to wrangle possession of the county government in its early days. So many people moved away in the early 1870s that an article appeared in the Dallas newspaper describing Fort Worth as so moribund that a panther was observed to be asleep in front of the courthouse. Rather than take offense the townsfolk adopted the panther as its mascot.
But it was not a panther but another animal that came to define Fort Worth - the cow. The railroad pulled into town in 1876 and Fort Worth became the Southwest’s westernmost railhead for shipping cattle. Cowboys flooded into the booming town and “Cowtown” became renowned for its lawlessness, especially in the part of town packed with saloons and dance halls known as Hell’s Half-Acre, although chroniclers of the crime-plagued town estimated the area as more like two and one-half acres.
Fort Worth was mostly settled down by 1893 when Louville Niles established the Fort Worth Stockyards Company and the country’s two biggest meatpackers, Swift and Armour, set up shop in town. The stockyards spread across more than 250 acres of Fort Worth, larger than anything south of St. Louis. Population soared from about 25,000 in 1890 to over 160,000 by 1930.
It was during this growth period that the face of Fort Worth began taking shape. Almost every important building in town in the early 1900s was designed by the architectural shop of Marcus Sanguinet, Carl Staats and Wyatt Hedrick, who joined the firm in the later years of this period. Fort Worth has done an admirable job of retaining these heritage structures which stand a century later as a portfolio of the architects.
Our exploration of the Fort Worth streetscape will track down these skyscrapers but first we will begin where modern architectural masters have left their imprint on the city...
Fort Worth Water Gardens
between Houston and Commerce streets above Lancaster Avenue
Acclaimed modernist architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee designed this urban park to be a “cooling oasis in the concrete jungle” in 1974. The space features three water gardens and a terraced stone block mountain. The Quiet Pool is sunken in a grove of trees fed by flat planes of water; the Aerating Pool features spray fountains of identical heights and the Active Pool is a hydrospectacular with water cascading down terraces from all sides. The Water Gardens were used as a set piece for the 1976 science fiction thriller Logan’s Run.
EXIT THE WATER GARDENS TO THE SOUTH ONTO LANCASTER AVENUE AND TURN RIGHT.
Texas & Pacific Railway Terminal
1600 Throckmorton Street at West Lancaster Avenue
The Texas and Pacific Railway Company was formed in 1871 to establish a transcontinental railroad along the country’s southern tier between Marshall, Texas and San Diego, California. The line was plagued by construction difficulties and never made it to the Pacific Ocean, linking into the Southern Pacific Railroad instead. The road remained influential in Texas, however, as evidenced by this majestic train station erected in 1931. Busy Texas architect Wyatt C. Hedrick, born in Virginia in 1888, provided the Art Deco design with eye-catching zigzags and chevrons. A lavish lobby greeted train travelers with glistening marble floors, inlaid metal ceilings and nickel and brass fixtures. The railroad disappeared in the 1960s and the terminal fell into decline for decades until a refurbishment in 1999 turned the upper floors into condominiums. The trains even started arriving again in 2001 when the venerable Texas & Pacific station became the western terminal for a commuter line between Dallas and Fort Worth.
United States Post Office
251 West Lancaster Avenue at southeast corner of Jennings Avenue
Postal service began in Fort Worth in 1856 and twenty-eight years later home delivery started. By the 1930s a new facility was required and after a two-year debate the land in between the two hulking Texas & Pacific facilities was selected. Wyatt Hedrick, who was one of only two architects listed in the Fort Worth City Directory at the time, got the commission and designed a low-slung Beaux Arts limestone confection with 16 Corinthian columns marching down Lancaster Avenue. Instead of topping the pillars with traditional classical acanthus leaves Hedrick used heads of Hereford and Longhorn cattle.
Texas & Pacific Warehouse
southwest corner of Jennings and West Lancaster avenues
Wyatt Hedrick designed this mammoth warehouse in the image of his earlier Texas & Pacific Railway Terminal one block away, only without as much ornamentation. Completed in 1931, the eight-story structure still boasted elements of the Zig-Zag Moderne style created with glazed bricks. Stretching over 600 feet in length, the warehouse today sits vacant and endangered by several feet of water residing in the basement. Lancaster Avenue at the time was Front Street; it was later renamed for the president of the Texas & Pacific, John Lancaster.
TURN RIGHT ON JENNINGS AVENUE. TURN RIGHT ON 12TH STREET. TURN LEFT ON THROCKMORTON STREET.
St. Ignatius Academy
Throckmorton Street at northwest corner of 12th Street
The Sisters of St. Mary of Namur organized the school in 1885 and this French Second Empire-style academy building constructed of native stone was finished in 1889. J.J. Kane was the architect. The landmark has been stripped of its lacy iron cresting on the roof and some ornamentation but still retains its original form. This was the first Catholic school in Fort Worth and classes were held here until 1962.
St. Patrick Rectory
1206 Throckmorton Street
The first Catholic services in Fort Worth were held in private homes around town in 1875, presided over by circuit-riding priests. After a parish was established the following year land was purchased here and a frame meetinghouse erected in the name of Saint Stanislaus. It served until the new church was constructed next door and named for Saint Patrick. The original structure was hauled down in 1909 and replaced with this brick rectory.
St. Patrick Cathedral
1206 Throckmorton Street
This Gothic Revival church, another design by J.J. Kane, was dedicated on July 10, 1892 and is the oldest church in Fort Worth in continuous use. When Fort Worth was merged into the Dallas diocese in 1953 the limestone church was elevated to the rank of co-cathedral. The entire cathedral complex has been included in the National Register of Historic Places.
A.D. Marshall Public Safety and Courts Building
1000 Throckmorton Street at northwestern corner of 10th Street
Wyatt C. Hedrick crafted this two-toned Art Moderne style government building in 1938 using Works Progress Administration stimulus funds during the Great Depression. The black stone front piece is enlivened by geometric metal window frames for the building that operated as City Hall until 1978. In 2007 the city honored one of its longest serving employees ever, A.D. Marshall, by naming the building after him. Marshall worked 53 years for Fort Worth in the police departments and for the municipal courts.
TURN LEFT ON 10TH STREET.
1000 Throckmorton Street at southwestern corner of 10th Street
The core of five Fort Worth municipal buildings in the immediate vicinity is City Hall, in use since the 1970s. Edward Durell Stone, one of America’s leading cheerleaders for modernist design, drew up the plans. Among Stone’s diverse commissions were the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington and Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
917 Lamar Street at southeast corner of 10th Street
Marshall R. Sanguinet and Carl Staats drew up the plans for this English Gothic stone church in 1912. St. Andrews is the town’s oldest Episcopal congregation with roots stretching to a service conducted on the bluffs of the Trinity River in 1860. The parish was organized in 1878 and a wooden frame meetinghouse was employed until the current church, noted for its splendid stained glass windows, was raised. The first services took place on May 12, 1912.
Eldon B. Mahon Courthouse
501 West 10th Street at southwest corner of Lamar Street
To help drag America from the Great Depression President Franklin Roosevelt’s government embarked on a nationwide building spree that included this federal courthouse in Fort Worth in 1934. Many of the government structures employed the stripped down classicism of the Art Moderne style and the U.S. Courthouse is a splendid example, created by celebrated Philadelphia architect Paul Philippe Cret in collaboration with local designer Wiley G. Clarkson. The five-story structure is sheathed in limestone and decorated with geometric Art Deco elements in the windows. In 2003 the courthouse took the name of Eldon B. Mahon, a long-time judge in the Northern District of Texas who orchestrated court-ordered integration in the Fort Worth School District.
TURN RIGHT ON LAMAR STREET.
west side of Lamar Street between 7th and 10th streets
Samuel Burk Burnett went on his first cattle drive in 1866 when he was 17 years old. The following year he was a trail boss, guiding 1,200 head to Abilene, Kansas along the Chisholm Trail. In 1871 he acquired his own brand and founded the 6666 Ranch which would grow into one of the greatest cattle empires Texas has ever known, gobbling up over 200,000 acres of range. Burnett moved to Fort Worth in 1900 and donated this land for a public park in 1919. What he died three years later a chunk of his fortune was used to endow Texas Christian University. The two-acre greenspace was most recently renovated in 2010 by landscape architect Peter Walker.
Neil P. Anderson Building
411 West 7th Street at southeast corner of Lamar Street
Marshall R. Sanguinet began practicing architecture in Fort Worth in 1883, teaming with a string of partners until hooking up with New York native Carl G. Staats in 1903. Sanguinet and Staats would spend the next three decades designing nearly every tall building in Fort Worth, and many elsewhere. This composition was developed for the Neil P. Anderson Cotton Company in 1921 and housed 22 cotton and grain concerns in its heyday. The cotton exchange boasted the only curved facade in Fort Worth. Look up to see urns along the roofline of the classically inspired building that now does residential duty.
Historic Electric Building
410 West 7th Street at northeast corner of Lamar Street
The Texas Electric Service Company erected this 19-story office tower in 1929. Architect Wyatt C. Hedrick outfitted the building with cast stone ornamentation, terra cotta detailing and decorative friezes. The company added two stylistically sympathetic, but smaller, additions in 1930. In the 1990s the skyscraper was converted into 106 upscale apartments.
512 Lamar Street at northwest corner of 5th Street
The concept of physical recreation for the working classes sprouted in England in 1844 and soon Young Mens Christian Association branches were spreading across the globe. The YMCA reached Fort Worth in 1890. The cornerstone for this classically flavored facility was laid in 1924. Wiley G. Clarkson drew up the plans that were executed with limestone and marble on the base and red brick up top. Additions came along in the 1980s.
TURN LEFT ON 4TH STREET.
512 West 4th Street at northeast corner of Burnett Street
Organized on August 2, 1907, the Fort Worth YWCA became the first in Texas. In 1955 the women moved into this building that had been constructed in 1928 as a headquarters for Elks Lodge 124. Fort Worth architect Wyatt C. Hedrick tapped the Georgian Revival style and used brick, cast stone veneer and metal balustrades in its construction.
TURN RIGHT ON BURNETT STREET. TURN RIGHT ON 3RD STREET.
Fort Worth Public Library
3rd and Lamar streets
The first books were lent in Fort Worth in 1901, thanks to a $50,000 grant from steel baron Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie funded over 2,500 public libraries around the world, using $400 million he received when he sold U.S. Steel. Jenny Scheuber, who had spearheaded the drive to form the Fort Worth Public Library Association in 1892, assumed the role of head librarian. The current Central Library home dates to the 1970s when funding problems led to an underground facility beneath Lamar Street. After problems with leaks a two-story addition was added. The classical portico echoes the original library’s entrance that stood at 9th and Throckmorton streets.
CONTINUE TO HOUSTON STREET AND TURN LEFT.
310 Houston Street at northwest corner of 3rd Street
In the colorful days of the Old West Houston Street was populated with cowboys, gamblers and outlaws. It was called “Hell’s Half-Acre” and many of the structures have been restored or replicated to evoke those times in a 35-block development of shops, restaurants and night spots known as Sundance Square. Several historical facades on this block have been retained to front modern structures. On this corner are two facades from the 1880s that have been fused into a single building.
City National Bank Building
315 Houston Street at northeast corner of 3rd Street
With two years of architectural study at Washington University in St. Louis and six months of practice in Deming, New Mexico behind him Marshall Sanguinet arrived in Fort Worth in 1883 when he was 24 years old. One of his first commissions was for this four-story building for the City National Bank. The modified French Second Empire facade is one of the town’s oldest.
CONTINUE TO WEATHERFORD STREET AND TURN RIGHT.
Tarrant County Courthouse
100 East Weatherford Street between Commerce and Houston streets
The ultimate Fort Worth landmark was created by Canadian-born architect Louis Singleton Curtiss and Frederick C. Gunn out of Kansas City. Curtiss and Gunn used native pink Texas granite to fashion the Beaux Arts tour-de-force in the manner of the Texas State Capitol. After three years of construction the courthouse opened in 1895; the central clock tower reaches 194 feet into the Texas sky. The final price tag was $408,840 - a sum so outrageous that the entire county commissioners’ court was thrown out of office. Fans of Chuck Norris’s Walker, Texas Ranger television series will recognize the Tarrant County Courthouse from its star turn during the show’s nine-year run.
TURN RIGHT ON MAIN STREET. NOTE THE BRICKS THAT HAVE BEEN PRESERVED FROM THE EARLY DAYS OF FORT WORTH ROAD PAVING.
301 Main Street at southeast corner of 2nd Street
During his lifetime Winfield Scott was known as Fort Worth’s heaviest taxpayer. A native of Kentucky, Scott could neither read nor write when he came to Texas at the age of 21 in 1868 and earned money chopping trees along the Trinity River. He invested his earnings in Fort Worth real estate, betting smartly on the cowtown’s future growth. In later years he owned cotton seed oil mills and vast stretches of ranchland. Scott built several hotels in Fort Worth including this prototypical cattleman’s hotel in 1908. The building was restored in 1981, highlighting the white glazed brick and green and yellow terra cotta trim.
TURN LEFT ON 2ND STREET.
Fire Station No. 1
203 Commerce Street at northeast corner of 2nd Street
The firefighters in Fort Worth, a volunteer force, wer organized in 1873. In 1893 the city council voted secretly to abolish the volunteers and install a professional force with saloonkeeper John C. Cella in charge. In 1901 this modern two-story brick firehouse was constructed on plans drawn by the architectural duo of Marshall Sanguinet and Carl Staats created. Today it functions as a history museum.
D.R. Horton Tower
301 Commerce Street at southeast corner of 2nd Street
Erected in 1984, at 547 feet this is the second tallest building in Fort Worth. It carries the name of Donald R. Horton, the largest homebuilder in the United States.
TURN RIGHT ON COMMERCE STREET.
Palace Theater/Barnes & Noble Block
east side of Commerce Street between 3rd and 4th streets
The commercial buildings on this block adapted revival styles of architecture when constructed in the 1990s. The Palace Theatre brought back Streamline Art Moderne styling from the late 1930s and the Barnes and Noble bookstore tore a page out of Queen Anne design from the Victorian Age for its corner brick store with its corner entrance inside a turret.
Bass Performance Hall
330 East 4th Street at southeast corner of Commerce Street
Completed in 1998, the 2,056-seat multipurpose hall was constructed in the tradition of a grand European opera house. Its superb acoustics and exceptional sight lines have won plaudits from theater reviewers around the country. Its lavish exterior is marked by a pair of 48-foot trumpeting angels along 4th Street.
TURN RIGHT ON 4TH STREET.
Land Title Block
111 East 4th Street at northwest corner of Commerce Street
Architects Haggart and Sanguine infused this 1889 structure with elements of the Romanesque Revival style such as prominently arched windows. A rich panoply of building materials were used on the two-story building including red sandstone trim to accent the red brick facade, glazed bricks and cast iron. The Land Title Block is consistently hailed as one of Fort Worth’s finest Victorian-era buildings.
Burk Burnett Building
500 Main Street at southwest corner of 4th Street
At 12 stories and 156 feet this was the first skyscraper in Fort Worth when it was constructed in 1914. Architects Marshall Sanguinet and Carl Staats used a Neoclassical design similar to towers they had previously designed in Waco and San Antonio. The three-part form is typical of early high-rises in its resemblance to a Greek column with a base (the over-sized decorative lower floors highlighted by granite columns), a shaft (the unadorned central brick stories) and a capital (the ornate terra cotta upper floors and cornice). The money men were the State National Bank but they went bankrupt the next year and Fort Worth magnate Samuel Burk Burnett purchased the building.
TURN RIGHT ON MAIN STREET.
400 Main Street at southwest corner of 3rd Street
This three-story commercial brick building was constructed in 1902 and once housed the Northern Texas Traction Company that provided rail service between Fort Worth, Dallas and Cleburne. With the development of Sundance Square, Richard Haas painted a trompe l’oeil mural of a Chisholm Trail cattle drive in 1985 across most of the southern elevation facing the parking lot.
Knights of Pythias Castle Hall
315 Main Street at northeast corner of 3rd Street
The Order of the Knights of Pythias was begun by Justus H. Rathbone as an organization based on peace and friendship in the midst of the Civil War. The Fort Worth chapter constructed its first hall on this site in 1881. After a fire in 1901 architect Marshall Sanguinet gave the new three-story building a Flemish medieval appearance rendered in red brick. Look up on the Main Street elevation to see a knight in his third story nook - he is a 1980s replica that stands in after the original, cast in 1882, was damaged in a tumble to the ground.
Western Union Building
314 Main Street at northwest corner of 3rd Street
This splash of Art Deco came to Fort Worth in 1931 courtesy of the Western Union Company and architect/engineer James B. Davies. Look up to see the geometric shapes incorporated into the buff-colored brickwork and a fanciful parapet.
TURN LEFT ON 3RD STREET. TURN LEFT ON HOUSTON STREET.
410 Houston Street at northwest corner of 4th Street
German-born Isaac Sanger sailed to America in 1852 when he was 16 years old and began clerking with a New Haven, Connecticut mercantile concern. He migrated to Texas in 1857 and opened a store in McKinney, a town on the North Texas frontier 35 miles north of Dallas. With brothers Philip and Alexander the family opened stores along the Houston and Texas Central Railroad tracks. When the line reached Dallas in 1872 Sanger Brothers made its headquarters there. The trail-blazing Texas merchant family sold the business in 1926 but the stores operated under the Sanger Brothers nameplate until 1987. In 1929 this downtown Fort Worth branch opened as the first air conditioned department store west of the Mississippi River. In the 1990s the historic emporium was converted into loft apartments.
F.W. Woolworth Building
501 Houston Street at southeast corner of 4th Street
Frank W. Woolworth made enough nickels and dimes from his Woolworth’s 5 &10s that he was able to build the world’s tallest skyscraper in New York City in 1913 by paying cash. Architects Wiley G. Clarkson & James T. Taylor envisioned this Woolworth Company building as a ten-story Neoclassical high-rise in 1926 but only three floors were ever built. It operated as a F.W. Woolworth store until 1990.
CONTINUE TO 5TH STREET. AS YOU WALK, TO YOUR RIGHT, ACROSS THE PARKING LOT THE SKYSCRAPER IS...
Fort Worth Tower
500 Throckmorton Street
The glass curtain tower across the parking lot was constructed in 1974 and spent a decade as the tallest member of the Fort Worth skyline. Atlanta architect John Portman designed the octagonal skyscraper for the Fort Worth National Bank. At 454 feet tall it is currently the town’s 5th tallest building.
515 Houston Street at northeast corner of 5th Street
This building, from the pen of Fort Worth architect Wiley G. Clarkson, began life in 1925 as a Sanger Brothers Department Store. Other retailers, most notably Meacham’s Department Store, have inhabited the space through the years. The eight-story tower boasts a limestone ground floor and decorative terra cotta cornice.
TURN LEFT ON 5TH STREET.
512 Main Street on northwest corner of 5th Street
Harry Ford Sinclair was born outside Wheeling, West Virginia, two days after the American Centennial on July 6, 1876. His family moved to Independence, Kansas where young Harry was schooled as a pharmacist and expected to join the family drug store. Instead, he started selling lumber for the derricks in the oil fields of southeastern Kansas, keeping his ear to the ground for leads to speculate in oil leases. In 1905 he heard tell of a new gusher at the farm of Ida Glenn south of Tulsa and hurried over to grab some choice Glenn Pool leases. By the time Sinclair was 30 he had made his first million dollars. In 1916 he founded Sinclair Oil that would become the largest oil company in the Midwest and seventh largest in America. Sinclair’s most notorious financial adventure took place in the 1920s when he reportedly paid $200,000 to Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall for an oil lease on remote government land in Wyoming’s Teapot Dome region without competitive bidding. The scandal landed Sinclair in prison for six months in 1929 and Fall became the first Presidential cabinet member to do jail time for his actions in the Teapot Dome Scandal. Teas oilman Richard O. Dulaney commissioned this landmark 16-story Art Deco office building designed by Wiley Clarkson in 1930 but seven floors were leased by the Sinclair Oil Company. It has remained the Sinclair Building ever since.
515 Main Street at northeast corner of 5th Street
This three-story commercial building is a survivor from the turn of the 20th century. In its more than 100 years on this corner the structure has been through a series of alterations but the general architectural form remains.
601 Main Street at southeast corner of 5th Street
The town’s tallest hotel, an Art Deco confection rising 23 stories, was constructed in 1929 on plans drawn by the St. Louis architectural firm of Mauran, Russell & Crowell. The money man was cattle baron Gus O’Keefe who named it after his favorite Chicago guest house. Over the years the Blackstone became the hotel of choice for visiting celebrities and power brokers. The town’s first radio station, WBAP, operated out of the Blackstone in the 1930s. Conrad Hilton purchased the hotel n 1952 and renovated the interior before selling the property ten years later. The Blackstone spent most of the 1980s and 1990s vacant until it was given a makeover by the Marriott Corporation to function as a historic hotel.
TURN RIGHT ON MAIN STREET.
604 Main Street
Samuel Henry Kress looked on his stores as public works of art and he retained a staff of architects to achieve that end. He took as much pride in the appearance of those stores as the nickels and dimes that piled up in his coffers. There would eventually be 264 Kress five-and-dime stores throughout the United States and many of them adopted the Art Deco style in the 1920s and 1930s. The Fort Worth Branch arrived in 1936 and is one of 50 or so remaining Kress landmarks in the country, living on as loft apartments.
Fort Worth Club/Ashton Hotel
610 Main Street at northwest corner of 6th Street
The Commercial Club was chartered by the state of Texas on June 10, 1885 and constructed its first clubhouse on their site two years later. In 1906 the town’s oldest and most prestigious club changed its name to the more inclusive Fort Worth Club. A larger 12-story facility was planned for 1915 but only six stories were ever constructed here. The club moved on in 1926 and the building passed through a parade of owners until emerging as the Italianate styled Ashton Hotel (look up to see the prominent brackets at the cornice) in 2001 which also includes the 1890 Winfree Building next door.
TURN RIGHT ON 6TH STREET AND WALK TO THROCKMORTON STREET.
210 West 6th Street at northeast corner of Throckmorton Street
This 14-story commercial tower that dates to 1927 is another creation of Wyatt C. Hedrick. Through the decades it has lost some ornamentation and shuffled through several owners. Today it is known as the Petroleum Building as it was in the beginning and looks much like it did back then as well.
First Christian Church
612 Throckmorton Street at northwest corner of 6th Street
No congregation has gathered in Fort Worth longer than First Christian Church which began worshipping in private homes in 1855. Their first church on this site was raised in 1878. It was replaced with this Neoclassical sanctuary in 1914 designed by the local firm of Van Slyke and Woodruff which enjoyed a specialty niche erecting buildings like this around Texas. The limestone sanctuary is graced by a copper-skinned dome and Corinthian porticoes on three sides.
TURN LEFT ON THROCKMORTON STREET.
Fort Worth Club
306 West 7th Street at northwest corner of Throckmorton Street
The 41-year old Fort Worth Club moved into this block-swallowing 12-story home in 1926. The go-to Fort Worth architectural firm of Marshall Sanguinet, Carl Staats and Waytt Hedrick provided the classically-influenced design. Various top-tier businesses, including the Fort Worth & Denver Railway, occupied the lower crannies of the building while club members enjoyed the upper floors.
307 West 7th Street at southwest corner of Throckmorton Street
Amon G. Carter was on his own in Bowie, Texas at the age of 13 in 1892 working odd jobs to survive. In 1905 he came to Fort Worth to sell advertising space and within a few months was convinced to help start a new newspaper. His Fort Worth Star debuted on February 1, 1906 but was a steady money-loser. Instead of folding the paper Carter set about raising money to buy his main competitor, the Fort Worth Telegram and merged the two papers on New Years Day 1909. Until his death in 1955 no town had a more spirited cheerleader than Amon G. Carter. He ingrained the idea that Fort Worth was “ Where the West Begins” by splashing it across the Star-Telegram front page banner. Among the institutions around Fort Worth named for Carter are air fields and terminals, the football stadium at Texas Christian University, a lake, a mountain, and schools. For most of its life the paper operated a block away on Taylor Street where the presses rolled behind large ground floor windows. In 2011 the Star-Telegram moved into this office tower from 1930. Architect Wyatt C. Hedrick blended Gothic and Art Deco elements for the 260-foot tower. Hedrick also designed the landmark Star-Telegram Building in 1920 at the northwest corner of 7th and Taylor streets, which still stands as well.
TURN LEFT ON 7TH STREET
Bob R. Simpson Building
711 Houston Street at northwest corner of 7th Street
The First National Bank of Fort Worth constructed the core of this 11-story building in 1910. Over the years the structure has expanded and been remodeled so many time you need a scorecard to keep up. Bob R. Simpson, founder of Fort Worth-based XTO Energy and ardent preservationist, took over the building in 2005.
Farmers and Mechanics National Bank Building
714 Main Street at northwest corner of 7th Street
When this 24-story skyscraper was topped off in 1921 it was the tallest building in Texas. Like most of the other members of the increasingly impressive Fort Worth skyline at that time it was the creation of Marcus Sanguinet and Carl Staats. The client was the Farmers and Mechanics National Bank which occupied the first two floors and rented out the rest of the space. Over the years subsequent owners fiddled with the landmark tower’s appearance but a 2010 restoration brought it back to looking much like the original, including the oversized four-story arched base.
TURN RIGHT ON MAIN STREET.
815 Main Street at northeast corner of 8th Street
In the early years of the 20th century it was not unusual for business leaders in mid-size cities to pool their resources to build a first class hotel in an effort to give their town a desired big-city feel. It was said that the Fort Worth money men raised over one million dollars in three hours to get the ball rolling on the Hotel Texas. Marcus Sanguinet and Carl Staats provided a Beaux Arts design and the Hotel Texas had its grand opening on September 30, 1921. The price tag was $4 million. President John F. Kennedy would spend the last night of his life in this hotel in Suite 805 on November 21, 1963. In the morning he gave his final speech and headed for Dallas.
TURN RIGHT ON 8TH STREET.
W.T. Waggoner Building
810 Houston Street at northwest corner of 8th Street
William Thomas Waggoner was born on a Texas stock farm in 1852 and was a partner in his father’s cattle business before he was 18 years old. Waggoner became one of the most prosperous Cattle Kings in Texas through the years and when oil was discovered on his ranch in 1903 his fortune became one of the greatest in the Southwest. In 1904 Waggoner moved to Fort Worth but he never strayed too far from his ranch. A lover of breeding fine horses Waggoner developed Arlington Race Track and hammered the 1933 Texas parimutuel racing bill through the state legislature. Among the properties Waggoner financed in the city was this Renaissance Revival tower in 1920. Marble, white brick and terra cotta were used to execute a Marcus Sanguinet and Carl Staats U-shaped design.
TURN LEFT ON HOUSTON STREET.
Western National Bank/Houston Place Lofts
910 Houston Street at northwest corner of 9th Street
William H. Eddleman made his fortune in cattle and used his money to go into banking. He constructed this building in 1906 for his Western National Bank, one of the first in Fort Worth to make use of concrete. It is another creation of Marcus Sanguinet and Carl Staats. The bank failed in 1913 and its assets were bought up by the Texas State Bank which tacked on two additional floors up top. Through the years the structure survived modernization efforts until a 1980s restorations bought back most of the original appearance but not all. In 1996 the old bank building was converted into residential lofts.
Saunders’ Triangle Building/Flatiron Building
1000 Houston Street at southwest corner of 9th Street
In the early years of the 20th century architects, freed from the shackles of brawny masonry construction by lightweight steel framing, began planning high-rises on triangular footprints caused by diagonal streets in the city grid. They were known as flatiron buildings and Fort Worth’s came from the prolific pens of Marcus Sanguinet and Carl Staats. A local doctor, Bacon Saunders, put up the money in 1907, an estimated $70,000, and the Saunders’ Triangle Building was the tallest structure in North Texas. As it was being constructed nearby merchants fretted that the Renaissance Revival structure would blot out the sun and strong winds would blow down steel girders. As it was the plans called for ten stories but the building was capped at seven when funds ran low. Ironically the remains of United States Army general William Jenkins Worth, for whom the town is named, were interred in what became Worth Square in New York City in 1849. It was at that location that Daniel Burnham, one of the pioneers of the modern skyscraper, constructed the first Flatiron Building in 1902.
Fort Worth Convention Center
southeast corner of Houston and 9th streets
The city’s convention center and indoor arena came online in 1968 and has experienced expansions in 1983, 2002 and 2003. The 11,200 seat arena is home to Fort Worth’s team in the Central Hockey League and in the past has hosted teams in the American Basketball Association and the Arena Football League.
CONTINUE PAST THE CONVENTION CENTER ON HOUSTON STREET TO THE WATER GARDENS AND THE START OF THE TOUR.