Architecture in Fort Worth



Will Rogers Auditorium, Coliseum, & Pioneer Tower

3301 W. Lancaster Ave. - 1936 (NR, RTHL, DD)


Architect Wyatt C. Hedrick designed the three buildings for the Texas Centennial celebration in 1936 using a mixture of classical revival and moderne styles. Thos. S. Byrne of Fort Worth was the General Contractor. It is also the home of the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show, held each January. The complex features three buildings: an auditorium, a coliseum, and a 208 ft. tower that sits between them. All buildings are constructed with buff-yellow brick. The Auditorium and the Coliseum have almost identical facades that feature a curving facade with six monumental piers. Recessed between the piers are aluminum doors with glass block panels above. Above the porticos of both structures are tile freizes depicting the history and products of Texas. The structural engineer for the project was Herbert M. Hinckley. The Coliseum was the first building designed with arched trusses joining at a ridge in the center. This design allowed the interior to be completely free of columns. Modern domed stadiums are based on the engineering design used here. Between the Auditorium and the Coliseum sits the Pioneer Tower. The tower features a limestone base with a brick shaft. The corners are accentuated with stepped piers and an aluminum cap tops the tower. On the top of each pier is an internally illuminated lantern, with the top of the tower accentuated by a bright beacon. Originally, the shaft of the tower featured a glass block panel on each side that was also internally illuminated. Unfortunately, that has been covered up with corrugated metal siding. These three buildings form the centerpiece of Fort Worth's Cultural District.


From the Jack White Collection of Historic Fort Worth Photos, University of Texas at Arlington:
1960's Aerial View

Front of Complex
1936 View From Northwest