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#1 DrkLts

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 10:44 PM

I saw a pic the other day of the SBC building in Dallas, and it looks "normal". I looked up a few more sbc buildings in other cities and they look "normal". Why does the one here in FW have all these communication antenneas/dishes and such on top? Also so few windows has me curious. Is the one in downtown used differently than the others?

By the way, why dont they just slap on a new coat of paint (white like the one in Dallas maybe?) the tannish color now is dull, so very dull redface.gif



#2 safly

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 11:53 PM

Supposedly there are jail cells for people who don't pay their bill on time. rotflmao.gif

Other than that, nothing else gets done there.
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#3 DrkLts

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 12:00 AM

Does look like some kinda prison building lol
I guess the only thing they might do to the building real soon as far as changes are concerned, a new logo. AT&T's globe logo will probably go where the SBC logo is now. It wasn't that long ago that the bell was removed for the current SBC sign.

#4 safly

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 12:38 AM

I prefer that YAHOO Rocket. biggrin.gif

That building does look like some place where "Snake" Plissken was locked up in. EXPLOSIVE neck collar monitor and all.
rotflmao.gif

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Those revolvers were COOL! And FUTURISTIC? huh.gif
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#5 DrkLts

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 04:03 PM

I think they are demolishing the wrong building, leave the Landmark alone and head towards SBC!
I know both are considered eyesores, but the SBC tower makes the Landmark look like a masterpiece. lol

#6 safly

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Posted 12 January 2006 - 06:24 PM

But like that balding man, we can always cover both of them buildings with.... SNICKERS wrappers? biggrin.gif

SNICKER really satifies. huh.gif
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#7 Keller Pirate

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 11:11 AM

Back when AT&T owned all the baby bells, buildings conformed to company standards. AT&T didn't waste money putting windows on floors that contained relays for switching equipment. If I remember from my 1 1/2 year phone company career they also didn't have windows in the rooms where the operators were because they didn't want any daydreaming.

With digital switching now I would bet a lot of the floors in the building are empty but with more people and phones in the greater Fort Worth area digital may have just saved them from having to build more buildings.

As to why the building in Dallas has windows, I don't know, maybe it wasn't a switching center, maybe they bought it already built and it came with windows, maybe windows have been added. All I can say is the building in Ft Worth is the norm not the exception for switching centers.

As to communications equipment on the roof I remember one building in California I used to go to that had a lot of micro-wave dishes on top of it compared to the others. This building was one that forwarded televison programs from New York to the West coast. It could be that since channel 5 was the first TV station in the area that Ft Worth was where network TV was beamed to back in the day. The shows would go by landline from that building to the stations in Ft Worth and Dallas. Just a guess, I stand a better chance of being wrong than right about this.

#8 safly

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 01:03 PM

The old SW Bell building near DTSA has lots of windows though. Could have been the only available/feasible building at the time.

Interesting why the city would allow one to create a windowless monster in a CBD area. dry.gif
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#9 DrkLts

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 01:55 PM

QUOTE(safly @ Jan 13 2006, 01:03 PM) View Post

Interesting why the city would allow one to create a windowless monster in a CBD area. dry.gif


Now that I think about it, would NOT having windows violate any fire codes? I mean if the thing were to catch on fire on the inside, how can the fire department put out the blaze??? Major smoke inhalation and such would intensify. Just look at the pic below from John's websight, a potential hazard! Maybe I can report it to the city and maybe a major renovation will be mandatory! What # should I call? Everyone will thank me later. biggrin.gif

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#10 Keller Pirate

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 03:42 PM

[quote name='DrkLts' date='Jan 13 2006, 01:55 PM' post='19844']
[quote post='19840' date='Jan 13 2006, 01:03 PM' name='safly']
Interesting why the city would allow one to create a windowless monster in a CBD area. dry.gif
[/quote]

Now that I think about it, would NOT having windows violate any fire codes? I mean if the thing were to catch on fire on the inside, how can the fire department put out the blaze??? Major smoke inhalation and such would intensify. Just look at the pic below from John's websight, a potential hazard! Maybe I can report it to the city and maybe a major renovation will be mandatory! What # should I call? Everyone will thank me later. biggrin.gif


Yeah! I'll bet the city inspectors were on vacation the week they built it. devil.gif

#11 safly

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 05:56 PM

Perhaps SBC contracts with the city's telecom resources? Hmmm? dry.gif

County too?

It looks HERENDOUS!

Like a playground for .... Q-BERT.

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#12 DrkLts

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Posted 13 January 2006 - 11:13 PM

QUOTE(safly @ Jan 13 2006, 05:56 PM) View Post

It looks HERENDOUS!

Like a playground for .... Q-BERT.

(Doinnk, Doinnk, Doinnk)


rotflmao.gif

By the way, take a close look at that pic I posted of the sbc building. I feel so bad for that church! I mean why did they build something so GAUDY next to something so GODLY??? sleep.gif

#13 John T Roberts

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 08:52 AM

QUOTE(DrkLts @ Jan 11 2006, 10:44 PM) View Post

I saw a pic the other day of the SBC building in Dallas, and it looks "normal". I looked up a few more sbc buildings in other cities and they look "normal". Why does the one here in FW have all these communication antenneas/dishes and such on top? Also so few windows has me curious. Is the one in downtown used differently than the others?

By the way, why dont they just slap on a new coat of paint (white like the one in Dallas maybe?) the tannish color now is dull, so very dull redface.gif


Before I explain about the building, I want to say that Keller Pirate is correct about this building being more of the norm, rather than the exception for a telephone building. Some relays and telephone equipment actually cannot be exposed to sunlight; therefore, switchgear buildings typically did not have windows.

Also, a little history on the building and the site might begin to explain more about the look of the building, as well. In 1899, the Fort Worth Telephone Company built its new building on the northeast corner of 11th and Throckmorton. This building appeared in old photographs to be 2 1/2 stories tall. At some point in the early 1900's, Southwestern Bell purchased Fort Worth Telephone and then constructed a 3 story building on the southeast corner of 10th and Throckmorton in 1905. In 1913, the northern building had two floors added on top of it, giving it a total of five. Somewhere around that time, the original building on the site was doubled in width, and the building was converted into a full three story building. At this time the facade was changed somewhat. This may have actually been a new building constructed on top of the basement of the 1899 building. I haven't been able to confirm this, but it was expanded vertically two times after this 1910's addition. In 1926, three more floors were added to the building that building, giving it a total of 6 stories. In 1949, another building of 5 stories was constructed between the first two on Throckmorton. In 1958, the entire portion of the block to the east of the Throckmorton building that faces Houston was purchased and a 9 story building was constructed there. This addition was designed to be expanded to 16 stories in the future. In 1965, two and three additional floors were added to the all of the buildings except the original SW Bell structure on the corner of 10th and Throckmorton. This made the Throckmorton buildings 8 stories tall and the Houston building 11 stories tall. Finally in 1971, the original Bell building was demolished, 10th Street was closed, the Houston Street building was expanded vertically to its ultimate designed height of 16 stories, the 1949 building was expanded to 12 stories, and a new 17 story tower rose on the site of the Bell building and 1/2 of 10th Street. Inside these buildings are a combination of switching equipment and offices.

The next thing I would like to touch on are the code issues. Modern building codes do not allow for windows to be placed on the locations where adjoining buildings may be constructed. Even though this block is platted as one property, the building code views these structures as four distinct buildings on four pieces of property as defined in the code. What I'm basically saying is that the code looks as if one of the lower buildings catches on fire, then having no windows on the taller structure will keep the fire from spreading between the buildings. Inside the buildings, there are connections between the structures, but they are through fire rated doors that are located within the original exterior masonry walls of those buildings, which are deemed as rated walls of varying times, depending on the construction. The old windows in those buildings were blocked up by masory construction completing the rating of those walls. This explains why the walls that face the older buildings on the site have no windows. This is dictated by modern building codes. The reason that I call the codes "modern" is because these fire wall requirements were probably put in place in the 1960's. I'm sure a code expert could probably do the research to the exact year. I know by the early 1970's, you couldn't have windows on a wall that was directly adjacent to another building.

Finally, I would like to touch briefly on the SBC building in Dallas. That is actually a complex of four buildings forming the SBC Plaza. Two of the buildings were built in the 1920's and the other two were constructed in 1984. The tall, white one that you are describing was constructed as the local headquarters of Southwestern Bell. It is an office building.

#14 DrkLts

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 09:10 AM

Thanks John for shedding light on the subject, even though I think it's a very unattractive building, I always been very curious about it. I appreciate the info smile.gif

#15 John T Roberts

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 09:26 AM

I agree with you. It is unattractive, but there are many buildings across the U.S. that look very similar. They are necessary evils and the building that we have is a result of function, building, codes, and history. Bell officials tell me the reason why all but one of the old buildings weren't demolished is that they never had the luxury of putting the building and the equipment housed inside out of commission while demolition occurred.

#16 vjackson

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 10:30 AM

If FW had taller buildings, SBC wouldn't be nearly as noticeable. It's so bland it would easily be overshadowed by taller, nicer structures. It's a shame that the lack of skysrapers allows this monstrosity to stick out like a really ugly sore thumb.

#17 John T Roberts

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 10:44 AM

The new 500 foot Omni Fort Worth Hotel will help to block the view of it from the south. Although not directly across the street, the two block hotel and the 10 story parking garage to the south will help block some of the views of the building.

#18 DrkLts

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Posted 14 January 2006 - 04:16 PM

QUOTE(John T Roberts @ Jan 14 2006, 08:52 AM) View Post

Before I explain about the building, I want to say that Keller Pirate is correct about this building being more of the norm, rather than the exception for a telephone building. Some relays and telephone equipment actually cannot be exposed to sunlight; therefore, switchgear buildings typically did not have windows.


I guess back when I googled "sbc buildings" it only showed me typical office sbc buildings. If I were to look up other buildings that resemble the dtfw one, what key words should I use? "switchgear/relay buildings"? I kinda want to compare similar ones in other cities to see if we truely have the worst one or not laugh.gif

Also, I too was wondering if the Omni hotel would help in hiding it, looks like my question was answered ahead of time happy.gif

#19 John T Roberts

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 07:02 AM

QUOTE(DrkLts @ Jan 12 2006, 01:00 AM) View Post

I guess the only thing they might do to the building real soon as far as changes are concerned, a new logo. AT&T's globe logo will probably go where the SBC logo is now. It wasn't that long ago that the bell was removed for the current SBC sign.


The case to remove the SBC sign, then replace it with a globe logo and "at&t" went up before the Downtown Design Review Board this month. So, it won't belong before the logo will be changed out. The new AT&T sign will also be on the south side of the building. I wonder how much of it will be seen once the new Omni Hotel is constructed.


#20 redhead

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 07:58 AM

I think a HUGE ATT&T ROTATING globe on top would have been a cool addition. At least it would give the ugly building a bit of personality!! rotflmao.gif

#21 John T Roberts

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 08:01 AM

Redhead, it is good to have you posting again. I certainly have missed your comments.

#22 renamerusk

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 10:56 AM

QUOTE(John T Roberts @ Jul 14 2006, 08:02 AM) View Post

... I wonder how much of it will be seen once the new Omni Hotel is constructed.



John,

It does seem that at least the designers of the Omni-Fort Worth Hotel have attempted to "color coordinated", if that is a proper architectural term, the lower elevations of the new hotel to its neighbor, the AT&T building. If they have been successful, AT&T will optically blend in to the newer structure. We can only hope.

"Keep Fort Worth folksy"

#23 John T Roberts

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 11:40 AM

Rename, I actually think the coordination was made with the Convention Center. The base of the new hotel also blends with the center, and I'm sure the architects were more interested in tying those facilities together. It is just fortunate that the new facades of the Convention Center work with the color scheme of the SBC Building.

#24 renamerusk

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 12:10 PM

QUOTE(John T Roberts @ Jul 14 2006, 12:40 PM) View Post

Rename, I actually think the coordination was made with the Convention Center. The base of the new hotel also blends with the center, and I'm sure the architects were more interested in tying those facilities together. It is just fortunate that the new facades of the Convention Center work with the color scheme of the SBC Building.



Yes, John your observation is right on point...the new hotel design attempts to coordinate with the convention center; and yes it is fortunate that it works well with the surrounding buildings too.

While I have your attention, do you know if the planned Embassey Hotel at Sundance Square will have the signature crown found on other Embassey Suite hotels?

"Keep Fort Worth folksy!"

#25 John T Roberts

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 12:26 PM

I don't think the Embassy Suites will be much more that just covering up the existing facade on the Clarion Hotel. I don't think anything will be added to the roof.

#26 RD Milhollin

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 06:08 PM

While on the subject of the SBC Bldg, the bleak effects felt mainly at street-level could be significantly mitigated if the company would allow the ground floor, or a significant part of it, to be remodeled into leasable storefronts with an awning covering part of the sidewalk. It seems that having a major hotel and a convention facility across the street this could be a great retail or restaurant location.



#27 lcbrownz

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Posted 26 October 2014 - 12:17 PM

Wasn't it Southwestern Bell who created the moniker "Greater Fort Worth area" when they created their local telephone exchange map printed in the telephone directory?



#28 John T Roberts

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Posted 26 October 2014 - 07:46 PM

I would say that's probably a good assumption.  The old phone books always had "Greater Fort Worth Area" on them.



#29 Austin55

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Posted 01 July 2017 - 03:28 PM

The south facing AT&T sign was removed yesterday. 



#30 John T Roberts

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Posted 01 July 2017 - 03:36 PM

I had noticed that sometime back, a DDRB case was heard regarding a sign at the AT&T address, but I did not check it out.  I know that the residents of the Omni Hotel have complained about the AT&T sign, but I also didn't know if the company would accommodate their request.  The sign that was removed was illuminated by LEDs.  Maybe, they are going to put a new one back on the west side of the building where the old Southwestern Bell Logo was literally built into the building. Possibly this sign will be replaced at the same location with just the globe logo. 

 

Over in Dallas, a few months ago they changed out the signage on their headquarters.  There was one sign on the south side of the building that had the globe logo and the letters "at&t".  The sign was replaced and a new globe logo was installed in the center of the façade where the old sign was located.  It appears the new globe is larger than the old one.  Then on the west side of the building, another globe logo has been installed.  Both are illuminated.



#31 John T Roberts

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Posted 01 July 2017 - 04:49 PM

I went back and searched the DDRB cases and I found the minutes of the DDRB Meeting from December 1, 2016.  This was the case where the Hilton Garden Inn at 607 Jones Street was re-heard and approved.  The AT&T sign was on this agenda.  Even though I did not see any graphics.  It is apparent from the case that AT&T is replacing the sign on the south side of the building.  The new sign will be smaller than the old one that was just removed.  Considering what they did on their Downtown Dallas building, I'm betting that they will just install a smaller globe logo with no text.



#32 Austin55

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Posted 26 July 2017 - 10:22 PM

It seems there are now plans to remove the radio tower from the top of the building as well. I've always found this to be one of the uglier parts of the building, so it'll be nice to see it go.



#33 John T Roberts

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 08:08 AM

Well, it is time.  I thought that the tower was a little bit obsolete.  However, removing it will be similar to the removal of the old CNB clock back in 2000.  It will "apparently" reduce the height of the building.  I do agree with you in that the tower does detract from the building's appearance.

 

A few years back, the communications tower was removed from the AT&T Building on Live Oak in Dallas.  The building was located outside of downtown and the communications tower was built out of concrete and was a part of the building's structure.  It looked like a large drum on the roof of that building.  When it was removed, the height of that building definitely appeared to be diminished. 



#34 renamerusk

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 10:18 AM

Well, it is time....

 

If the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History does not want it, I do.  It will make a great bar theme. :swg:



#35 rriojas71

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 07:54 PM

while they're at it maybe they can remove the entire building once the radio tower is gone and then replace it with FW's tallest building. <fingers crossed>

#36 John T Roberts

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 04:19 PM

Here is a current photograph of the building with the new sign in place.  If you look at the locations of the old signs, you can see where the original granite bell logo was located on the west side of the building and then you can see the ghost of the SBC logo on top of the new globe and part of the ghost of the old globe and the letters "at&t" below the new.

 

35440459304_6aa5e55db0_h.jpgatt-sw-07-30-17 by jtrobert, on Flickr



#37 Austin55

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 03:29 PM

A good chunk of the antenna is now gone. John, you're going to need to update your photo again soon.



#38 John T Roberts

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 03:35 PM

When you told us the antenna tower was coming down, then I knew that I was not going to be able to use this photo on the website, and I would have to take three new photographs of the building for the site.



#39 John T Roberts

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Posted 18 August 2017 - 09:46 PM

Austin, the sides are now gone, except at the top.  Here is a photo that I took after work today.

 

35826444434_0d854d71f4_h.jpgat&amp;t-towerdemo1 by jtrobert, on Flickr



#40 renamerusk

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Posted 19 August 2017 - 10:17 AM

Except for the shorter, original wing of this building, SBC is brutal personified.

 

One way that it can become more interesting is if its exterior was used as a digital or billboard canvas.



#41 RD Milhollin

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 01:14 AM

If you are referring to "Brutalism" or "Brutalist" as an architectural style, you are way off the mark. This is a brick-sided building. Check out what the terms mean... hint: The answer  is in this forum.



#42 renamerusk

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 08:29 AM

Admitted, I'm shaky ground using brutalist terminology; the exact word escapes me. What I'm trying to say is that aside from the shorter building, SBC is USSR-Arch.  (new word) :huh:



#43 rriojas71

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 10:33 AM

Yeah this is definitely Soviet Block style architecture at it's worst. Lol

#44 Dismuke

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 11:30 AM

Yeah this is definitely Soviet Block style architecture at it's worst. Lol

 

Yes.  That tower box is where Big Brother's big sister Ma Bell would sit and eavesdrop on and record our phone calls.  They don't need the tower anymore because Ma's getting up in years and they were able to outsource the job to the NSA.  

 

And the designer of the building, while trained in Moscow, was actually North Korean.  The massive windowless wall was originally put there on the premise that it would hold a giant poster of our Dear Leader.   But, as it turned out, Big Brother is camera shy and does not allow himself to be photographed.


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#45 renamerusk

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 11:33 AM

I am guessing that this building serves as a local hub for the switching and the mechanical processes of their business; and is a result of a time when rotary phones were the thing of the day. I am guessing that a hub such as this one would not be located here given today's technology.



#46 Dismuke

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 12:08 PM

 

 

A few years back, the communications tower was removed from the AT&T Building on Live Oak in Dallas.  The building was located outside of downtown and the communications tower was built out of concrete and was a part of the building's structure.  It looked like a large drum on the roof of that building.  When it was removed, the height of that building definitely appeared to be diminished. 

 

 

Yes.   The big difference between the tower in East Dallas and the one in Fort Worth is that the East Dallas tower was kinda cool and, in my opinion, made the building look more interesting and enhanced its appearance.

 

I moved to Fort Worth before the Dallas tower was taken down.  I only noticed it after it had been removed - and to this day the building to me still looks very odd and incomplete without it.

 

At some point in my childhood I remember the building being expanded.  I also remember the tower being expanded from one level to a second level with a smaller circumference added to the top.  I seem to think that the expansion of the tower occurred later than the expansion of the building - but my memory is fuzzy.

 

My understanding is that the East Dallas building, like the one in Fort Worth, is actually a much,much older building that had been expanded many, many times over the decades due to the complexities of physically moving a big city phone exchange to a new location..

 

I think they should have kept the tower on the Dallas building.  It enhanced the building - and my guess is that its being made out of concrete would not have added too much of a maintenance burden.  And, whether it would have been structurally possible or not, it certainly would have made for a really neat place to locate a revolving restaurant.

 

Here is a link to a photo I found online of the building before the tower was taken down.  You can see the original portion of the tower at the bottom and the newer portion on top of it.  https://www.emporis....i-dallas-tx-usa

 

As I mentioned - the skyline over East Dallas simply has not looked "right" ever since the tower was taken down.


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#47 Dismuke

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 12:46 PM

I am guessing that this building serves as a local hub for the switching and the mechanical processes of their business; and is a result of a time when rotary phones were the thing of the day. I am guessing that a hub such as this one would not be located here given today's technology.

 

 

That building actually dates back to well before rotary phones and to the days when one had to call up a live operator who would patch through the call.  If you were calling a different exchange the operator in your local exchange would have to patch it through to the other exchange.

 

Long distance calls were also very complex in those days.  Basically the call had to be patched through multiple offices in order to reach its final destination. Telephone offices actually had people on staff that would determine the most appropriate route to patch a call through.

 

So, for example, if you were to place a long distance call from Fort Worth to San Francisco (which would not have even been possible for a number of years during the building's early history) it might have been patched through to the phone office in El Paso which would have patched it though to the office in Phoenix and from there to Los Angeles and from there to San Francisco where an operator would have put the call through to the local number.  This process could take twenty minutes or longer.   So the person who originated the call would usually hang up and the operator would call back once the party on the other end had been successfully reached.   You will sometimes catch a glimpse of this process in old movies from the 1930s -  you will see an important business person being notified that "your call to San Francisco is on line."

 

As you can imagine, long distance phone calls were extremely expensive for many years and something used only for important business or extreme emergencies.

 

I remember as recently as the 1980s certain areas of the Metroplex did not yet have direct dial calls to the UK -  and I remember having to call an operator to put one through to my British grandparents.

 

As for the old phone exchange buildings - my understanding is that they are still very much useful.  If one has AT&T U Verse all of that is routed through the old phone exchange buildings.  And I strongly suspect important parts of the Internet are probably located in such buildings.  Given today's technology, however, I wonder if they need as much space as they once did.   At some point the old pre-Internet LAN lines are going to have to go away as it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a network that has fewer and fewer subscribers - so I would think that would further minimize their space requirements.

 

Here is an article that describes a bit of the background as to what those towers on the Fort Worth and Dallas phone buildings were used for http://www.drgibson.com/towers/  

 

That microwave relay technology was actually what was responsible for the eventual demise of the AT&T's phone monopoly.  MCI stood for Microwave Communications Incorporated which built its own network of microwave relay towers.  Key FCC rulings made it legal for outside networks to be connected to AT&T's local phone systems - something which AT&T fought for years.  I remember some people I knew having this really odd but nifty service called MCI -  they would dial a certain phone number and then dial in their account number and the number of the person they wished to call and the call would be completed at rates lower than what AT&T charged.   A couple or so years later an anti-trust suit broke up the AT&T monopoly and made such dial around unnecessary.


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#48 Dismuke

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Posted 20 August 2017 - 12:54 PM

As a follow up:  I just followed a link on the link I just provided and found this page about the Dallas phone exchange building - with interesting information and multiple photos of its tower

 

http://www.thecentra.../Dalltandem.htm

 

The same site shows other central offices in other Texas cities.  Observe the trend - the ones that were built in the 1930s and before are usually very attractive. The ones built after that tend to be butt ugly.  (The old Pershing Exchange in Fort Worth's West Side is a very attractive building apart from the modern elements that have been added to it).  

 

http://www.thecentra...om/Texas/TX.htm


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#49 John T Roberts

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 09:23 AM

Dismuke, I do agree with you in that the East Dallas building looks very funny with the tower removed.  I'm sure they thought of it as a maintenance issue, but it was definitely expensive to remove a permanent part of the building which was a part of the concrete structure of the building itself.  It certainly reduced the height of the building. 

 

The tower on the Fort Worth building was always an added part of the building.  Even though it had a steel structure and was attached to the building, it was not a structural part of the building itself.  We have all said that we thought that its removal would improve the looks of our building, but I was out and about yesterday, and now I think it looks strange since most of the tower has been removed.  You have to remember that a tower like this has been on the building since the 10th & 11th floors were added in 1965.  In 1971, a newer tower was built on the roof when the building was expanded again to 16 stories.







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