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Recent "Historic" Building Demolitions


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#1 John T Roberts

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 05:28 PM

This thread will be used to post before demolition photos of some of our older structures that have been demolished in recent times. Postings here are to be of current demolition projects. If the building was demolished quite some time ago, please post in the "Local History" section. During the month of August 2006, the city lost 11 buildings that were at least 50 years old. None of these structures were designated by the City of Fort Worth with any level of historic designation, not even the weakest of the designations, Demolition Delay. This meant that the structures could come down as soon as the city approved the Demolition Permits.

Below are photographs of the buildings that have come down in August 2006.

Workman's Hotel - 200 Blk. East Belknap (c.1900) - This was one of the few Courthouse Square buildings that were remaining. Now there are only two buildings about 100 years old surrounding the Courthouse. They are Joe Daiches Jewelers, and Texas de Brazil. The Joe Daiches building has an altered first floor, with the two upper floors still intact. Texas de Brazil has been so significantly remodeled, you would never know it is about 100 years old.
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Mexican Inn Cafe - 5th & Commerce (c.1880) - The Mexican Inn was originally constructed as a three story building. The Fort Worth Record published their newspaper here in the early 1900's. Tiffin Hall, a noted gambler opened up an office in the building and later established a gambling hall on one of the upper floors. In 1936, he opened up the Mexican Inn and the restaurant stayed open until late 2005. The building severely burned at least twice in its history. After one of the fires, the upper two floors were removed. In 1987, another major fire collapsed the roof of what was left of the building. When the Mexican Inn was rebuilt, there was very little left of the original structure.
IPB Image

Entire Block of Eight Duplexes - 1001-27 S. Adams (1924-1928) - These duplexes were constructed over a period of about four years along the entire 1000 block of S. Adams. They presented a uniform street facade just north of Rosedale Street. Here some, but not all of the units.
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TCU Theater - 3055 S. University Drive (c.1950) - This was one of the last single screen movie theater buildings still standing in the city. Records indicate that it was standing in 1950, but the exact date of construction has not been confirmed. Most people have said that it was built in either 1948 or 1946. It seated 800.
IPB Image

I'm curious to see what the forum thinks about these demolitions... good riddance, or a missed opportunity for preservation oriented redevelopment? Should any of these buildings have been protected?

I would like to keep this as a continuing thread as more demolitions occur.

#2 bburton

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 08:06 PM

I hate to see older buildings removed without serious consideration. You're being a good steward by publishing these photos because a half century and more from now, other forum members will relish these few evidences of what will be by then, Fort Worth's dim past.

Now, if someone can just figure out a lasting way to preserve digital files. smile.gif

#3 Fort Worthology

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 08:28 AM

In the case of the Mexican Inn, so little remained of the original that I'm not *too* upset. The Workman's Hotel, though, saddens me a great deal.

Do you know what the duplexes were demolished for? They were cute.

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#4 John T Roberts

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 04:22 PM

If you follow the criteria for designation of a historic building in the City's Preservation Ordinance, you would probably discover that the Mexican Inn would not meet enough of the criteria for designation on its architectural merits. It might meet the criteria along cultural merits.

Up to a few years ago, those duplexes were quite nice. I think they could have been easily integrated into a newer residential development like restoring them and then building compatible new residential buildings on the other side of Adams St. I haven't been able to get any specific details on what is taking their place except that it is a new mixed-use development.

Edited by John T Roberts, 05 September 2006 - 09:54 PM.


#5 fortworthman

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 08:44 PM

Great photos John.
It is so sad to see the duplexes demolised. They have such character. One can only imagine the lives that have lived there over many years. I am old enough to remember when this style of architecture was the more common in the 1940s in Fort Worth.

For me. I make the connection of the people, the culture, of that historical time to the architecture of the time. It is more than just the pleasing lines and appearance of the building. It is the people in the past who use to live, work and use. for their pleasure, these great building of long ago. I just hate to see these buildings go. In an odd way, their demise, takes with them, the spirits of the people who have occupied them over so many years.

The love, laughter, sadness and all of the other human emotions that those walls have embraced over time will now be gone forever.

Sorry, I get sentimental in my old age.

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#6 fortworthman

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 12:43 PM

The TCU Theater. I just don't know about its demise. If it were up to me, I would have let it stay. I am an old nostalgic. It broke my heart when they demolished the old 7th Street Theater. However, I would want it to be just like it was years ago with the old TCU sign in front and playing those old vintage movies. I remember seeing War of The Worlds in 1953 in that theater and thinking about it every time I drove by.

There is a question. I want to see most, if not all of these old buildings to be preserved forever. But, how many of those humans of a different generation or culture, could care less? There is that old phrase in appraising property that gets in the way of my emotions: "The highest and best use of the property."

Those of us, who are old enough, to remember a kinder and gentler time in Fort Worth, can also remember the great cultural heritage that makes Fort Worth so unique. "The sum of the parts is greater than the whole." To take away these prominent old buildings is taking away physical parts of old Fort Worth, chip by chip, that made the character of Fort Worth in the "kinder and gentler times."

What will be the cultural heritage that we will bequeath to the future generations? These old buildings are part of our great Fort Worth cultural heritage. Perhaps we all need to do some deep soul searching in our own souls before we use the wreaker's ball on parts of the soul of Fort Worth.



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#7 courtnie

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 09:40 PM

i am truly upset about the structures.....soon nothing will be left of dtfw but a memory..the old buildings are what stand to show the cities growth and developement...if we loose them...what will we have to show our history.......pictures?

#8 John T Roberts

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 10:15 PM

Courtnie, unless we can get more buildings designated at a higher level than Demolition Delay, all we will have will be the pictures and our memories. That is what really scares me about large downtown developments occurring. There are only a handful of downtown buildings designated as landmarks, and many would actually meet the criteria set up by the city. We also need a tougher ordinance for the Demoliton Delay properties. Under DD, the city can stay the demolition for 180 days from the application of the Demolition Permit, and the owner and interested parties have to meet once in that 180 day time period to discuss alternatives to demolition. As you can see, this is not much protection for these structures. The other two designations, Historic & Cultural Landmark (HC) and Highly Significant Endangered Landmark (HSE), carry some weight and give the buildings protection from demolition. If the building owner neglects the properties, then he can be held accountable. These two categories also give tax incentives to the property owner. For specific information on the city's preservation laws, please check out the Preservation Section in the City's Zoning Ordinance. It is available online.

I would also like to add that downtown is not the only area of the city where designation is lacking. Most of the inner city neighborhoods have numerous buildings that have no designation. Downtown and many other neighborhoods probably won't gain any more HC or HSE designations because they are in a TIF. TIF districts do not offer any incentives for a building owner to get their building designated any higher than DD because the historic tax credits are not given to a building within a TIF. I have been told that it is a state law that properties can't take away money from a TIF through other exemptions. However, when the TIF expires, then the tax incentives can be given to a historic property.

#9 safly

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 10:27 PM

That Workman's Hotel has sooo much potential. Who owns it?
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#10 John T Roberts

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 04:55 AM

Safly, don't you mean "had"? The building is gone. It was demolished by Tarrant County College for the construction of their new downtown campus. TCC is also the owner of the property.

#11 Sam Stone

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 08:47 AM

Most of these bother me. The Workman's Hotel should absolutely have been saved. You cannot replicate the kind of character that comes along with age. N. Main ought to have more buildings like that, not less. The loss of Mexican Inn doesn't bother me. So little was left, it was unremarkable, and most important: they were never open for dinner! It's a shame about those duplexes. Though unremarkable, they were quaint and tasteful. It seems like with a little effort and imagination they could have been turned into some very nice single family homes. The TCU theater is also a shame. I'm glad that TCU is building a new bookstore (I'm guessing up to the street), but surely it could have been done while preserving the theater. It could have looked great with its original paint scheme and vertical marquee restored.

#12 John T Roberts

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Posted 10 September 2006 - 09:34 PM

Up until the 1995 hail storm, those duplexes looked wonderful. Pre-1995, they all had red clay tile roofing. When they were in good condition, the entire east side of the street read as one cohesive development.

#13 McHand

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 08:16 AM

The duplexes are the biggest waste to me, especially being in an area so close to an entire Historic District (or were they actually in Fairmount?).

Is it really cheaper to knock down and entire block of structures and rebuild from scratch? Or does the current developer happen to hate that architectural style?

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#14 JulieM

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 01:28 PM

I agree avenuebabe that the duplex teardown is a waste! Even though my father and mother didn't grow up here, they look much like homes I have pictures with them in front of.

I'm of the fix up not tear down group and sadly I'm married to a tear down build up kind of guy. I hate to see tear downs for the sake of progress. I'd rather have a boring Fort Worth than one with little history left.

#15 dannygirl

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 06:41 PM

The TCU Theater was demolished while I was out of town. With a little imagination, it could have been incorporated into the new bookstore. The facade of a historic theater was saved in Kansas State University's Aggieville and incorporated into a university bookstore. It fits nicely with the surrounding buildings. I believe that bookstore is privately owned, not owned by the university.

The duplexes on South Adams were not within the Fairmount District--as John said, they had no type of designation.

#16 John T Roberts

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 09:09 PM

Welcome to the forum, dannygirl!

#17 ghughes

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 09:32 PM

The facade was probably all that was worth saving, but yeah, it would have been nice to have seen a creative effort to include it in whatever is to come.

#18 bryanr

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 07:00 PM

Hi all,

John, do you know how much if any of the Safeway store besides walls was left in the TCU bookstore? I remember when Station 8 or 10 was located at the front of that lot, and the setback for the original Safeway store was not very far from the street.

Later,

Bryan
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#19 John T Roberts

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 07:51 PM

Bryan, during the fire, the roof collapsed. The masard front portion of the building sat crooked on top of the debris, but the clock tower entry that was added in the last remodel remained standing. Soon after the fire, the conrete walls were braced. After that, they cleared the structure out of the building and left the walls and the clock tower. Later in the summer, the concrete panels and the clock tower were removed, leaving only the concrete slab. There is a thread on the bookstore here: http://www.fortworth...?showtopic=1467

#20 seurto

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 03:55 PM

Going to breakfast Sunday in the hospital district, I noticed the bldg pretty much on the corner of 8th and Allen (I think) across from Mexican Inn and MacCool's is a pile o' rubble now. I'm thinking that was the first washateria in the state, maybe the country?? I know it's been empty for years, but I guess there wasn't anything to do with it.

#21 John T Roberts

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 04:11 PM

Good observation, Suerto! I noticed it was about half demolished on Saturday around noon. I will have to check its designation status, but I'm betting that it had no protection. It had been vacant for a long time and I do know that there have been several chains eyeballing that location and the Nash House (immediately to the north) for several years.

#22 RD Milhollin

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 05:50 PM

Does anyone know if the Marquee from the TCU "Frog" Theater was saved? I know of a preservation group that is looking for things like an authentic box office, and a marquee. Other items as well, but these are large items that would need to be considered if and when restoration began. Please PM if you have some knowledge about this.

#23 Scott Dorn

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 10:14 PM

John Roberts and I went to the site of the Mexican Inn Cafe today
most of the debris is gone, but I got a pretty good idea of how it looked. From the looks of it it was renovated several times befoere it was finally done in.

I took several photos of the demoed site and snagged a piece of the sovenear from the site
I will get the pix up as soon as I can.

Scott
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#24 Scott Dorn

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Posted 15 October 2006 - 11:50 PM



Entire Block of Eight Duplexes - 1001-27 S. Adams (1924-1928) - These duplexes were constructed over a period of about four years along the entire 1000 block of S. Adams. They presented a uniform street facade just north of Rosedale Street. Here some, but not all



John, These were by the the beautiful school right?

I think we drove past this site and you showed them to me.

Scott
So sad these were torn down




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#25 Scott Dorn

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 10:29 PM

Website link to More Dallas demos

http://www.flickr.co...s/70886669@N00/

bookmark this one

Soory I posted much here of late.

Construction/and demos is out of hand in Big D lots to shoot.
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#26 WESTHMESS

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 10:50 PM

QUOTE(bburton @ Sep 1 2006, 08:06 PM) View Post

I hate to see older buildings removed without serious consideration. You're being a good steward by publishing these photos because a half century and more from now, other forum members will relish these few evidences of what will be by then, Fort Worth's dim past.

Now, if someone can just figure out a lasting way to preserve digital files. smile.gif


Hi Bruce,
My Dad passed away last year and we had a mound of home movies that had deteriorated considerably. In reference to your comment about preserving digital photos, I believe they can do the same with digital photos as we had done with the 8mm movie film. We had it copied onto 200 year discs. It cost us .27 cents per foot and was well worth the price. I only wish we had gotten to them 20 years sooner. If you're interested, I'll ask my brother who we used for that service. They did an excellent job. smile.gif
Wes


#27 John T Roberts

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Posted 04 January 2007 - 10:53 PM

Scott, I just realized I didn't answer your previous post on this thread back in October. The old apartments were in the next block south of the athletic fields for the beautiful old high school. The name of the school is Green B. Trimble Technical High School. The building is one of a series of structures were occupied by my alma mater, R.L. Paschal High. Paschal can be traced back to the city's first and original high school. That building was demolished long ago, but all of its successive buildings still stand.

#28 Scott Dorn

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 10:01 PM

Thanks alot John !!!
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#29 Fire-Eater

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Posted 04 February 2007 - 11:08 PM

QUOTE(fortworthman @ Sep 2 2006, 10:44 PM) View Post

Great photos John.
It is so sad to see the duplexes demolised. They have such character. One can only imagine the lives that have lived there over many years. I am old enough to remember when this style of architecture was the more common in the 1940s in Fort Worth.

For me. I make the connection of the people, the culture, of that historical time to the architecture of the time. It is more than just the pleasing lines and appearance of the building. It is the people in the past who use to live, work and use. for their pleasure, these great building of long ago. I just hate to see these buildings go. In an odd way, their demise, takes with them, the spirits of the people who have occupied them over so many years.

The love, laughter, sadness and all of the other human emotions that those walls have embraced over time will now be gone forever.

Sorry, I get sentimental in my old age.

Regards,
FortWorthMan


FortWorthMan! What are you talking about? Old? Sentimental? I'm 45, and I'm with you! When I was 25 I was with you, too! YOU'RE RIGHT-ON, BROTHER!

Buildings, like people, are our only tangible link to the past. Buildings, people, events; memories. Without our past we are nothing because our past is who we are! History is how we got here.

The demolition of a landmark building is like the death of a friend -- an important part of our life has been taken by the grim reaper (or grim developer, in the case of many old buildings.)

I don't have the memories that many of you have of the Seventh Street Theatre, but when I moved to Fort Worth I recognized it as an important local landmark. So, I stood and watched in agony as that hateful, nasty, smirking bulldozer operator tore it down (another illegal Sunday demolition). I stood and watched with people who had been going to movies there for over thirty years. A little piece of their life was destroyed that day. Bulldozer man got a big kick out of it, too.

FortWorthMan: you are someone who recognizes that the heart and soul of a community is partially instilled in its built environment. How well a community cares for its old landmarks reflects how much they respect their history, their past, their traditions, their culture, their family, their city.

You truly ARE "FortWorthMan!" God Bless You!
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#30 Bernd

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Posted 09 February 2007 - 12:17 AM

QUOTE(Kip.Wright @ Feb 5 2007, 12:08 AM) View Post



FortWorthMan: you are someone who recognizes that the heart and soul of a community is partially instilled in its built environment. How well a community cares for its old landmarks reflects how much they respect their history, their past, their traditions, their culture, their family, their city.

You truly ARE "FortWorthMan!" God Bless You!


Hear, Hear!
The future "best blog" in Fort Worth.

#31 Willy1

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 09:23 PM

My house is about 300 yards from the old 7th Street Theater and I was crushed the morning I drove by and saw it half destroyed. I am not even 40 years old, but I remember going to the movies at the Ridglea, Bowie, and 7th Street as a kid. Those are some great memories. I'm glad that the Ridglea still stands, even if it's not a movie theatre anymore. I wish it had worked out as a movie/dinner venue. The Inwood in Dallas is such a great place to go watch movies. I remember seeing Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Jaws at the Ridglea. I had to sneak into Jaws because I wasn't old enough to see it and it scared the hell out of me - I still don't swim in the ocean because the same summer I saw JAWS my grandparents took me deep sea fishing and my grandfather caught a 12 foot hammer head... and the next day a girl got her thigh chomped off at the end of a coastal fishing pear near where I was playing on the beach and in the waves.

Anyway, I digress.... But, my memories prove what we're talking about here. I have these great memories that I'll carry with me through my life and It's so upsetting to see should-be historical landmarks being torn down. It is like losing a friend. And, if they tear down Will Rogers I seriously will probably cry. My brother was a nationally ranked Golden Gloves Boxer back when Boxing was a big deal in Fort Worth and I spent many nights running around Will Rogers during his boxing tournaments and other WRMC events such as the Shrine Circus or Rodeo. We always had box seats to everything there! To me WRMC ranks up there with the Tarrant County Courthouse and should be preserved at all cost.

Like I said in another thread about Will Rogers, if we keep tearing down landmarks and our history for the sake of new projects, at what point does FW stop being FW and start being a new city? I'm the guy who is always griping about FW not being risk-taking enough, but I would rather FW never build another building again ever than to see our most important historical landmarks disapear.... The best thing about FW is that it has been so sucessful at mixing the old with the new - not replaceing the old with the new the way other cities have done...



#32 Fire-Eater

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 07:27 PM

QUOTE(Willy1 @ Feb 11 2007, 11:23 PM) View Post

My house is about 300 yards from the old 7th Street Theater and I was crushed the morning I drove by and saw it half destroyed. I am not even 40 years old, but I remember going to the movies at the Ridglea, Bowie, and 7th Street as a kid. Those are some great memories. I'm glad that the Ridglea still stands, even if it's not a movie theatre anymore. I wish it had worked out as a movie/dinner venue. The Inwood in Dallas is such a great place to go watch movies. I remember seeing Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Jaws at the Ridglea. I had to sneak into Jaws because I wasn't old enough to see it and it scared the hell out of me - I still don't swim in the ocean because the same summer I saw JAWS my grandparents took me deep sea fishing and my grandfather caught a 12 foot hammer head... and the next day a girl got her thigh chomped off at the end of a coastal fishing pear near where I was playing on the beach and in the waves.

Anyway, I digress.... But, my memories prove what we're talking about here. I have these great memories that I'll carry with me through my life and It's so upsetting to see should-be historical landmarks being torn down. It is like losing a friend. And, if they tear down Will Rogers I seriously will probably cry. My brother was a nationally ranked Golden Gloves Boxer back when Boxing was a big deal in Fort Worth and I spent many nights running around Will Rogers during his boxing tournaments and other WRMC events such as the Shrine Circus or Rodeo. We always had box seats to everything there! To me WRMC ranks up there with the Tarrant County Courthouse and should be preserved at all cost.

Like I said in another thread about Will Rogers, if we keep tearing down landmarks and our history for the sake of new projects, at what point does FW stop being FW and start being a new city? I'm the guy who is always griping about FW not being risk-taking enough, but I would rather FW never build another building again ever than to see our most important historical landmarks disapear.... The best thing about FW is that it has been so sucessful at mixing the old with the new - not replaceing the old with the new the way other cities have done...


What you say is so true to some of us. I have to admit, though, that not only do I feel sadness, I feel anger. Having been involved in historic preservation for so many years I am sometimes overwhelmed with cynicism. It's a feeling of helplessness, too. It's like you and I can see and appreciate things that most others don't --or they can see it but can't quantify it. And if they can't quantify it . . . well, that's about as far as it goes.

I am a native of Atlanta, and, as I've lamented in other threads, I've lost my city. The city has a few success stories of HP, but mostly not. I got a job there in 1998 and moved "back home." After a year, though, I jumped at the first chance I got to move back to Fort Worth. Innumerable ATL landmarks were gone. Atlanta was so overdeveloped in the five years I was gone I was happy to get back to Cowtown.

I think one of the biggest issues Fort Worth folks need to recognize is that the pre-World War II historic building stock is FINITE. It will eventually be attritioned away unless something is done to conserve it.

I told John that I think there are very few historic preservationists who post in this forum. There are lots of folks here who are interested in architecture and love it. Historic preservation, however, is architecture AND history. I've heard people say, oh, that's a "crappy" building or, hey, that's not "good" design. Historic architecture IS what it IS and it has nothing to do with "good" design.

In considering whether or not a building should be saved they may evaluate it from a purely architectural perspective -- I've seen folks post, for example, "I hate to see it go, but it'll be OK as long as they replace it with something good." ARGH!

One example of that, that springs into my mind, is the old apartment complex that The Modern replaced. Hey, The Modern is an AWESOME-ly beautiful museum, no doubt, but it could've been built elsewhere. I read someplace that the apartments were built in 1943 -- highly significant because it was in the midst of World War II and practically NO new residential construction was allowed during the war (nationwide, even). As I understand it, the apartments were authorized under an emergency provision that allowed housing construction for war industries -- I believe they were constructed for housing for workers at the bomber plant (or was it Fort Worth Army Airfield?)

Is there a thread here somewhere on those apartments?

Anyway, I'm not sure I have my facts straight on it . . . but if I do, it is an example of something AWESOME, architecturally speaking, replacing something that looked "crappy" to a lot of folks (I loved those old buildings!)

The Modern replaced an apartment complex that was highly significant to the history of Fort Worth. Is that OK? Me thinks not.

If there's anyone out there who knows more about those apartments, please correct or confirm my assertions.

WWSPFD?*

History is but the record of the public and official acts of human beings. It is our object, therefore, to humanize our history and deal with people past and present; people who ate and possibly drank; people who were born, flourished and died; not grave tragedians, posing perpetually for their photographs. ~Bill Nye, History of the United States

For me there is no greater subject than history. How a man can study it and not be forced to become a philosopher, I cannot tell. ~George E. Wilson




*What Would Susan Pringle Frost Do?

#33 cbellomy

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 10:04 PM

FE, I don't know the specific history of the Parkview Apartments, but I can tell you that up the hill on Tulsa Way exist similar apartments that were built circa 1945. The name of the complex: Victory Chateau. I used to live there, and I worry about the future of that complex.

I hated to see the Parkview Apartments go. I hated to see the Loring Hotel go, too (if you remember that).


#34 John T Roberts

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Posted 12 February 2007 - 10:50 PM

I don't think there is a thread on those apartments. Maybe you should start one. The proper location for it would be "Local History", as that is where discussions go about demolished properties.

#35 cberen1

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 10:12 AM

QUOTE(Fire-Eater @ Feb 12 2007, 09:27 PM) View Post

I've heard people say, oh, that's a "crappy" building or, hey, that's not "good" design. Historic architecture IS what it IS and it has nothing to do with "good" design.

In considering whether or not a building should be saved they may evaluate it from a purely architectural perspective -- I've seen folks post, for example, "I hate to see it go, but it'll be OK as long as they replace it with something good." ARGH!


I have to take issue with this statement. I think it has everything to do with "good"design". Old, in and of itself, is not a virtue. Take antiques, for example. With few exceptions, things that were cheap junk when they were originally made, continue to be cheap junk when they get old, (until they get really, really old).

The only reason to preserve poor design is if there are no examples of good design left from the period.

Here's a good example. What about the Radisson Annex. Will that be worth saving in another 25 years? Probably not. There is very little redeeming about the structure. It was a bad idea when it was built. Why preserve a bad structure?

#36 Fire-Eater

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 12:41 PM

QUOTE(cberen1 @ Feb 13 2007, 12:12 PM) View Post

QUOTE(Fire-Eater @ Feb 12 2007, 09:27 PM) View Post

I've heard people say, oh, that's a "crappy" building or, hey, that's not "good" design. Historic architecture IS what it IS and it has nothing to do with "good" design.

In considering whether or not a building should be saved they may evaluate it from a purely architectural perspective -- I've seen folks post, for example, "I hate to see it go, but it'll be OK as long as they replace it with something good." ARGH!


I have to take issue with this statement. I think it has everything to do with "good"design". Old, in and of itself, is not a virtue. Take antiques, for example. With few exceptions, things that were cheap junk when they were originally made, continue to be cheap junk when they get old, (until they get really, really old).

The only reason to preserve poor design is if there are no examples of good design left from the period.

Here's a good example. What about the Radisson Annex. Will that be worth saving in another 25 years? Probably not. There is very little redeeming about the structure. It was a bad idea when it was built. Why preserve a bad structure?


Well, I did not say "old" is a virtue. But, for the sake of discussion, let's go with it. Let's say you owned a sorry piece of "old," rickety, "crappy," poorly-designed antique furniture that was owned by Thomas Jefferson. Let's say it was a porch chair from Monticello, or something like that, and that we have documentation of some sort that it was indeed, without a doubt, owned by Thomas Jefferson. Would you (A) throw that old, rickety, piece-of-crap, poorly-designed chair -- that Thomas Jefferson owned and sat upon -- in the dumpster? Or would you (cool.gif try and restore it so you could, at the very least, put it on E-bay? If you chose "A," please call me before you act -- I'd like to make some money!

Fortunately, the National Register takes into account a number of requirements before a building may be designated "historic." Age and design are part of the equation, but so is condition, integrity, association with historic people, and association with historic events.

Now, how about the Radisson Annex? If it survives to 50 years (which is the minimum age requirement, unless a property is considered "exceptionally significant") of age it would evaluated for National Register eligibility. Heck, if a building survives that long in America, I think it deserves a look. Whether you personally like the design or quality of construction, or not, it is an example of a type or style of architecture -- someone (a certified architect?) designed it, and they apparently liked the way it looked. Others may like it, too. That's why the National Register does not discriminate against styles or types of architecture. Taste is a personal thing -- not something you use to evaluate historic buildings.

To quote myself, "historic architecture IS what it IS." Even if you consider it "ugly."



WWSPFD?*

History is but the record of the public and official acts of human beings. It is our object, therefore, to humanize our history and deal with people past and present; people who ate and possibly drank; people who were born, flourished and died; not grave tragedians, posing perpetually for their photographs. ~Bill Nye, History of the United States

For me there is no greater subject than history. How a man can study it and not be forced to become a philosopher, I cannot tell. ~George E. Wilson




*What Would Susan Pringle Frost Do?

#37 Fort Worthology

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 04:04 PM

QUOTE(Fire-Eater @ Feb 13 2007, 12:41 PM) View Post


Now, how about the Radisson Annex? If it survives to 50 years (which is the minimum age requirement, unless a property is considered "exceptionally significant") of age it would evaluated for National Register eligibility. Heck, if a building survives that long in America, I think it deserves a look. Whether you personally like the design or quality of construction, or not, it is an example of a type or style of architecture -- someone (a certified architect?) designed it, and they apparently liked the way it looked. Others may like it, too. That's why the National Register does not discriminate against styles or types of architecture. Taste is a personal thing -- not something you use to evaluate historic buildings.

To quote myself, "historic architecture IS what it IS." Even if you consider it "ugly."


"Ugly" or "pretty" doesn't necessarily have anything to do with it.

In the case of the Radisson annex, it's a terrible building even if you ignore its looks - I would happily push the implosion button and dance upon the ashes based solely on its awful, uninviting, cold, unfriendly pedestrian presence. It's a black hole on that block. If it could be radically altered to make it more inviting and friendly to passers-by (windows, storefronts, that sort of thing), then we'll talk. I mean, I thought the old Bank One tower was a terrible building - but I love it in The Tower form, one of main reasons why being its vastly better street appeal.

I am a big fan of historic preservation. I really am. It's just that, well, buildings like that don't have a whole lot of points in their favor. I want a streetscape that isn't sucked down by faceless, blank-walled slabs. Older buildings (19th century to, oh, the late '40s/early '50s) were generally much better about providing engaging street presences than those of the '70s.

Modernism was good in very small doses - like a glass of cold water to the face. Its better examples - even though I'm not exactly a fan - are certainly worth saving. Too much of it, though, will drown a neighborhood.

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#38 Fort Worthology

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Posted 13 February 2007 - 04:25 PM

QUOTE(Fire-Eater @ Feb 13 2007, 12:41 PM) View Post


Now, how about the Radisson Annex? If it survives to 50 years (which is the minimum age requirement, unless a property is considered "exceptionally significant") of age it would evaluated for National Register eligibility. Heck, if a building survives that long in America, I think it deserves a look. Whether you personally like the design or quality of construction, or not, it is an example of a type or style of architecture -- someone (a certified architect?) designed it, and they apparently liked the way it looked. Others may like it, too. That's why the National Register does not discriminate against styles or types of architecture. Taste is a personal thing -- not something you use to evaluate historic buildings.

To quote myself, "historic architecture IS what it IS." Even if you consider it "ugly."


In the case of the Radisson annex, what exactly would even remotely qualify it for saving? It's a terrible building - I would happily push the implosion button and dance upon the ashes based solely on its awful, uninviting, cold, unfriendly pedestrian presence. It's a black hole on that block. If it could be radically altered to make it more inviting and friendly to passers-by (windows, storefronts, that sort of thing), then we'll talk. I mean, I thought the old Bank One tower was a terrible building - but I love it in The Tower form, one of main reasons why being its vastly better street appeal.

I am a big fan of historic preservation. I really am. It's just that, well, buildings like that don't have a whole lot of points in their favor.

- Architecture/urban planning/transit blogger, Fort Worth Weekly

Fort Worth District 9 Zoning Commissioner


#39 Brian Luenser

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 07:29 PM

This structure is neither historic nor in Fort Worth, but seems like I can squeeze it into this section.

The Mrs. and I went to East Texas today where my sister has a farm. (Mt. Vernon) She is a pattent attorney in Dallas but wants to retire on this farm or even work out of there one day. Pretty crazy being on a farm in the boonies these days after living downtown for 3 years today. Going back and forth this morning I was surprised to see Reunion Arena being torn down. Not that I did not know it was going on, but seeing it myself seemed pretty definite. Seems like just yesterday when it was built. I remember seeing Fleetwood Mac there in 1979 after sleeping on the sidewalk all night for great seats. I was a bachelor then but took my wife back to Reunion to see Fleetwood Mac there in 1983. (Just took her to see Fleetwood mac at AA a month or two ago.) Now I just want to go see Linkin Park or Incubus for the third time. I digress. Anyway, it seems like this expensive structure had a pretty short life cycle for the cost of it and location.

Mrs. monee took these two shots with her video camera through my windows of my vehicle. Not a shot that is going to hang in the "I can't believe it is gone" museum, but worth a look.




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#40 ramjet

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 07:45 PM

I have always thought that Dallas' new Winspear Opera House looks like the love child of Reunion Arena and the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank. Reunion Arena lives on...

#41 GenE

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 07:31 AM

QUOTE (monee9696 @ Jul 4 2009, 08:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>



Remember I am from Austin....

I was in Dallas visiting my sister in Feb? when they were voting on the new multimillion dollar hotel for downtown Dallas. According to sister/husband, Dallas can't even fill the hotels that are downtown now.

So is the Reunion site, where that infamous hotel is going to be?

GenE

#42 John T Roberts

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 10:39 AM

The new Dallas Convention Center Hotel will be going up about 3 blocks northeast of the old Reuion Arena. The hotel will be across the railroad tracks and on the north side of the Dallas Convention Center. The hotel will be constructed on the old parking lot that was on the southwest corner of Young and Lamar Streets.

#43 RD Milhollin

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 12:38 PM

QUOTE (monee9696 @ Jul 4 2009, 07:29 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This structure is neither historic nor in Fort Worth, but seems like I can squeeze it into this section.

Going back and forth this morning I was surprised to see Reunion Arena being torn down. Not that I did not know it was going on, but seeing it myself seemed pretty definite. Seems like just yesterday when it was built... it seems like this expensive structure had a pretty short life cycle for the cost of it and location.


Seems quite a waste of materials and energy. Did this facility have some sort of built-in obsolescence, or was there just not the foresight to plan for the future, or the ability/resources to convert it to more economic efficiency (ie. private boxes for fat cats and publicly-owned corporations)? I suppose this is the ultimate fate of "disposable architecture"

#44 Dismuke

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 12:45 PM

QUOTE (Fire-Eater @ Feb 13 2007, 01:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Now, how about the Radisson Annex? If it survives to 50 years (which is the minimum age requirement, unless a property is considered "exceptionally significant") of age it would evaluated for National Register eligibility. Heck, if a building survives that long in America, I think it deserves a look. Whether you personally like the design or quality of construction, or not, it is an example of a type or style of architecture -- someone (a certified architect?) designed it, and they apparently liked the way it looked. Others may like it, too.



To reopen the old debate in this thread which I, for whatever reason, did not jump into when I first read it - I think people who are concerned with the future of vintage buildings need to be very careful with "word inflation" which would eventually spread thin and render as practically insignificant the very concept of "historically significant." It is sort of like a parent who heaps constant gushing praise upon a child upon the completion of even the most routine and mundane tasks. Eventually the parent's praise will lose all significance and meaning - including on those occasions when the child deserves gushing praise. The result is a child who effectively gets no praise because the constant empty gushing renders all praise meaningless.

If one's standard is "it is an example of a type or style of architecture -- someone (a certified architect?) designed it, and they apparently liked the way it looked. Others may like it, too." - well, pretty much ANY building and EVERY building that exists will fall into that category.

If one wishes to be taken with any amount of seriousness when it comes to urging people to save old buildings, one has to, at a bare minimum be able to make the case that the building is, in some way special. There is absolutely nothing special about the Raddison Annex. Perhaps if JFK had spent his last night alive and gave his last speech at the annex instead of the main hotel, then one might have a case. But the annex had not even been built then. I am sure the place is special to somebody - for example, it might be special to a couple who spent their honeymoon there. But just because some people might have a purely personal and subjective love for the building is hardly grounds for asking the rest of the world to stand still accordingly.

If buildings such as the Raddion Annex are considered to be significant - well, so is the courthouse and the Sinclair Building and the T&P Depot and the Will Rogers Complex. Once one has too many unremarkable buildings classified as historic or significant and and makes too much of a fuss over them, it makes it all that much more difficult to argue on behalf of buildings which actually are special.

Ultimately, whether or not a building is special depends on a lot of factors and the overall context in which the building exists. One cannot simply come up with an arbitrary guideline such as being of a certain age. If you go up to places such as Michigan, Upstate New York, parts of Ohio, etc. you will see entire neighborhoods of nice big houses from the late 1800s and early 1900s which, back in their respective heydays, would have made our own Fairmount neighborhood look pretty shoddy by comparison. If those houses existed in Fort Worth and were restored, they would be worth a lot of money and would be no brainers in terms of being regarded as significant. But, sadly, up there, in some neighborhoods those houses, even ones that are still in fairly decent condition, are being boarded up and abandoned as the cities they are part of continue their ongoing decline. It would be a very difficult sell to convince people that most of the houses being abandoned need to be regarded as "historic." Such houses are little different than the vast majority of other houses which exist in those cities. They are as commonplace up there as suburban tract homes are down here. A person on the local historical society, in such a situation, be very much in need of choosing the right battles in terms of what REALLY is irreplaceable.

I was quite frankly stunned that people made such a fuss over the demolition of the 7th Street Theater. About the only thing that was really special about the place was its sign. It wasn't all that old compared with other surviving single screened theaters in the area. Architecturally, it was utterly undistinguished - basically a square box with no ornamentation besides the sign, verses, say, the Ridglea Theatre which is of similar age and which is quite unique. Sure, people have memories - but that is going to be the case with any building. Now, if that same building was located out in some suburb which was founded shortly after World War II and it was one of the original buildings in the city, I think one could make a case that it is a special part of the city's history. But in the grand scheme of things in Fort Worth - outside of people's fond memories, it was little more than an unremarkable building in an unremarkable strip shopping center.

I can understand why some people wish to see certain mid century modern buildings in the area from the 1950s preserved as they were not built in all that large a quantity and only a relatively small number still survive. But by the time the buildings from the 1960s and 1970s turn 50 - well, LOTS of them were built in this area and, as a result LOTS of them will likely survive. And with that period of architecture, it is very difficult to make much of a case for most of them in terms of being quality architecture.

One of the things that makes many buildings from the pre-World War II era is the fact that that they were often built with materials and a level of craftsmanship that is virtually cost prohibitive to even approach today. Compare the various Schwartz retro buildings in the area with actual originals from that period and you will see a difference both on the outsides of the buildings and, most especially, if you go inside. Stand outside of the Sinclair Building and look at the wealth of detail work plus the overall aesthetics of the building. Nobody has even approached that level of quality and craftsmanship since the early years of the Great Depression - initially because nobody could afford to do so and, later on, because of the decline in aesthetic standards in the overall culture at large. There has been a small renaissance of sorts in certain aesthetic standards in recent decades - but it no longer makes financial sense to put up such buildings in light of the less expensive materials which are now available and today's higher cost of labor. Tear down the Sinclair Building and you have forever removed something which will likely never be equaled again.

By contrast, in a few years, some of the early K-mart store locations will turn 50. There is absolutely nothing special about those buildings inside or out - they are, in fact, even less remarkable than a typical new Wal-mart store.

Modern interest in historical preservation really only dates back to the 1960s - in large part, I think, as a result of the decline in aesthetic standards of the period. When the Sinclair Building was built, nobody gave any serious thought to preserving the building that was torn down to replace it because the assumption was that the new building was going to be even grander and better in every possible way than that which came before it. By the 1960s, people began to realize that was no longer the case and that the older buildings were special and unlikely to ever again be equaled in terms of quality and craftsmanship. Within less than a decade, the crappy buildings that made people in the 1960s want to preserve the older buildings will, themselves, turn 50 and I am afraid that we are going to be facing the absurdity of people suggesting that they, too, are somehow significant. If they were crappy then, than most likely they are crappy now - especially given that architecture has, in large part, become better since the 1960s. There will be some exceptions, of course, and some buildings might be considered special for other reasons having nothing to do with their quality of architecture.

Ultimately, it is a matter of wisely choosing one's battles. If everything is considered important, than the result is that ultimately nothing is considered to be important. A LOT of the buildings put up in the decades after World War II were cheap, unremarkable crap - and they will remain crap. Some will become worthy of keeping around because surviving examples will, more so than most, exemplify the unique stylizations of their era. But my guess is that, many decades from now, by and large, surviving examples of buildings being put up today will be far more regarded than the older surviving examples from the late 1960s and 1970s when architecture and aesthetic taste in general hit rock bottom.
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#45 RD Milhollin

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 07:29 AM

Heads-Up: Low-rise demolition of historic structure. Massey's Restaurant on 8th Avenue is beyond repair and will be demolished. Masseys was not only referenced by Dan Jenkins in Baja Oklahoma but also by Thomas Thompson in his novel Celebrity. Though I can't remember the moniker he used for it, there was no mistaking the place in his work. 

 

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#46 JBB

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 11:46 AM

An end of an era for sure. I wish I could say that I miss Massey's, but it slid waaaay downhill in its last few years and there are other greasy spoons that are far better.

#47 Zetna

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 12:53 PM

Too bad there's an old house and 20's style retail building buried in there. You could probably get a few leases out of the retail structure and maybe a cool little restaurant / office space out of the house.....would sure go better w/ Fairmount than the typical retail strip and have a cool little courtyard between building & house not to mention all of it not going to landfill....but, I guess demo and all new build is cheaper and no thought required. 



#48 McHand

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 03:24 PM

 

Before she sold the building to Williams, Diane Massey said, she thought about refurbishing the restaurant and running it herself, but it was too far gone. She estimated costs of $300,000 to bring it back into operation.

“Every piece of equipment was broken,” Massey said. “The bathrooms were bad. I was really going to have to start over.”

Williams said several restaurant owners have looked at the building, including Dallas restaurateur Gene Street, and agreed with Massey’s assessment.

“I really and truly think that’s what you have to do but it’s really too bad,” Massey said Monday.

 

 

I'm sure a lot of thought was put into the decision.  People are not made of money.  Sometimes it's necessary to cut losses.  

 

Anyway, it has been an empty building for so long that its value to the neighborhood as a gathering place and tax revenue generator was gone.  It will be better for 8th Avenue to have a new structure in place that is useful to humans of the present rather than housing ghosts of the past.


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#49 gdvanc

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Posted 18 July 2014 - 03:50 PM


People are not made of money...


 

 

I'm glad I'm not made of money. Some things could literally cost an arm and a leg.



#50 John T Roberts

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 09:28 PM

Massey's was demolished today.  I took some pictures a few days ago before it was torn down.






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