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The Aviation Building: Built 1930; Demolished 1978


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#1 John T Roberts

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 08:34 PM

The recent postings on the Stryker photo of the Transport Life Building stirred me to post these photos that I took of the Aviation Building in 1978, shortly before it was demolished. Fort Worth Architect Wyatt C. Hedrick designed this 16 story building in the Zig Zag Moderne Art Deco style. It featured a beautiful lobby and a beautiful entrance that featured gold eagles and Aztec Indians. Also at the entrance was an aluminum grille that featured Aztec and Mayan Indian symbols and images. The same theme continued into the lobby of the building. The base and top of the building were each 3 stories high. Between the 13th and 14th floors, prow shaped lighting fixtures illuminated the upper three floors at night on the 7th and Main Street facades of the building. Southern Air Transport, a forerunner to American Airlines was one of the original tenants of the building. After the 1930's the building was sold and became home to several insurance companies. The building was also known as the Commercial Standard Insurance Building and the Trans American Life Building. Trans American was the last owner of the structure and they erected a 7 story neon sign on the 7th & Main corner. They also installed a large multi story sign on the east side of the building, covering almost all of that facade. The building was purchased in 1978 by the Continental National Bank for purposes of building their new home at this location. Continental Plaza (now Carter+Burgess Plaza) opened on this site in 1982.

Top of building:
IPB Image

Detail above entry:
IPB Image

7 Story Neon Sign at 7th & Main:
IPB Image





#2 Fort Worthology

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 08:47 PM

Thanks, John. Good grief, what a gorgeous building, even there at the end of its life. I really wish it was still with us.

The loss of the Aviation Building and the Medical Arts Building are, to me, the two biggest losses in downtown Fort Worth in the last 50 years. I guess that's progress, but I would argue that in these two cases, it was more a case of "progress" in name only.

Wish I could find more pics of the Medical Arts Building showing close details like these. Seems like there's not many of them around, though.

#3 fragile

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 10:28 AM

QUOTE(Atomic Glee @ Sep 11 2006, 09:47 PM) View Post


The loss of the Aviation Building and the Medical Arts Building are, to me, the two biggest losses in downtown Fort Worth in the last 50 years. I guess that's progress, but I would argue that in these two cases, it was more a case of "progress" in name only.

Wish I could find more pics of the Medical Arts Building showing close details like these. Seems like there's not many of them around, though.


Interestingly, I was about to lament over the Medical Arts last night in the other thread but I thought we had sunk low enough over the Aviation Building so I said nothing! We share the "progress" opinion as well actually...

I think it's because of what you said here about there not being a whole lot of images, especially detail, relating to the Medical Arts that it is far and away my favorite of the buildings of Fort Worth.

This one is so beautiful though...how the deco "aged" as it got older only added to it's character...

=(

#4 texastrill

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 10:39 AM

I really like that entrance.If only FW could build a newer version of this building.One that would rival Heritage Plaza in Houston.
T E X A S T R I L L - G O C O W B O Y S

#5 Fort Worthology

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Posted 12 September 2006 - 02:49 PM

QUOTE(fragile @ Sep 12 2006, 11:28 AM) View Post


Interestingly, I was about to lament over the Medical Arts last night in the other thread but I thought we had sunk low enough over the Aviation Building so I said nothing! We share the "progress" opinion as well actually...

I think it's because of what you said here about there not being a whole lot of images, especially detail, relating to the Medical Arts that it is far and away my favorite of the buildings of Fort Worth.

This one is so beautiful though...how the deco "aged" as it got older only added to it's character...

=(


I would give a kidney for some great, thorough shots of the MA Building. Ever since I first saw a photo of it, years back, it has been my favorite Fort Worth building, ever.

My grandmother worked at a pharmacy in the Medical Arts building back in the day. She often picked up orders from Alcon, who was across Burnett Park in the ground floor curved corner of the Neil P. back then (how far they've come, huh?). She said the Medical Arts Building had a gorgeous interior, too.

#6 mbdalton1

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 08:29 AM

Man, you just don't get great detail like that on buildings these days. Such a shame that it was demolished!!!

I'm getting too sentimental in my old age!! LOL!!

mary bess

#7 fragile

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 11:57 AM

QUOTE(Atomic Glee @ Sep 12 2006, 03:49 PM) View Post


I would give a kidney for some great, thorough shots of the MA Building. Ever since I first saw a photo of it, years back, it has been my favorite Fort Worth building, ever.

My grandmother worked at a pharmacy in the Medical Arts building back in the day. She often picked up orders from Alcon, who was across Burnett Park in the ground floor curved corner of the Neil P. back then (how far they've come, huh?). She said the Medical Arts Building had a gorgeous interior, too.


Its stand-alone beauty and the green roof sold me as well. That's amazing though - your grandmother worked there? She was just a few blocks over from where my grandmother worked at The Fair! I envy you, getting to hear Medical Arts stories from one who actually worked there. I only got to hear about the elevator and my mom having her tonsils removed there. And I can imagine it having a gorgeous interior...

Like you, I can't imagine there not being decent shots of the exterior...so I keep looking! I did just find a 1930 City of FW Progress Report but haven't had the chance to dig through it yet...if I come across any, you get the first PM...


#8 Dismuke

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 10:27 PM

QUOTE(mbdalton1 @ Sep 13 2006, 09:29 AM) View Post

Man, you just don't get great detail like that on buildings these days.


Heck, you don't get any detail on buildings these days - unless they are trying to look "retro."



QUOTE
Such a shame that it was demolished!!!

I'm getting too sentimental in my old age!!


No - it just means that you have good taste, which is timeless. It is those who were and are responsible for the sanitized blandness and lack of good taste in architecture and aesthetics in general since at least the 1960s who have the explaining to do.



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#9 JBB

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 10:39 PM

Good to see you posting here again, Dismuke.

#10 Fort Worthology

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Posted 09 October 2006 - 02:38 PM

Yes, good to have you back, Dismuke.

#11 Dismuke

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 12:43 AM

Gee - thanks so much! smile.gif
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#12 John T Roberts

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Posted 10 October 2006 - 05:20 AM

It's always nice to have you posting here. Don't go away for so long next time.

#13 John T Roberts

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 07:05 AM

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has an article in today's paper about the missing Aztec Princes, which were adjacent to the entrance. Back in 1978, several AIA members removed the sculptures for preservation, but when they were carted away, no one seems to know what happened to them. I contributed to this article with my photograph of the entrance on the building.

Here's the link to the story: http://www.star-tele...ory/180083.html




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