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AIA Fort Worth's Top 25 Favorite Buildings


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#1 John T Roberts

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 08:42 PM

The Fort Worth Chapter of the American Institute of Architects polled its members over the last few weeks to determine their favorite buildings. The Top 25 that made the list were revealed to the members tonight and have been made available to the general public. I was involved in the project by participating in a panel discussion, moderated by Architect Joe Self (TCU Professor and Host of Design Talk on KTCU-FM). The other panelists were Carol Roark, Quentin McGown, and Frank Sherwood. I also contributed some text and photographs to the web site and for publication. There are also a couple of interesting notes on the residences that made the list. The page has very rare photographs of these houses because they are next to impossible to get current photos. As with this site, the addresses are withheld, so in your discussions, DO NOT give any indication of their physical location!

The list was done in conjunction with the AIA's 150 Anniversary. The site can be found at: http://aia150.aiafortworth.org/

I am curious as to what you think of the list that architects chose. How would your list differ. Remember all of this is subjective, and yes, architects are trained to note good architecture, but I do feel that the general public also knows what is good and bad. The list also has a place for you to comment, so please feel free to post there, but also, don't be shy to post your comments here. Would your Top 25 be different?

My feelings are that it is a very good list. I know I should be strung up by my toes and hung upside down, but I did not vote, due to my current busy work schedule.

#2 mosteijn

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Posted 26 June 2007 - 10:56 PM

I don't know about the Radio Shack campus or the Beth-El congregation, but the rest of the list looks solid. Good to see the Amon Carter wasn't overlooked (as it often seems to be)! Maybe they should have added Joe's house to the list smilewinkgrin.gif

#3 Bernd

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 06:30 AM

I think the Waggoner building should probably be on the list. Probably at the expense of the Radio Shack Campus.

They could have done a bit of editing before posting this list... some of the information is old. For example, they say that the T&P building is "slated" to become residences, and that the Water Gardens are "currently closed for rennovation."
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#4 Fort Worthology

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 08:17 AM

The Beth-El is a weird choice. Until I knew what it was, I always just figured it was some suburban high school.

My list would be similar, except at the very minimum I'd pull Radio Shack and Beth-El and replace them with the W. T. Waggoner Building and Bass Performance Hall.

#5 vjackson

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 08:28 AM

RadioShack..no. But I am glad they included the Central Fire Station #2, one of my favorite buildings in FW. I wish there was a better photo of the Bass residence. I've never seen it and that photo wasn't very good.

#6 hannerhan

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 09:27 AM

QUOTE(vjackson @ Jun 27 2007, 09:28 AM) View Post

RadioShack..no. But I am glad they included the Central Fire Station #2, one of my favorite buildings in FW. I wish there was a better photo of the Bass residence. I've never seen it and that photo wasn't very good.


I think it would be cool to see 2 separate lists...one for residential dwellings as well as one for commercial/public. I just have a hard time comparing Radio Shack to Thistle Hill and ranking them.

#7 seurto

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 10:19 AM

I just have to say (and I don't know why, other than to show my architectural ignorance) mellow.gif that to my very highly untrained eye, the Modern Art Museum and the front of the Amon Carter have always looked like pre-fab, thrown together, strip centers to me. Maybe that's appropriate for the MAM (I don't understand a lot of modern art, either - I can unfold a box and hang on the wall, or tie a brick to a rock- and I wouldn't call it art). wink.gif

#8 Sam Stone

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 10:59 AM

I agree with most of them. I like Radio Shack and Pier 1, but I don't think they're particularly interesting. I would have put the Tower on there. That is an interesting building. First a blue-black glass brutalist box, sloping away from the street, damaged by a tornado, and then converted to condos with a street friendly groundfloor presence. Not everyone might be crazy about it, but I think the conversion and history of it make a very interesting and important building.

#9 Fort Worthology

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 11:02 AM

QUOTE(seurto @ Jun 27 2007, 11:19 AM) View Post

I just have to say (and I don't know why, other than to show my architectural ignorance) mellow.gif that to my very highly untrained eye, the Modern Art Museum and the front of the Amon Carter have always looked like pre-fab, thrown together, strip centers to me. Maybe that's appropriate for the MAM (I don't understand a lot of modern art, either - I can unfold a box and hang on the wall, or tie a brick to a rock- and I wouldn't call it art). wink.gif


The Carter isn't my favorite, but it's got a neat early '60s thing going on that I can appreciate. It looks like the sort of place Jack Webb would hang out at.

The Modern, on the other hand - I love it. Especially the view from the cafe over the pool to the wings. It's so clean and elegant and lovely. I don't love it for the same reason I love, say, the Flatiron or the Bass Hall, but I love it all the same.

#10 hannerhan

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 11:15 AM

QUOTE(seurto @ Jun 27 2007, 11:19 AM) View Post

I just have to say (and I don't know why, other than to show my architectural ignorance) mellow.gif that to my very highly untrained eye, the Modern Art Museum and the front of the Amon Carter have always looked like pre-fab, thrown together, strip centers to me. Maybe that's appropriate for the MAM (I don't understand a lot of modern art, either - I can unfold a box and hang on the wall, or tie a brick to a rock- and I wouldn't call it art). wink.gif


I would recommend going in to the Modern (I assume you haven't done this?) and just spending some time. Eat in the cafe by the water, walk the space, etc. I think you'll change your mind.

#11 vjackson

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 11:19 AM

QUOTE(Atomic Glee @ Jun 27 2007, 12:02 PM) View Post

QUOTE(seurto @ Jun 27 2007, 11:19 AM) View Post

I just have to say (and I don't know why, other than to show my architectural ignorance) mellow.gif that to my very highly untrained eye, the Modern Art Museum and the front of the Amon Carter have always looked like pre-fab, thrown together, strip centers to me. Maybe that's appropriate for the MAM (I don't understand a lot of modern art, either - I can unfold a box and hang on the wall, or tie a brick to a rock- and I wouldn't call it art). wink.gif


The Carter isn't my favorite, but it's got a neat early '60s thing going on that I can appreciate. It looks like the sort of place Jack Webb would hang out at.

The Modern, on the other hand - I love it. Especially the view from the cafe over the pool to the wings. It's so clean and elegant and lovely. I don't love it for the same reason I love, say, the Flatiron or the Bass Hall, but I love it all the same.

I never thought much of the Amon Carter either. The Modern is amazing..one of the best buildings in the metroplex. The Bass Hall has always looked cheesy and disney-like to me. (the interior, however, is amazing).

Also, Pier 1 and Radioshack, IMO, are on the list mainly because of name recognition and FW's lack of newer modern office stuctures. I don't think either would make such a list in many other cities.

#12 Fort Worthology

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 11:52 AM

QUOTE(vjackson @ Jun 27 2007, 12:19 PM) View Post

The Bass Hall has always looked cheesy and disney-like to me. (the interior, however, is amazing).


I can't believe we disagree on this! wink.gif Hehehehe. Personally, I think it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Angels and all. And I'm not even going to apologize for it or make any Schwarz remarks this time. It is one of my favorite buildings in the entire world, period, and I adore it without exception or reservation.

I'm sure I'm alone in that, but in this one case I don't care and don't feel like justifying it for once. I love that building. smile.gif

QUOTE
Also, Pier 1 and Radioshack, IMO, are on the list mainly because of name recognition and FW's lack of newer modern office stuctures. I don't think either would make such a list in many other cities.


Radio Shack is average at best, IMHO, I agree. I have to stick up for Pier 1 - even though I wish it was taller, I still think it's a wonderful building that doesn't get the respect it deserves. I like it because it manages to be cool and flashy without being so over-the-top "LOOK AT ME!!!!!!!" like so many modern buildings can be. It still looks like *a building,* which is something I appreciate very much with my quaint, traditionalist sensibility. smile.gif

#13 vjackson

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 12:11 PM

QUOTE(Atomic Glee @ Jun 27 2007, 12:52 PM) View Post

QUOTE(vjackson @ Jun 27 2007, 12:19 PM) View Post

The Bass Hall has always looked cheesy and disney-like to me. (the interior, however, is amazing).


I can't believe we disagree on this! wink.gif Hehehehe. Personally, I think it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Angels and all. And I'm not even going to apologize for it or make any Schwarz remarks this time. It is one of my favorite buildings in the entire world, period, and I adore it without exception or reservation.

I'm sure I'm alone in that, but in this one case I don't care and don't feel like justifying it for once. I love that building. smile.gif

QUOTE
Also, Pier 1 and Radioshack, IMO, are on the list mainly because of name recognition and FW's lack of newer modern office stuctures. I don't think either would make such a list in many other cities.


Radio Shack is average at best, IMHO, I agree. I have to stick up for Pier 1 - even though I wish it was taller, I still think it's a wonderful building that doesn't get the respect it deserves. I like it because it manages to be cool and flashy without being so over-the-top "LOOK AT ME!!!!!!!" like so many modern buildings can be. It still looks like *a building,* which is something I appreciate very much with my quaint, traditionalist sensibility. smile.gif

I don't think Bass Hall is horrible or unattractive for that matter...it just reminds me of Disney World and has never blown me away. People love Disney World so it wouldn't surprise me that many folks love the looks of the Bass smile.gif

I also don't find Pier 1 horrible. I find it to be an attractive (but too squatty) building..just unremarkable, especially when listing the top 25 buildings in the city. I find the Burlington Northern Headquarters, for instance, far more architectually interesting than P1 and Radioshack...two structures that I wouldn't bat an eye at if they were off the N. Dallas Tollway...and Burlington wasn't even on the list!!! Oh well, you know what they say about opinions. smile.gif

#14 seurto

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 12:42 PM

QUOTE(hannerhan @ Jun 27 2007, 12:15 PM) View Post

QUOTE(seurto @ Jun 27 2007, 11:19 AM) View Post

I just have to say (and I don't know why, other than to show my architectural ignorance) mellow.gif that to my very highly untrained eye, the Modern Art Museum and the front of the Amon Carter have always looked like pre-fab, thrown together, strip centers to me. Maybe that's appropriate for the MAM (I don't understand a lot of modern art, either - I can unfold a box and hang on the wall, or tie a brick to a rock- and I wouldn't call it art). wink.gif


I would recommend going in to the Modern (I assume you haven't done this?) and just spending some time. Eat in the cafe by the water, walk the space, etc. I think you'll change your mind.


I will absolutely admit I have not been inside the MAM since it moved to the new bldg. And to be fair I need to do that. I was speaking totally about the outside. I will make an effort to do that in the next few weeks; maybe my opinion will be changed (about the bldg).

#15 Fort Worthology

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 01:00 PM

QUOTE(seurto @ Jun 27 2007, 01:42 PM) View Post

I will absolutely admit I have not been inside the MAM since it moved to the new bldg. And to be fair I need to do that. I was speaking totally about the outside. I will make an effort to do that in the next few weeks; maybe my opinion will be changed (about the bldg).


I just love it there...

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#16 safly

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 02:33 PM

I have not seen the list as of yet. I do agree with VJ regarding Bass Hall. It does have that DWorldesque feel to it, like when you see the park and all of it's constructed front, but then it has a backside that looks waaay unfinished and inconsistent but offers plenty parking. That's exactly how I feel about BH, it's unfinished to my eyes. The architectual voyage just STOPS. Besides, I would have placed the ANGELS on Commerce St. Interior is grand and up there with the TNP lobby.

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#17 John T Roberts

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 07:25 PM

First of all, remember this list was chosen by a group of architects. I'm not necessarily trying to defend any of the choices, but the design of the RadioShack campus is actually pretty good. I think what you are trying to do is to take away points for it being a suburban campus in what should have been an urban environment. If you take away the urban context and think of it as a campus with curving river along two sides, it comes off better than you would think. Also, many of the AIA members have toured these buildings through the years and we had the opportunity to see how these buildings function from the inside.

As for the photographs of the residences, I think the quality has been intentionally reduced to help disguise the location. I have seen the photograph of the Bass Residence and I always thought the photo was very good. It was taken in 1974.

#18 hannerhan

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 08:13 PM

QUOTE(John T Roberts @ Jun 27 2007, 08:25 PM) View Post


As for the photographs of the residences, I think the quality has been intentionally reduced to help disguise the location. I have seen the photograph of the Bass Residence and I always thought the photo was very good. It was taken in 1974.


On the link's main page, there is a small picture of the Bass residence which appears to be much closer and shows the cantilevered roof.



#19 redhead

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 07:19 AM

I agree that BH looks a bit unfinished---definitely NOT four-sided architecture. I do think the interiors are very well done, but had a funny experience regarding same. Years ago, I was in Mazatlan on business with a co-worker---I showed her a picture from one of those tourist books and she asked "Why is Bass Hall in a book on Mexico?" I told her to look again...it was an interior shot of (forgive me, Safly) Angela Peralta Theatre in old Mazatlan---amazing resemblance to the interior of Bass Hall!!! If you can find it on the internet, you will be quite surprised at the similarity---down to the design of the light fixtures! Tres interesant, methinks.

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#20 cbellomy

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 08:59 AM

I've never particularly cared for the Greenwood mausoleum. I don't have a big problem with Radio Shack's campus being on the list, and I think Bass Hall deserves inclusion for its interior as much as its front facade.

Other structures I would like to have seen considered:

- North Side High School
- Kress Building
- Swift & Co. Headquarters
- Farrington Field

I don't have a problem with modern architecture but I think the AIA did a fine job selecting examples of that.



#21 RD Milhollin

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Posted 28 June 2007 - 09:26 AM

QUOTE(cbellomy @ Jun 28 2007, 08:59 AM) View Post

I don't have a problem with modern architecture but I think the AIA did a fine job selecting examples of that.


And what about industrial architecture? I didn't notice the Mile-Long assembly plant at Air Force Plant #4, or perhaps more significantly today the single-cantilever maintenance hanger at Alliance Airport. Maybe that structure would be more likely considered for an engineering award rather than one for architecture. cool.gif

#22 austlar

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 02:29 AM

The list is OK. The Beth El Congregtion is a nice building that is pretty understated in appearance, almost too subtle, but it is nice from up close. The Bass is not bad, but those trumpets are grotesque and make the building look a little "theme park". The interior is lovely. I like the Modern too, except for all the parking on the front and west side of the building. Those elevations look a bit like a really nice suburban office building. The interior and the courtyards and water feature are sublime.

#23 safly

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 02:53 AM

QUOTE(redhead @ Jun 28 2007, 08:19 AM) View Post

I agree that BH looks a bit unfinished---definitely NOT four-sided architecture. I do think the interiors are very well done, but had a funny experience regarding same. Years ago, I was in Mazatlan on business with a co-worker---I showed her a picture from one of those tourist books and she asked "Why is Bass Hall in a book on Mexico?" I told her to look again...it was an interior shot of (forgive me, Safly) Angela Peralta Theatre in old Mazatlan---amazing resemblance to the interior of Bass Hall!!! If you can find it on the internet, you will be quite surprised at the similarity---down to the design of the light fixtures! Tres interesant, methinks.

Beautiful place, Mazatlan!


I see.

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#24 Fort Worthology

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 08:28 AM

QUOTE(austlar @ Jun 29 2007, 03:29 AM) View Post

The Bass is not bad, but those trumpets are grotesque and make the building look a little "theme park".


The angels and trumpets are one of my favorite parts of the building. smile.gif

#25 360texas

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 02:03 PM

For those that have not had the opportunity to tour through RadioShacks Headquarters here is a link to some photo's I posted several years ago here in the forum. I personally think the Headquarters is very functional and does serve well those who work there. Do I work there? No I am retired from government service. You can also see what others said about the building interior. Something about form follows function.

http://www.fortworth...owtopic=873&hl=

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#26 Keller Pirate

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 10:33 AM

Last Saturday we attended a wedding reception at the Modern Art Museum. I have been there twice before this and while I didn't dislike the building, it wasn't what I had gone to see and I didn't consider it special.
Saturday evening gave me a couple hours to sit and enjoy the dinner and look at the architecture and I changed my mind about this structure. It is a very impressive piece of concrete. The weather cleared up enough that there was a red sunset and that reflected very nicely off the water pool.

I never knew you could do wedding receptions at the museum. I think it really beats the Ft Worth Club for a venue. The galleries were open to view before dinner was served and I highly recommend the Ron Mueck exhibit. Standing next to some of his giant sculptures is scary because they could come to life at any moment. I have seen pictures of his work in magazines but you just can't believe how realistic these sculptures are. I have never seen anything like them.


#27 Now in Denton

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 09:57 AM

Tuff crowd. Nothing new here. newlaugh.gif

#28 CurtisD

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 05:40 PM

QUOTE(safly @ Jun 27 2007, 02:33 PM) View Post

I have not seen the list as of yet. I do agree with VJ regarding Bass Hall. It does have that DWorldesque feel to it, like when you see the park and all of it's constructed front, but then it has a backside that looks waaay unfinished and inconsistent but offers plenty parking. That's exactly how I feel about BH, it's unfinished to my eyes. The architectual voyage just STOPS. Besides, I would have placed the ANGELS on Commerce St. Interior is grand and up there with the TNP lobby.

Waggoner is a MUST on this list.

Gotta agree about the the Bass, it has a very unfinished look to it. I think the building would have worked better nestled amongst other structures. Sitting alone the way it does calls attention to what looks like major external cost cutting, and there's no contrast to the dull color of the building. It looks very washed out. I always thought the angels were tacky and disneyesque. I think someone mentioned once that the Bass looks like one of those, tacky surburban mega churches. Which is funny, because my wife said the same thing.

Vjackson, you're so right about the Burlington Northern campus. It is really cool. I think it suffers from a poor location that offers little visibility. It reminds me of something you would see in Seattle and should have been a shoe-in on this list.
RShack...P1 really??...best in the city?? P1 gets extra points for lighting, but they don't light the building anymore.

And the Modern IS probably the best building built in the metroplex within the last ten years..IMO.

#29 gdvanc

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 06:25 PM

Before spending too much time quibbling about the selections, it seemed proper to try to understand the criteria.

"With that national discussion as a backdrop, the local chapter of the AIA asked its members to vote for the twenty five buildings that they feel are the best examples of architecture in our thirteen county territory."

My first question, then, is: "Which counties are included in the thirteen county territory?"

That could make a difference.

My second question, of course, is: "What qualities would one use to judge whether a project should be considered one of the 'best examples of architecture'?"

It's one thing to pick my favorite buildings, but I know that some of my favorite buildings might be unremarkable to a discerning and talented critic; and certainly there are buildings that are praised that I find immensely uninteresting. There are several buildings that I was surprised to see on the list even though I like them quite a lot.

So I'd like to ask those knowledgeable in the art and science of architecture: what makes something architecturally significant? Some things are obvious at a high level, but the details are tougher -- at least to the uninitiated: Interior and exterior; Form and function; Style and engineering. How do you weigh such things? What other things might be considered that are less obvious to the untrained? How do you compare projects whose strenghts are in different areas?

To what degree do non-architectural qualities seep in? Historical significance. Sentiment. Renown of the architect.

It would be truly fascinating to know how the voting architects valued each project's qualities. For instance: in what way are Ball-Eddelman-McFarland, the Water Gardens, Montgomery Ward, and (gad!) RadioShack "better examples of architecture" than W.T. Waggoner, Bass, Commerce, or Blackstone? How do you compare Central Fire Station #2 and Fort Worth High? How do you compare Ball-Eddelman-McFarland to Reeves-Walker?

Of course an objective and meaningful ranking is impossible.

What would be better would be a collection of all of our architectural gems. No rankings, simply pictures with a description and history.

Yeah, that would be cool. Someone should make that happen.


Thank you, John, for taking that on.


And thanks for not setting your typeface to xx-small medium gray on white like the AIA150 site. Ouch.



Agree with the comments on the BNSF HQ. Lake-Flato, right? Really nice.

Also agree with the suggestion that if you're going to try to make such a list, categorization would seem reasonable. I would go further than just res/commercial/public.


Have a great day...

gd





#30 r-q-tek86

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 03:32 PM

"With that national discussion as a backdrop, the local chapter of the AIA asked its members to vote for the twenty five buildings that they feel are the best examples of architecture in our thirteen county territory."

My first question, then, is: "Which counties are included in the thirteen county territory?"


OOPS... it's 15... Tarrant, Johnson, Hood, Somervell, Comanche, Erath, Eastland, Parker, Palo Pinto, Stephens, Wise, Jack, Throckmorton, Haskell and Cooke


#31 cbellomy

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 03:52 PM

QUOTE(r-q-tek86 @ Jul 13 2007, 04:32 PM) View Post

OOPS... it's 15... Tarrant, Johnson, Hood, Somervell, Comanche, Erath, Eastland, Parker, Palo Pinto, Stephens, Wise, Jack, Throckmorton, Haskell and Cooke


Whither Young County?



#32 hannerhan

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 04:28 PM

I was flipping through a great book today entitled something like "Great Houses of Texas" (available at least at Barnes&Noble), and there was a 10 page spread on the Bass home with tons of great pictures along with a full story on the home.

There is also a spread on the Lasater house (Lake Flato home). I would have bought the book but the $50 bill was a bit high. I just happened to remember this thread and thought this was worth noting.

#33 David Love

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 07:17 PM

$26.00 on half.com in case you really wanted it...

Better Business Bureau:  A place to find or post valid complaints for auto delerships and maintenance facilities. (New Features) If you have a valid gripe about auto dealerships, this is the place to voice it.


#34 Birdland in Handley

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Posted 22 June 2008 - 01:44 AM

The original topic is almost a year old, so will there be a new list in a week or two? In that case I'll post my opinions early:
The Haltom is the most beautiful building in town.
Next no-brainer, the Kress. Which leads to the usual lovely Decos: The Blackstone, the Sinclair, Western Union, Will Rogers tower, the old Dr Pepper building opposite the old farmer's market (which has been much abused), both the T&P warehouse and the station. (One Deco that I do not find charming is the Masonic building. My husband and I always joke that it was designed by Albert Speer.)
The Beautiful oldies: the Flatiron (amazing details), Knights O' Pythias, Land Title, St. Pats', the market building opposite the old Dr. Pepper building, our dear old courthouse.
I'll be looking forward to the 2008 list. (And to seeing if the Albert Speer building is still on it.)




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