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Wichita Falls Then and Now.


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#1 WTx

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 09:52 AM

I thought I would post this here to illustrate what a fortunate thing it is that Fort Worth didn't, "modernize" its classic architecture to this extent. One thing I love about Fort Worth is all the classic architecture downtown. I put this together to show how damaging, "modernizing" went in this city over the years. Just to give a little background I grew up in the Wichita Falls area. I currently live in the DFW area but get back often as I still have family in WF. I grew up looking at thses buildings which gave me the interest I have in buildings today. Now for the depressing part of the tour. Simply these are the buildings that were either demolished or, "modernized." I also included some positive things that have happened as not to be too negative. I know John has already seen this but I figured it would make good discussion here too.

The Wichita County Courthouse built in 1916.

Then...
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Today...
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The First National Building built 1910. If you ever visit WF go into the antique shop. The basement still has the vault which you can go into today.
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Today. I have not been able to find out when the facade on this one was, "updated." Indications is that it was done sometime in the 50's.
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Union Depot demolished in 1968. No replacement. Currently the Wichita Falls Railroad Museum.
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Panhandle Building. Demolished sometime after 1960. Currently an auto dealership downtown.
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Staley Building built in 1919/1920.
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Today. The facade was, "modernized" in 1982.
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The City National Building built 1919/1920. This building still has the gray granite base facade. The middle red brick was painted white and a false covering around the smaller 13th floor was done sometime in the 70's. The original building is a very similar twin to the South Texas Building in San Antonio. Both the South Texas Building and this one are Singuet and Statts buildings.
Then...
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Now...
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The Kemp Hotel built 1919/1920 demolished in Nov 1964.
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The Kemp was replaced by the current building constructed in 1966 which sits in the same footprint as the Kemp and is similar height. This is currently the Crescent Plaza Hotel.
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Bob Waggoner/First Wichita Building built 1919/1920 remodeled in 1960.
Then...
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Now. Notice the sunken in windows on floors 2-7. Floors 8-12 were added in 1960. The blue aluminum siding was added at that time. Apparently the old building facade is still under there. Past owners have considered a restoration but the cost of restoration is too much to keep the building competitive in the office market. The currently building has had a clock and temp display on top since 1977.

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The Wichita Opera House/Wichita Theater built in 1908.
Then...
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I'm not sure when the redo of this one was done. However, I suspect it was done in the 30's. The interior is an art deco wonder. Visit this one if you can see a show here to see the inside.
http://www.wichitatheatre.com

Now
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Westland/Texan Hotel built 1909 destroyed by fire May 1942.
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The lobby
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St. James Hotel demolished 1932. Now a vacant lot.
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Ok, now for the good news of restoration and development.

The Holt Hotel was built in 1910 as the Kemp and Kell Building. The building served as an office building until 1926 when two floors were added and turned into a hotel. In 02/03 the building was restored and now has 41 apartments. Occupancy is at 100%. This one was ALMOST demoed.
Then...
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Now...
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The LaSalle Apts was renovated a few years ago into 15 apartments.
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The old church education building was once derelict now 10-15 apartments.
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The Little Skyscraper one derelict for many many years is now restored. Visit the attached antique shop and go up into the structure for free.
Then
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Now...
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Views from the penthouse:haha:
Sorry, the windows were dirty.
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The Marchman Hotel built in 1926 recently renovated/restored. Now offices for the State of Texas.
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The restored lobby...
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Radio Building/First Texas Building built 1928 original facade.
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Hamilton Building built in 1928 original facade.
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Austin School built 1913 currently being converted into 30+ apartments.
Then...
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Now...
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The Old USO Building/Maskat Building is slated to be converted into apartments. Sorry, not current photo.
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Here is some info
http://www.1100lamar.com/

#2 Fort Worthology

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 11:26 AM

The modernizations are all ghastly, except for the theater. The restored buildings are great!

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

Fort Worth District 9 Zoning Commissioner


#3 vjackson

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 11:54 AM

Cool photos. I've only been to Wichita Falls once..and to be honest, it reminded me of FW.

The modernization of historic structures seemed to have really caught on in the 50's and 60's. I can't think of any city I've visited where I didn't see it. And I can't think of any building "modernized" doing that period that looked good.

It's a shame too about some of the structures that were demolished, especially that beautiful courthouse!!! But alas, another plight that has occured in every city in the country.

Good to see some renovation being done in WF. I'll have to plan a daytrip up there!!

#4 Fort Worthology

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 01:04 PM

QUOTE(vjackson @ Aug 14 2007, 12:54 PM) View Post

Cool photos. I've only been to Wichita Falls once..and to be honest, it reminded me of FW.



That's...kind of weird, v-man. blink.gif

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#5 vjackson

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 01:25 PM

QUOTE(Atomic Glee @ Aug 14 2007, 02:04 PM) View Post

QUOTE(vjackson @ Aug 14 2007, 12:54 PM) View Post

Cool photos. I've only been to Wichita Falls once..and to be honest, it reminded me of FW.



That's...kind of weird, v-man. blink.gif

Why? I mean of course, it was much smaller. But very laid back and quiet. And a lot of the older buildings downtown reminded me a lot of several in DTFW.

#6 Fort Worthology

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 01:53 PM

QUOTE(vjackson @ Aug 14 2007, 02:25 PM) View Post

Why? I mean of course, it was much smaller. But very laid back and quiet. And a lot of the older buildings downtown reminded me a lot of several in DTFW.


Didn't mean anything by it. smile.gif

I think it's the size thing, mostly. Seemed a bit off. I'm not sure I can agree about the two being similar in terms of "quiet," either.

That one building is very Burk Burnett-ish. Figures, since it's another Sanguinet & Staats work.

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Fort Worth District 9 Zoning Commissioner


#7 AndyN

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 05:27 PM

I spent a decade in Wichita Falls one year and believe me, the downtown is much quieter. They took out most of the downtown stoplights because there was not enough traffic to justify the electric bill. You can lie naked on the busiest street at night and no one will see you for, well let's see.... at least four hours, but then I had to go home.

The town has its plusses and minuses. I think the camoflaged traffic control boxes are outstanding contribution to beautification.
Www.fortwortharchitecture.com

#8 WTx

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 05:57 PM

QUOTE
It's a shame too about some of the structures that were demolished, especially that beautiful courthouse!!!


Actually the courthouse is the same building. That was another redo to make it look more modern. I'm not sure exactly when that redo occured?

#9 cbellomy

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 12:54 AM

All I can say is this: "Wow. Swastikas."

I know the building predated the ascent of Hitler, but still, that was jarring.



#10 WTx

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 06:30 AM

I think we've actually discussed swastikas on buildings here before. Pre-Hitler the swastika was a sign of prosperity in many cultures. Hitler just happened to use it for himself and ruined it. If I'm not mistaken the Flatiron building has them too. I don't think its uncommon to find them on pre-WWII buildings.

From Wiki...
QUOTE
It occurs in other Asian, European, African and Native American cultures sometimes as a geometrical motif, sometimes as a religious symbol.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika

#11 cberen1

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 09:49 AM

I grew up in "the Falls". I never realized how many great buildings had been modernized. I'm guessing it was a product of the oil money in the area in the 60's, 70's and early 80's. Nothing worse than bored, rich people with "an eye for design". Much of the money dried up after the bust and down town died. If I ever move back to Wichita Falls, I want to live in the Penthouse of the Hamilton building. It's outstanding.

One cool building you missed was the Kemp Public Library, although I don't think it is being used as a library any more.

It's a quiet city. Not much going on. Interestingly, the demographics line up almost perfectly with the national average demographics, so it is a hotbed for market testing retail products.

If stuck in the Falls for more than a few hours, I suggest driving around the Wichita Falls Country Club area. It is a beautiful area. It will remind you of the Park Cities, but with fewer straight streets.

Nice little university there, Midwestern State University, MSU, also sarcastically called MIT (Midwestern In Town). About 6,000 students. Strong Nursing, Geology, and Mathematics departments.

#12 WTx

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Posted 18 August 2007 - 12:18 PM

QUOTE
One cool building you missed was the Kemp Public Library, although I don't think it is being used as a library any more.


The Kemp is now an arts center.

http://kempcenter.org

#13 dangr.dave

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 09:49 AM

Some photos of a recent trip to Wichita Falls that I took:

 

An abandoned building:

21147947425_d798b6fd4b_z.jpgAll cleaned out by Dave Matthews, on Flickr

 

The Hamilton Building:

20975094488_dea7bbd692_z.jpgIndian heads by Dave Matthews, on Flickr

 

The Holt Hotel:

21131751140_8f17474906_z.jpgTo have and to Holt by Dave Matthews, on Flickr

 

Bel-Air Hotel neon sign:

20960015798_c8d9d8cff8_z.jpgBel-air Hotel by Dave Matthews, on Flickr

 

DDD Motel neon sign:

20974868420_c99d1f56d3_z.jpgDDD Motel by Dave Matthews, on Flickr

 

YMCA neon sign:

21188052425_4e08eab490_z.jpgHave a great stay by Dave Matthews, on Flickr



#14 John T Roberts

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 10:41 AM

Great photos!  Dave, I see you went up there after the big HHH weekend.  I was there at that time.  I did not take any pictures, but we did walk around downtown. We ate at McBride's Land and Cattle Company in downtown on Friday night before the ride.  Lunch on Friday was at El Norteno.  Our breakfasts were at the hotel (La Quinta).  After the ride on Saturday, we ate at Don Jose's Mexican Restaurant.






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