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Montgomery Plaza Construction

Cultural District Big Box Retail Retail Historic Buildings Shopping Centers

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#1 John T Roberts

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Posted 01 August 2004 - 08:34 PM

I thought I would start a new thread on the construction of the Montgomery Plaza project.

The Groundbreaking Ceremony - July 29, 2004:
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First demolition of the service center on the far northwest corner of the site next to Carroll Street.
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#2 salvag

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Posted 01 August 2004 - 09:45 PM

Demolition already? That was quick.

#3 John T Roberts

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Posted 01 August 2004 - 09:49 PM

The project is on such a fast track that the distribution center will start coming down within one month and work on the old warehouse should start soon after. They have actually been working on this project almost since the day after it was approved by the City Council.

#4 John T Roberts

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Posted 12 August 2004 - 07:46 PM

Last week's picture of the start of the demolition of the large 1961 Distribution Center.
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#5 Thurman52

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 12:46 PM

Demolition of the warehouse is moving fast. I was shocked at the speed.

Construction fences went up this week.

They also removed the windows and frames where the infamous hole in the building will go.

#6 John T Roberts

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 12:59 PM

This is the picture of the demolition on September 4th. It had been posted on the Montgomery Ward page on the web site.

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#7 jubjubking

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 01:16 PM

hey, just saw the new photos....Im glad they decided to knock down the distribution center...building was just an ugly eyesore on the back. Does anyone know when the first units will be available?

#8 John T Roberts

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 03:45 PM

They are going to build the retail section of the project before they ever convert the old building to apartments.

Thurman, I went out and took pictures this afternoon. I should have put this as a reply to your comment earlier, but all of the windows are going to be replaced, not just the ones where the hole is located.

#9 John T Roberts

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 05:57 PM

Construction photographs taken September 11, 2004.

From the rear with almost all of the distribution center gone:
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From the southeast with center windows removed on front and trash chute being constructed on the east side:
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View of the front of the building:
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#10 mosteijn

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Posted 12 September 2004 - 09:18 AM

Wow, they're moving fast! Looks like everything will be suburban about this project, including the construction schedule (and quality too, most likely <_< ).

#11 John T Roberts

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Posted 12 September 2004 - 09:51 AM

The time frame for the project is rather swift. We will just have to see how everything turns out. Even though I was against cutting the hole through the building, it is really nice to actually see construction work going on inside the old store/warehouse. This will definitely be a project that we will have to observe closely due to the rapid time frame to get the project completed. I'm now anxious to see what is behind the blue brick.

#12 kls

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Posted 12 September 2004 - 10:48 AM

it's unbelievable how ft.worth is becoming prettier and nicer! the building already looks better just with the few windows knocked out! thanks for sharing the pics.

i live downtown already and really like it here. it's nice that the residential facilities continue to grow.

#13 John T Roberts

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Posted 12 September 2004 - 11:06 AM

KLS, the replacement windows will be replicas of the existing ones, so the look will remain the same. I believe in the other Montgomery Ward threads, there are all of the available renderings.

#14 kls

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 09:57 AM

yes, but they will be new!

#15 John T Roberts

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Posted 26 September 2004 - 07:34 PM

I'm a little behind on the construction photographs, but I now have last week's posted. From September 18, 2004:

The distribution center in the back is now gone
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East and south sides of building:
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South facade with windows being removed:
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#16 John T Roberts

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Posted 26 September 2004 - 08:00 PM

I didn't want to start a new thread, so I have decided to post these here. These have been donated by a forum member and they are pictures of the building before the renovation was started. I thought everyone might be interested in how the building looked from some places where the average person could not see.

This is the interior of the first floor just as you walk past the main entry into the building on 7th Street. The ceiling grid and lights are remnants of the Montgomery Ward Store.
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The arcade is still present with a portion of the sides removed and the upper portions filled in with concrete block. This is a view from the inside showing a remodeled storefront and then the infilled wall beyond. If you look at the sides, you can see the blue brick returns into the original wall. This makes me think the stucco infill was at a later date. The 1963 blue brick base is scheduled to be removed this week.
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This is a shot of the first floor infill between the wings that was constructed in 1961.
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The view between the wings in the very rear of the building:
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Interior of 1961 infill:
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This is a picture inside the light well looking from the north bridge to the front of the building. Note that even though the building is 40 feet wide between the wings, it is only that width on the top floor.
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Here is a closeup of the center section that will be partially demolished from inside the light well:
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Light well looking north:
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Typical interior of upper floors. This was taken on the 7th floor.
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Typical upper floor column capital:
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#17 John T Roberts

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Posted 26 September 2004 - 08:01 PM

I also have a few more to post and they are as follows:

Covered skylight on 8th Floor:
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Back side of north roof sign:
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Back side of south roof sign:
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....And now the view of the Fort Worth Skyline from the roof:
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#18 ghughes

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Posted 26 September 2004 - 08:46 PM

John:
Thanks for the closeup of the column capital. I've always loved that form in columns. Does it have a name or designation?

#19 John T Roberts

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Posted 26 September 2004 - 08:53 PM

Greg, we have always called them Mushroom Capitals or Mushroom Columns.

#20 Schaumbette

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Posted 04 October 2004 - 02:47 PM

Just a question...
Does any one know the development company that is heading up the project?
Also are they going to be apartments or condos (lease or sell)?

#21 Bird Dog

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 06:41 AM

The developer is a partnership of Weber & Company from Dallas and Kimco Developers from Chicago. Their intent is to build condos, not apartments. However, they may elect to sell the top 5 floors to another developer to build the condos, instead of building them themselves.

#22 Willy1

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Posted 05 October 2004 - 12:06 PM

Hey, anyone know how I could get a bunch of the blue bricks from MW's for a home project? I've been wanting to build a brick courtyard in my back yard and I think it would be cool to incorporate a bunch of the blue bricks/tiles from a local landmark.

Oh - and does anyone know where I could buy really cheap, old used bricks or other building materials like that for my courtyard? I want the bricks to look really old, and I don't want to pay a lot for them. I went to the Dallas Farmers Market last week and they have a great bricked section that has moss growing in it and I loved the way it looked....

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

#23 Bird Dog

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 11:28 AM

Demolition has begun on the Tire & Battery Building on the southwest corner of the property. The canopies around the first floor perimeter of the Montgomery Ward building are also being demolished.

#24 John T Roberts

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 03:03 PM

Thanks, Bird Dog. I have my camera and will go over there this evening.

#25 John T Roberts

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Posted 07 October 2004 - 09:22 PM

The Auto Service Store is nearly gone. This is a shot of what remains.
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The canopy is being removed and you can see some of the previous renovations. When the blue brick and canopy was added, a flat topped storefront sat in the archway. At a later date, the storefront was covered over. You can see the cover has been removed, exposing the glass behind. In 1963, the arches were filled in, but you can see that they are still there.
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A close up of the arch:
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The one thing that I didn't remember was that there were lights shining up from the canopy on the blue brick. The wall sconces were located below the canopy in the same positions.

#26 John T Roberts

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 08:34 PM

Things are happening so fast that I just had to go back today to take more photographs. Today, all of the upper portions of the 1963 facade were removed. This revealed all of the arches and the original wall above. Unfortunately, the clay tile roof on top of the arcade was removed in 1963.
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I'm ending this thread with the overall shot of the east end of the building. A little less detail here, but it does start to show how the original base looked.
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#27 mosteijn

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Posted 08 October 2004 - 10:47 PM

;) They didn't show your interview on the 6 or 10 o'clock news', so I didn't get to see it. Looks like MW is progressing VERY fast. This could also speed up development interest in the 7th street corridor, one of the few redeeming qualities of the development...

#28 mrowl

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 04:28 PM

what is that chest looking thing directly under the directv sat?

#29 John T Roberts

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 07:05 PM

I had to pull out the high resolution version of the photo to get a good look at the device that you are pointing out. It has some writing on it, but I didn't zoom in close enough to read it. I did make out a Montgomery Ward logo on the top part of it. I think it is some type of speaker or call device.

#30 Dismuke

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 09:29 PM

I had to pull out the high resolution version of the photo to get a good look at the device that you are pointing out.  It has some writing on it, but I didn't zoom in close enough to read it.  I did make out a Montgomery Ward logo on the top part of it.  I think it is some type of speaker or call device.

View Post



I also noticed the box on the building when I was there this past weekend taking pictures. Here are two close up shots:

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Beats me as to what it might be. Some sort of speaker device is probably a pretty good guess. The various wires coming out of it indicate that it is some sort of electrical device. Perhaps it had something to do with the building's early phone system?

Whatever it is, I can assure you that it is not something from the 1960s. The way it is decorated - indeed the very fact that it is decorated at all - suggests that it might date back to when the building was put up in the 1920s. And it was apparently still in use when the ground floor was radically remodeled in the 1960s. Otherwise, one would assume that it would have been ripped out with all of the other stuff that used to be there.

I took quite a number of other photos when I was there but did not post any of them as I did not see anything major that was not already documented in the photos already posted.
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#31 John T Roberts

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Posted 11 October 2004 - 09:39 PM

If you look carefully, you can see that it has their logo on it, which was "M" directly over "W". My guess is that it was a speaker, paging, telephone, or signaling device.

#32 normanfd

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 12:31 AM

If you zoom in to the image, besides the MW logo, there is nothing else to read. If you are referring to the pattern just inside the half-circle top of the box, you will see that they are short, radial lines. Grime, rust, and chipped paint give the illusion that these radial lines may be connected in a way that suggests letters.

#33 djold1

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 04:27 AM

These are great pictures..

I think this was/is a weatherproof box for an external burglar or fire alarm bell, not speaker.

In a renovation like this I wonder who gets these old artifacts?

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#34 Bird Dog

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 06:43 AM

I believe it is an old fire alarm device. As for who gets to keep the items to be removed, that is up to the Owner. The Owner has the right to keep anything they want and everything else generally becomes the responsibility of the demolition contractor, who may sell items for scrap (steel, copper, etc.), take them to the dump, or keep them for themselves.

Many times in historically significant buildings, such as this one, the Owner will salvage significant items and incorporate them into the new construction.

#35 John T Roberts

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 07:21 AM

When it was partially hidden behind the blue brick facade, my first thought was that it was an old fire alarm device, but when I saw the Montomery Ward logo on it, I became more unsure. When it was uncovered, I was really unsure. Bird Dog, thanks for the information.

#36 Dismuke

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 08:57 PM

If you look carefully, you can see that it has their logo on it, which was "M" directly over "W". 



I am not so sure that I see it. I do see that a general outline of the design approximates that of an M over a W - but there seems to be a lot of other detail besides that really doesn't much sense to me if that is the case.

It is pretty obvious that the top half and the bottom half of the detail are mirror images of each other. However, the bottom half is in better condition and is easier to make out. So, to only focus on the supposed W portion - notice that the middle angle does not come together. If one follows the outline to include the area in the middle, the result is a rather odd shaped W. Also, notice that the far right and far left arms of the W are cut in half by an indentation that goes into the center of the raised detail - which again makes it a rather funny shaped W. Also, assuming that it is an M over a W - the detail work in the center of the design does not seem to have any relationship to it.

To me, what the design looks like is two leaves of some sort facing in opposite directions. Does anyone else see it the same way I do? Has anyone ever seen other Montgomery Ward logos from that era that used the M over the W? I took a quick look online at some vintage Montgomery Ward material from the 1920s and could not find an example - though that, of course, doesn't mean that it wasn't used.

To make it easier to see, here is an enlargement of the area in question:

Posted Image
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#37 John T Roberts

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Posted 12 October 2004 - 09:08 PM

Dismuke, when you show the very close detail shot, I do see the leaves as you do.

#38 redhead

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 03:21 PM

Back to an earlier comment by Bird Dog. Having done a fair amount of demolition, and (sorry John) some of it historic---our experience has been that the demolition contractor will give a price based on "as-is" whereby he gets the opportunity to salvage/sell. This makes a huge difference in price, allowing them to make money on the scrap, not just on the demo. If however, there was anything REALLY cool, we'd have removed before the bid process.

Maybe BD's projects were/are larger in scope---I would think it works the same way, though.

#39 Bird Dog

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Posted 14 October 2004 - 06:51 AM

Redhead,
I think we're both saying the same thing. What I meant by saying the decision is up to the Owner is that the Owner owns the land, the building and all of the contents of the building. If there are any building components or contents that the Owner wishes to retain for sale, re-use or whatever, it is their right to do so. If the Owner doesn't have these objects removed before bidding, the demolition contractors will be notified during the bidding process so they are aware of the items that the Owner wants to keep. It has been my experience that most of the time, the Owner doesn't want to keep anything. And in those instances when the Owner does want to salvage materials, it is not steel or copper or some other "building material" that they intend to sell for scrap, it is an ornate door or building plaque or some other "object" that they wish to re-use.

#40 mrowl

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Posted 14 October 2004 - 06:56 AM

I see the leaves also... thanks for the close up.

I would agree with the fire alarm if those were in place in the 20's? I assume it would be manual.

Someone needs to get a demo guy to open the front end of that and see inside. :P see the hinge on the right?

#41 Dismuke

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Posted 14 October 2004 - 08:37 PM

Someone needs to get a demo guy to open the front end of that and see inside.  :D  see the hinge on the right?


I have thought the same thing - it would be interesting to be able to get close enough to the box to open it up. But that might not be much fun if it turns out that the thing is still electrified. :P
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#42 Dismuke

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Posted 16 October 2004 - 11:27 PM

I managed to go by Montgomery Ward today to take some more photos now that the debris from the removal of the blue brick and the destruction of the auto center has been cleared away.

First - I think there is another possibility for what they mystery box could be. Take a look at the picture below and notice what appears to be a duct of some sort visible directly behind it through the window. I wonder if it could be a decorative cover used to disguise some sort of intake or exhaust vent. Notice that there are slatted vents on the side of the box just as there are on its front. Earlier I thought it must have housed some sort of electrical device due to the wires. But now I wonder if the wires are simply part of the satellite dish set up.

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One to some more pictures.



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Here is the southwest corner of the building which does give a bit of an idea of what the original base looked like




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This archway shows better than any of the others how they were originally shaped.

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Close up of the same archway.


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Here is the east side of the building. Notice how the blue wall here was built out from the structure.

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Here is another view of the fake exterior wall.

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Here is another mystery. This rounded thing which appears to be some sort of shute runs from the third to sixth floor on both of the front corners of the building. It occurred to me that they might be nothing more than the rounded columns found elsewhere in the building. But if so, would it make sense for a similar column not to be on the first and second floor?

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Here is another view. Notice that they are not totally in the corner. They are set out a ways and are closer to the side wall than the front. These photos are of the building's southeast corner but the same thing can be found on the southwest corner as well. Any ideas as to what they might be?

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Ground floor columns.

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Yeah. I know. Crappy shot. This is looking into the ground floor from the east side of the building. Notice the gap in the columns. Am I correct in assuming that the gap area is the old light well that was eventually filled in on the ground floor?

Well, the board is only letting me post 10 pictures per post so I will start a new message for the final few photos.
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#43 Dismuke

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Posted 16 October 2004 - 11:29 PM

Continued....


Posted Image

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This is a really handsome building. I still think it is a huge shame that they are going to cut a hole through it.
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#44 ghughes

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Posted 17 October 2004 - 08:31 AM

I agree, Dismuke. On the bright side, at least the upper reaches will be kept which is where much of the nice detail is located.

Thanks for all the good shots.

#45 Sam Stone

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Posted 17 October 2004 - 10:08 PM

Wow. . . great photos, Dismuke. I have of course not seen any of this. It is very shocking to see the building in this state. The windows were in such bad shape that it actually looks better with them missing. I wish that all that beauty that is being uncovered were to be preserved.

I'll bet you those weird round things in the corners are are some sort of chute or elevator device. The first and second floors were retail space and I think stairwells might have been in the corners. With the upper floors being used for warehousing they might not have needed as many stairwells. Just a guess. I'm sure John would know better.

Th next time I'll be in town will be Thanksgiving, by which time I'm sure the building will be drastically different. I hope that in the future we will elect councils that value democratic processes and participation.

#46 John T Roberts

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 04:59 AM

I posted this picture taken on Sunday, October 17th on the Montgomery Ward web page, but I forgot to post it here. This is an overall shot of the south facade. You can begin to see how the base related to the top of the building. I realize the arches are kind of faint, with some being infilled and the waterproofing over the stucco, but you can make them out.

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#47 Bird Dog

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 06:38 AM

Dismuke,
Those round things in the southwest and southeast corners are indeed spiral chutes. I assume that customer orders were filled on the upper levels and then sent down the chutes to the shipping department. There is another spiral chute roughly in the middle of the east side of the building.

#48 Dismuke

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 09:17 AM

Dismuke,
Those round things in the southwest and southeast corners are indeed spiral chutes.  I assume that customer orders were filled on the upper levels and then sent down the chutes to the shipping department.  There is another spiral chute roughly in the middle of the east side of the building.

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Thanks for the information. Very interesting.

I wonder if they will survive the redevelopment. My guess is that they would be pretty difficult to incorporate into any modern usage in a residential building.
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#49 Urbndwlr

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 04:30 PM

Perhaps as a slide for residents to quickly get to the ground floor. I guarantee there are no others of its kind. Granted, if you started at the top you'd have a hole in the seat of your pants and be spinning in circles by the time you reached the bottom.

#50 UrbanLandscape

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 04:43 PM

Perhaps as a slide for residents to quickly get to the ground floor.  I guarantee there are no others of its kind.  Granted, if you started at the top you'd have a hole in the seat of your pants and be spinning in circles by the time you reached the bottom.

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Hah! Actually, I know of many warehouses and other buildings of that sort that have such slides.





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