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Old Photograph of Baker Building

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#51 ghughes

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 08:10 PM

Yes, excellent... although I missed the URL in my first two passes (eyesight must be failin')

And great quote with attribution for John.

#52 mosteijn

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 09:35 PM

Wow, unexpected, but welcome! I wonder who it is that surfs the forum, perhaps it's Ms. Baker? Mr. Fuquay? I think it would be so cool if someone like that were to post on the forum...not really for any reason in particular, other than the fact taht it would just be fun to meet someone that writes for such a widely read media outlet (compared to this one :D).

#53 Dismuke

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Posted 18 October 2004 - 10:09 PM

Wow, unexpected, but welcome! I wonder who it is that surfs the forum, perhaps it's Ms. Baker? Mr. Fuquay? I think it would be so cool if someone like that were to post on the forum...


Perhaps they already have. My very strong guess if someone like that were to post on the Forum, we would not even be aware of it.
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#54 John T Roberts

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Posted 20 October 2004 - 05:52 AM

it would be interesting to see if there is a surge in hits to your web site over the next several days. more voices on the forum would be a welcome development.

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Donnie, the number of hits for the site doubled on Monday and then slacked off somewhat on Tuesday. I don't know if we have attracted any new forum members from the article.

#55 gdvanc

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Posted 20 October 2004 - 06:35 AM

Donnie, the number of hits for the site doubled on Monday and then slacked off somewhat on Tuesday.  I don't know if we have attracted any new forum members from the article.

View Post


Excellent. I'm sure that will generate new interest and membership. I guess it's not surprising that it was a spike on Monday but less so on Tuesday. Most people would have read the article the first day and discarded the paper that day; they would be more likely to have visited the site if they did so on the day they read the article.

#56 John T Roberts

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Posted 20 November 2004 - 09:00 AM

I have noticed that over the last couple of weeks a new steel framework is starting to be installed at the top of the new base.

#57 bryanr

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 08:07 PM

Hey all,

There is an outside "scaffold"elevator erected on the Houston street side of the bldg. now.. I can't wait to see something else going up on the site. Building-wise that is.

Bryan :smwink:


P.S. To all the Paschal people, my Grandfather started the Pantherette. You can look in the book Amon by Jerry Flemmons in the index look for C. L. Richhart, the story if I remember right is in there.
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#58 Dokk

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Posted 10 December 2004 - 11:59 PM

I took these pictures yesterday and it appears that they are adding something to the exterior of the building. Maybe John can enlighten me but I think it may be some sort of support for a sign of some kind.
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#59 John T Roberts

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 09:44 AM

That is the steel framework that will support the new cornice at the top of the base that is being placed back on the building. If you want to see what the building will look like when finished, go to the old photograph at the beginning of the thread. I wish I could show you more detailed photographs and drawings, but I can't. At this time, XTO has decided not to release any information on the building.

#60 John T Roberts

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 08:51 PM

Bryan, I think if you look closer that is not a lift scaffold but more framing for the new exterior of the building. Go back and look at the old photograph. You can see that above the cantilevered entrance were columns that were more closely spaced together above it. They did not extend all the way to the ground; two were only above the entrance, and the center one did extend to the ground. (It is structural.)

I also have noticed that they have finished repairing the basement of the building below the sidewalk. They completely rebuilt that part of the building.

#61 Dismuke

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 11:06 PM

John -

The old photograph shows fire escapes. Obviously at some point, some sort of fireproof interior fire stairs were added to the building. Off the top of my head, I can recall another building that used to have fire escapes but no longer does - the hotel that is now known as The Aristocrat in downtown Dallas but which used to be called The White Plaza and, before that, the Dallas Hilton (the first hotel Conrad Hilton built and the first he named after himself). I remember seeing the fire escapes on the hotel when I was a kid - and the place looks much better today without them.

Question: For an old building to be converted from one that had to have fire escapes to one that has an interior stair well that meets modern fire safety standards, what has to be done? Is it a particularly difficult and/or expensive thing to do? Is making such a conversion actually required by modern building codes when an old building is renovated or restored? Or is it legal to maintain adequate working fire escapes. I know that the W.T.Waggoner Building still has fire escapes - but it has been some years now since it was restored.

As someone who is not very comfortable being in situations involving open heights, I don't think I would enjoy taking a trip down from the top of the W.T.Waggoner Building!
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#62 John T Roberts

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Posted 11 December 2004 - 11:43 PM

It is actually pretty easy to add an interior stairwell that meets current codes. New structure is placed around the new opening through the floor. This new structure is usually a new steel beam that ties the new edges of the slab back to the existing beams that connect the columns. Then, each floor slab is cut at along the sides of the new opening for the stairs. The new steel stairs are then placed from floor to floor. Then a fireproof and rated assembly of metal studs and gypsum board (sheetrock) is constructed around the new stairs. Fire rated doors and frames are put into the wall and then you have a new stair.

I think the new interior stair at the Baker Building was constructed in 1967 when the last quarter of the tower was built over the light well. After that was constructed, the fire escape was no longer needed.

#63 bryanr

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Posted 12 December 2004 - 01:27 PM

John,

I can now see what you are speaking of. I can tell now about the cantilevered enterence space. Other than that vertical square column, will the enterence require a horizontal beam or two, to complete that part of the enterence?

Bryan
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#64 John T Roberts

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Posted 17 December 2004 - 10:02 PM

Bryan, probably not. It is hard to tell what is going on from Dokk's photographs. I was by there today and I noticed that they are now putting concrete block at the edge of the mezzanine slab on the west side of the building.

#65 bryanr

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 12:37 PM

John and All,

It does not look as if they are going to have the large windows on the south side of the building like in the picture. The infill with the CMU seems to preclude those. Also it looks like the window area is going to be a different configuration on the front of the building. I am looking at the building today (1-18)

Bryan :D
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#66 John T Roberts

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 06:12 PM

I wouldn't judge the exterior of the building by the C.M.U. going up as infill. There is a type of glass used today that is called spandrel glass. It is usually used where glass curtain walls are installed in front of floor slabs and beams. It looks like regular glass, but there is a backing material behind it. It can be installed in front of C.M.U. or any other solid material, or a stud and gypsum board wall can be constructed behind it.

XTO probably didn't need that much glass on the second floor so they decided to have some of that glass to be spandrel. The second thing to remember is that the installation of second floor across the entire bank lobby forced the windows to have their lower limits inside the mechanical mezzanine, when at one time, this was occupiable space. The change in the floor levels almost forces the use of spandrel in the lower section of the restored window openings. Otherwise, you would be looking into the mechanical space from the exterior.

#67 John T Roberts

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Posted 02 February 2005 - 09:53 PM

I was by the Baker Building today and the C.M.U. back up wall is starting to show relief (ins and outs) that roughly correspond to the pilasters on the original building. I think that to most passersby the work on the building is already show signs of echoing the rhythm of the facade of the upper levels.

#68 John T Roberts

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Posted 20 February 2005 - 09:36 PM

Stone is going up on the south wall. I took this picture from the corner of 7th & Houston with a close up of the south wall.

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#69 John T Roberts

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 08:42 PM

I haven't updated this thread in a while, so I have some new photos. The first is from March 6, 2005.

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The next two were taken on May 30, 2005. The first was taken on the south side of the building:
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This picture was taken on the west side of the building. This was the original entrance to the bank. As you can see, limestone fluted columns are starting to rise from the new stone base. Until the scaffolding is removed, it will be very difficult to see the final product.
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#70 mosteijn

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Posted 30 May 2005 - 10:49 PM

From what you can tell, should the columns they're building now match the ones in the original photo? I'm thinking yes considering how close the rest of the base is coming to the original.

#71 John T Roberts

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Posted 31 May 2005 - 08:25 AM

Yes, the columns should match the original ones shown in the photograph. It is really difficult to see detail on that old photograph. However, if you know where to look (UTA Special Collections, FW Library, Amon Carter Museum), there are more detailed photographs of the base of the building that really show how those columns originally appeared.

#72 courtnie

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 02:09 PM

Is this the same Baker that built the Baker hotel in Dallas and in Mineral Wells? Its truly a shame that the Baker in Dallas was torn down..im afraid the same fate is to be had for the Baker in Mineral Wells...their city does not want it....

#73 John T Roberts

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Posted 16 June 2005 - 07:48 PM

Courtnie, the answer is no. This building was originally constructed as the First National Bank of Fort Worth. Baker bought this building in the 1960's after the First National moved to 500 W. 7th Street, where they remain today as a branch of Bank of America.

I now have updated pictures of the Baker Building base construction. Although reported here first as a restoration, but never confirmed by XTO, it is readily apparent that this is more than just a remodeling.

Overall view of the new base. The scaffolding has been removed on the south side, but still remains on the west where all of the intricate stone work is being erected.
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The less decorated south side of the building:
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The very decorated west side and columns now rising to the cornice of the base:
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Finally, a detail of the west facade:
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#74 Sam Stone

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 09:19 AM

Wow. Really spectacular. Can't wait to see the finished product.

John, you would know better than I would about this, but from everything I read, this kind of project is exceedingly rare. And not just in FW, but all around the country. That is, going in where there is nothing or next to nothing left of the original and restoring it as faithfully as possible. I believe what's more common is a renovation that restores some historical details but is mostly modern.

Go XTO!

#75 mosteijn

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 01:21 PM

That is truly incredible. What's up with that metal bar there right above the new base? Are they going to put some kind of cornice on it or something?

#76 John T Roberts

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 04:06 PM

Sam, your statement is generally correct about renovations and very few projects feature a true restoration when details and facades have been removed.

Jonny, the metal bar above the base is the steel structure that will be used to support a replicated cornice. When I was taking the pictures, the workers had just installed the first corner pieces. You can see that work in the first and third photographs.

#77 RD Milhollin

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 07:10 PM

<Sam, your statement is generally correct about renovations and very few projects feature a true restoration when details and facades have been removed.>

Wow, that project is really breathtaking, I think I am going downtown tonight to take a closer look, from the street without a camera I mean.

Pup

#78 John T Roberts

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 07:29 PM

You can't see the detail at night like you can during the daylight hours.

#79 John T Roberts

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Posted 26 June 2005 - 07:49 AM

I now have some updated photographs. Work is progressing nicely and now there are windows on the south side.

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#80 courtnie

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Posted 26 June 2005 - 09:05 AM

Very nice...its looking great....im happy to see it being restored.

#81 John T Roberts

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Posted 24 July 2005 - 08:05 AM

More of the western facade is going up. The stone columns that go between the entrance canopy and the cornice on the base have now been covered.
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#82 cberen1

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 08:01 AM

John,

It looks like the columns on the Burk Burnett building are each one massive piece of stone and are set out a little bit from the front wall of the building. The columns on the new facade on the Baker building are in sections and are just hung from the steel frame of the building. The Baker columns appear to have no structural capacity, not even to supoprt the rest of the stone facade. Is that also true of the columns on the Burk Burnett building?

On a side note, I can't recall seeing too many solid stone columns in any modern construction. What does it take to make a 30 ft. column out of one piece of stone? Is it just prohibitively expensive?

#83 DrkLts

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Posted 04 August 2005 - 01:39 AM

progress looking good

#84 John T Roberts

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 06:37 AM

Cberen1, I apologize for not answering this sooner. The columns of the Burk Burnett Building are non-structural. The real columns sit inside the wall behind them and then the floor above the bank lobby cantilevers over the stone column. From that point upward, the structural columns sit within the wall plane. On your side note, I haven't seen too many in one piece, either. I have no idea how one of that size would be removed from a quarry and then cut, shaped, and finished.

#85 John T Roberts

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Posted 01 October 2005 - 08:23 AM

I now have a few updated photographs of the Baker Building. The project is really coming along nicely. The first photo is an overall of the building showing how the new base really impacts the look of the early Fort Worth skyscraper. Also, note on the top of the building where the coping on the parapet is being removed and repaired.

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A view of the southwest corner of the new base:
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A straight on view of the Houston Street facade:
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#86 mosteijn

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Posted 01 October 2005 - 01:11 PM

I don't think this renovation will ever cease to stun me. The fact that XTO has been successful in not only restoring the Baker Building but avoiding any gaudiness (so far) makes it one of Fort Worth's best corporate citizens, even if it doesn't build anything on the Landmark Lot for awhile...

#87 John T Roberts

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Posted 01 October 2005 - 01:14 PM

Isn't it a shame that they ripped off the original facade back in the 1960's? XTO is a very good corporate citizen. Granted, I'm a little disappointed they will probably not build anything in place of the Landmark Tower, but you do have to admit that they care about their section of downtown.

#88 courtnie

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 12:33 PM

Who in the 60's took it upon themselves to rip off the old and replace with the nasty.....i mean was it just one person that whispered in the ears of others and got them to go along with it...im so glad to see the baker being restored..there must be someone in the corporation that likes history and wanted to preserve the building...most would reface it in something new more modern....hummm...i would like to see more of this...

#89 Sam Stone

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 01:03 PM

It was one person that wispered in the ears of others. That person was Le Corbusier.

#90 courtnie

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 08:10 PM

who was he and what pull did he have...

#91 Sam Stone

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 12:52 AM

oof. . . how long do you have?

In a nutshell he was an egomaniacal Swiss furniture designer who refashioned himself an architect, city planner, futurist, and anti-urban philosopher. His furniture is great, some of his architecture is good, and the rest of his work is utter nonsense. He thought we should get rid of streets, replace them with elevated freeways and all live in shiny towers a la the Jetsons. Actually, the Jetsons is a pretty acurate picture of how he and his contemporaries thought. His ideas really caught on and after a few decades most people in architecture, developing, and construction were building in his style whether they heard of him or not. But his style was actually more of a philosophy: old is bad, new is good, nothing is worth preserving, everything should be torn down and be rebuilt in the International Style (boxes), and that is the only path to equality and modernity. Really.

There's a lot more to this story than my short glib response. More later when I'm not so tired. In the mean time. . . John?

BTW, he designed the UN headquarters in NY and the absurd city of Brasilia.

#92 safly

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 12:04 AM

That person was Le Corbusier


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#93 courtnie

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 06:59 PM

well shame on him and his steel buildings and modern idealistic thinking.... :laugh:

#94 pnewburn

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 03:02 PM

well shame on him and his steel buildings and modern idealistic thinking.... :laugh:



Right on courtnie!!! Shame on steel buildings with their stupid efficient structural grids.

And while we’re at it, shame on you too concrete buildings. You can’t fool us. We know you’re only so strong because of all that STEEL REBAR you’re hiding in there.

Come to think of it, shame on brick veneer buildings too. That’s just how these steel and concrete buildings will try to pass themselves off as decent godfearing buildings. DON’T FALL FOR IT!!!

Actually, shame on structural brick buildings too. We all know those bricks were produced in some factory somewhere with MODERN STEEL machinery. Don’t think we’re not onto you too.

And I guess shame on all buildings made with dimensional lumber for the same reason.

And I guess any quarried stone.


And last but not least, FOR SHAME, modern idealism!!! We were all perfectly happy stacking up whatever sticks and rocks we found lying around before YOU came along!!!

#95 pnewburn

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 03:21 PM

Oh, wait. I just rermebered that the Baker Building, the very subject of this thread, is a steel building. And isn't the courthouse made of steel?

um... forget that previous post.

#96 Sam Stone

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 05:55 PM

Umm. . . my argument wasn't about structural steel or anything like that. I guess I didn't communicate that very well. You can read Le Corbusier for yourself or the many rebukes of him by Jane Jacobs, Kunstler, Duany, etc. These are in reference to his ideas about historic preservation (he was against it) and planning. Modernism wasn't just a style to him. Modernism as a style I don't have a problem with. Modernism for Corbu was a philosophy that old buildings are bad and should be torn down and that anything new was inherently better.

Also I'm a big fan of his steel furniture. Mies van der Rohe, too. Just not their ethos.

#97 pnewburn

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 09:11 PM

That wasn’t really directed at you. I just thought it was pretty amusing to pass moral judgment on a building material. Especially one as ubiquitous as steel.

I’ve read all those books. I would rate them anywhere from “arrogant and mean-spirited with dubious reasoning, but funny,” (Kunstler) to “astute” (Jacobs).

Le Corbusier was a great architect/ furniture designer, decent painter, and pretty awful planner, but if you see his plan for Paris as anything other than a publicity stunt, you might be reading a little too much into it. And to describe his buildings as ‘international style boxes’ excludes a pretty significant portion of his work (Notre Dame-du-Haut, for example). And anyway, isn’t ‘boxiness’ an important component of New Urbanism?
In my opinion, Le Corbusier’s work did far more to promote urbanism around the globe than another gated uber-suburb from DP-Z could ever hope to do.

#98 John T Roberts

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Posted 15 October 2005 - 08:04 AM

I owe this thread an answer on Le Corbusier, but I'm going to pass right now and give you an update on the Baker Building.

They are starting to put the finishing touches on the base, now. Light fixtures are going on the columns along 7th Street. It won't be long before the exterior of the building will be completed. This week, XTO went before the Downtown Design Review Board asking to be able to install a bronze plaque adjacent to the entrance and an awning over the elevator lobby exit in the alley.

#99 John T Roberts

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 08:15 PM

I'm sure some of you have wondered what the building looked like before it was expanded to the north along Houston Street. Jack White found a photograph of the building taken in 1913. In this photo, Jack also added a shot of the Fort Worth National Bank (on the Sinclair Building Site) taken around the same time.

Here is a link to the bank photograph from the Jack White Collection, University of Texas at Arlington:
http://www.fortworth...nbbankbldgs.jpg

#100 John T Roberts

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 08:16 AM

The restored building is scheduled to be dedicated on Thursday. Also at that dedication, XTO is rumored to be making an annoucement about the redevelopment of the area around Houston, Throckmorton, 6th, 7th, and 8th.





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