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John T Roberts

Member Since 04 Apr 2004
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 03:55 PM

#71743 The Photo Challenge

Posted by John T Roberts on 14 August 2012 - 08:55 PM

More Water Gardens
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#69508 Carter+Burgess Plaza Renamed 777 Main

Posted by John T Roberts on 12 April 2012 - 08:26 AM

Crescent Real Estate Holdings announced yesterday that they are renaming Carter+Burgess Plaza. The new name will be the address, 777 Main. I think this is a good move, since Carter+Burgess was taken over by Jacobs, and they are shrinking their space. However, Jacobs is still the largest tenant in the building.

Below is the link to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram article:

#69270 Mixed use project planned for lot east of Paschal High School

Posted by John T Roberts on 29 March 2012 - 09:48 PM

This is good news and very close to home. I will be interested in seeing the renderings.

#66634 Sinclair Stations in Fort Worth

Posted by John T Roberts on 16 September 2011 - 09:24 PM

Historic Fort Worth, Inc. gave one of their 2011 Preservation Awards to the Sinclair Station on McCart last night. The owner restores vintage cars out of the building, but he has taken it one step further and he has restored the gas station, as well.

#65754 Suggestions for New Forum Categories

Posted by John T Roberts on 21 June 2011 - 11:09 AM

Today, David Love added a "Politics" forum to the board under "Websites and Other Things". This will be a place to say if you like the idea of adding this category as a specific area for discussion.

Also, now would be a good time to explore possibilities of adding new forum categories, if you feel we need to add any. If you think some categories should be deleted, we can also discuss that, as well. What do you think of the forum's format and what would you change. Now is the time to speak up. If the changes are easy, they may be made fairly quickly. Otherwise, they will be made in August.

#64774 The Photo Challenge

Posted by John T Roberts on 11 March 2011 - 10:19 PM

While we are the subject of bicycles, here is another one taken on the Trinity Trails that show the Fort Worth Skyline behind.
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#62582 Seminary South Shopping Center

Posted by John T Roberts on 05 September 2010 - 01:38 PM

In March 1962, on a very snowy day, Seminary South Shopping Center opened. It was the first mall opened by Homart Development Company, the shopping center and mall development arm of Sears. It was built on the site of Katy Lake in South Fort Worth along the newly completed section of I-35W. When it opened, it featured a three level, 240,000 SF Sears store and Stripling's first suburban department store, a two level G.C. Murphy 5 & 10 store, a Buddie's Supermarket, El Chico Restaurant, Wyatt's Cafeteria, Finger Furniture store, bowling alley, and a 7 story office building. Seminary South was a wide open-air mall, with basements under many of the buildings. The basic mall layout was "L" shaped with the east side (natural drainage flow of the creek feeding the lake) of the basements opening to the parking lot. Sears occupied the outside corner of the "L". Stripling's was at the end of the north leg of the "L". A mall entrance was located at the lower level next to Stripling's, but to get to the mall, you had to walk up a multi-level stair/walk with a cascading water feature down the middle. G.C. Murphy Co. was located on the inside corner of the "L", diagonally across from Sears. Buddie's Supermarket and the office building were on the west end of the "L", but the axis was not terminated by either anchor. One of the great features of the mall were the many fountains. There was one on the west end, five on the north end in front of Stripling's, the cacading fountain along the sloped east mall access, and the grand fountain at the intersection of the two wings in front of Sears and Murphy's.

In 1964 or 65, JC Penney opened a store that remodeled and expanded the retail area just to the west of Stripling's. Penney's technically ended the axis of the east entry to the mall, but it also closed off the parking lot access from the west. Penney's also constructed an auto center in the parking lot. A 2 screen movie theater was also built in the far northwest outparcel. The theater was later converted into a 3 screen facility and later into a Bingo parlor. In the late 1970's, the bowling alley building was demolished and a three level Dillard's was constructed just to the east of the office building. In the early 1980's, local department stores Stripling's and Cox's merged and the Stripling's store became Stripling & Cox.

By the mid-1980's, the mall was starting to lose its luster and in 1986, it was announced it would be radically remodeled and converted into an enclosed mall. Stripling & Cox announced they would not be a part of the renovation and closed before the construction work started. In the remodeling, the mall was narrowed, the Murphy building was mostly demolished and converted into a food court. The Finger Furniture building was also partially demolished to add a new movie theater on top. In addition to all of this, most of the mall entrances were relocated and retail constructed in the old locations. All of this time, the mall remained opened. The newly renamed Fort Worth Town Center opened on August 28, 1987. The parking lot facades of the 1962 design remained after the transformation.

Fort Worth Town Center was not very successful. JC Penney closed in 1997 after the opening of their store at The Parks at Arlington. Dillard's and Sears left in 2002. In 2004, the mall was purchased by Jose de Jesus Legaspi and a group of Dallas businessmen. Shortly thereafter, renovation began to have the mall to become more of a Mexican festival marketplace. The exterior has been remodeled to look more like a Mexican Village. The anchors are now outlet type stores. The first new construction at the center in several years was the expansion of the supermarket. The old Buddie's store over the years evolved into a Winn-Dixie and later a Fiesta grocery store. Fiesta built a new store on the far western pad site. The old grocery was then subdivided. The Dillard's space has been converted into El Mercado. Burlington Coat Factory now occupies the basement of the old Sears Store, but the floor was not quite large enough, so they enclosed the old garden center. Recently, Ross Dress For Less opened up in the western portion of the mall level of the Sears store. Before Sears closed, the third floor was converted to office space.

For mall floor plans, you can go to http://www.lagranpla...0lowerlevel.pdf for the Lower Level, and http://www.lagranpla...0upperlevel.pdf for the Main Mall Level.

I found three older photographs of the original shopping center online and you can see them below.




#53780 The Photo Challenge

Posted by John T Roberts on 28 February 2009 - 06:50 PM

I'm starting a new game on this board to highlight our photography talents. It is similar to the Song Game. Here are the rules. A person posts a photo and then someone else posts a photo that somehow relates to the one last posted. It can relate in a number of ways. For example: if a person posts a photo of a red brick Victorian building with a woman walking a dog in front and a Honda Accord and a van parked in front, then the next person can post a photo of another building with red brick, another photo of someone walking a dog, a photo of just a dog, a photo of a car, a photo of a van, a photo of a woman, or another photo of a building of the same style. Since the building is red, one could even post a photo of a tomato because it relates to the color of the building. The shots do not have to be urban in nature, but you do have to be the photographer, or be in the photo. Also, the shots do not have to be from Fort Worth. They can be from anywhere.

The rules in short:

1. Post a reply photo that somehow relates to the last one posted.
2. You must be the photographer, with one exception. You may be in the photograph and you had someone else take it.
3. You may not reply to your last post unless no one else has replied in 24 hours.
4. You may not repeat your photographs posted in this thread. However, you may repost photos that you used in other threads on this forum.
5. If you wish, you may post how your photo relates to the last one. There may be times when someone doesn't get the connection.

OK, I'm going to start it off with something fairly easy to post a photo that relates. This shot was taken at the Main Street Arts Festival at night.

To make the next post a little easier, the next photos could be: a photo (day or night) of the Burk Burnett Building, a photo (day or night) of The Tower, a night photo of any type, a traffic light, tents of similar color, other Main St. Arts Festival photos, people photos, blurry people photos, Sundance Square plaques and logos, or even a street sign. Use your imagination and be creative in your replies. Have fun!

#44736 3/28 Tornado

Posted by John T Roberts on 17 March 2008 - 08:28 PM

The 8th Anniversary of the March 2000 Tornado is 11 days away and Jim Douglas of Channel 8 came by my office late in the day to interview me about the boom in downtown development since the storm. The story appeared on the 6 PM newscast.

#38248 $22 Million in Tax Incentives Asked for La Gran Plaza

Posted by John T Roberts on 14 June 2007 - 09:55 PM

I don't know if anyone has driven by La Gran Plaza lately, but they have made a lot of progress in putting a new facade on the center. It now has a Spanish look and feel. Also, I have found out that Burlington Coat Factory will be putting a store in the center.

#36156 3/28 Tornado

Posted by John T Roberts on 29 March 2007 - 07:26 PM

March 28, 2000 was the day of the regular monthly meeting of the American Institute of Architects (AIAFW). Weather forecasts all week were for a severe outbreak of thunderstorms on that day. There was to be a building tour at 5:30 of the restoration of the Thompson's Bookstore, then after the tour, we were to meet at the Modern at Sundance Square to have a meal and then a presentation of the expansion of the Fort Worth Convention Center was to follow. I had a funny feeling at the office late that afternoon and I told my bosses that I was going to leave the office a little early because I wanted to park in a garage. My reasons for doing this was I felt there was going to be a "weather event" that evening and I wanted my truck to be protected. The truck had been pulverized in the May '95 hailstorm, and ever since I have been more cautious about going out when there was a threat of storms. I parked in City Center Garage 2.

We went on the building tour and we walked to the Sanger Building. In 1995, several bicycle riding architects were attending the Cowtown Classic dinner on the night of the hailstorm. A few of us that were in that storm were commenting on how the skies were turning dark and it reminded us of the day the hailstorm hit. Soon we started seeing some debris in the sky, but we couldn't see what was coming because the lease space in the Sanger Building faces east.

As we were seeing the winds pick up, we heard the breaking of glass close by, so we all immediately ran into an enclosed room on the north wall of the space. Before we were across the gallery space the window that we were just standing in front of was shattered. We could hear the winds howling for just a couple of minutes, and after it calmed down, we went outside to take a look and saw all of the broken glass, computers, chairs, window blinds, and all sorts of debris on the streets. We then looked toward the west and saw the Bank One Tower in its state of destruction. The meeting was cancelled and we all went home.

In all my years of living in Fort Worth, I had seen funnel clouds off in the distance before, but it was my first time being in a tornado. I also had my camera with me because of the building tour, and I probably took some of the first photographs of the aftermath because I was in the right place at the right time for this.

#25666 Vivian Courtney's Restaurant Sign to be Given Away

Posted by John T Roberts on 08 May 2006 - 10:57 AM

If anyone is interested, the old neon Vivian Courtney's Restaurant sign is available to anyone who wishes to take it away. It is a two-sided exposed neon sign with the letter "V" on top. It sits at the corner of Jacksboro Hwy. and Roberts Cut-Off Road. I tried to find a home for it with two organizations, but they did not have a place to put it. Now I'm offering it to the forum to any member who thinks they can remove it and preserve it. The sign is about 28 feet tall and about 12 feet wide at the widest point. If you are interested, send me a PM or an e-mail.

#21350 Looking South From 4th & Main About 1936

Posted by John T Roberts on 12 February 2006 - 05:39 PM

This is a W.D. Smith Photograph from the Jack White Collection of Historic Fort Worth Photos, University of Texas at Arlington. It is also one of my favorite street scenes. It was taken around 1936. I thought I would open this photograph for general discussions.

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#16322 TXU Power Plant/Smoke Stacks

Posted by John T Roberts on 06 September 2005 - 06:09 PM

Now in Denton, please read before responding:

This was Monnig's Department Store, the last of the locally owned downtown department stores that closed.  It sat on the block bounded by 4th, Houston, 5th, and Throckmorton Streets.  Today, a parking lot for Sundance Square is on the site.  Monnig's began on the SE corner of 4th and Throckmorton and expanded into neighboring buildings over the entire block through time.  Although this building has a 1950's facade on it, it actually was six three story buildings that all were constructed in the early 1900's.  In the 1950's, two floors were added on top of all of the structures and a common facade was put over the entire block.  Also shown in this photograph is Alexander Calder's Eagle which used to be in front of the Bank One Tower.

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Monnig's had closed in 1990 and the building was vacant. The Bass Brothers purchased the property and they couldn't find a use for the building, so they demolished it to be used for surface parking until they could redevelop the site. It wasn't one building. It was a three story group of buildings combined that became a full block, 200' x 200' in size. The floor levels between the old buildings didn't exactly line up and some of the walls between them were still in place. In the 1950's, they added two more floors on top of all of the buildings.  You also have to admit that the unifed facade isn't exactly architecturally significant.

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...Dismuke, I was never a fan of this building's architecture. It definitely was a product of its time when it was re-facaded. I have quite a few old slides of Fort Worth that I will scan and post from time to time.

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First of all in my thread on Monnig's, I never stated whether I was for or against preserving the building. I just said that it was not exactly architecturally significant. I did lament over the closing of the store. I was really sorry to see it shut down for several reasons. Some were sentimental, another reason was that I really enjoyed eating in the Tea Room when I worked downtown. I had really wished that the store could have remained opened and I was saddened over the loss. It was the end of an era as the last locally owned downtown department store being closed. Dillard's followed quickly behind, but they weren't locally owned.

Secondly, I did hate to see the building demolished in 1991. Of all the buildings in the area, it was the ugliest, but still, when it was demolished, downtown lost some density. What was a five story, full block building, became a surface parking lot. I probably would oppose demolition today, but it would be only for two reasons -- history, and surface parking put in its place. This finally leads me to "architecturally significant". The reason that Monnig's store was not architecturally significant is actually due to the store's history. They started on one corner of the block and slowly expanded into the neighboring buildings until they occupied the entire block. Walls between these buildings were knocked out and replaced with either new structure, or they were not structural themselves. The original facades of the buildings were either removed or covered over in the late 1940's or early 1950's. Later in the 1950's, two additional floors were added on top of buildings never designed for those floors. Additional structure had to be placed inside the original buildings in order to support the new floors. So these early 20th century commercial buildings no longer had their facade, their original roof, all or most of their exterior walls, and the floor structure had holed poked through all levels. These old buildings were no longer architecturally significant because all of the remodelings made them lose features that made them significant.

One could argue in 2005 (not 1991) that the remodeled facade and 4th & 5th floor additions are historic, and therefore, the remodel is now architecturally significant. Remember, I did say that the remodel was a product of its time.

Courtnie, it is a shame the house is already gone. I think my e-mail is finally working, so I will post these when I have time.

#9108 Hyde Park

Posted by John T Roberts on 26 February 2005 - 12:31 PM

Welcome to the forum, Fwfrog!

Lobs, I remember that we were both there at the same party. Since that time, I attended another one about one year later. Every once in a while, I do run into Tracey, as well, and she does state they are still working on it.

Back to the park. Hyde Park was actually the city's first park, located where the city's two grids meet. It was donated to the city by the Jennings family and it had two deed restrictions on it. The first was that the rectangular piece of land would always remain a park, and the second was that a portion of the site at the apex of 9th and Throckmorton would be used for a library. Yes, the overall site is rectangular and the original boundaries of the park are very easy to locate. The buildings along the perimeter form its boundary. The portion that is now a parking lot is the result of the city's inability to uphold an agreement. In the late 1800's, the city's small Carnegie Library sat near the corner of 9th and Throckmorton. By 1930, the library was overcrowded and the city decided to build a larger library at that location. The 1930's library took up the entire portion of that block, leaving an alley between it and the Bryce Building and Houston Place Lofts. The design of the library was Art Deco. Although it split the park into two pieces, it did add a lot to the character and density of that part of downtown. In 1978, the city built it's current library on Third Street and moved out of the old library. At that time, they moved city offices inside the old library. Shortly thereafter, the Jennings Family Heirs, demanded the land back because of the deed restrictions set upon it about 100 years earlier. If the City of Fort Worth had maintained a small branch library at that location, then the family would not have tried to reclaim the building and the property. To make a long story short, courts ruled against the city, the family took back the building, tried to sell it, failed, and then the new owners demolished it. Now, in order to expand Hyde Park, the city is working to purchase the vacant lot. Due to the City of Fort Worth's lack of regard for agreements, we lost a historic building, the property, and now we have to buy it at an inflated cost just to expand Hyde Park. Our tax dollars at waste. :mad: