In 1919, some of the city's most prominent businessmen formed a group to build a first-class hotel. They selected Fort Worth's top architectural firm of Sanguinet & Staats to design the building that would resemble the Burk Burnett Building. Sanguinet & Staats also recruited some help from Mauran, Russell, & Crowell from St. Louis. Westlake Construction Co. was the contractor. The hotel was originally known as the Hotel Texas and is not only architecturally significant, but also historically significant. President John F. Kennedy spent his last night in Room 850 and delivered his last address on November 22, 1963, the day he was assassinated in Dallas. The 13 story building is classical in style. In 1961, an addition was constructed to the north, featuring a ballroom on the second level. In 1968, coinciding with the opening of the Convention Center, a major renovation destroyed the original lobby by constructing a floor within the original two story lobby. An annex was constructed across Commerce Street and the hotel became known as the Sheraton Fort Worth. This annex added eight stories on top of the old Biltmore Garage, which was constructed in 1928. The hotel operated as a Sheraton until 1979, when it was closed for restoration. The Hotel was restored by architects Jarvis, Putty, Jarvis in 1981 and only the "space" of the lobby was brought back to the original configuration. Nothing was left of the original, so a new interior was designed and it featured an atrium that was built between the wings of the "U" shaped tower. At this time, new lighting was installed on the upper levels to resemble the original lighting of the hotel. It was at this time the hotel became a Hyatt Regency and it opened with 502 guest rooms in the original building and the annex. The hotel changed management companies in the 1990's and operated as a Radisson until March 2006. Under this management, the lights on the upper floors were turned off. In its last days as the Radisson, the interiors of the hotel were upgraded and on April 1, 2006, the hotel was officially re-branded the Hilton Fort Worth Hotel. The annex tower was not converted and will be sold as office or residential condominiums. With its new configuration, the Hilton Fort Worth has 294 guest rooms. Part of the new work for the conversion included relighting the top of the building. Ruth's Chris Steak House operates a restaurant on the lower floor of the 1961 addition.
Jack White Collection of Historic Fort
Worth Photos, University of Texas at Arlington:
W.D. Smith Photo from the 1930's