Architecture in Fort Worth

 

 

 

 

714 Main

1920-21; 1960; 1988; Restored 2010 (FWHSE)

Formerly:
Transport Life Building
Continental Life Building
Fort Worth National Bank Building
Farmers and Mechanics National Bank Building

 

This 24 story building was designed by Sanguinet & Staats with Mauran, Russell, and Crowell as Associate Architects Westlake Construction Co. of St. Louis was the General Contractor.  When it opened, and for a short time after, it was the Tallest Building in Texas.  The building, originally built for the Farmers and Mechanics National Bank, featured 4 story arched windows on its base and arched windows on the 24th floor. The bank later became the Fort Worth National Bank. In 1950, the building was sold to Continental Life Insurance Company, and the building was renamed. Around that time, a red neon sign reading "Continental Life" was installed on the roof along the south and east sides of the building.  The signs were removed in the early 1980's after Carter+Burgess Plaza blocked the view of the building from I-35W. In 1952, the bank moved across 7th Street and in 1960, the terra cotta and granite base of the building was covered over blue Mexican tile and a glass curtain wall. The old bank interior was removed to accommodate retail uses. Tom Stanley was the architect of the renovations and Childs Construction was the contractor. Also in the 1960's Conoco had offices within the building and they erected a large revolving sign of their logo on the roof. The sign was removed in the 1970's.  In 1988, Continental Life was bought by Transport Life, and again the building was renamed. The new owners hired Omniplan Architects of Dallas to design a new base to the building that gave the feel of the original. Henry C. Beck was the contractor for this project.  In 1997, Transport Life moved out, leaving the building vacant.  Several deals to purchase the building have fallen through since that time.  In January of 2004, the building was purchased by a local developer and his plans were to  convert the historic skyscraper into 70 loft apartments. At that time, the downtown office market was changing and the developer decided to remodel the building and use it again for office space.  In 2007, the remodeling began, but before it was completed, XTO Energy purchased the building.  XTO continued the construction and is renovating the building to meet the needs of the growing Fort Worth company.  In May of 2008, exterior work began on the building.  The 1988 base was removed to reveal the 1960 base behind it.  Then, the mosaic tiles of that base were removed to reveal a large portion of the original terra cotta base still intact.  After molds were cast of the original detailing, the original terra cotta on the base was removed.  The original materials were removed because the patching of the new to the old would be obvious and all of the pieces would age differently.  The new base building matches as close as possible to the original. The architect for the restoration and office remodel was Schwarz-Hanson Architects of Fort Worth. The restoration project was completed in 2010.

Historic Photographs from the Jack White Collection:
Hurley Building Fire from 1898

Three F&M Bank Buildings on this site
Front Page of Fort Worth Star-Telegram August 31, 1919
Crossroads of 7th & Main - 1950
7th & Main Showing 1960's Facade - c.1969

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Before Restoration


After Restoration
714 Main After

Restored Base
Restored Base


Base at night