Wyatt C. Hedrick: (Part 1) The Natural

This is the south side of West Lancaster Avenue between Houston and Lamar streets:

But this three-block stretch of West Lancaster Avenue could as easily be named “Hedrick Way.” All three of these buildings—the T&P passenger terminal, the central post office, and the T&P freight terminal—were designed by architect Wyatt Cephas Hedrick (1888-1964) and/or architects in his firm (such as Herman Paul Koeppe) during the early 1930s. They are grand in scale—a scale dictated by their functions of mass transit and mass communication. But they also have a form that makes you forget the function—ornate, intricate. If ever an architect could showcase his work in a single photo, here it is.

Keep the following fact in mind the next time you admire these enduring works of art: Hedrick was trained as an engineer. He had no formal training in architecture. He was a natural.

hedrick from ames fenderWyatt Cephas Hedrick was born in Virginia in 1888. (Photo from grandson Ames Fender.)

hedrick 1900 census lee countyHedrick was part of the large farming family of George and Nancy Hedrick in Lee County, Virginia.

hedrick lumber 1910 lee county vaBy 1910 Hedrick was a lumberjack in Lee County.

hedrick ymca 1914Three years later Hedrick came to Texas. In 1914 he was rooming at the YMCA in Dallas. In Dallas he got a job with Stone & Webster, the company that owned Northern Texas Traction Company (the interurban). One of his first responsibilities was to design and build trolley lines for Fort Worth and Dallas.

hedrick own company 1915But later in 1914 the young man who five years earlier had been a lumberjack formed his own construction company in Dallas.

hedrick 1917 ad

Hedrick advertised in the Dallas city directory in 1917. That was a big year for him.

hedrick wedding 1917He married Pauline Stripling, daughter of department store owner W. C. Stripling.

hedrick 1917 charterAnd his company incorporated. He also opened an office in Fort Worth. Note that Hedrick’s father-in-law was among the incorporators.

hedrick in dallas 1918In 1918 the Hedricks were living in Dallas. His Fort Worth office was in Fort Worth National Bank building.

hedrick 1920 in fwBut by 1920 the Hedricks were living in west Fort Worth near the Hillcrest stop on the Arlington Heights (Camp Bowie) Boulevard streetcar line. Note that Hedrick’s vice president and general manager was Thomas S. Byrne. Thomas Sneed Byrne, an MIT graduate, would form his own construction company in 1923. His company has built many prominent Metroplex buildings, including the Fort Worth Club and Montgomery Ward buildings, the Amon Carter and Kimbell museums, buildings for Leonard’s and Stripling’s department stores, and WBAP. His company also built Love Field in Dallas.

Among Hedrick’s early construction projects in Fort Worth were Central High (1918, now Tech High) and the Star-Telegram (1920) and Neil P. Anderson (1921) buildings, all designed by Sanguinet and Staats.

hedrick joins s&s 1922In fact, in 1921 Hedrick went to work for Sanguinet and Staats and the next year became their junior partner. Staats retired in 1924, Sanguinet in 1925; Hedrick bought them out. He was thirty-six years old. He expanded his company until it was the third-largest architecture firm in the country. His firm designed and built buildings all over the state.

Herman P. Koeppe, architectHedrick’s chief designer was Herman Paul Koeppe. (Photo from great-granddaughter Terri Johnson.)

Here is a closer look at these three Hedrick buildings on West Lancaster.

First, the T&P passenger terminal:

The central post office:

The T&P freight warehouse:

Wyatt Hedrick: (Part 2) Will Rogers and Reddy Kilowatt

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Concrete Anachronisms: Posts from the Past

The word post can mean “after,” of course, and the posts pictured in this post certainly have lived on long after their time. When I first saw one of these concrete posts with an iron ring stapled on top planted near the curb in front of an older house, I thought, “You know, that looks like it could be . . . but nay. No way.”

But my first thought was correct. These concrete anachronisms survive in several areas of Fort Worth.

In front of 1112 Elizabeth Boulevard, the first house that was built (1911) on that street in Ryan Place. Elizabeth Boulevard has at least four such posts.

hitch 1101 and 1100 EBHere are two more at 1100 (1912) and 1101 (1911) Elizabeth Boulevard.

hitch 5thOn 5th Avenue in Fairmount.

hitch lipscombOn Lipscomb Street in Fairmount.

hitch fairmount 2Fairmount again.

hitch fairmount 1Fairmount yet again. (And what about that long, low slab to the right? More on that later.)

In front of 1222 Virginia Place in Arlington Heights. Another post is across the street. A resident told me that the block was developed in the 1920s. According to TAD, this house was built in 1929, but perhaps an older house preceded it on the lot.

At the home (1910) of merchant George Monnig (1869-1919) on Broadway. This house replaced one burned in the South Side fire of 1909.

hitch markeenAt the nearby Markeen Apartments (1910) on St. Louis Avenue. The “fireproof” Markeen also was built after the 1909 fire.

So, what are all these concrete posts? Right you are: They’re hitching posts.

hitching wonders of concrete 1903The age of the horse and the age of the horseless carriage overlapped, of course, and hitching posts were still sold in the early twentieth century. Plain but sturdy, concrete hitching posts were popular. This short in the Telegram in 1903 included hitching posts among the things that can be made of concrete.

hitching runaway ad 1903

You could buy your hitching post from J. A. Long in Greenville and put a stop to runaways.

hitching fire engine 1910But a hitching post can’t hold a horse—of course, of course—when that horse hears the call of the wild.

hitching worth monument 1912

Or you could buy your hitching post from Worth Monumental Company on the south end of the Jennings Avenue Viaduct. As the poem indicates, Worth Monumental also sold cemetery monuments to “ease your conscience.”

hitch close

And where do hitching posts and cemetery monuments meet? At Oakwood Cemetery, of course. Oakwood (1879) predates automobiles, so I am not surprised to find a few hitching posts there. These two were installed by the widow of Captain John T. Burt near his grave.

Relics related to—but rarer than—hitching posts are carriage steps. The carriage step of E. G. Rall survives in Chase Court, and the carriage step of Henry Schwartz survives on East 1st street. (Does the fourth Fairmount photo above show a hitching post-carriage step combination?)

sanguinet 1894The house (1894) of architect Marshall Sanguinet on Collinwood in Arlington Heights Side has two iron hitching posts and an embossed carriage step. Iron hitching posts can be quite ornate  and are collectible.

posts 5th horse

Here’s another iron hitching post on 5th Avenue in Fairmount.

hitching 1910 gilchristOne local maker of concrete hitching posts and carriage steps was stonemason Andrew Gilchrist, who branched out into concrete work from his home on College Avenue, which still stands.

gilchrist 1816 thenGilchrist made these pyramid-shaped hitching posts and center carriage step with the name “Eitelman” carved on it for his father-in-law, blacksmith Michael Eitelman, whose house next door to the Gilchrist house still stands.

hitching ordinance 1921Even in 1921 the city reminded readers that it was illegal to “paste, post, paint, print, nail or otherwise fasten any handbill, sign, poster, advertisement or notice” upon a hitching post.

hitching nostalgia 1922But by the 1920s, as this extract from a 1922 Star-Telegram article shows, hitching posts (and carriage steps) were fast becoming the stuff of nostalgia. But the article accurately predicted that because of the sturdy construction of hitching posts both steel and concrete, such anachronisms would stand for years “to mark the passing of the horse as a fashionable means of locomotion.”

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Posted in Casas Grande, Cities of the Dead, Life in the Past Lane, North Side, South Side, West Side | 2 Comments