Ryan Place: “Beautiful, Artistic and Exclusive”

By 1911 John C. Ryan had already been developing parts of Fort Worth for twenty years: Washington Heights, Prospect Heights, Lexington Heights.

ryan prospect 1891Ad is from the 1891 Fort Worth Gazette.

ryan washington 1903

Ad is from 1903.

ryan 10 censusRyan, born in South Carolina in 1865, had moved to Fort Worth in 1883 and had worked for merchant B. C. Evans briefly before entering real estate. Ryan was buying and selling land before he was twenty and eventually was the largest owner of suburban property in town. Before he was forty years old he had developed Washington Heights, Lexington Heights, and Prospect Heights. And by 1910 in terms of his residential address Ryan indeed had reached the heights: Ryan, wife Elizabeth, four sons, and three servants lived at 1302 Pennsylvania Avenue on Quality Hill.

ryan 09 cdOn one end of the block was Dr. John H. McLean, a partner of Dr. Clay Johnson. At the other end of the block was millionaire capitalist James F. Moore. In between were architect Louis Weinman Jr., who had designed the Moore house, cotton broker Morris E. Berney, and Dr. W. B. West, whose son would marry James F. Moore’s daughter.

But John C. Ryan was about to develop Fort Worth’s “next Quality Hill” . . .

On March 12, 1911 John C. Ryan announced his most ambitious project yet: Ryan Place. This clip is from the March 12, 1911 Star-Telegram.

The area now bounded by Jessamine Street and Berry Street and by 8th Avenue and College Avenue was just grassland when Ryan envisioned a restricted (whites only) residential development for Fort Worth’s bankers, oilmen, ranchers, and others who prospered during the boom of the early twentieth century.

(By October there was still plenty of grassland in Ryan Place: On October 17 barnstormer Cal Rodgers landed his biplane, the Vin Fiz, in “Ryan’s pasture” as Rodgers made the first transcontinental flight across the United States. “Vin Fiz” was also the name of a grape soft drink bottled by the meatpacking company Armour, Rodgers’s sponsor.)

The showcase street of Ryan Place, of course, would be Elizabeth Boulevard, named for Mrs. Ryan, the former Elizabeth Willing, who had the distinction of having an intersection named for her.

One of those “prominent Fort Worth oilmen” who lived in Ryan Place was Richard Otto Dulaney.

elizabeth dulaney 1porch dulaneyDulaney’s house (1923) is at 1001 Elizabeth Boulevard, the first property on the left inside the east entrance.

dulaney contract 1922The total cost of the house, designed by Raphael E. Nicholais, was expected to surpass $100,000 ($1.4 million today).

nicholais interlocking 1922The Cobb-Harris brick company supplied the interlocking tile.

nicholais 20 censusThe house was designed in Mediterranean revival style with many building materials imported from Italy. Architect Nicholais knew a thing or two about Italian style: He was a native of Italy.

nicholais 22 cdnicholais 1909Nicholais had been a student of the Society of Beaux-Arts Architects in 1909.

 

clarkson house 2517 ryan place 1928The seven blocks of Elizabeth Boulevard have only forty-four homes, several of them designed by architect Wiley Clarkson. On Ryan Place Drive, this was Clarkson’s own house (1928).

The entry gates (west gates shown in top photo) at each end of Elizabeth Boulevard were designed by Sanguinet and Staats. The larger piers of the east gates (middle photo) have been replaced with street lamps since the 1911 sketch. Bottom photo shows the gates on 6th Avenue at Jessamine.

The house at 1112 was the first built on Elizabeth Boulevard, finished in 1911. Note the hitching post.

house 2600 ryan place drive pelich

House designed by Joseph Pelich at 2600 Ryan Place Drive.

house 2622 5th 1922 pelichAnother Pelich house at 2622 5th Avenue in Ryan Place.

porch 2616 ryan place 1922 2Again Ryan Place Drive, 2616.

grand sandidge-walker 1921 collegeOn College Avenue, the Sandidge-Walker house.

columns doric 2512 college steeleDoric columns, again on College Avenue.

house james-fujitaThe James-Fujita house on College Avenue.

house 2601 college 1917Across the street from the James-Fujita house.

And this is the Ryan place in Ryan Place: In 1915 Ryan built this Italian renaissance house for himself and his wife on the street named for her. Five bedrooms, six thousand square feet. The house is 102 years old.

But the Ryans did not live on Elizabeth Boulevard long. By 1920 they were back on Quality Hill, living on 8th Avenue. By 1928 the Ryans had moved back to his Ryan Place and a house at 36 Ryan Place Drive.

ryan deathJohn C. Ryan died on February 11, 1928.  Note that Ryan’s doctor was K. H. Beall.

ryan mug John C. Ryan

Share:Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Tumblr
This entry was posted in Architecture, Casas Grande, Century Club, South Side. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Ryan Place: “Beautiful, Artistic and Exclusive”

  1. Enjoyed the article, especially seeing my grandfather’s 1928 Christmas present to my Grandmother (2517 Ryan Pl). About a year ago, I was cleaning out my mother’s attic when I came across a box that had a number of sets of old and becoming very brittle blueprints. Among those blue prints, I found my grandfather’s blueprints for the house at 2517 Ryan Pl. Along with the blueprints were several supporting documents, including a hand drawn landscape of the property with the exact placement of every shrub, tree, etc, around the house and the property. Each shrub or tree was assigned a number. On an attached sheet, there was a numerical list that had the name of each plant on that drawing. His eye for details was really sharp. His hand drawn plans are almost works of art compared to our modern society CAD drawings that can be modified by simply pulling up the image and the resaving it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *