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

Wyatt Hedrick (see Part 1) designed the Will Rogers complex for the Frontier Centennial celebration in 1936.

He used an eclectic blend of classical revival and moderne styles.

The complex has three parts: the auditorium, the coliseum, and a 208-foot tower between them.

The two friezes over the entrances depict the history and products of the state.

Here are Hedrick’s sketches of the complex as shown in the Star-Telegram in 1935.

After the complex opened in 1936 it was named for Will Rogers, who had died in 1935. In 1944 the complex began hosting the annual stock show, which heretofore had been held where it had begun in 1896: at the Stockyards.

What is now called the “Historic Electric Building” was built—with money from Houston entrepreneur Jesse Jones—in 1930 for Texas Electric Service Company, whose corporate spokesbolt, of course, was Reddy Kilowatt.

The building also housed the Hollywood Theater, which closed in 1976.

When the bulk of the building was converted to apartments, much of the theater was sacrificed for a (shudder) parking garage.

Wyatt Hedrick (Part 3): The Three R’s and a Y

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

  1. Steve A says:

    Will Rogers, isn’t he the guy that used to hang around with Wiley Post, the famous aviator?

    • hometown says:

      Post was born in Grand Saline. Recently watched a curio: A 1922 silent version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow starring Rogers as Ichabod Crane.

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