Not Just a Big Brick Box of Beds: The Hotel Texas Opens

On December 3, 1921 the Texas Hotel formally opened:

Hmmm. In the beginning there apparently was some ambiguity about the name: Texas Hotel, Hotel Texas.

And regardless of which name the hotel answered to in 1921, it was conceived of as the Winfield Hotel because the hotel originally was to be named for Winfield Scott, the late capitalist who had owned Thistle Hill on Quality Hill. Scott had owned the first Worth Hotel north of the Hotel Texas and the Metropolitan Hotel just south of the Hotel Texas and dreamed of building a hotel between the two. But Scott died in 1911.

William Monnig, W. C. Stripling, Amon Carter, and other civic leaders took up the project. They formed the Citizens Hotel Company in 1919 to finance and build a showcase hotel for Fort Worth. The price tag was $3 million ($39 million today).

hotel texas couponThe Citizens Hotel Company gave the public a chance to buy stock in the hotel via a coupon in the Star-Telegram.

F&M both skyscrapers 9-28-19Not only the name but also the appearance of the hotel changed early on. On September 28, 1919 the Star-Telegram ran a full-page spread on “skyscrapers” planned or under construction as Fort Worth prospered during the oil boom. From left to right: Hotel Texas, Farmers and Mechanics National Bank, Waggoner Building (all designed by Sanguinet and Staats). (Note the Hotel Texas’s preliminary design with arcaded entrance and gabled roof. And the C-shaped footprint was similar to that of the 1926 Fort Worth Club Building, designed by . . . wait for it . . . Sanguinet and Staats.)

hotel texas lobbyPostcard.

hotel-texas-monthlyFrom The Hotel Monthly, 1922.

hotel-texas-jfkOn November 21, 1963 the hotel welcomed the president of the United States. The Kennedys stayed in Suite 850.

Dallas Times Herald photo of November 22 shows President Kennedy leaving the Hotel Texas in the morning. With Kennedy were Governor John Connally, Congressman Jim Wright, and Vice President Lyndon Johnson. (Photo from the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.)

faces jfkThe hotel parking lot where Kennedy spoke on November 22 is now part of General Worth Square.

Some views of the Hotel Texas (since 2006 a Hilton hotel):

From a block away, the Texas Hotel is a typical hotel building—a big brick box of beds.

Ah, but it’s a Sanguinet and Staats design. So, up close, at the bottom and top floors, it’s as decorated as any wedding cake.

On the frieze this relief of two ram heads and a pair of legs with hoofed feet always makes me not want to walk into the hotel and ask to see the restaurant menu.

Footnote: One “Winfield” building did keep its name.

hotel texas winfield garage 5-29-21 st

The Winfield Garage opened in 1920 at 8th and Calhoun streets as the parking garage of the new Winfield Hotel. The name of the hotel was changed but not the name of the garage. Clip is from the May 29, 1921 Star-Telegram.

texas hotel winfield photoThe Winfield building survives.

texas hotel auto show 4-11-20The garage hosted Fort Worth’s first big auto show in 1920. This map shows the dealers and their auto makes, most of them, including the Texan, long since defunct. Clip is from the April 11, 1920 Star-Telegram.

hotel texas taxis 7-23-22The Winfield Garage also was the home of the Black and White Cab Company. Clip is from the July 23, 1922 Star-Telegram.

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5 Responses to Not Just a Big Brick Box of Beds: The Hotel Texas Opens

  1. Kelly Riley says:

    My grandfather Buck Lucas used to frequent the lobby of the Hotel Texas looking for potential opportunities many of Fort Worth’s movers and shakers would congregate there…

    • hometown says:

      On December 12 I’ll have more on another man who was interested in those Hotel Texas movers and shakers.

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