Out With the Old, in With the New

The end of one year and the beginning of another are a natural time to bring about change. So are the end of one century and the beginning of another. As the nineteenth century was ending, Fort Worth was undergoing a heap of change. For example, between 1893 and 1901, downtown got four new public buildings: city hall, combined post office/federal building, county courthouse, and public library. But after about thirty years of the classic architecture of those buildings, Fort Worth clearly was again ready for change. Between 1933 and 1938 three of the buildings were replaced. Out with turrets and towers, arches and rusticated stone, in with art deco, smooth textures, and straight lines:

City hall (1893) and its replacement (1938, designed by Wyatt Hedrick). Art deco. (1893 photo from Amon Carter Museum.)

Carnegie Public Library (1901) and its replacement (1936, designed by Joseph Pelich). Art deco. (Carnegie photo by Charles Swartz; floorplan from Library of Congress.)

The combined central post office/federal building (1896) and its replacements (both 1933, post office by Wyatt Hedrick, federal courthouse by Cret and Clarkson). The new post office is classical; the new federal courthouse is moderne, a style of art deco.

Of the four original buildings, only the county courthouse (1895, designed by Frederick Gunn and Louis Curtiss) survives. It is, let us hope, untouchable.

This 1902 Telegram spread shows the city hall, county courthouse, and federal building.

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