Central Post Office: After Eighty-Nine Years, Still Letter Perfect

As the decade of the 1930s progressed, the firm of architect Wyatt Hedrick continued to pack the hottest drafting pencil in the West.

hedrick lancasterHedrick’s architectural firm was turning a five-block stretch of Lancaster Avenue into a showcase of his firm’s artistry on a grand scale. His Texas & Pacific passenger terminal and Texas & Pacific freight terminal had opened in 1931. In 1933 his central post office would open. Inside and out, the post office would remain among the most photogenic buildings in town.

post office 11-20-30 dmnPlanning for the ambitious project began in 1930. On November 19 Hedrick presented preliminary sketches to the Treasury Department’s supervising architect. (Front Street soon would be renamed “Lancaster Avenue” in honor of T&P president John L. Lancaster.) Clip is from the November 20 Dallas Morning News.

post office 1-26-31 dmnOn January 25, 1931 Hedrick announced that construction bids on the $1.24 million ($17 million today) job would be advertised soon. Clip is from the January 26, 1931 Dallas Morning News.

post office contractOn July 9, 1931 the Dallas Morning News reported that a construction contract had been awarded.

post office almost open 2-3-33In February 1933 the Star-Telegram published a sneak preview of the new post office.

post office citizens inspect 2-33Two weeks later the public viewed the new post office, which replaced the facility in the 1896 federal building/post office on Jennings Avenue.

Some views of Wyatt Hedrick’s central post office:

post office wide

columns central postFor the post office Hedrick began with beaux arts and classical styles . . .

look up main post office cow capital

but gave the building a Fort Worth flavor with Cowrinthian capitals atop columns.

look up main post office 1933And some lions.

Another lion on a table leg in the lobby.

lion main post

Lions, dentil molding, and scallops.

look up main post office detail 2

A lion and more cows.

Lobby ceiling. The ceilings of the central post office and of the adjacent Texas & Pacific passenger terminal are surely the most impressive in town.

Detail of the ceiling.

mythical main post office

light post office

The building also features key-pattern (fret) bands. The bottom photo shows the edge of a table in the lobby.

And medallions.

The post office box doors feature both key-pattern bands and medallions.

look up lamp t&p 2Lamp post with the T&P freight terminal in the background.

These marble columns feature egg-and-dart banding on the capitals.

More egg-and-dart outside.

animals post office lightFeet of a lamp post. More medallions.

light main post inside footFeet of a lamp base in the lobby.

door post office detailOrnamentation on an entrance.

Inscription of the cornerstone.

It took a lot of shoe leather to wear these depressions in the marble floor in front of teller cages in the lobby.

This entry was posted in Architecture, Downtown, Downtown, All Around, Public Buildings. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Central Post Office: After Eighty-Nine Years, Still Letter Perfect

  1. Chelsey says:

    Do you happen to know what year you took the shot of the man and the little girl standing near the passport office?

    I think I know them!

    • Thanks for visiting this site. Unfortunately the author, Mike Nichols, has passed away. We are currently working to find a solution to best preserve this informative website.

  2. Jim Pitts says:

    I think Fort Worth is lucky either of these elegant buildings got financed in the dark days of the Great Depression. I still regret our city council declined the proposal a few years back to move City Hall into the stately old post office.

    • hometown says:

      I hope those three buildings (including the freight depot) survive as a showcase of the architecture and construction quality of that era.

  3. Learned a new word: cowrinthian

    Thanks Mike

  4. Dennis Hogan says:

    Where authentic “cancel culture” is housed in glory!

  5. Keith Robinson says:

    Fascinating stuff Mike. I always look forward to your travels around town.

  6. Ann Bastable says:

    Dad worked as a clerk, sorting mail, at this PO in the 1950s-60s. The architectural details alluded me then but not the overall awe-inspiring size and shiny-floor lobby. Our family stood in line with other PO families to get our polio vaccine …..dropped on sugar cubes to “help the medicine go down.”

  7. John Olthoff says:

    If City of Fort Worth had a lick of sense would take building make it a museum..they got stuff about Fort Worth, downtown, on Northside, over in Museum District. Bring it all together in one place, and especially a GRAND showplace

  8. Deborah Carl says:

    I love your photographic detail work! Table legs, lamp legs, close-ups of grotesques…thanks so much!

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