As the decade of the 1930s progressed, the firm of architect Wyatt Hedrick continued to pack the hottest drafting pencil in the West.
Hedrick’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.
Planning 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.
On 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.
On July 9, 1931 the Dallas Morning News reported that a construction contract had been awarded.
In February 1933 the Star-Telegram published a sneak preview of the new post office.
Two 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:
For the post office Hedrick began with beaux arts and classical styles . . .
but gave the building a Fort Worth flavor with Cowrinthian capitals atop columns.
And some lions.
Another lion on a table leg in the lobby.
Lions, dentil molding, and scallops.
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.
The building also features key-pattern (fret) bands. The bottom photo shows the edge of a table in the lobby.
The post office box doors feature both key-pattern bands and medallions.
Lamp 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.
Feet of a lamp post. More medallions.
Feet of a lamp base in the lobby.
Ornamentation 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.
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.
I hope those three buildings (including the freight depot) survive as a showcase of the architecture and construction quality of that era.
Learned a new word: cowrinthian
A careful reader is a scary thing.
Where authentic “cancel culture” is housed in glory!
A frank observation.
Fascinating stuff Mike. I always look forward to your travels around town.
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.”
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
It’s a grand building in a great location. It deserves to be immortal.
I love your photographic detail work! Table legs, lamp legs, close-ups of grotesques…thanks so much!
Thanks, Deborah. My little camera has seen some wondrous sights.