A Triple Treat From James Black Davies Sr.

He is not as well known as Sanguinet and Staats, Clarkson, Hedrick, Pelich, and the Weinmans, but nonetheless architect James Black Davies Sr., born in 1891, left us with some handsome buildings, including these three:

building magnolia center 19251. The South Side Masonic lodge building on Magnolia Avenue was built in 1925. The Masons occupied the upper floors and rented the first floor (a common practice among fraternal lodges). The original first-floor tenant was Harveson and Cole funeral home.

davies magnolia window davies magnolia inside 2

building magnolia inside 1

look up magnoliaSee the Masonic emblem on the metal awning?

door handle magnolia And on this door handle escutcheon.

For more on this building: Overlooked Architecture in the Groan Zone

Other former lodge halls: Cowtown Yoostabes: Welcome to the Hall, Y’all

davies south side bank2. The La Cava Building (1927) at 1300 Hemphill Street at Magnolia Avenue was built by William Burts La Cava, who owned a chain of dry cleaning shops, including one at 709 West Magnolia behind this building. This building housed a drugstore for much of its life. Today it houses Panther City Salon.

davies-la-cava-angledavies-la-cava-1-of-5The La Cava Building is actually one of five buildings in a cluster, all built in the 1920s.

look up south side bank“J.B. Davies architect.”

davies-la-cava-detail1 davies-la-cava-detail2 davies-la-cava-detail3 davies-la-cava-detail4

davies cd Architect Davies had a short commute for the La Cava job: He lived and worked three doors down in the Davies Apartments. Note that there were two neighborhood grocery stores side by side, one of them a Piggly Wiggly. W. B. La Cava managed Magnolia Market.

davies 46For many years the building housed a Modern Drug store. Note that La Cava’s cleaners, adjacent to the drugstore on Magnolia Avenue, also was hiring.

davies-modern-87Forty-one years later the building still housed a Modern Drug store.

William Burts La Cava died in 1971.

davies western union wide 3. Out with the old, in with the new: In 1931, just four years after he designed the traditional La Cava Building, Davies embraced a new architectural style: art deco. The Western Union Building on Main Street at 3rd, like the Sinclair Building and the Blackstone Hotel, is one of Fort Worth’s art deco gems.

davies wu press 4-15-30The Fort Worth Press on April 15, 1930 announced plans for the building.

davies western union cornerdavies western union entry

davies western union detail 1

black obitDavies died on January 18, 1966. His obituary says not a word about his Fort Worth architecture. He was still living at 1308 Hemphill next to the La Cava Building.

davies tomb James Black Davies Sr. is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

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8 Responses to A Triple Treat From James Black Davies Sr.

  1. Chuck Nixon says:

    Thanks for the history of James B. Davies. I am also a UT School of Architecture graduate and arrived in Fort Worth in 1981 to manage the Geren/CRS architectural firm. I have been fascinated by the historical and unique architecture of Fort Worth and am pleased to see the buildings by Davies featured. I retired in 2016 and we continue to enjoy Fort Worth everyday.

  2. Tom Hanley says:

    Great post! I coincidentally found James B Davies, Jr. while doing a search for another graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and discovered that Davies not only made his career in my hometown but was also a member of my UT fraternity (Sigma Nu) and was also a fellow Masonic brother.

  3. Stephanie Biesi says:

    Pure magic! Thanks for the memories!

  4. I delivered paper goods to The Modern Drug once in 198-something. There was no freight entrance so i had to drag my 2-wheeler over the front door sill. Most inconvenient.

  5. Steve A says:

    Somehow, a funeral home seems an appropriate tenant for a Masonic lodge.

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