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:
1. 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.
See the Masonic emblem on the metal awning?
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
2. 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.
The La Cava Building is actually one of five buildings in a cluster, all built in the 1920s.
“J.B. Davies architect.”
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.
For 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.
Forty-one years later the building still housed a Modern Drug store.
William Burts La Cava died in 1971.
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.
The Fort Worth Press on April 15, 1930 announced plans for the building.
Davies 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.
James Black Davies Sr. is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.