On February 7, 1911 real estate developer James F. Moore died, leaving behind an estate valued in the millions.
Part of his estate was his house at 1326 Pennsylvania Avenue. After its predictably varied history through more than a century, his house is one of the few survivors of the mansions of Quality Hill.
The twenty-six-room house was designed by L. B. Weinman and built in 1906 at a cost of $20,000 ($510,000 today). Weinman (who lived at 1311 Pennsylvania Avenue) also designed the John B. Laneri house on Jennings Avenue and the mansion of millionaire cattleman C. A. O’Keefe on Summit Avenue. Clip is from the December 24, 1905 Telegram.
From Greater Fort Worth, 1907.
Moore was born in Texas in 1856 and moved to Fort Worth before 1880. In the 1910 census he listed himself as “capitalist.” Living with Moore and his family were a chambermaid, cook, and yardman.
Moore was often listed in the “Real Estate Transfers” column of the local newspapers, buying and selling property. In this clip from the July 14, 1901 Register note the purchase of land by Northern Texas Traction Company in the Sarah Jennings Survey, probably for NTTC’s Lake Erie generating plant and trolley park at Handley. Its interurban line would open in eleven months.
Temperance hotels were popular at the time. Again Moore’s architect was L. B. Weinman. This clip is from the December 29, 1902 Telegram.
Moore also was listed often in the “Building Permits” column. Clip is from the November 27, 1905 Dallas Morning News. His office was in his Moore Building at 1100 Main Street.
In 1909 Moore bought three lots in Hell’s Half Acre for redevelopment.
His house was often the setting for gatherings of Fort Worth society.
But Moore died in February 1911 at age forty-four. (Eight months later fellow capitalist Winfield Scott of Thistle Hill across the street died.) Clip is from the February 8 Star-Telegram.
Moore’s Red Men lodge brothers were requested to attend his funeral at his residence. Like many men of his time, Moore belonged to more than one fraternal lodge (Eagles and Red Men).
Five years later another funeral was held at the house. Moore’s widow had married E. A. Jackson in 1912, but she and Jackson were killed in 1916 when their car was hit by a train north of town. Their funeral was held at the Moore house.
But the house was the scene of a happier event in 1919 when Moore’s daughter Ella and the boy across the street were married in the house. Note that by 1919 the value of the Moore estate was $2 million ($27 million today).
But by 1920 the house was for sale.
In 1923 the house was acquired to become the living quarters of nurses who worked at Baptist Hospital across Ballinger Street.
In 1929 the Moore house, in which had been held the funerals of at least three people, was bought by Robertson-Mueller-Harper and converted into a funeral home. (The nearby mansion of cotton broker Neil P. Anderson at 1251 Pennsylvania Avenue had been converted into Gause-Ware Funeral Home in 1923.) In an article on a page of the Star-Telegram topped by the section header “The Viewpoint of the Feminine World,” the provenance of the Moore house was not mentioned. The new facility was called a “funeral temple.”
This ad in the 1951 city directory features the Moore house. But in 1953 the Woman’s Club of Fort Worth bought the “temple” and added it to the club’s block-long compound on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Note the FA phone prefix in the 1951 Robertson-Mueller-Harper ad. The FAnnin prefix was created in 1950 along with EDison, WIlson, VAlley, and WAyside. Fort Worth had begun using telephone number prefixes in 1910.
Some views of the James F. Moore house:
At Oakwood Cemetery the next residence of James F. Moore was downsized but still substantial.
I always enjoy your postings. This one is particularly interesting since I am in and out of this building frequently as I go to club meetings. It is still quilte spectacular.
Thank you. And thanks to the Woman’s Club of Fort Worth for keeping the Moore property from becoming another medical district parking lot.
Wonderful shots of the present day, thanks, how fun would it be to see it sandblasted to brick so every detail was noticeable.
Thanks. I am so used to seeing that house whitewashed that I forget its original state.
Died of acute rheumatism? At 44?