In 1902 Northern Texas Traction Company began operating its interurban electric trolley service between Fort Worth and Dallas. But before that service could begin, much work had to be done—right-of-way for the track procured, cleared, and graded, bridges and power station and car barn built, track laid, poles set, electric lines strung, cars ordered, built, and delivered, employees hired and trained. And, of course, NTTC would need a Fort Worth headquarters building. A place to call “ohm.”
In August 1901 Northern Texas Traction Company announced that it had bought a building at 400 Main Street at 3rd Street. NTTC paid $7,500 for the three-story building. Clip is from the August 19 Register.
On April 23, 1902 Northern Texas Traction Company announced that it was moving into its new offices in the building. Clip is from the Register.
The 1902 city directory crowed about the new interurban company and pointed out that thanks, in part, to the interurban Main Street was now paved with brick from the courthouse south one mile to the Texas & Pacific tracks at the 1899 passenger depot.
The NTTC building in 1915. Note that a two-story building stood adjacent on the south side of the building. (Photo from Pete Charlton’s “1000+ Lost Antique Maps of Texas & the Southwest on DVD-ROM.”)
In 1930 NTTC moved its headquarters to the new Sinclair Building. Since then, like any building of its age, the building at 400 Main has had many occupants and some years of vacancy. Today it houses Jamba Juice and two radio stations. (And some folks say the building is haunted.)
Some views of the building today:
This is the best-known detail of artist Richard Haas’s mural (1985) on the south side of the building facing Sundance Square Plaza. Note the 1877 courthouse in the mural. The NTTC building has been aptly named the “Mural Building.”
Remember that originally a two-story building stood adjacent to the NTTC building on the south. That meant the NTTC building’s south wall had no windows, no architectural details. Haas’s wallwide mural (left wall in photo) on the south adds details by the use of trompe l’oeil simulation of architectural details—corbeled cornice and corbeled pilasters with capitals—of the building’s east wall (right wall in photo) and north wall.
Details of the east wall.
Restoration of the building brought this delightful new feature on the west side: a fountain whose basin (top photo) evokes what we might call the “cowrinthian” capitals atop the columns (bottom photo) of the main post office.