Burk Burnett Building: Just a Stepladder Now But a Skyscraper Then

The building we know today as the “Burk Burnett Building” on Main Street downtown opened in 1914 as the “State National Bank Building.”

Designed by Sanguinet and Staats, the building has a steel frame that allowed this early skyscraper to soar to a dizzying twelve stories.

As of 1911 the Star-Telegram reported that Fort Worth had only one building of ten stories (First National Bank was, in fact, eleven stories).

burk snb haggart 4-25-84 gazState National Bank had built its first home on Main at 4th Street in 1884. S. B. Haggart, who would later partner with Marshall Sanguinet, was the architect. Clip is from the April 25, 1884 Gazette.

The bank was organized in June 1884.

state national bank

burk first building 12-12-09 stThe 1884 home of State National Bank. Clip is from the December 12, 1909 Star-Telegram. Among the directors of the bank was Marion Sansom.

burk building frame 6-15-13 stOn June 15, 1913 the Star-Telegram featured the steel frame of the new State National Bank Building among major construction projects in town (bottom row right). Other buildings under construction included the new First Baptist Church building (upper row left) and attorney/publisher William Capps’s Denver-Record Building (bottom row middle). Capps’s law office would be in the State National Bank Building.

burk burnett building 5-16-14 dmnThe building as shown in the May 16, 1914 Dallas Morning News. But in 1915 State National Bank failed, and cowman capitalist Samuel Burk Burnett bought the building and renamed it for himself. As builders turned more to steel framing, soon the Burk Burnett Building was overshadowed—literally—by buildings such as the twenty-story Waggoner Building, built by another cowman capitalist, W. T. Waggoner.

After State National Bank failed, the building was occupied by American  National Bank.

skyline 1918BAt twelve stories, the Burk Burnett Building was still a skyscraper in this 1918 panoramic photo.

The Burk Burnett Building has been restored and is a fine example of the architecture of Sanguinet and Staats. The building today:

building burk burnettburk look up burk burnett verticalThe building today houses Worthington National Bank.

burk look up burk burnettcorner burk burnettlook up burk burnett dentil

burk capital

burk interior molding2

Molding of the lobby.

burk interior lightLight in the lobby.

burk overhangLooking up from the sidewalk at edge detailing on the first story and at the twelfth story.

burk top middleArchitectural detail of the cornice at the top of the building. Some of these details are similar to those that Sanguinet and Staats would use seven years later in the Hotel Texas.

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2 Responses to Burk Burnett Building: Just a Stepladder Now But a Skyscraper Then

  1. Bev. Nabors says:

    During college, I worked in the Burkburnett Bldg. in the afternoons after classes. I didn’t appreciate the beauty of the building then, but certainly do now. So sad that the architecture and craftsmanship has changed over the years.

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