History usually can be researched using books, maps, census, deed, and cemetery records, old newspapers, interviews, etc.
But sometimes history needs a helicopter.
Such is the case with the building at 1529 East Broadway Avenue just off Vickery Boulevard in Glenwood on the near East Side. You can see the building from the air, but you can’t access it from the ground.
At least not these days.
This 1930 map shows that the building (yellow circle) was accessible by East Broadway Avenue, Loney Street, and Luxton Street. This map also shows the remnant of Tyler’s Lake in Glenwood Park, the interurban track (highlighted line) to Cleburne, the Dallas Pike (Lancaster Avenue), Sycamore Creek, and Poly High School on Nashville Avenue.
Today East Broadway Avenue ends at Loney Street and no longer passes in front of the building. Thus, the building’s address (1529 East Broadway Avenue) is an anachronism.
In fact, today there is no access to the building via Loney Street and East Broadway Avenue. Both streets are barricaded by a chain link fence topped by three strands of barbed wire.
Access to the building is also closed on Luxton Street.
If you try to get to the building via Luxton Street, you are stopped by security gates. On a pedestal to your left is an intercom panel. Push the “Talk” button, and a disembodied voice tells you that you can’t enter the premises.
I sneaked this photo of the building through a perimeter fence.
Why all the security?
The back story: When I first noticed the building on an aerial photo, I thought it yoostabe a school. But I began digging and found that its history is more varied than blackboards and Big Chief tablets.
The story of the building begins with Fort Worth Furniture Company, which had been in business since at least 1894.
In 1907 W. E. Austin formed Fort Worth Manufacturing Company from Fort Worth Furniture Company. The company built a furniture factory on Luxton Street in Glenwood.
By 1908 Fort Worth Manufacturing Company had become “Hub Furniture Company.”
Hub employees and factory in 1913. The company prospered. In 1914 it processed 1.25 million board-feet of lumber.
Ad from 1913.
The building that can be reached only by helicopter was erected in 1920. (Willie Street was renamed “Broadway Avenue.”)
The building is shown in this 1921 photo. You can see unpaved East Broadway Avenue passing in front of the building and along the Hub factory.
This later aerial photo shows the Hub building and the adjacent rail yard and roundhouse of the International & Great Northern railroad (upper left). (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Library.)
Hub made furniture . . .
Like many Fort Worth companies, Hub Furniture Company had a softball team that competed in a city league.
In 1943 Hub Furniture Company was bought by . . .
the Mathes Company of Curtis Mathes.
At that time the Curtis Mathes company was not the maker of “the most expensive television set in America; and darn well worth it.” That came later (see below). The Mathes Company opened in 1919 making automobile and tractor parts (it introduced lights on tractors). Who knew?
The Mathes Company distributed Philco radios.
And other electric appliances.
And made safety fans and evaporative coolers—with wooden cabinets, naturally.
Curtis Mathes made furniture in the building on East Broadway Avenue from 1943 to 1960. (Thanks to Glenn Waters of http://curtismathes.webs.com/ for the photo.)
But by 1960 the Curtis Mathes company was concentrating on making TV sets and other consumer electronics.
In 1963 the building at 1529 East Broadway Avenue was sold to adjacent W. Pat Crow Forgings Company.
Pat Crow had originally owned an appliance store.
In 1967 W. Pat Crow Forgings Company was bought by Space Corp. Today W. Pat Crow Forgings Company is “Crow Precision Components” and is owned by WHI Global. Crow Precision Components’ premises are protected by tight security because the company makes products for the aerospace and defense industries. And that’s why the 101-year-old building at 1529 East Broadway Avenue, which has made furniture, fans, and forgings, can be reached only by helicopter.