Silk Hats and Spats (Part 2): The Residences of Quality Hill (Demolished)

Whereas most of the houses of affluent Samuels Avenue had been built of wood, those of Quality Hill (see Part 1 and Part 3) were built of mostly brick and stone. Quality Hill houses, some of them designed by prominent architects, were proud and ponderous, with sculpted columns and sweeping porches, porte-cocheres, turrets, spires. Interiors featured oak-paneled walls, ornate fireplaces, crystal chandeliers, coffered ceilings, curved and carved staircases, stained glass windows, imported furnishings of bronze and silk and porcelain, and private art collections.

Houses were usually of two or three floors and often a basement. Rooms included gyms, ballrooms, solariums, and wine cellars. The grounds were landscaped and often included a carriage house and servants’ quarters.

But the 1950s and 1960s were not kind to the mansions of Quality Hill. As the city’s appetite for commercial space grew and as original occupants of the mansions died, on Quality Hill the wrecking ball replaced the cotillion ball. Construction of the West Freeway also claimed some of the mansions.

Below are some of the houses of Quality Hill that were demolished. Bear in mind that residents of Quality Hill moved in a small circle both socially and geographically. Thus, during the half-century or so of Quality Hill’s life as a residential area, some residents lived in more than one house; more than one house may have been built on a lot over time; and more than one owner may have occupied a house over time. Also, before some of the houses were demolished they were granted a second life and converted to commercial use, especially in the fields of health care and social work as Fort Worth’s first medical district supplanted Quality Hill.

William Thomas Fakes was one of the early residents of Quality Hill, living on Summit Avenue between Front (Lancaster) and Railroad (Vickery) streets. The store founded in Fort Worth in 1876 by Fakes and brother Bailey T. Fakes in the beginning sold furniture and coffins and other undertaking paraphernalia. The store became one of the most prominent wholesalers and retailers of furniture in the state. Fakes closed in 1967.

1025 Penn Street (1907). Bernie Letcher Anderson was a buyer for the cotton company founded by his late father, Neil P. Anderson. Bernie Anderson also was a real estate developer on the West Side. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

The fate of the Bernie Anderson house is typical of the attrition of Quality Hill. The 20,000-square-foot house, built in 1907, had thirty-seven rooms (seven bathrooms, one solarium with fountain, one gymnasium, and a Prohibition-era vault that held six hundred bottles of Champagne) on three floors and a basement. The house was wired with twelve intercom phones.

After Bernie Anderson died in 1961, brother Neil P. Anderson Jr. lived in the house. After he moved out, the house was sold with demolition of the house and redevelopment of the lot in mind. The news article says an office building was planned for the lot. But according to aerial photos of the 1960s and 1970s, that building was never built, and the Anderson lot instead became . . . wait for it . . . a parking lot.

1111 Penn Street. Matthew C. Cameron was a partner in Wadsworth-Cameron Wholesale Drug Company. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

1201 Summit Avenue (1911). F. L. Jaccard was a traveling salesman (see Part 1). (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

1212 Summit Avenue. Guy Waggoner was W. T. Waggoner’s son and Electra’s brother (see Part 1). W. T. lived next door at 1200. The Waggoners raised and raced horses (and built Arlington Downs racetrack). Guy was chairman of the Texas Racing Commission and later the New Mexico Racing Commission. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

1433 Pennsylvania Avenue (1908). Guy Waggoner also lived here. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

1306 Summit Avenue. Robert E. Harding was a banker. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

reynolds greater1600 Summit Avenue and 1404 El Paso Street. Brothers William Reynolds (top photos) and George Reynolds were cattlemen. (Top photo from Jack White Photograph Collection, University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. Bottom photos from Greater Fort Worth, 1907.)

1418 El Paso Street. Home of first Robert D. Hunter (Thurber) and then Mrs. Dan Waggoner. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Library Special Collections.)

1402 Summit Avenue. William A. Duringer was a physician. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

richhart okeefe house520 South Summit Avenue. Built in 1897 by William T. Scott. Cattleman Colonel C. A. O’Keefe bought the house about 1905. He also built the Blackstone Hotel. When this house was demolished in 1950 (see below) some of its columns were saved by C. L. Richhart and stand tall in Botanic Garden. (Photo from Greater Fort Worth, 1907.)

800 Penn Street. Major Khleber Miller Van Zandt was a banker and early civic leader. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

The wonderfully detailed Wellge bird’s-eye-view map of 1886 shows that Van Zandt was one of the first residents of Quality Hill. The Van Zandt house was demolished in 1965.

820 Penn Street. Leroy Albert Smith was an attorney and vice president of Guaranty Abstract and Title Company. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

quality vickery greater

1703 Summit Avenue. Richard Vickery developed the Glenwood addition.

ball-house 1424 Summit Avenue. Quality Hill had two Frank Balls (see Ball-Eddleman-McFarland house in Part 3). The Frank Ball at this address was an attorney. (Photo from Photos of Fort Worth, 1890s.)

1311 Pennsylvania Avenue (circa 1900). Louis B. Weinman was an architect. He designed the James F. Moore house at 1326 Pennsylvania Avenue. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

1320 Summit Avenue (circa 1909). James H. Nail was a cattleman. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

1502 Summit Avenue (circa 1880). George B. Loving was a cattleman and publisher. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

556 Summit Avenue (late 1890s). Cattlemen John Bunyan Slaughter, W. T. Waggoner, and Cass Edwards lived here. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

The house at 556 South Hill (later South Summit Avenue) was on property that took in the entire block where the Westchester House was built on Pennsylvania Avenue in 1951. C. A. O’Keefe’s house can be seen to the north at 520 South Hill.

Both mansions were demolished for construction of the Westchester House in 1951.

Hand-turned curly maple staircase of 556 Summit Avenue. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

1102 Penn Street. Willard Burton was a partner in Burton-Lingo Lumber Company. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

1101 Penn Street. Joseph B. Googins was manager of Swift packing plant. His daughter Ruth in 1933 married Elliott Roosevelt, son of the president. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

1326 Summit Avenue. Jesse T. Pemberton was an insurance executive. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

914 Penn Street. Otho Houson was a banker and first cousin of Temple Houston. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

1015 Penn Street. Edmund M. Schenecker was manager of McCord-Collins wholesale grocery company. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

1008 Penn Street. C. H. Silliman was a banker. Attorney Newton Hance Lassiter later lived in the house. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

1008 Penn Street after remodeling. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

608 Adams Street. Woodson L. Ligon was a real estate broker. Note the lightning rods on the roof. This photo is from an 1899 issue of The Bohemian magazine.

1304 Summit Avenue (1897, demolished 1965). Thomas B. Ellison was president of Ellison Furniture and Carpet Company. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

1424 Summit Avenue. Samuel Burk Burnett was a cattleman. He built his house where the Frank W. Ball house had stood; All Church Home demolished the Burnett house in 1962. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

1200 Summit Avenue (1913, demolished 1965). W. T. Waggoner was a cattleman. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

1251 Pennsylvania Avenue (circa 1906). Neil P. Anderson was a cotton broker. He was killed in 1912. In 1923 the house became the residence of George L. Gause and the location of Gause-Ware funeral home. This house, unlike so many others on Quality Hill, escaped the wrecking ball: It burned in 1979. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.)

The parking lots of Quality Hill.

Silk Hats and Spats (Part 3): The Residences of Quality Hill (Survivors)

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10 Responses to Silk Hats and Spats (Part 2): The Residences of Quality Hill (Demolished)

  1. Cheryl Braziel Montoya says:

    I lived at the house at llll Penn St. in the fall of 1963; at the time it was St. Ann’s Business Women’s Home, under Catholic sponsorship and directed by Miss Frieda Koenig. At the same time, the Van Zandt house at 800 Penn St. became a source of great interest to me; in 2012 I did an oil painting of that house from a photo I found on line, which was not quite as clear as the photo that appears on this website. But what stands out in my memory the most was that my experiences of living on Penn Street coincided with the death of President Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22nd, 1963. Shortly thereafter, I returned to my home town of Comanche TX on Dec. 4, 1963.

  2. Robert Cruce says:

    As a college student in the early 60’s I was able to tour the Waggoner and Ellison houses that’s to a real estate agent. I remember that in the Waggoner home there was a card/smoking room next to the entry from the Porticoche and a safe in the wall. In the Ellison house there were panels tin the back of the double stairs that could be opened to let the air circulate from upstairs to down. I took pictures but the are long gone. It was a privilege to see them before they were demolished. I was told that the Waggoner home had been used as rooming for young ladies working in the business field and also as offices.

    • hometown says:

      From what little I have seen, the interior of those houses was as impressive as the exterior. All that custom woodwork, all that craftsmanship consigned to a landfill.

  3. JIM WARE says:

    Something you may be interested in contained in the Hood County News “Granbury” Wed.Jun.16, pg.4? “JESSE JAMES” being in Ft. Worth in 1951 and using “Estes Ambulance” to bring him to Granbury to visit a woman. Interesting story, but I do not remember a Funeral Home named ‘ESTES.’ There is more to the story than I have mentioned above.

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Jim. This sounds like it might be tied to the Jesse Woodson James who died in Granbury in 1951. An August 11, 1966 Hood County News article mentions the ambulance ride from Fort Worth. Old issues of the Hood County Tablet indicate there was an Estes funeral home/ambulance service in Granbury.

  4. John Watkins says:

    Byron Rhome built a house at 1024 Penn Street, where the First Presbyterian Church now stands. I have at least one photo. His second wife, Frances, was my great-grandfather’s first cousin.

    • hometown says:

      He is mentioned in Part 1, and I have a separate post on Mr. Rhome but have not seen a photo of his house.

  5. John F says:

    Have you found any more information about 1200 Summitt? I’ve found a few pictures of the house, but WT and Ella Waggoner didn’t live there long.

    • hometown says:

      I pretty much used all the material I could find. I have not seen the book Fort Worth’s Quality Hill by Brenda S. McClurkin, but it might have some information, although I think it is primarily a book of photos, not text.

  6. Elaine says:

    Does anyone remember the house that was demolished around 1997-98 somewhere around Summit between 10th and Texas? Maybe between Ballinger and Collier but i can’t remember for sure. They had it open for salvage a few days–I went through it with a couple of colleagues. No idea whose house it had been but it had been grand at one time.

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