Stretching five miles from Vickery Boulevard to Interstate 20, Hemphill Street runs north to south through the South Side as straight as the prime meridian:
A tour of Hemphill Street reminds us of what homes and commercial buildings of ninety, even one hundred years ago looked like. Seen along Hemphill Street, from north to south:
The huge Justin Boot Company building occupies most of the block bounded on the west by the 200 block of Hemphill and on the east by the 200 block of Jennings at Daggett Avenue. Fort Worth High School stood on that block until the school burned in 1910.
But the Justin building began life in 1911 as the Reimers printing plant. Clip is from the December 19, 1915 Star-Telegram.
Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church at 400 Hemphill.
The building, designed by Conrad Hoeffler, was completed in 1912.
Mural, circa 2011, on the wall of the venerable Paris Coffee Shop (circa 1927) at 704 West Magnolia Avenue at the 1200 block of Hemphill.
The Paris Coffee Shop began life one block to the east on West Magnolia. The 1925 city directory shows Our Cafe at 602 West Magnolia. At 704 West Magnolia in 1925 were a beauty shop and apartments. Note William B. La Cava (see below) across the street.
In 1942 the building at 704 West Magnolia had become Safeway store no. 335.
At 1302-1304 Hemphill, this little building housed neighborhood grocery stores early in its career.
William Burts La Cava was a prominent entrepreneur of the near South Side. He lived next door at 1300 Hemphill in the La Cava Building (see below), which he built. He had operated grocery stores at the intersection of Hemphill and Magnolia since 1907. Beginning in 1920 he also owned a dry cleaner business around the corner at 709 West Magnolia Avenue.
In 1920 1304 Hemphill became Piggly Wiggly store no. 3.
By 1940 1304 Hemphill Street was a Safeway market.
Next door at 1300 Hemphill at West Magnolia is the aforementioned La Cava Building (1927), designed by architect James Black Davies. It housed a drugstore for decades. Davies also designed the South Side Masonic Lodge Building (1925) on West Magnolia Avenue and the Western Union Building (1931) on Main Street downtown.
Psychic advisor and palm reader Abagail B. receives clients in a house at 1423 Hemphill. According to Tarrant Appraisal District, that property is owned by the late Joe Evans of the Evans Roma (Gypsy) clan. The bungalow, trimmed in cast stone, was built about 1925 for George Bound, who owned an electric fan company.
The entrance to Chase Court at the 1700 block of Hemphill.
Before texting and sexting came billing and cooing. In 1908, when south Hemphill Street was still sparsely settled and Chase Court was newly developed, Chase Court’s wall along Hemphill was a favorite trysting place.
In 1925 this new sanctuary (Sanguinet and Staats) greatly enlarged Hemphill Presbyterian Church (1911) at 1701 Hemphill at Allen Street.
Some big houses were built on Hemphill in the 1920s. The house (1926) at 2001 Hemphill is 4,900 square feet.
At 2008-2012 Hemphill is Mary Elizabeth Court apartments (1925).
Deed card shows two identical buildings with a courtyard between them.
The house at 2017 Hemphill was built in 1928.
Reeves-Walker House (1908) at 2200 Hemphill at Lilac Street.
The house was built by banker William Reeves at a cost of $40,000 ($1 million today).
The house later was bought by the Walker family and remained in that family into the 1960s.
In 1967 the house became the second Hemphill Street home of Ray Crowder Funeral Home. In 1963 Ray Crowder had moved to 2836 Hemphill (see Part 3). Funeral homes have repurposed some of Fort Worth’s finest homes: the James F. Moore House, the Neil P. Anderson House, the Walter Scott house (demolished) at 1414 8th Avenue.
The house (1920) at 2237 Hemphill, with a wrap-around porch and porte-cochere, is typical of the larger houses on Hemphill built during the 1920s.
Chimney and strained glass window of 2237 Hemphill.
The Guertler house (1905) at 2257 Hemphill is getting a protracted makeover. Design of the house has been attributed to L. B. Weinman.
Arnold Guertler was a real estate agent and developer. Guertler developed a subdivision of twenty-one lots in the neighborhood of north Evans Avenue.
The bungalow at 2321 Hemphill has had a long and varied life. Tarrant County Historic Resources Survey says the Duff-Bartee house was built in 1908 and remodeled in 1920. It was remodeled again after 1986 because a photo of that year shows the front of the house to be bricked up to the bottom line of the wooden gable, with three brick arches across the porch and one brick arch across the porte-cochere. Edmund Travis Duff was a salesman; William Bartee was an engineer for the Cotton Belt (St. Louis-Southwestern) railroad.
At 2400 Hemphill the faded neon sign reads “Fisher & Boone Plumbing established 1914.” Early in the twentieth century the building (1923) housed a drugstore, the Santa Fe Cafe (the railroad track is close enough to have rattled the cups and saucers), a roofing company, and a photo studio. Fisher & Boone moved into the building about 1959.
Let’s pause here at the tracks as a train passes before proceeding to Part 2: