This is the south side of West Lancaster Avenue between Houston and Lamar streets:
But this five-block stretch of West Lancaster Avenue could as easily be named “Wyatt Hedrick Way.” All three of these buildings—the T&P passenger terminal, the central post office, and the T&P freight terminal—were designed by architect Wyatt Cephas Hedrick (1888-1964) and/or architects in his firm (such as Herman Paul Koeppe) during the early 1930s. They are grand in scale—a scale dictated by their functions of mass transit and mass communication. But they also have a form that makes you forget the function—ornate, intricate. If ever an architect could showcase his work in a single photo, here it is.
Keep the following fact in mind the next time you admire these enduring works of art: Hedrick had no formal training in architecture. He was a natural.
Wyatt Cephas Hedrick was born in Virginia in 1888. (Photo from grandson Ames Fender.)
Hedrick was part of the large farming family of George and Nancy Hedrick in Lee County, Virginia.
By 1910 Hedrick was a lumberjack in Lee County.
Three years later Hedrick came to Texas. In 1914 he was rooming at the YMCA in Dallas. In Dallas he got a job with Stone & Webster, the company that owned Northern Texas Traction Company (the interurban). One of his first responsibilities was to design and build trolley lines for Fort Worth and Dallas.
But later in 1914 the young man who five years earlier had been a lumberjack formed his own construction company in Dallas.
Hedrick advertised in the Dallas city directory in 1917. That was a big year for him.
In June he married Pauline Stripling, daughter of department store owner W. C. Stripling.
And his company incorporated. He also opened an office in Fort Worth. Note that Hedrick’s new father-in-law was among the incorporators.
In 1918 the Hedricks were living in Dallas. His Fort Worth office was in the Fort Worth National Bank building.
But by 1920 the Hedricks were living in west Fort Worth near the Hillcrest stop on the Arlington Heights (Camp Bowie) Boulevard streetcar line. Note that Hedrick’s vice president and general manager was Thomas S. Byrne. Thomas Sneed Byrne, an MIT graduate, would form his own construction company in 1923. Byrne’s company has built many prominent Metroplex buildings, including the Fort Worth Club and Montgomery Ward buildings, the Amon Carter and Kimbell museums, buildings for Leonard’s and Stripling’s department stores, and WBAP. His company also built Love Field in Dallas.
Among Hedrick’s early construction projects in Fort Worth were Central High (1918, now Tech High) and the Star-Telegram (1920) and Neil P. Anderson (1921) buildings, all designed by Sanguinet and Staats.
In fact, in 1921 Hedrick went to work for Sanguinet and Staats and the next year became their junior partner. Staats retired in 1924, Sanguinet in 1925; Hedrick bought them out. He was thirty-six years old. He expanded his company until it was the third-largest architecture firm in the country. His firm designed and built buildings all over the state.
Hedrick’s chief designer was Herman Paul Koeppe. (Photo from great-granddaughter Terri Johnson.)
Here is a closer look at these three Hedrick buildings on West Lancaster.
First, the T&P passenger terminal:
The central post office:
The T&P freight warehouse: