Not Just a Big Brick Box of Beds: The Hotel Texas Opens

On December 3, 1921 the Hotel Texas formally opened:

Even though in the beginning there was some ambiguity about the name (Texas Hotel or Hotel Texas):

In fact, the hotel was conceived with still another name: the Winfield Hotel. That’s because the hotel originally was to be named for Winfield Scott, the late capitalist who had owned Thistle Hill on Quality Hill. Scott had owned the first Worth Hotel north of the Hotel Texas and the Metropolitan Hotel just south of the Hotel Texas and dreamed of building a hotel between the two. But Scott died in 1911.

William Monnig, W. C. Stripling, Amon Carter, and other civic leaders took up Scott’s hotel project. They formed the Citizens Hotel Company in 1919 to finance and build a showcase hotel for Fort Worth. The price tag was $3 million ($39 million today).

hotel texas couponFort Worth was always big on passing the hat. The Citizens Hotel Company gave the public a chance to buy stock in the Winfield Hotel via a coupon in the Star-Telegram.

F&M both skyscrapers 9-28-19Not only the name but also the appearance of the hotel changed early on. On September 28, 1919 the Star-Telegram ran a full-page spread on “skyscrapers” planned or under construction as Fort Worth prospered during the oil boom. From left to right: Hotel Texas, Farmers and Mechanics National Bank, Waggoner Building (all designed by Sanguinet and Staats). (Note the Hotel Texas’s preliminary design with arcaded entrance and gabled roof. And the C-shaped footprint was similar to that of the 1926 Fort Worth Club Building, designed by . . . wait for it . . . Sanguinet and Staats.)

hotel texas lobbyPostcard.

hotel-texas-monthlyFrom The Hotel Monthly, 1922.

hotel-texas-jfkOn November 21, 1963 the hotel welcomed the president of the United States. The Kennedys stayed in Suite 850.

Dallas Times Herald photo of November 22 shows President Kennedy leaving the Hotel Texas in the morning. With Kennedy were Governor John Connally, Congressman Jim Wright, and Vice President Lyndon Johnson. (Photo from the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.)

faces jfkThe hotel parking lot where Kennedy spoke on November 22 is now part of General Worth Square.

Some views of the Hotel Texas (since 2006 a Hilton hotel):

From a block away, the Texas Hotel is a typical hotel building—a big brick box of beds.

Ah, but it’s a Sanguinet and Staats design. So, up close, at the bottom and top floors, it’s as decorated as any wedding cake.

On the frieze is this relief of two ram heads and a pair of legs with hoofed feet.

Footnote: One “Winfield” building did keep its name.

hotel texas winfield garage 5-29-21 st

The Winfield Garage opened in 1920 at 8th and Calhoun streets as the parking garage of the new Winfield Hotel. The name of the hotel was changed but not the name of the garage. Clip is from the May 29, 1921 Star-Telegram.

texas hotel winfield photoThe Winfield building survives.

texas hotel auto show 4-11-20The garage hosted Fort Worth’s first big auto show in 1920. This map shows the dealers and their auto makes, most of them, including the Texan, long since defunct. Clip is from the April 11, 1920 Star-Telegram.

hotel texas taxis 7-23-22The Winfield Garage also was the home of the Black and White Cab Company. Clip is from the July 23, 1922 Star-Telegram.

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11 Responses to Not Just a Big Brick Box of Beds: The Hotel Texas Opens

  1. Charlie Dierker says:

    Hi, Mike:

    In researching my Mistletoe Heights home (built in 1919), I learned that its first owner was a well-known local contractor named Horace Greenway. He and his employees stayed busy installing all of the plumbing in the Hotel Texas in 1920 and ’21.

    Keep up the great work with Hometown by Handlebar!

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Charlie. I see that the contract was for more than $300,000. That was a lot of money back then.

  2. Donna Johnson says:

    Do you know where I can find a list of buildings/houses built/designed by Sanguinet and Staats?

    Great article.

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Donna. What a legacy those two left us. Alas, I know of no comprehensive compilation. My six-part post focuses on their buildings that survive. But, of course, because S&S worked a century ago, many of their buildings are gone, especially the houses, especially those in Arlington Heights. Heck, they even designed entrance gates and mausoleums. And they didn’t confine themselves to Fort Worth!

  3. khristopher pelley says:

    I have found what is purported to be a telephone booth from the lobby of the Texas Hotel in Nov 1963. I would love to see some authentic photos that show what the lobby looked like, if there are any out there.

    • hometown says:

      The hotel ownership/management might have kept photos in some sort of scrapbook documenting the hotel’s history, which would certainly include that time. The UTA Library has the Star-Telegram photo archive.

  4. Kelly Riley says:

    My grandfather Buck Lucas used to frequent the lobby of the Hotel Texas looking for potential opportunities many of Fort Worth’s movers and shakers would congregate there…

    • hometown says:

      On December 12 I’ll have more on another man who was interested in those Hotel Texas movers and shakers.

  5. Interesting article. My grandfather did a job for them in 1947 to the tune of $200,000.00. I have no clue as to what that job was.

  6. Anita says:

    Love this post! My grandmother was the social/catering director of the hotel for many years. Many memories of this hotel.

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