The “Other” Main Streets: From Pep Boys to Doughboys (Part 2)

Today, while everyone else is downtown for the second day of the Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival, we continue our tour of the “other” Main streets with a second sashay along South Main (see Part 1).

building newkirk-wallerick

newkirk-walleric 1926At 1223-31 South Main (at Magnolia Avenue) is the Newkirk-Wallerich Building (1926).

newkirk 28 40The 1928 and 1940 city directories show a sampling of the retail businesses that occupied the Newkirk-Wallerich Building during the twentieth century.

Jack Shelton’s plumbing company was located at 1128 South Main Street from 1949 until 1965. The lettering on the storefront is tiled.

cars ford 32Pole position: Sitting atop two poles at S&S Wheel Alignment & Brake Service at 813 South Main, this little car is, I am told, a 1932 American Austin. The American Austin was smaller than a full-sized car of the era.

This Star-Telegram ad is from 1930. In 1935 the American Austin car company became American Bantam.

Fowl factoid: Donald Duck’s car, a Belchfire Runabout, was based on the American Bantam.

Across the street is the Henryetta the cow. 

Henryetta honors Henry Carl Vandervoort.

 Vandervoort opened Vandervoort’s dairy plant at 900 South Main in 1933. The plant has been operated since 1970 by Kroger.

“It’s sure good”: But the Vandervoort’s neon sign lives on.

sealy frontAcross the street, in 2016 the Octavia Hotel building at 801 South Main turned one hundred years old while hunkered in a state of sublime unoccupancy even as much of South Main Street was being repaved and gentrified.

For example, across the street the old Coca-Cola bottling plant office (1926) has been renovated as part of the Highpoint development.

Inside the building is a reminder of its past.

american wideAt 701 South Main, this unemployed building began its career about 1937 as the American Laundry Company.

look up eagle 1The Eagle Steam Bakery Building (1895) features some great brickwork by masons of yore.

In the pre-Ninnie Baird days of 1901 Eagle was one of a half-dozen bakeries in town.

This is the east side of the 200 block, probably the best-preserved row of commercial buildings on South Main Street. The four buildings from left to right are Sawyer Building (1905), Joyslin Building (1910), and two commercial buildings built in 1926. The Sawyer Building, which housed a neighborhood grocery store, survived the great South Side fire of 1909.

The buildings at 215 and 219 now house Frank Kent Family Offices.

Some details of the east side of the 200 block of South Main Street.

grocery safeway on main 1940 withc 45 cdIn the 100 block, in the 1940s this building on South Main at Vickery Boulevard housed a Safeway neighborhood grocery store.

South Main Street at one time was paved with brick. Then the brick was covered with asphalt. But for years a few patches of brick paving remained exposed, such as at Main and Annie streets. Now most, if not all, of that brick paving has been removed as much of South Main has been repaved with concrete.

However, new brick paving has been laid at intersections.

Just south of downtown the Al Hayne memorial at Lancaster Avenue honors the only fatality of the Texas Spring Palace fire of 1890.

On the other side of South Main Street there isn’t much to see now but weeds and concrete, but this vacant lot was last occupied by Frank Kent’s Cadillac dealership and, before that, the 1899 Texas & Pacific passenger depot.

Just to the west is the much-arcaded Main Street underpass (1931).

stevens main underpass s-t 22 To end our tour of South Main let’s climb up to the top of that underpass for a little larceny. On this underpass in 1933 the gang of O. D. Stevens robbed a T&P railroad mail shipment.

The “Other” Main Streets: From Pep Boys to Doughboys (Part 3)

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4 Responses to The “Other” Main Streets: From Pep Boys to Doughboys (Part 2)

  1. Ramiro says:

    Hi Mike. Good reading. I was there in the Federal Building when the Frank Kent Bldg “exploded”. You would think I would remember clearly why, but a gas leak, I think was the cause. Any information? It is a shame it stands vacant.

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Ramiro. The “Frank Kent” link is to a post on Frank Kent and his dealership, the explosion, etc.

  2. earl belcher says:

    One of my favorite parts of Fort Worthless. The first pic of the site at Main and Magnolia. There was a place called Taylor’s Appliances there in the late 1970s. I bought an old rebuilt fridge from them for 35 bucks back in 1977. It ran until 1998. Then we saw the famous bike on the corner. But at Main and Vickery, the old Safeway store was BILL SUTTON’S electronics in the 1950s. Every old ham knows that place. I was in there a lot when I was a kid. He sold wholesale parts for radios and the newfangled TV sets. My father was one of the first TV repairmen in town back then. Everyone called him Doc. Good work again, Mike.

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