Most Endangered Places

HFW MEP Most Endangered Places Logo

2024 Nominations Now Open

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION

FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2024, NOON

Then

 Join us for the release of Historic Fort Worth’s 2024 Most Endangered List

TUESDAY,  MAY 7, 2024, NOON

McFarland House • 1110 Penn Street

 

Meissner Brown Funeral Home

The annual Most Endangered Places list, a vital program of Historic Fort Worth, Inc., is a marketing and educational tool that spotlights historic resources threatened by a variety of circumstances–extremely deferred maintenance, no local landmark designation, loss of parking, and lack of awareness of economic incentives to rehab historic buildings.  Owners of properties recognized as “Endangered” benefit from increased public awareness and assistance from Historic Fort Worth, Inc. to address these issues. The List is released each year in May, during National Preservation Month.

2022 Most Endangered List Nomination

Established in 1969 and honored with the Governor’s Award in Historic Preservation in 2009, HFW is dedicated to preserving Fort Worth’s unique historic identity through education, stewardship, and leadership. The organization’s headquarters, a museum and preservation library, is located within the 1899 McFarland House, 1110 Penn Street. 

As a preservation charity, HFW’s board and staff work behind the scenes and in the public arena to create opportunities for those places owned by others that shape Fort Worth’s unique historic identity. The organization’s most successful program for rescuing a property is its Most Endangered List. Unfortunately, some buildings are caught in an emergency, as was the case for the Talbott-Wall House, which was never listed. 


Heritage Park Plaza (1976-80) Bluff Street at Houston Street LISTED 2005, 2008, 2009

HFW funded a successful nomination for the Plaza’s placement on the National Register of Historic Places at the national level of significance. This effort spawned a sensitive restoration plan which is being implemented.

 

Meisner-Brown Funeral Home (1937) 2717 Avenue B Listed in 2015

As a repossessed local landmark of the City of Fort Worth, HFW found a new owner with the ability to restore this rare Spanish Eclectic building by sending out an e-blast to its 2015 list of 4,500 recipients. Several qualified companies responded, and a city panel chose Phoenix 1 Restoration & Construction for the project.Garvey-Veihl-Kelley House (1884-90) 769 Samuels Avenue Listed in 2013

This Queen Anne house is one of the iconic early houses on Fort Worth’s first silk stocking row, Samuels Avenue. In a mitigation agreement to benefit the house’s restoration, the Garvey-Veihl-Kelly House was restored in 2018 as the marketing office for new apartments.

Talbott-Wall House (1903) 915 Samuels Ave. → 1102 Samuels Ave. MOVED 05/23/2017

The imminent demolition of this early Dutch Colonial Revival house put HFW into action. HFW received the house as a gift, secured a new lot, hired the moving company, and moved the house two blocks away onto a new foundation. Once moved, HFW wrote the landmark nomination for the Talbott-Wall House, which was accepted, and the house was sold to a new owner.

BERRY THEATER (WHITE/BERRY THEATER) 1940
BERRY THEATER (WHITE/BERRY THEATER) 1940

BERRY THEATER  (WHITE/BERRY THEATER) 1940

  • 3033 Hemphill Street
  • Owned by Mission Travis Mercy
  • First time singled out for HFW’s endangered list

This simple, single-screened theater was originally named for M.S. White, a film salesman who built the theater and ran the Dal-Sec Theater in Dallas. In 1961 the name was changed to the Berry Theater, and in 1962 it was renamed Teatro Berry.

Currently, the theater is privately owned, and the owner has a renovation plan.  Unfortunately, the plan seems to be delayed. If the building qualifies for designation as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark or for the National Register, the owner could benefit from the Texas Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program that offers a 25 percent tax credit for the rehabilitation of historic buildings.

The Berry Theater has been included 5 times on HFW’s endangered list under the category of single-screen theaters; but this is the first individual listing for the White/Berry Theater.

JACK A. BILLINGSLEY FIELD HOUSE

(FW PUBLIC SCHOOLS GYMNASIUM) 1953

  • 1400 Foch St.
  • Owned by the Fort Worth Independent School District
  • This is the first endangered places listing for the Jack A. Billingsley Field House

Architect Preston M. Geren, Sr. designed the Fort Worth Public Schools Gymnasium for basketball, volleyball, and wrestling and Rambo Construction built this sports facility. Its simple design is from the Modern Movement, an architectural style that took off after WWI. It is constructed of concrete block and faced with yellow brick with contrasting red brick. The roof has a slight barrel pitch which is mostly concealed by a parapet. The building has metal windows on the first floor, a few feet below the parapet. Extending from the center and only one story in height is a three-sided ticket booth. On each side of the ticket booth is an entrance filled with paired doors. Above the doors is a large transom and a flat concrete canopy edged with metal that extends beyond the ticket booth to provide cover for the two entrances. The east and west sides of the projecting block each have two sets of paired doors with transoms similar to those by the ticket booth. Above these doors is a flat concrete canopy with metal edge. Between these doors and the wall of the building’s main block are one-story appendages. The north and side walls of these appendages have a ribbon of metal windows. The east and west elevations of the central block are identical with five sets of ribbon windows.

Originally known as the FW Public Schools Gymnasium, the building was renamed for Jack A. Billingsley in the early 1980’s. Mr. Billingsley (1920-2006) had a 39-year career at the FWISD serving as a coach, principal, athletic director, and assistant superintendent.

 

JACK A. BILLINGSLEY FIELD HOUSE (FW PUBLIC SCHOOLS GYMNASIUM) 1953
JACK A. BILLINGSLEY FIELD HOUSE (FW PUBLIC SCHOOLS GYMNASIUM) 1953

PHOTO: BRITT STOKES

In 2021 HFW hired a consultant to write a nomination for Billingsley Field House to be considered for the National Register of Historic Places. It was listed on the National Register on February 2, 2022.

WILLIAM COLEMAN HOUSE 1930
WILLIAM COLEMAN HOUSE 1930

WILLIAM COLEMAN HOUSE 1930

  • 1071 East Humbolt Street
  • TAD cites the owner as Sharlamar Lenaye Jackson
  • 2nd listing on HFW’s endangered list

This house was built for William Coleman, vice-president of the Fraternal Bank and Trust, the bank established by prominent African-American politician and banker, William Madison McDonald. It is a late example of a Prairie School-inspired residence.  This two-story tan brick house with a hipped roof stands out in a neighborhood largely comprised of one-story wood-framed dwellings. It has a lower, hipped-roof porch supported by massive brick piers. There was a notable arched brick porte cochere on the east side of the house.

Over 10 years ago HFW engaged the services of an engineer to develop an intervention plan for this important African-American resource, unfortunately work never starts. This 2,830 sq. ft. house contributes to the Terrell Heights Local Historic District. The house has been set on fire twice.

FARRINGTON FIELD 1939

  • 1501 University Drive
  • Owned by the Fort Worth Independent School District
  • 6th listing on HFW’s endangered list


FARRINGTON FIELD 1939

Designed by the design firm of Preston M. Geren, Sr. and built in 1938-39 in the Classical Moderne style, Farrington Field, a $244,000 project, was jointly funded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD). This massive reinforced concrete stadium has two stylized cast concrete bas-relief sculptures on the west-facing façade by Fort Worth artist Eveline Sellors. It was built to accommodate seating for 20,000 in two banks of bleachers, one on the west side of the field and one on the east side.   

The beloved facility was named in memory of E.S. Farrington, a long time athletic director of the FWISD who died before the stadium was completed. Millions of students and their parents cherish memories of games and athletic competitions at Farrington Field. One of the nominators of Farrington Field for this year’s endangered list was the athletic director of a sports charity that helps students qualify for athletic scholarships to attend college. In 2021 HFW hired a consultant to write a nomination for Billingsley Field House to be considered for the National Register of Historic Places. It was listed on the National Register on February 2, 2022.

FORT WORTH CONVENTION CENTER ARENA 1968
  • 1201 Houston Street
  • Owned by the City of Fort Worth
  • 4th listing on HFW’s endangered list

Fort Worth’s Convention Center arena opened in 1968 and was designed by a consortium of architects that included Preston M. Geren, Jr., Herman E. Cox, Morris Parker, and the firms of Hueppelhueser & White, and Wilson, Patterson, Sowden, Dunlap & Epperly. Today, with a new arena a few miles to the west, Fort Worth’s “spaceship” arena deserves a chance to be repurposed for a different function, or to continue as a cool entertainment venue. 

 

Fort Worth’s downtown arena puts the “funky” in Funky Town. It has hosted a bevy of top talent including Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Pink Floyd, Bee Gees, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, U2, Peter Frampton, gymnastics star Nadia Comaneci and tennis stars Andre Agassi and John McEnroe. In 2017 the Korean sensation, “K-pop,” played to a sold-out crowd that included Matthew McConaughey. The group stated that this arena is their favorite venue.

Fort Worth’s downtown arena with its spaceship façade attracts the young creative class valued by Fort Worth’s forward-thinking leaders. It has been photographed in almost every flyover video of the city. This Fred Flinstone-esque building would most likely win the vote as Fort Worth’s most unique building. It is the favorite Fort Worth building for Mark Lamster, the architecture critic for the Dallas Morning News who is also a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. It could be repurposed and used as a lure to attract a technology company to Fort Worth. Apple’s new California headquarters is called “The Spaceship” because it looks like one.

GARDA PARK 1910

  • 3401 Lake Como Drive, adjacent to Lake Como Park
  • Owned by the City of Fort Worth
  • First time on HFW’s endangered list

The land for Garda Park was donated by Amon G. Carter, Sr. as a gift to the African-American community of Fort Worth. Garda Park is below the dam for Lake Como at Merrick Street. It was originally intended to be the site of a second lake named Lake Garda after the largest lake in Italy. (This would have continued the theme of Italian lake names, as in Lake Como.)

Brothers Alfred, Humphrey, and Frederic Chamberlain were the landscape designers for Garda Park. Today, Garda Park is overgrown and unmarked. It deserves signage, maintenance and marketing.

GARDA PARK 1910
GARDA PARK 1910
King Candy Company

KING CANDY COMPANY BUILDING 1906

  • 813 East 9th Street
  • Owned by UNPJ Holding
  • First time on HFW’s endangered list

The King Candy Company, known for its chocolates and bon bons, was founded by John Porter King, a county clerk who owned a cold storage and produce company before he opened the candy company. The factory would eventually employ 450 people. 

The poor condition of this red brick building was just discovered on a tour of the east side of downtown. At that time the building was braced on one side and there were two large open areas on the south side. Additionally, the roof had collapsed in three places.  Since then, an entire wall has collapsed.

This historic resource appears to be a demolition by neglect. It should be landmarked and restored. If the building qualifies for designation as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, or for the National Register of Historic Places, the owner could benefit from the Texas Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program that offers a 25 percent tax credit for the rehabilitation of historic buildings

KU KLUX KLAN KLAVERN NO. 101 1924

  • 1012 North Main Street
  • Owned by Transform 1012 N. Main Street
  • Third time on HFW’s Most Endangered List

The original building at 1012 North Main Street was constructed as the Ku Klux Klan Klavern No. 101 in 1920. It was bombed and immediately rebuilt in 1924. The 4000 seat auditorium was re-constructed according to the original design by Earl Glasgow.

The structure features red brick, hollow tile, and steel construction, and is faced in variegated buff-yellow brick. Below the high-peaked parapet, a central arched niche with formal base is flanked by tall arched windows. On the ground floor, a central tripartite entry is surrounded by large rectangular windows with cast-stone trim. Originally these windows were used as concession stands. Buttress piers and tall arched windows alternate down the sides of the structure. At the east end, a raised, flat-roofed area once contained a stage.

The building’s future has been uncertain until an organization, Transform 1012 N. Main Street, purchased the building at the end of last year. The group is a non-profit coalition of local arts, grassroots, and service organizations working to transform this building into The Fred Rouse Center for Arts and Community Healing. 

Now the challenge is to fund this rich and relevant vision. The building is not landmarked at any level and designating it locally will protect it best from demolition and listing it on the National Register of Historic Places would generate state tax credits, which are 25 cents for each restoration dollar spent. Listing locally is the best protection possible to prevent demolition.

KKK Building 1012 North Main Street
KKK Building 1012 North Main Street
KKK Building 1012 North Main Street
Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church

OUR MOTHER OF MERCY CATHOLIC CHURCH 1929,

AND PARSONAGE 1911

  • 1100 and 1104 Evans Avenue
  • City of Fort Worth landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places
  • Owned by Sunshine Cumberland Presbyterian Church and Manse

The Tudor Revival-influenced Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church and Parsonage are in a historic African-American neighborhood and the scale and workmanship of these buildings combine to produce a feeling of quiet dignity. Designed and constructed in 1929 by the church’s pastor, Father Narcissus Denis, the church is a one and a half story, red brick building with a bell tower and rounded arched windows set in stuccoed panels and outlined in half timbering. 

The parsonage is a one and a half story Queen Anne-styled house. The roof is a combination of cross gable and hipped construction with overhanging flared boxed eaves. The side elevations feature full height bay windows. The windows are one over one with the exception of  a decorative rectangular window on the north elevation that illuminates the interior stairway. 

These resources need reinvestment dollars. They may be able to “time share” these important buildings with another entity. Because they are listed on the National Register, state tax credits for their restoration should be available.

PRESERVATION DEPARTMENT, CITY OF FORT WORTH

  • 200 Texas Street, in the Planning Department on the 2nd floor
  • “Owner”: City of Fort Worth
  • Second time on HFW’s endangered list

From time to time HFW tracks the number of staff in the City of Fort Worth’s preservation department and compares Fort Worth to San Antonio and Dallas. On January 13, 2022, San Antonio had 21 preservation staff listed on its website for 11,000 designated properties, the most in the state and Dallas had five staff listed on its website for 4,000 designated properties. Fort Worth, with 8,500 designated properties (the second largest inventory in the state), has only one fulltime preservation staff (the Preservation Officer) and one half-time preservation planner. 

The Preservation Officer in San Antonio was once the Preservation Officer of Fort Worth. Furthermore, two of Fort Worth’s former Preservation Officers are now working in preservation in Dallas, and one them is the City of Dallas’ Preservation Officer.

Historic preservation designation generates economic incentives at the local, state, and national levels to reinvest in those buildings that keep Fort Worth unique. First though, we must invest in the preservation department at the City of Fort Worth.

City Staff

  To view a comprehensive list of all the past years, it is available here : 2004-2022 – HFW Endangered List.

Take a map-based tour of 2017’s Most Endangered Places.
Thanks to Kate Holliday and son William Dibble for their work on this project.

2023 (nomination form) (post-card)

2022 (list) (narrative)
2019 (list) (narrative)
2018 (list) (narrative)
2017  (list) (narrative)  
2016
(list) (narrative)
2015
(list) (narrative)
2014 (list) (narrative)
2013 (list) (narrative)
2012 (list) (narrative)
2011 (list) (narrative)
2010 (list) (narrative)
2009 (list) (narrative)
2008 (list) (narrative)
2007 (list) (narrative)
2006 (list) (narrative)
2005 (list) (narrative)
2004 (list) (narrative)

Photos from 2019 MEP announcement at Thistle Hill