Bryce House/ “Fairview” – Bryce

William J. Bryce, the son of a masonry contractor, arrived in Fort Worth in 1883, where he worked as a journeyman bricklayer before setting up his own brick contracting business in 1907. Bryce’s successful career as a builder included contracts with Armour & Co. for the firm’s North Side meatpacking plant and the Fort Worth Live Stock Exchange in 1902. Mayor of Fort Worth from 1927 to 1933, Bryce was an active member of many of Fort Worth’s clubs and lodges.

Bryce purchased four lots in 1892 in the newly planned subdivision of Arlington Heights; his house was probably built the following year. The Bryce House was designed by the Fort Worth architectural firm of Messer, Sanguinet and Messer. “Fairview” is a two and one-half story brick structure in Chateauesque style with Richardsonian Romanesque details. Generally rectangular in plan, the house combines a variety of elements in a pleasing composition. Apair of heavy Romanesque arches at the southwest corner form an impressive entrance to the house; this is complemented by arched porches at the front and rear of the house. Window and door lintels of rusticated cast stone and a carved floral spandrel panel provide color and texture to the smooth brick surface.

Since Bryce’s death in 1944, the house has passed through several owners and has seen physical alterations as well. Changes include the glazing of the second-story front porch and both rear porches. An additional porch was constructed on the west side in 1946, and the carriage house to the north has been converted into living quarters. Iron decorative railings have been added to the second-floor porch windows, and the original slate roof has been recovered in shingles. A coat of white paint added to the house is now slowly wearing off to show the original red brick. “Fairview” was made a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1983, and has been listed on the National Register.

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