City National Bank Building – 315 Houston Street

315 Houston Street, City National Bank Building, c. 1884•85; c. 1910; 1981. Erected from plans by Fort Worth architects Haggart and Sanguinet on the northeast corner of Houston and Third streets about 1884-85, the City National Bank Building is one of Fort Worth’s oldest commercial structures (see also CBD 83, 111, 118).  Its appearance today dates from a 1981 reconstruction project as part of the Sundance Square development.  Originally built as a four-story Second Empire style commercial building with a mansard roof, stilted arches, and classical columns at street level, the building housed City National Bank until about 1895 when it was liquidated under the auspices of receiver John Peter Smith.  The top mansard story was removed in the early 1900s, leaving a three-story building. Tenants around the turn-of-the-century include Blessing Photo Supply, which sold photographic and Kodak supplies; Dr. Thomas J. Williams, an ophthalmologist; and Nathan P. Rubin millinery.  Beginning about 1915, a series of clothing stores, including the Gans Co., Meacham’s Department Store, and Grayson’s Women’s Clothing occupied the building.

By the time the structure was acquired for Sundance Square in 1978, it retained little of its original character.  The architectural firm of Thomas E. Woodward and Associates found early drawings of the building and used them as a guide in the 1981 recreation of the mansard story and reconstruction of the building’s facade.  Extensive work, including substantial rebricking and repointing of the red brick facade was required.  The building’s interior was completely rebuilt for office and restaurant use.  Thomas S. Byrne, Inc. was the general contractor for the project.  Today, the building is, perhaps, best known for its ground floor tenant, Billy’s Miner’s Saloon.

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