Fair Building/ Bank of Commerce Building – 307 W. Seventh Street

 307 W. Seventh Street [NR*/Sky(NR)], Fair Building/ Bank of Commerce Building, 1930; 1964.  The Fair Building was constructed in 1930 according to plans by Wyatt C. Hedrick, the architect of a number of important Fort Worth buildings.  Hewitt Construction Co. erected the structure for Fort Worth Properties Corporation which was run by Houston developer Jesse H. Jones.  The Fair department store, first established in Fort Worth in 1890, occupied the first six floors of the building, and the balance of the nineteen story structure was leased to a variety of tenants including physicians, insurance companies, oil companies, and the Fort Worth Grain and Cotton Exchange.  Constructed of reinforced concrete and faced with nine shades of buff-brown brick, the building’s vertical emphasis is reinforced by the replicated continuous brick piers that rise between the windows.  Ornamental cast stone trim originally present on the second and third floors included reliefs ofa Mayan deity and scroll designs.  The building is capped by a cast stone frieze in the Gothic mode.  The Fair store closed in 1963, and in 1964 the building was sold to the Service Life Insurance Co. and the Bank of Commerce.  The floors that had been used by The Fair were converted for use as offices, and the Petroleum Club located on the second floor of the building.  The exterior of the first two floors was also altered at this time.  The original ornamentation, including walls of pink Minnesota granite, was stripped off and replaced with white marble.  Butcher & Sweeney Construction Co. was the contractor for this project.  Many of the building’s original windows have also been replaced.  With restoration of the facade’s windows and lower floors, the Fair Building would be potentially eligible for the National Register. It is also a contributor to the proposed Downtown Skyscrapers National Register Thematic Group.

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