Farmers and Mechanics National Bank/ Fort Worth National Bank/ Continental Life Building/ Transport Life Building – 714 Main Street

714 Main Street [NR*/Sky(NR)], Farmers and Mechanics National Bank/ Fort Worth National Bank/ Continental LIfe Building/ Trasnport Life Building, 1920-21; 1050-60; 1988.  Completed in 1921 at a cost of $2 million, the twenty-four story Farmers and Mechanics National Bank was proclaimed the tallest building in the Southwestern United States, thereby taking the title from the year-old W:r. Waggoner Building (CBD 93).  Designed by local architects Sanguinet and Staats with Mauran, Russell and Crowell as associate architects, the structure was built by the Westlake Construction Co. of St. Louis, Missouri. In 1927, Farmers and Mechanics National Bank merged with Fort Worth National Bank, and both the building and the bank took the latter’s name.  After serving as Fort Worth National’s headquarters for” almost 25 years, the property was sold to Continental Life Insurance in 1950 and, again, took the name of its new owner.  Fort Worth National Bank moved across Seventh St. to a new building in 1952.  In 1959-60, the first four floors of the building, originally executed in terra cotta with a base trim of Ohio granite, were remodeled.  The massive arched windows were replaced by a glass curtain wall trimmed with small blue Mexican glass tiles.  Tom Stanley was the architect and Childs Construction Co. the contractor for the remodeling project.  Many of the alterations made at this time to the ground floor exterior and lobby were undertaken to accommodate A. Davis men’s store which occupied street level space and needed display windows.  Additional interior remodeling was undertaken in the 1960s and 70s, and in 1988 the 1959 curtain wall was removed and replaced by windows that give the feel of the original design.  Omni Plan Architects and Henry C. Beck, contractor, designed and carried out this renovation.  In 1988 the building was renamed the Transport Life Building to recognize its primary occupant, the Transport Life Insurance Co.

The twenty-four story steel-frame office building still retains its original double-hung wood sash windows.  Articulated by major vertical piers dividing its facade into tripartite bays, the building holds its own space among the neighboring skyscrapers dating from all periods of the twentieth century.  Following an evaluation of the building’s architectural integrity, it may be eligible for the National Register.  It is also a contributor to the proposed Downtown Skyscrapers National Register Thematic Group.  The Farmers and Mechanics National Bank Building was listed on the National Register for Historic Places on December 4, 2012.

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