Fort Worth Public Library – Throckmorton

158 915 Throckmorton Street, Fort Worth Public Library, 1938-39. This Fort Worth Public Library building was completed in June 1939 at a cost of over $390,000. It occupied the same triangular site as the old Carnegie Public Library. Built with the aid of the Public Works Administration, a federal project designed to provide jobs and funds for civic improvements during the Depression, the “stripped classicism” styling was typical of many PWA projects. Joseph R. Pelich, who also designed a number of Fort Worth residences and schools as well as the Filter Buildings at the Fort Worth Water Works (CBD 39), was the architect. A. Farnell Blair of Lake Charles, Louisiana was selected as the general contractor for the project. The building, constructed of reinforced concrete with a granite base and Texas Leuders limestone walls, incorporated the most current recommendations regarding library design. Despite the constraints of the unusual triangular plot of land on which the building was to stand, Pelich’s design effectively organized the space by placing the book stacks at the center of the building flanked by reading rooms, the reference desk, and administrative offices. By the late 1970s demand for library services had outgrown the capacity of the building. A new structure adjacent to Tandy Center was completed in 1978, and city offices were moved into the old library building. Shortly thereafter the heirs of Sarah Gray Jennings, who had donated the land with the stipulation that it always be used for library purposes, sued the City to regain ownership of the property. The heirs won their suit and sold the land and building to a private developer. The building sat empty until September 1990 when, despite substantial efforts to find a purchaser and alternative use to preserve it, the building was demolished. This listing is retained in the survey for purposes of documentation.

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