Fort Worth Lodge 134 Benevolent and Protective Order Elks/YWCA – 512 W. Fourth Street

 512 W. Fourth Street [NR/RTHL/CFO(NR)],Fort Worth Lodge 134 Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks~W.C.A.,1928; 1990.  Originally built in 1928 as the Elks Lodge, this modified Georgian Revival building was designed by Wyatt C. Hedrick and constructed by Thomas S. Byrne, Inc.  The large buff brick building has five stories and a full basement as well as a small elevator penthouse.  Exterior details include a front portico with gray Vermont marble stairs supported by Tuscan columns, nonfunctional cast stone balconies at the third and fifth floors, and large doors opening onto the roof of the porch from the second floor ballroom.  Wrought iron railings and balustrades provide further ornamentation.  The restrained exterior detailing belies the rich interior, which includes the original stenciled lobby area and an intricately detailed Georgian plastered ceiling and walls in the ballroom.  The Purina facility, which opened in December 1918, was designed by Fort Worth engineer, C.M. Davis. Davis was also responsible for the 1929 expansion to the north of the original plant.  An office building, constructed in 1929, burned in 1986.  This plant, one of the company’s largest tonnage producers, has expanded over the years and now includes a number of outbuildings.  The main part of the facility, a seven-story processing plant with a three-story penthouse, has an exposed reinforced concrete structural system with brick and industrial sash glazed infill.  The Ralston Purina Co. plant is a contributor to the proposed Grain Elevators National Register Thematic Group. As the Elks Lodge, the building was designed to provide space not only for meetings and recreational activities, but residential facilities for Elks visiting Fort Worth.  In the early 1950s the Lodge membership decided to move their quarters from the central business district and offered the building for sale. The Young Women’s Christian Association of Fort Worth and Tarrant County purchased the building in 1953, and after a fund raising drive, received the keys in 1955.  Today, the Y.W.C.A. operates child care and supportive living programs for women in the structure. The building was listed on the National Register in 1984 and became a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1986.  It is also a contributor to the proposed Central Business District Clubs and Fraternal Organizations National Register Thematic Group.  In 1990 the Y.W.CA. served as the Designers Showcase sponsored by the Historic Preservation Council for Tarrant County, and a restoration/rehabilitation project valued at $250,000 was undertaken in conjunction with the event.

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