Johnson House – Highway 80

A native of Fort Worth, Gillis A. Johnson served as assistant city attorney for Fort Worth from 1921 until 1926, when he joined the prestigious law firm of Cantey, Hanger & McMahon, known as Cantey, Hanger, Johnson, Scarborough & Gooch by the time of Johnson’s death in 1962. With a reputation as one of the country’s best trial lawyers, Johnson specialized in lost land title, or vacancy, cases, and in 1936 earned one of the largest contingency fees ($2,000,000) ever recovered in a Texas legal case, for the Texas Permanent School Fund. The Texas legislature honored Johnson posthumously for his notable career in 1963. Johnson and his wife, Stella Flato Johnson, had a large ranch house constructed about 1936 on a rural, eighty- acre tract in western Tarrant County where he raised livestock. Attributed to local architect Joseph J. Patterson, the rambling, Spanish Colonial Revival style residence has hollow tile walls clad in stucco and intersecting gable roofs with red Mission tile. A central, two- story wing is framed by engaged columns and features a massive pair of carved wood doors below a balcony with tile surrounds and wrought iron railing; to the east is a one-story wing with a cast stone arcade. A two-story wing projects to the west with a cantilevered, Monterey-style balcony. After Johnson’s death, the house became the offices of Continental Standard Insurance Co., at which time an addition was constructed on the west. The site would qualify for the National Register, pending research to determine the integrity of this important house.

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