Universal Mills Office Building – Beach

Universal Mills, one of the largest grain milling companies in the state, moved its operation to Fort Worth in 1922. The company purchased the Smith Brothers Grain Co. site in 1925. President and General Manager Gaylord J. Stone guided the company, which produced stock feed and flour, and was an important leader in the business community, serving for a time as a Chamber of Commerce director. In 1940 the company built this two-story streamlined Moderne office building to house operations for the expanding facility. Charles M. Davis, a local engineer who was a pioneer in concrete construction techniques, designed the building. One of the finest Moderne buildings in East Fort Worth, this reinforced concrete structure has a flat roof and steel frame casement windows. A tall vertical glass block win¬dow illuminates the interior stairway. Above the recessed entry bay is a striking relief sculpture of a man reaping wheat with grain silos in the distance. It was executed by Dwight C. Holmes, a local artist-sculptor who also worked on Fort Worth’s main Post Office, Casa Manana, and several State Fair buildings in Dallas. The main inte¬rior stairway wall features a large mural of “Yurn Kax, the Mayan Corn-God” painted by Zoe Davis, C.M. Davis’ daughter. Ms. Davis was a popular local muralist who studied at the Art Students League in New York City. The Universal Mills office building and the adjacent grain silos and elevators (R-59) may be eligible for the National Register because of their historic and architectural sig¬nilicance.

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