Wiley G. Clarkson, Architect

Corsicana:  June 1908 to Dec. 1911

Fort Worth: Jan. 1912 to May 5, 1952

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Houses and Housing in Various Locations

in Fort Worth

 

Ripley Arnold and Butler Place Housing Project's

1938 - 1940

1947 Professional Record

I can't count the number of times I have been in or by those projects when I lived in Fort Worth and never knew the role my grandfather had in designing Fort Worth's first public housing project.  This photo is an aerial photograph shows the Ripley Arnold project although I was almost never in the Bultler Place project. My grandfather was the Chief Architect with five associate architects: Whithers, Geren, Pelich, Crane, and Hedrick.  The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce has this information about the project:

"Fort Worth’s first public housing development, completed in 1940, was named to honor Major Ripley Arnold, commanding officer of the Fort on the Bluff overlooking the Trinity River that became Fort Worth (1849).  Six local architects designed the apartments in 1938 to provide affordable housing for low-income white tenants. Butler Place, several blocks east, was built at the same time for African-American residents. Funding for the 252 modernistic brick and concrete dwellings came from the United States Housing Authority and the sale of City of Fort Worth Housing Authority bonds. Twenty-eight new homes were added in 1962. Units were racially integrated in the 1960s and air conditioning was added in 1996. Ripley Arnold Place was sold in 2001; its proceeds provided seed money for mixed income developments in neighborhoods throughout the city. This new housing created better environments for residents and their families."

The Ripley Arnold Housing project has now been demolished.  The Butler Place Project is still in use and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.

From the National Register:

“The Butler Place Public Housing Project was one of fifty-two Public Works Administration low-income housing projects built in the United States. The complex is significant for the manner in which its architectural design and site organization expressed the social ideals and planning standards of the period, in compliance with strict federal Public Housing Administration guidelines…

Modernist design principles stressed form and function, rejected superfluous ornamentation, and incorporated a philosophy of social change. Consequently, these principles were employed in some of the first federally funded public housing projects such as the Carl Mackley Houses in Philadelphia in 1935, and Cedar Springs Place in Dallas, which was constructed in 1937. Wiley G. Clarkson and associate architects also applied these modernist ideals at the Butler Place and Ripley Arnold housing projects in Fort Worth in1939. Their organization to provide an open atmosphere of light and air also found inspiration in the Garden City Movement. According to Judith Johnson’s The Art of Architecture: Modernism in Memphis 1890–1980, these design principles were based upon the theory that a housing project is not merely a collection of dwelling units, but that it provides the basis for a way of life for its inhabitants within the planned framework of a neighborhood…

At Butler Place, the brick veneer buildings were designed in a stripped or minimalist adaptation of the Colonial Revival style, which was popular for domestic architecture in the United States in the early twentieth century.”

 

 

Chase Court

3 Chase Court  (drawer 2 #133)

Designed for Dr. Clay Johnson, my grandmother's uncle.

Design and construction was completed in 1912, after my grandfather joined the firm of Waller and Field.  Dr. Johnson was the uncle of my grandmother and helped my grandfather obtain his job with Waller and Field in early 1912.  The owners of this house have the blueprints and linen drawings, which is quite a rarity.  The architecture is in the Prairie School style.  My grandfather referred to this house in a couple of letters to potential clients and contractors over a period of 20 years.  I believe he was probably a designer for Waller and Field on this project.  He designed a similar house with a different roof line, on Elizabeth Blvd for cattleman the A. J. Long.

 

   

              

       

 

Summit and Penn Street

(Also known as Quality Hill)

Quality Hill was the exclusive neighborhood in Fort Worth where, beginning in the late 1890s, beautiful Victorian mansions were built and owned by wealthy cattle barons, bankers, physicians, publishers, and businessmen. The mansions were situated along the top of a hill overlooking the Trinity River.  There are only two still standing and in use today.

1599 West Jarvis 

(letter & storage index: Box 1 #114)

Lyman D. Cobb

This house is mentioned in a 1916 letter to a potential client and is described as a house he had designed.  The historic marker on the house says it was completed in 1904, which would be before my grandfather even enrolled in architectural school.  The house is referred to as a Waller and Field project.  It is a Prairie School design structure, a style used both by Field and by my grandfather.  Other sources have said that there is no further information available on the exact architect.  This could have been a remodel project but the letter refers to it as a house project.  This project will apparently remain clouded in mystery but since my grandfather actually names the project in the letter and it is still in use today, I have listed it here.

 

1209 Summit  

(Box 2 #197)

The James Harrison Home

This house was designed and built in 1916.  It was demolished in the late 1990's to make way for commercial expansion from downtown Fort Worth.

 

Houses listed in my grandfather's letters that no longer exist

on Quality Hill

820 Penn Street  (box 1 #142)

Leroy Smith

This house was torn down to make way for business expansion in the area.  No photo has been located at this time.

No photos are available at this time.

1306 Summit Avenue (1916)  (letter)

Frank M. Weaver

This house was torn down to make way for business expansion in the area.  No photo has been located at this time.

No photo is available at this time

1312 (W.?) Presidio

George Thompson

This house was torn down to make way for business expansion in the area.  No photo has been located at this time.

No photo is available at this time

 

Liberator Village, Fort Worth

designed when associated with the firm of

Clarkson, Pelich, Gerens, and Rady

Work done for the U. S. Engineers

The Liberator Village was the government housing area for employees of the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation aircraft manufacturing plant.  Liberator village was constructed after April of 1942 to house workers who were having a hard time finding housing.  These workers built the B-24 and B-32 bombers during the war, and later built the B-36, and B-58 bombers.  Consolidated Aircraft Corp later became General Dynamics, and eventually Lockheed Aircraft.  Liberator.  Liberator Village was officially closed in 1955.

 

 

Mistletoe Heights

1138 Clara Street

(Box 1 #270)

Ellis H. Boyd, President of Fort Worth Rotary 1924-1925

TAD:  1921.  I found this house when searching on the Boyd name as listed in a storage inventory of my grandfather's projects.  Boyd and my grandfather were both members of the downtown Fort Worth Rotary. This house was listed on a web site called The Prairie Shool Traveler, which is a style of architecture that was popular in the early 1900's.  Their web site lists the architect as unknown.  The TAD date is probably off by a year as the design work was probably done in 1919.

 

2232 W. Magnolia Ave.

(Box 2 #145)

Newton J. Matthews, (Clyde) salesman, Washer Brothers

TAD:  1920.   This date is probably close based on my grandfather's job numbering.  I located this house with the help of a friend working for a historical group who had access to a 1927 phone book.  This may or may not be one of my grandfather's houses, however, Newton Matthews lived in the house when the phone book was published.

 

 

1920 Dartmoor Court

(Box 2 Job 221)

J. Walter. Poindexter, President of Poindexter Furniture and Carpet Company.

TAD:  1923.  This date is very close to the Job Index dating for Box 2 jobs.  Poindexter also had my grandfather design a store and factory for him.  That job number was Drawer 2 Job 254.  I located this house with the help of a friend working for a historical group who had access to a 1927 phone book.  This may or may not be one of my grandfather's houses, however, Newton Matthews lived in the house when the phone book was published.

 

 

 

University Place Addition

2434 Rogers Ave.

 (Box1 Jobs 422/434)

Designed for W. Sidney Poston, Rancher

TAD: 1927.  It is located just a few blocks from the TCU campus and, until recently, was being used as a fraternity house.  When this photo was taken, the house was on the market.  This house was actually located by Mike Nichols, who is a retired Star Telegram writer, and published a web site called Hometown By Handlebar .  Mike has helped me on several of my grandfather's projects and is an admirer of my grandfather's work.  My grandfather did work for several of the Poston family members.

 

 

2429 Wabash Ave

Marcus H. Moore  (Box 1 #421)

This house was probably built circa 1928.  I located this house with the help of a friend working for a historical group who had access to a 1927 phone book.  This may or may not be one of my grandfather's houses, however, Newton Matthews lived in the house when the phone book was published.

 

 

 

Fairmount

2010 Hurley St.

James Harrison  (box 2 #197)

TAD:  1921.  This house is actually one block into the Fairmont addition from the Ryan Addition.  Ryan Street turns into Hurley St and this house was almost at the end of the first block of Hurley.I located this house with the help of a friend working for a historical group who had access to a 1925 phone book.  This may or may not be one of my grandfather's houses, however, Newton Matthews lived in the house when the phone book was published.

 

2021 Huntington

(Box 1 #144)

John Thompson, oil operator, 414 (A) Cotton Exchange Building

TAD: 1925.  The job number assigned to this house points to a design date circa 1917. I located this house with the help of a friend working for a historical group who had access to a 1927 phone book.  This may or may not be one of my grandfather's houses, however, Newton Matthews lived in the house when the phone book was published.

 

1514 6th Ave

Miss Anna Shelton  (Box 1 Job 413)

TAD: 1919.  I am showing this house but I am not at all sure it is one of my grandfather's designs.  Future research may require me to remove this or it may prove it is one of my grandfather's designs.  The TAD date of 1919 does not agree with the possible job date based on my grandfather's records.  However, I have found several out of sync job numbers.  This job number would indicate a design date circa 1927.  However, Miss Shelton was living in the house in 1927 according to the 1927 Fort Worth phone book which would have been based on 1926 information.  Miss Shelton previously lived at 1414 Pruitt Street according to the 1923 Fort Worth Woman's Club Yearbook.

 

 

Forest Park Place Subdivision

2201 Weatherbee St.

(Box 2 #236)

W. Stevenson Cooke, Cooke-Boyd Motor Co, Vice President Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce

TAD dates this house to 1924, which is probably close to my grandfather's numbering.  My grandfather also designed the Cooke-Boyd Motor Company Garage Building (Shelf 4 Jobs 206, 487, 498) 

I located this house with the help of a friend working for a historical group who had access to a 1927 phone book.  This may or may not be one of my grandfather's houses, however, Newton Matthews lived in the house when the phone book was published.