Wiley G. Clarkson, Architect

Corsicana:  June 1908 to Dec. 1911

Fort Worth: Jan. 1912 to May 5, 1952

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A Few of the Commercial Buildings in Fort Worth


The following Commercial Buildings are the ones I have been able to actually locate and photograph or that I have found old photographs of elsewhere.  There are many projects that are no longer standing or that I simply cannot find enough information on the internet to be able to locate and photograph.


The Max Mehl Building  

1200 South Henderson

The building was constructed in 1916 for B. Max Mehl, a world renowned numismatist.  It became vacant for a number of years and was in need of repair when it was purchased and restored in the mid-2000's.

The Max Mehl Building

The following is reprinted with permission

B. Max Mehl, Little Numismatic Giant, 1884-1957

By Dr. Sol Taylor

"Making Cents"

Saturday, Oct. 4, 202


    When I started collecting coins in 1937, I already knew of B. Max Mehl. His magazine ads had popularized coin collecting as none had before, and kids and adults alike were scouring the loose change, the piggy bank and their local banks in search of the "keepers."
    Mehl was born in Europe in 1884 and immigrated to the United States as a boy. He started his modest coin buying and selling business as a home-based enterprise in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1903 his first ad appeared in "The Numismatist."
    In 1904 he published the first of a series of coin price booklets, which he distributed widely by mail. The first series was known as "Catalogue of Fine Selections of Choice United States, Gold, Silver and Copper Coins, Private and Territorial Gold, United States Fractional Currency, etc. etc."
    In 1906, Mehl had spent $12.50 on an ad in Colliers magazine. Also in 1906 he rented space in an office building at 1309 Main Street.
    It was reported in several sources that in the early 20th Century, more than half of the incoming mail to Fort Worth went to 1309 Main Street.
    His draw from his ads was exceptional, as no other dealer was so resourceful at the time. His "Star Rare Coin Book" was a featured seller in his ads at 50 cents a copy.
    By 1916 he had a new building erected at 1204 W. Magnolia, just south of downtown Fort Worth, and named it the "Max Mehl Building." It still stands today.
    By 1924, Mehl's annual advertising budget grew to $50,000 an unheard of amount even for major retailers of the time. His book included prices he offered for various rare coins including the $50 for any 1913 Liberty head nickel. He never got one from the ads, but many years later bought one for hundreds of times that amount.
    Among his well-known customers were Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Amon Carter. He sold the collection of William Forrester Dunham (1857-1936) in 1941 for $83,364.08 a staggering amount for the time. It included the stars of U.S. coinage: 1804 silver dollar, 1822 $5 gold piece, 1802 half dime, and a broad selection of tokens. The three key coins alone would bring well over $3.5 million today.
    In his later years, Mehl moved to Southern California and operated his business from Beverly Hills. In a 1966 ad in "The Numismatist," he featured various Washington quarters for 50 cents each and sets of chrome-plated steel cents (1943 P, D, S) for $1.
    His fame in the field is largely due to his spreading the gospel, so to speak, of numismatics for all. Most of the dealers of his day were more tuned into the well heeled clients who were patrons of the arts of their day. This was well before such innovations as Coin World, Whitman coin folders, huge coin conventions, formal coin grading, and investment-driven buyers and speculators.
    Although Mehl was short in stature at perhaps 5'4", he was a giant in the field.











His methods were hucksterish,

but B. Max Mehl's advertising vehicles taught

countless Americans that some coins

can be worth more than the amount stated on them.












Fire Station #20  

(Drawer 2 #466)

4147 Meadowbrook Drive

Sitting on an island between streets, this Fire Station #20 has been converted into an art studio.






















Woolworth Building   (shelf 2 #363)

501 Houston

The old Woolworth Store, now home to several small businesses. 


The Sanger Brothers Building

(shelf 2 #341)

515 Houston

This eight story building was designed by my grandfather originally for the Sanger Brothers Department Store. Harry B. Friedman was the General Contractor.  After the Sanger Brothers moved out, it became Meacham's Department Store.  In 1971, Color Tile took over the building as their headquarters.  It now serves as offices for telecommunications companies and has a couple of eating establishments.  It is now called the STS Tower.



The W. C. Stripling Co Department Store

1937 across from Leonard Brothers Department Store

In a 1937 letter addressed to the Board of Control, State of Texas, Austin, TX, my grandfather lists a number of projects as he is discussing his interest in a State Hospital for the insane in West Texas, he lists a number of projects.  One project is the W. C. Stripling Co. Building which he describes as "under construction for $550,000".  This building was torn down by implosion.  When I was growing up, one of the downtown department stores my mother would take us to was "Striplings downtown" (the name we called it!) If anyone has a better photo of this building, please contact me!  From the files of the University of Texas, Texas Archival Resources Online, comes the following information: 

Project number: job# 627

Project name: W.C. Stripling Company building.

Date on drawings: 1937

Primary archt/firm: W.G. Clarkson & Company Architects     

    Client: W. C. Stripling Co.

    City: Fort Worth

    County: Tarrant

    State/Province: Tex.

    Country: U.S.

   Project number: job# 785

Project name: W.C. Stripling Company. Parking Garage and Store Addition.

Date on drawings: 1948

Primary archt/firm: W.G. Clarkson & Company Architects     

    Client: W. C. Stripling Co.

    City: Fort Worth

    County: Tarrant

    State/Province: Tex.

    Country: U.S.

   Project number: 627

Project name: W.C. Stripling Company building.

Date on drawings: 1937

Primary archt/firm: W.G. Clarkson and Company, architects     

    Client: W. C. Stripling Co.

    City: Fort Worth

    County: Tarrant

   State/Province: Tex.

    Country: U.S.


The Sinclair Building

(Shelf 2 #526)

512 Main Street

The Sinclair Building, named for one of the original tenants who leased 7 floors of the building, stands as one of my grandfather's best examples of Art-Deco Style Architecture.  The original owner was a man named Dulaney who was going to name the building after himself until the Sinclair Petroleum Comp. signed the lease.  My grandfather lists this building has his Job #526.  The most recent owners have carefully restored the building.


Photograph by W. D. Smith circa 1938

Sitting adjacent to and behind (west) of the Sinclair Building, is the Sanger Brothers Building.


United States Federal Court House

501 West 10th St.

U.S. Federal Court House was designed by my grandfather in association with Paul Philippe Cret. 


Photograph by W. D. Smith 1944



Texas State Teachers Assn.

410 E. Weatherford St.

Shelf 3 #533

This building became Old Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association This building has be demolished and replaced by a drive through bank. This building was torn down a few years ago and replaced with drive through banking.



The Millers Mutual Fire Insurance Company

Job 818  900 Monroe  (1946)

My grandfather was hired by this insurance company to turn a two story building into a four story building.  When I was 20, I worked in this building on the third floor for a short time when I "thought" I wanted to go into computer programming.  I never knew the area I worked in was designed by my grandfather!


The Vinnedge Building

2100 N. Main St

Shelf 1 #458)

This building was built for Thomas Vinnedge, who was a wholesale grocery and coffee distributor.  Morton foods purchased the building in 1953 for a snack food factory.  It was converted to an office building in 1987.


Fair Oaks Shopping Center

4405 River Oaks Boulevard

Job 833

Excerpted from an article at http://www.riveroakshistory.com/raymond_strapp

"Raymond went on to remind the group of businesses which were started in the boom days of the city. We all remember the Fair Oaks Shopping Center, which had not only the Fair as it's anchor, but had a Wyatt's Cafeteria, a Skillern's Drug Store, a Mott's Five and Dime, a Levine's Department Store, Dixon's Jewelers and several other businesses. He said that the Fair had a contract with the Volunteer Fire Department to wash down the parking lot of the shopping center each night. Of course, nearby was the Bonanza Steak House (now River Oaks Steak House), the new Cowtown Bowling Alley and just in the edge of Fort Worth was the Cowtown Drive-In movie, which is now an auto auction business." 


The Pantages Theater  (letter)

a.k.a.  The Ritz Theater

Drawer 2 Job 334

Theater: Apx 1100 Block of Commerce

Entrance: Apx 1100 Block of Main

It took me a while to find the actual job number of the Pantages because it was not originally built as the Pantages, even though when my grandfather used it in his 1929 portfolio, he showed and listed it as the Pantages.  It was originally designed and built for attorney's Slay, Simon, and Smith in 1924, with financial backing by attorney George W. Polk, as the Ritz Theater.  The Ritz had a seating capacity of 1561 patrons and was intended to bring back high quality stage shows to Fort Worth.  The attempt failed and it was purchased and became the Pantages Theater.  This theater also failed due to competition from the Hollywood, and other new theaters that were "big screen" theaters.  This building was eventually torn down in the mid 1960's to make way for the Tarrant County Convention Center.  My grandfather designed this building and my father, Wiley G. Clarkson Jr., who served on the Tarrant County Convention Center board during the design and construction of the Convention Center, helped bring about the demise of the theater.  It was located in an area near "Hell's Half Acre".



H. J. Justin and Company Boot Factory

610 Daggett Ave  Box 2 #368

Torn Down

I believe this was probably a large remodel project.  Other sources show the original building being designed during the years of 1900-1910.



West Side State Bank

3120 W. Seventh St

This was where my immediate family banked.  My grandfather was commissioned to design this bank in 1947.  This bank was about 1.5 miles from my house when I lived on Williamsburg Lane and about three blocks east of my father's gift shop after we move it to 3409 West 7th St in the Chickoski's Shopping Center.  This is the bank that where I learned how banks work as a teenager.  This bank was torn down several years ago as the area is going through a massive renewal with much larger, multi-story buildings being built.




Liberator Village

In 1942, my grandfather, in association with three of the leading architects in Fort Worth, and working for the U. S. Housing Authority and O. S. Engineers designed the McClosky Army Hospital located in Temple.  At the same time, they also designed Liberator Village, Fort Worth; Army air Force Station, Childress; Harmon Hospital, Longview, and Housing Work at McGregor.  The aggregating amount of money for this work was in excess of $25,000,000.00.  The Liberator Village was the government housing area for employees of the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation aircraft manufacturing plant which was constructed after 18 April 1942 next to the Army Air Force (AAF) Base Tarrant Field Airdrome, and an AAF aircraft plant NO. 4 was built just west of Fort Worth, Texas along the south side of Lake Worth. The Consolidated Vultee Bomber Plant workers would build the B-24 "Liberator" heavy bomber. Later, they would build the B-32 Dominator bomber that made it to the war for only a short time. In May 1949 the Village was inundated by a flood, but largely escaped damage with a small area north of the Village washed out by Farmers Creek. A few trailer houses were damaged, and one boy was killed. The Village was became a part of the White Settlement in 1954 and finally closed in 1955. It is now a suburb of Fort Worth famous for its longest factory building in the World operated by Lockheed Martin, and its proximity to the Fort Worth Naval Air Station.



Cascade Laundry

North side of 7th St on the west end of the Trinity River bridge

(shelf 2 #352)

This is the only information I have on the Cascade Laundry.  It was included in my grandfather's 1929 portfolio.  I vague memories of a similar building located near the west end of the 7th Street Bridge over the Trinity River.  However, at this time, I have not been able to find where this building was located.


The Rosenthal Furniture Company

Rosenthal Furniture was located on the same block in downtown that became Leonard Brothers Department Store.  In 1937, Leonard Brothers purchased the northwest corner of the block they had built their new store on, knocked out the walls to the former Rosenthal Furniture Company, and occupied the entire block of 1st, Houston, 2nd, and Throckmorton.  Needless to say, it is no longer extant.


The Magnolia Petroleum Company Fort Worth

Central Office and Service Building

originally located on the corner of 3rd and Commerce

My grandfather designed a number of projects for the Magnolia Petroleum Company across the state of Texas from Amarillo to Beaumont.  The Fort Worth and Amarillo offices are similar in design.  The Beaumont office was a four story building.  He also designed smaller filling stations for numerous locations.  During the 1920's, Magnolia used a bungalow style building for their smaller stations.  Shown below the company office photo is a surviving bungalow style building that was originally a Magnolia filling station on the North Side of Fort Worth that was built around 1925.  While there is no record of the architect for that address, I suspect it may have been my grandfather as he seems to have have been the architect of choice for Magnolia Petroleum Company in the Fort Worth, Beaumont, and Amarillo districts.


Biltmore Garage owned by E. P. Waggoner

Commerce St from 7th St. to 8th St.

Built in 1928 for $450,000.00.  The only images I have found are on a parking token and an advertisement in a in a directory.



Will Rogers Stock Show Buildings

Associate Architect for Six Stock Show buildings (from my grandfather's Professional Record of 1947)


Western Oldsmobile Dealership

(added on 01-17-2014)

1945    cost:  $125,000.00

location:  6600 Z Boaz Pl and Camp Bowie Blvd in Ridglea

When I was growing up, my grandmother drove either Buicks or Oldsmobiles.  Western is where she purchased her Olds products.  Western Olds closed a few years after 1974, the year of my grandmother's death.  Pictured is the present business occupying the showroom building.


901 Houston St., 1937 remodel

The following photographs were supplied to my by Mark Travis, Project Coordinator for the

Fort Worth Architectural Firm of Hahnfeld Hoffer Stanford.  He was in charge of the

latest remodel of the building, shown in the 2013 photo below.  The 1936/1937 renovation

gave the building the latest in the "Art Moderne" makeover that was cutting edge for the time.

1910-1936 Original design


1937-2013 by Clarkson


2013 by Hahnfeld Hoffer Stanford


The Zeloski Building   (shelf 1 #521)

3900 block Camp Bowie Blvd

This was a project I found out about through the web.  I was browsing a historical site of Fort Worth and this "strip mall" was listed and my grandfather was identified as the architect.  I grew up in this part of town, going to the Camp Bowie Movie theater as a boy, and I lived in my grandparents house on Hillcrest for nine years and never knew that the Zeloski Shopping Center, Job 521, was one of my grandfather's projects.  I eventually found the storage records for both Zeloski jobs.


The Zeloski Building    (shelf 1 #545)

4000 block Camp Bowie

Another Zeloski Building at 4000 Camp Bowie, Job 545.  Other web sites do not identify the architect but they show the contractor as the same for both buildings.  My grandfather's inventory does show two jobs for Zeloski, both are listed as Zeloski Estate Bldgs.