Wiley G. Clarkson, Architect

Corsicana:  June 1908 to Dec. 1911

Fort Worth: Jan. 1912 to May 5, 1952

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Fort Worth Organizations

Service organizations, private clubs, etc that had a role

in the history of Fort Worth

 

Fort Worth Baseball Club Grandstand

(Fort Worth Cats)

Drawer 2 Job 392

It took me a while to figure this one out.  This particular job had me stumped until I found a Wiki write up on the Fort Worth Cats baseball team.  In the story on Wiki, a baseball stadium had been built in the early 1900's that was called Panther Park.  However, it went on to say that in 1926, the organization opened a new ballpark that replaced the old Panther Park.  The new Panther Park was a few blocks from the original Panther Park on the other side of North Main Street.  Paul LaGrave was the team manager, a man who had worked his way up in the front office.  After he passed away in 1929, W. K. Stripling, the owner of the Cats, renamed Panther Park in honor of LaGrave. W. K. Stripling was a friend and a client of my grandfather, who had designed Stripling's house at 1315 Hillcrest in 1915. While I felt that this was the grandstands my grandfather had designed, I still had to come up with some form of dating on the job description.  At the same time, I checked into other ball fields that were in Fort Worth and none fell into the category of construction that my grandfather was well known for.  I finally found the key to the dating in my grandfather's jobs records.  The first job was the Bowie High School, Drawer 2 Job 358, which was a 1925 design job for the Bowie ISD.  I then found another job, a house designed for Max Mehl, Drawer 2 Job 396.  This job was done in 1927.  The final job he designed that established the time frame of his job numbering for Drawer 2 was the house he designed and built for my grandmother in 1928, which was Drawer 2 Job 419.  As a result, I am very confident he designed the grandstand for the Fort Worth Baseball Club LaGrave Field. Unfortunately, there is no independent confirmation of this to be found. This is true for a lot of architecture, including numerous jobs he did for people.  I have found more builder's names attached to historical records than the names of the architects.  In many cases, an assumption is placed on a marker or record that the architect is "believed" to have been so-in-so.  My connection to LaGrave field dates to 1949 when I was 10 months old and my parents took me to the Fort Worth Cats games. 

 

The Woman's Club of Fort Worth

Waples Hall, The Kitchen, and The Playhouse

Playhouse:  Box 1 Job 192.

No job numbers on Waples Hall and The Kitchen

   

     

The search for the Woman's Club of Fort Worth project actually started with a job storage location described as the "Woman's Club Playhouse."  For a father of three daughter's, one can imagine what comes to mind when the word "playhouse" is used to describe a project.  To make it more difficult, the project was very early in the Club's history.  I searched the internet for hours trying to find information on "The Playhouse".  It did not exist.  I finally found a reference to a project my grandfather had done that had the address 1316 Pennsylvania.  A trip to Fort Worth produced the correct location but it was called Waples Hall.  I drove around several times looking and nothing looked like what I imagined the Playhouse might look like but based on what I had found on the internet regarding architects who did work for the Club, I asked a member heading into the Club for lunch, for help!  That was a meeting that was indeed "in the cards" as the person was just who I needed to talk to and she provided some good info.  I had to leave as time was short for my return to Walnut Spring but I soon received an invitation for lunch with several women at the Club who could help me in my search.  After a couple of weeks, we were able to get together for lunch.  They had gone into their records and found the information that I was lacking.  They made me nice binder of some records on my grandmother, who was one of the earliest members.  It also included a list of the jobs by dates and descriptions that my grandfather had done for them.  They remembered the Playhouse but did not have any information on it other than that it was a building that was separate from the other buildings and that it was used for plays.  They did not know when it was removed.  I believe that the Playhouse was probably a remodel job done to an existing building in the mid 1920's shortly after the Club was organized.  The area where The Playhouse was located is now a parking lot.  The other jobs are listed below.  Interestingly, these are jobs I had no record of being done!

Waples Hall - March 25, 1947

Tea Room - March 25, 1947

Kitchen - July 3, 1948

Tea Room - August 18, 1948

The one really unique part of the visit was getting to view the original blue prints drawn by my grandfather.  There is something special about holding something so detailed done by your grandfather that you never knew.  Also, original blueprints of his projects are VERY rare as all of the stored records in his office were eventually destroyed after his death by the new owner.

Received this email recently from a long time Womans Club member regarding the "Playhouse in my grandfather's Index:

"The building across Tucker St. that was built by your grandfather was called The Music Box. It was located across from the current art studio & was built for the music clubs, although it did not work very well for that purpose. It had various uses & was leased out to private entities. The property was sold in 1940. When the club realized it needed more parking, it began acquiring properties across Tucker St. This particular property was reacquired in 1960 & the building was torn down. That whole block became the club parking lot. I have never come across a picture of The Music Box." 

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The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA)

in Downtown Fort Worth on West 5th  

512 Lamar    (Shelf 3 #317)      

The "Downtown" YMCA, where I spent time as a boy on Saturdays after going to the movies at either The Worth, The Hollywood, or The Palace theaters on 7th Street.  The building was expanded in the mid eighties and became co-ed when the YWCA moved in with the YMCA.