Wiley G. Clarkson,
June 1908 to Dec. 1911
Fort Worth: Jan.
1912 to May 5, 1952
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update: Aug 12, 2014
State, County, & Local Government Projects
During 1933, Wiley G.
Clarkson was appointed Chief Architectural Supervisor for the
105 Counties of Northwest Texas, Federal Housing Administration.
He also designed numerous projects that received WPA funding.
Courthouse in Fort Worth
Shelf 3 Job 359
The original Archer County
Court House was a two story building with a tall central tower.
In 1926, my grandfather was retained to add a third floor for
offices to the court house. The amount of money he lists
in his professional record covering the years 1925 to 1947 as
being the cost of the project is $80,000.00. The tower was removed, the
third floor added, and a different roof added. My
grandfather assigned the design work to an employee who was a
designer/architect named Elmer G. Withers. In 1928,
Withers established his own architectural firm in Fort Worth.
Several of Fort Worth's future fine architects
had their start working for my grandfather.
The 1892 Archer County Court House before
the remodeling and expansion.
Job date: 1935 No Job
I was reviewing a newly
found job inventory list from April, 1946 and noticed a job
listed as the Tyler County Courthouse. There was no number
attached to the job or date. I started searching the
internet for information on the Tyler County Courthouse and came
across the web site of architect Leonard Lane, of Houston, who
has been photographing every courthouse in Texas and publishing
the photos and a history of the courthouse on his web site
254 Texas Courthouses. When I found the Tyler County
Courthouse, I found a nice history of the courthouse that helped
pin this down as one of my grandfather's projects in 1935 to
1937. I doubt there is recorded information regarding the
architect, my grandfather, at the time that history was written. The
original courthouse was designed by the Corpus Christi
architectural firm of Glover and Hodges in 1891 and constructed
by the contractors M. A. McKnight and McKnight from 1891-1892.
The original courthouse, shown in a THC photo below, was the
typical design of the period. In 1935, the county
commissioners decided to do a
massive remodel and expansion project on the courthouse and used WPA
the project. During this time, my grandfather was one of the
principle architects for the WPA. He designed a number of
WPA projects, which included schools in the north Texas area.
When I looked at the modernized courthouse, I could see my
grandfather's style of that time frame staring back at me.
He had used similar characteristics in other projects from about
1928 -1935 in Fort Worth that are still in use today, unchanged
from when they were built and some having historical markers
assigned to them. On Feb 1, 2014, my family and I visited
Woodville and I photographed the Tyler County Court House.
Unfortunately, the State Historic Marker telling the history of
the court house does not include any information about the
architect for the WPA, but I have found that this is not unusual
for WPA funded projects. On another historic marker in
front of the courthouse was a history of Tyler County. On
that marker, we learned that Linda's g-g-g-g uncle James Barclay
was the first Tax
Accessor-Collector of Tyler County. The
Barclay family played a major role in the settling of Tyler
County in the 1830's and were good friends with Sam Houston.
James' brother, Anderson Barclay, and Deaf Smith captured Santa
Anna at San Jacinto. My wife's great-great-great grandmother was
their sister, Nancy Barclay.
Tyler County Court House
in Woodville, Texas, Feb. 1, 2014
THC photo of the 1892 Tyler County Courthouse
I found this photo of the
Wichita County Courthouse in a box of records in my mother's attic.
I have known of numerous projects in Wichita Falls and the
surrounding area but I have not found a record of this project until
now. During 1915 and the years following, Fields and my
grandfather established a second office in a town that appeared to
be on the verge of an economic explosion after oil was discovered in
the area surrounding Wichita Falls. Fields handled the Wichita
Falls office with the help of another architect they hired.
Large jobs would be divided between the Fields and my grandfather.
When I did a Google search on the 1916 Wichita County Court House, I
found a web site, TexasEscapes.com that had a page on the
courthouse. They had the following on description on that
County Courthouse is a 1916 courthouse that has been totally
remodeled except for an original courtroom on the fourth floor
The 1916 Wichita
before the 1961 and 1980s remodeling
& Clarkson and Sanguiner & Pate
The courthouse has gone
through two times of remodeling and no longer bares a resemblance to
the 1916 Courthouse. I found one reb poster who took photos of
the newer Courthouse and said that he thought the newer one was
ugly. The next photo is the completed courthouse pictured on a
In 1942, my grandfather, in
association with three of the leading architects in Fort Worth, Pelich,
Geren, and Rady 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 McClosky Hospital
eventually became known as The Olin E. Teague Veterans
Aadministration Center. Many of the original buildings are now
torn down. Some of the buildings have been replaced while
others have open areas. The main hospital building shown below
with the flags in front has been added to over the years. The
old hospital wards and treatment areas have been reduced in number
from what is shown on the drawing my grandfather made. The
church building appears to be unchanged except for possibly lack of
use (from what I could see, at least). In the last several
years, the Army seems to becoming less supportive of religion so
this building may end op on the demolition list. I did learn
through experience that the VA is very nervous about anyone taking
photos of their property, especially in the light of all the recent
investigations of the VA and the attack on 9/11! Lesson
learned on that one!!!
The above artwork was produced by
Clarkson, Pelich, Geren, & Rady: Consulting Architects and
W. D. Smith photographed and
reproduced photographic prints of the original art on May 1, 1942.
The McClosky Army Hospital
has been added to over the years but it is still in use today.
Many of the original buildings have been demolished and replaced.
The original building to the right (south) of the main
hospital was recently torn down and will probably be replaced with a
modern structure of some kind.
The housing wards were
all connected by hallways making it possible for personnel to
move between the wards without having to go out into the
weather. The four units pictured above were still
connected (see the first image above).
The church building shown
above shows the connecting hallway that was typical of all the
no photos of the
hospital have been located
Established by the United
States Army in 1942, Harmon General Hospital was named for Colonel
Daniel W. Harmon (1880-1940), a medical officer in the regular Army.
220 buildings were rapidly constructed on the 156-acre site, and the
hospital was activated on Nov. 24, 1942, with Colonel G. V. Emerson
as the first commanding officer. Harmon General had facilities for
surgery, physical therapy, laboratory analysis, dental care, and
medical treatment. Associated with the hospital were a post
exchange, chapel, library, post office, bank, theater, gymnasium,
laundry, mess halls, barracks, and living quarters for the nurses
and physicians -- all combined to make the facility a self-reliant
community. Major M. K. Moulding succeeded Colonel Emerson as
commanding officer. 200 inmates of the prisoner of war camp at
Fannin were assigned in May 1945 to work at the hospital. The
facility closed when the last of the 25,000 wartime patients left in
Dec. 1945. The hospital attracted wide community support. The Garden
Study Club of Longview landscaped much of the grounds. Their
projects included an allee or crepe myrtle planted along the
original main entrance. LeTourneau College now (1976) occupies the
site. Designed in association with Pelich,
Geren, and Rady.
/ Meacham Field
City of Fort
listed in my grandfather's
Building 1936 $155,000.00
photo taken by W. D. Smith
Unknown job at
Meacham Field 1945 $35,000.00
Tower 1943 $9,000.00
W. D. Smith Photo
Army Air Force
associated with the firm of
Gerens, and Rady
Work done for the
U. S. Engineers
Village, Fort Worth
associated with the firm of
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.
Project in McGregor, Texas 1942
Numerous searches of the
internet has produced little information on this project.
What I do know is that in 1942, work was begun on Fort Hood Army
Base and that 300 families were forced to move out of their
homes for Fort Hood expansion. My thinking is that this project was
to help the displaced families with finding homes.
Schools and most
hospitals also fall under the government umbrella but they
are listed on separate pages.
and Butler Place Housing Project's
1938 - 1940
1947 Professional Record
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."
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.
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
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
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
2.5 miles south of
announced in a
Dallas Paper on 08/20/1940
Some time in the
1930's my grandfather formed an airport design company. From
what little I have been able to find on this airfield, it probably
started out as a commercial venture by Denison and Sherman. In the
Spring of 1941, Grayson County leaders leased it out to the Army Air Force
as a pilot training base.
In 1940, my grandfather had already taken on a large scale
government contract in Fort Worth. As the war started up, he took
on more and more defense related contracts with several other
leading architects in Fort Worth. From a description below,
the design of this air field is similar to the Childress airfield
using a triangular pattern for runways. After the war ended,
this pilot training facility became Perrin Air Force Base. It
closed in 1971 and returned to being what had been originally
planned as a general aviation airfield. For more information:
announced in a
Dallas Paper on 08/20/1940