Wiley G. Clarkson, Architect

Corsicana:  June 1908 to Dec. 1911

Fort Worth: Jan. 1912 to May 5, 1952

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Last update:  Aug 12, 2014

 

Federal, State, County, & Local Government Projects

in various towns

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.

 

The Federal Courthouse in Fort Worth

1932

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Oct. 20, 1933, front page.  Story and photos of the dedication of the Federal Courthouse in Fort Worth.  My grandfather is shown with other men who were there for the dedication. The left photo has the following men: In Front: Lawrence W. Robert Jr, asst. Sec. of Treasury. Behind him left to right: pres. of the Federal Business Assoc. J. C. Carpenter, architect Wiley G. Clarkson, and federal construction engineer C. C. Converse. The right photo from left to right: Postmaster General Farley, Farley, S-T publisher Amon G. Carter, US Congressman Fritz Lanham, architect Wiley G. Clarkson, Pres. FBA J. C. Carpenter, VPoUSA John. N. Garner, and asst. Sec. of Treasury Lawrence W. Robert Jr. Another photo showed a huge crowd jamming the streets around the courthouse. Of course, the "real" news headline is obvious!

 

Archer County, Texas

Archer County Court House

Archer City, Texas

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.

 

Tyler County Courthouse

Woodville, Texas

Job date: 1935  No Job Number available.

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 funding for 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 in Woodville,TX

 

Wichita Falls, Texas

1916 Wichita 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 page:

The Wichita County Courthouse is a 1916 courthouse that has been totally remodeled except for an original courtroom on the fourth floor

The 1916 Wichita County Courthouse
before the 1961 and 1980s remodeling

Architect: Fields & 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 postcard.

 

 

Temple, Texas

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 Engineers.

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 building connections. 

 

 

The Harmon Hospital

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.

 

 

 

Municipal Airport / Meacham Field

City of Fort Worth

listed in my grandfather's Professional Record

Administration Building 1936  $155,000.00

photo taken by W. D. Smith

Unknown job at Meacham Field 1945  $35,000.00

Municipal Airport Tower  1943  $9,000.00

 

W. D. Smith Photo

\

 

 

Army Air Force Station

Childress, Texas

1942

designed when associated with the firm of

Clarkson, Pelich, Gerens, and Rady

Work done for the U. S. Engineers

 

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.

 

Federal Housing 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.

 

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.”

 

 

Grayson County Airport

2.5 miles south of Pottsboro

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:  Airfields

announced in a Dallas Paper on 08/20/1940