Wiley G. Clarkson, Architect

Corsicana:  June 1908 to Dec. 1911

Fort Worth: Jan. 1912 to May 5, 1952

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Homes of West Fort Worth

The houses shown below were designed and built on the West Side of Fort Worth.  This area includes the Hill Crest, River Crest, and Westover Hills housing additions.  My grandfather, in partnership with a couple of other well known men in the Forth Worth area,  also owned a number of prime lots on Alta Drive, at the end of West 7th Street.  I have found no records of any houses he designed for these lots after they were sold.  Some of the houses in these areas are now in restricted areas and cannot be photographed. My grandfather, in his biography from 1929, says that the bulk of his home design work has been in the Ryan Place Addition and the River Crest addition.  I have only recently been able to expand that to a few other areas.  Going by that statement, there are still a lot of houses to find in just the River Crest addition!  The dates of design are Tarrant Appraisal District (TAD) unless otherwise noted.

River Crest Addition


1925 Fort Worth map of River Crest


Rivercrest addition, Fort Worth 2013


The William Thomas (Tom) Waggoner home

800 Rivercrest Dr.

(drawer 1 #301)

W. T. Waggoner was a very successful livestock producer and business man in Fort Worth during the first 30 years of the 20th Century.  His family ranch near Electra was one of the largest in the state.  One of his business adventures was the Arlington Downs Race Track, located approximately where Six Flags Over Texas and an office complex across from Six Flags are located now.  My grandfather designed all of the structures for the race track.  They were friends.

TAD 1930  (this date is not correct) :  This was one of the largest homes my grandfather designed. It was also one of the homes he seems to have been most proud of designing as he mentions it in numerous letters and features it in his 1912-1927 Portfolio.  The B&W Photo is from that portfolio which I believe was published in late 1927. This is the only known portfolio in existence.  At the time it was built, there was no address for this house which proved to be quite a challenge for a while. I actually located this house using Google Earth and looking at the roof of the house comparing the satellite photo to the photo my grandfather used in his advertising portfolio.  At some point in time, it was assigned the address 800 Rivercrest Dr.  The Tarrant Appraisal District shows this house being constructed in 1930.  However, the photo below that was scanned from my grandfather's portfolio was taken in 1927 and it is obvious that the house had already been completed and was occupied.

The following photos were made on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012.  The owner very graciously allowed me to come onto her property to photograph her home.  In the almost 90 years since this house was built, there have been a number of large homes constructed.  However, I believe this home will always rate in the top 1% of the homes in its class in Fort Worth! 




Thomas B. Yarbrough and William T. Waggoner Estates

 Satellite image courtesy of Google Earth.

This gives a good view of how large these two estates really are.


The Thomas B. Yarbrough home

820 Rivercrest Dr

(drawer 1 #264)

TAD 1922: Thomas B. Yarbrough, a businessman, stockman, and vice-president of the First National Bank of Fort Worth, and his wife, Glenn Halsell Yarbrough, moved to the area in 1907 and moving into a beautiful home located at 1310 West Cannon.  In 1921, they purchased three adjoining lots on the bluff overlooking the West Fork of the Trinity River. They hired the Fort Worth architectural firm of Clarkson and Gaines to design their house and contractor, Harry B. Friedman, to construct the house. Mrs. Yarbrough occupied the house until her death in 1975.  The Yarbrough house is in the Mediterranean style. The H-plan, two-story house features a central entry flanked by two projecting end bays with French doors. Ornate wrought-iron gates are a prominent original feature of the central and wing entries; however, the wrought-iron balcony is a later addition. Changes to the house include the enclosing of the rear arcaded porch and the addition of louvered, non-functional shutters to the first and second-story windows. In the mid-1920's, Yarbrough's cousin and business associate/partner, Wm. Tom Waggoner, would build an equally large and beautiful house next door.  Yarbrough's house is another of the finest homes ever constructed in Tarrant County from the early Twentieth Century.  This photo was made circa 1928 for a portfolio of my grandfather's designs from 1912-1927.  This house, like the W. T. Waggoner house, was included in the my grandfather's portfolio.  It is also about a half a mile around the road from the George Polk and Zeno C. Ross homes across from River Crest Country Club. It also proved to be quite challenging to locate as it did not seem to have an assigned address until years later. The address eventually assigned is 820 Rivercrest Dr.  I have been unsuccessful in locating any other photos of this home and the present owners will not allow any photography of their home.  The Yarbrough House was awarded a Texas Historical Marker in 1983 but it is apparently displayed in a restricted area so it is not viewable by the public.  



The George W. Polk home

4600 Alta Drive

(shelf 3 #300)

TAD 1935 (this date is not correct):  The George W. Polk home at 4600 Alta Drive was designed circa 1922 and probably built in that time frame. Polk was a young and very capable lawyer in Fort Worth, the son of James Polk, a cattleman like W. T. Waggoner. He did legal work for my grandfather.  The owner graciously allowed me onto her private property to make this photo.  The 2nd and 3rd B&W photos are scans from my grandfather's 1912-1927 Portfolio. They show the house has been lived in for a few years already.  This was another case of no early assigned address and it took some time to find the house.



William K. Stripling

1315 Hillcrest St

(drawer 3 #122)

TAD 1915.  As a teenager and young adult, I lived in my grandmother's home at 1417 Hillcrest St. (about 4 houses or so to the south) and did not know that my grandfather had been the architect for this home just a few houses up the block from our house.  Stripling was vice-president of the family department store, and W. C. Stripling Co. The house is a hip-roofed block flanked by a terraced loggia on the north and a recessed, two-story wing on the south. Distinctive features of the residence include the Classical portico and the semicircular base-relief panels above the first floor windows. The roof is original tile, although the brick wall surfaces have been painted.  There are actually two dates for first occupancy of this house:  one is the TAD date of 1915 and the other is a research date of 1928.


William (Will) Bomar Sr. Home

1503 Hillcrest Street


TAD 1925:  This house took a lot of looking to find, and, believe it or not, I lived next door to this house from 1966 to 1974.  According to a letter I found in my grandfather's files, my grandfather designed a house of Will Bomar starting around 1917.  According to the Tarrant Appraisal District, the house was completed in 1925, which I believe may be several years off.  Personal records that my family used to have on my grandfather's house at 1417 Hillcrest house (next door) indicated our house was built circa 1922.  The TAD, however, shows my grandparents home as being built in 1935, just four years before my grandfather purchased it. It took me about five months of looking and false leads before I ran across a story that said that Will Bomar lived with his brother, David Bomar, in a house on Broad Ave, which was about two blocks north west of the Rivercrest Country Club for several years. That would explain why the 1918 and 1922 Fort Worth phone books placed Will Bomar at David Bomar's house, two blocks north west of the club house on Broad Ave, instead of the one that I had always known him to live in on Hillcrest St.  The possibility remains that I "could" be wrong on this house, but I believe that I am correct.


Original Client May Be Zeno C. Ross

1300 Western Ave

TAD Year Built: 1915

Finding this house has taken more than a year of looking and it was found by dumb luck at another house that I had looked for over about the same amount of time.  When I pulled up to the house at 15 Westover Rd, I was met in the front yard by the general contractor who was doing some remodeling for the present owners.  A discussion about my grandfather followed after our meeting and he told me that he had worked on another house that had the original plans, and that he had seen my grandfather's name on those plans.  He told me where to find the house.  The following photo was made from Broad Ave on one of Fort Worth's worst winter days in a number of years.  The house shown has gone through a number of changes and the contractor told me it does not resemble the original design anymore.  According to the Tarrant Appraisal District, the house was built in 1915, three years after my grandfather's entry into the architectural market in Fort Worth.  This could possibly be the Zeno C. Ross River Crest home, (box 1 #92) which would have been dated circa 1914 by the storage-job number. Zeno C. Ross (box 1 #92) also had two houses designed by my grandfather.  The first was in Ryan Place, and the 2nd was in River Crest. At a later date, George W. Polk built his home, which was also designed by my grandfather, to the south of this home.  They are basically back yard neighbors.



The C. H. Bencini Home. 

Shelf 5 #135-A)

Charles H. Bencini was another prominent cattleman during the first thirty years of the 20th century.  He had two homes designed by my grandfather at about the same time.  One was in Ryan Place and the other River Crest. My grandfather mentions the Bencini houses in several letters to clients and lists them as Jobs 135 and 135-A.  The first image I found of the River Crest house was a very poor image published in the Fort Worth Star Telegram in 1915.

01/03/2014:  After more than a year of looking, a map owned by Historic Fort Worth was located that has the name Wharton penciled in over 1308 Humble Ct.  One of my grandfather's documents talked about a project for A. B. Wharton at the old Bencini home.  The A. B. Wharton was actually the son of A. B. Wharton and Electra Waggoner, owners of the historic Thistle Hill home, and the grandson of W. T. Waggoner.

01/16/2014:  I located the Bencini home on a section of Humble Ct.  I spent some time on Humble and Alta Drive today.  The homes on Humble Ct are all back off the road and behind gates with rock walls.  While I was there, one of the residents came out and stopped and talked for several minutes which proved to be very informative.  This helped me locate the Bencini home on Humble Ct.  The house, like the others in this area, was behind a high rock wall lined with trees and almost invisible to anyone just standing on the road.  The entrance to the home was almost on Alta Drive but the home itself was almost to the end of Humble Ct.  I stopped by Historic Fort Worth and the researcher for Historic Homes told be she had also found the house several days earlier.  This home has been owned by several of Fort Worth's prominent citizens.

Standing at the main gate looking toward the home

From Humble Ct looking at the main gate

Satellite image


River Crest homes

 that I do not have photo's or locations for at this time.


Jas T. Taylor

(box 2 #161)

This is a poor quality, very old photo of the Jas T. Taylor home in River Crest that was published in the Fort Worth Star Telegram in 1915. .  Again no address if given for this house.  Taylor was a builder in Fort Worth during the first 30 years of the 20th Century.  He was one of the builders my grandfather used.  The photo below was published in the Fort Worth Star Telegram in 1915.  I have been told that this home was torn down.





W. C. Summers

(box 1 #299)

W. C. Summers (box 1 #299) was a director of a Fort Worth based Railroad.  He had a house designed by my grandfather and built in the River Crest area, according to my grandfather's records.  The location remains a mystery.  Listed as job number 299 in my grandfather's job inventory and a letter to a client.




George Thompson Jr 


George Thompson Jr  (letter) is listed in a 1920's phone book as simply River Crest, no address provided.  This house has also not been located.  This house is referred to in a letter to a client.



Westover Addition

Pearle and Harry Trentman

34 Valley Ridge Road

1930 business record

TAD 1962:  My records indicate an actual date of circa 1930.  The Tarrant Appraisal District lists my great aunt's house as being built in 1962, which is totally wrong!  I have a record showing that my great aunt paid by grandfather for architectural work in 1930.  The TAD date was probably the date that my great aunt, Pearle Johnson Trentman who was my grandmother's sister, sold the house.  She sold it not long after her husband passed away.  Finding that this was one of my grandfather's houses was a total surprise in my research.  I knew of numerous homes that my grandfather had designed when I started this project, but I had not known about this one until I accidently found information about this home on the Fort Worth historic homes website. This house is not specifically listed in any of my grandfather's records.  I can remember visiting her home from the mid 1950's up through the early 1960's when she sold her home and moved to an apartment.  The house has been expanded since that time. 



The H. B. Friedman Home

66 Westover Terrace.

(box 2 #491)

Harry Friedman was the contractor for many of my grandfather's largest projects, and many of those are now landmarks in Fort Worth.


The Furd Halsell

15 Westover Road

Shelf 2 Job 322 and Shelf 3 Job 483

I discovered the address for this house when I was reading an obituary of Furd Hasell.  Finding this home has been a really unique and enjoyable experience that stands out compared to many others I have found.  I spent about an hour and a half talking with the present owners in their living room.  This home was originally designed and built for Furd Halsell, a successful business man and livestock producer.  The owners told me that in the basement the water valves were identified on Halsell's cattle company stationary with the letterhead visible.  I have been invited back to do much more extensive photography than just a single photo shown here.  The present owners are very gracious hosts and very proud of their Wiley G Clarkson home!!!




Camp Bowie, Arlington Heights, and "Short West Side"

1417 Clover Lane

H. J. Morlang  (Drawer 2 Job 463)

TAD 1935:  The address connected to Mr. Morang was supplied by the Fort Worth phone book of 1927.  The TAD lists the house at 1417 as new in 1935.  It is very possible that the TAD date refers to an additional job done to this house.  I have found several houses that were dated by later job dates.