Ben Hogan’s childhood home
Four at-risk properties – including two newcomers and two previously announced – plus a threatened west side neighborhood have been named to Historic Fort Worth Inc.’s 2013 list of the city’s “Most Endangered Places.” The nonprofit organization announced its ninth annual endangered list during a press conference May 7 at the historic 1904 Thistle Hill cattle baron mansion. Each May during National Historic Preservation Month, Historic Fort Worth – a local partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation – recognizes historic properties within the community that are threatened by deterioration, neglect, vandalism, encroaching development or lack of financial resources. Some of the structures are designated as City of Fort Worth Historic and Cultural Landmarks and Recorded Texas Historic Landmarks and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but they are not being properly maintained or preserved, according to Historic Fort Worth. “The list has been a very positive program for saving buildings in the city of Fort Worth,” said Jerre Tracy, HFW’s executive director. She pointed to the 2005 listing of Thistle Hill, located at 1509 Pennsylvania Ave. The mansion was given to Historic Fort Worth in 2006, and the board and staff continue to dedicate their time and resources to its restoration. On May 1, the nonprofit opened a new food park, dubbed Food Park @ Thistle Hill, on the park-like grounds of the historic property located in the city’s booming medical district. Part of the proceeds from the ongoing program will benefit the organization’s efforts to maintain the house and grounds. “That’s progress,” Tracy said. “We’ve found a great way for these buildings in Fort Worth to receive attention.” New to the list this year is Ben Hogan’s childhood home, built in 1927 and located at 1316 E. Allen Ave. The late golfing great’s humble, double-gabled home has been vacant for years and has fallen on hard times. The home’s primary significance is cultural, due to Hogan’s national golfing stature. Ed Young, along with his five brothers and sisters, grew up in the Hogan house in later years. Once they found out about the home’s previous famous resident, the siblings are hoping to restore the property. “We’re trying to keep it up,” Young said. “We have fond memories of growing up there. We’re glad to be a part of that history. It would be a blessing to be able to restore it.” According to Tracy and City Councilman Joel Burns, the Hogan house would be eligible for designation as a City of Fort Worth Historic and Cultural Landmark. “Because of its association with a historic figure, yes, definitely, the house would be eligible for listing,” Burns said. Tracy added that if owners and stakeholders of properties on the list are hampered by the economy and cannot find financial assistance, HFW will help them find federal rehabilitation tax credits and other solutions to help preserve the properties for future generations. “Economic incentives, including federal historic tax credits, can offset some of the restoration costs,” Tracy said.
The 2013 List The other new listed property, and also left in limbo, is the Garvey-Viehl-Kelley House, perched above the Trinity River on an oversized lot on what was once Fort Worth’s most prestigious streets, Samuels Avenue. Built between 1884 and1890, this Queen Anne residence has asymmetrical massing, a wraparound porch, dormers and a bell-shaped turret, all of which typify the Victorian period. It was built in stages for grocery store owner and real estate dealer William B. Garvey and his wife Lucy (Lula), the granddaughter of Baldwin L. Samuel, the street’s namesake. The house was sold to merchant Robert C. Veihl and his wife Lena in 1918, and then to the G.S. Kelley family in 1972. Designated a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1993 and a City of Fort Worth Landmark in 1994, the house is in need of repair. “It is for sale and would make a great bed and breakfast, corporate retreat location or wedding venue,” said Janie Hart, chairwoman of HFW’s public affairs committee. Hart said prices are rising for homes on Samuels Avenue because the neighborhood is now being marketed as “lake front property” due to plans to turn the Trinity River into a lake. The 2013 list includes previous years’ properties in peril: the city-owned Fort Worth Art Center, including Scott Theatre, at 1300 Gendy St.; and the Old Renfro Drug Store, also located in the hospital district on the Near Southside. The Cultural District’s city-owned garage, located adjacent to the 1954-era arts building, has stirred controversy over its required parking fee. Known today as the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, the building is managed by the Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County and is the headquarters of several art-affiliated groups. The onset of paid parking threatens the business plans of the arts groups that count on the public for support, Hart said, which in turn puts the building at risk. “It’s a much loved and very well used building,” said Jody Ulich, president of the Arts Council, who added that attendance is down because of the paid parking. “Nowhere else in the country is there a facility like this for artists. We continue to work with the city and we applaud their efforts, but parking is a continuing problem. It’s a sea of empty parking lots.” Owned by Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, the one-story Old Renfro Drug Store was built in 1929 and is eligible for the National Register. Located at 1200 Pennsylvania Ave./526-28 Henderson St., the Gothic Revival/Art Deco building is the last remaining of the so-called “wedding cake” buildings in the area. Rounding out the list is the Tanglewood Neighborhood, located roughly between Bellaire Drive West and Hulen Street. In 1954, the Cass Overton Edwards family established the Cassco Land Co. to sell some of their ranch land for the development known today as Tanglewood. By 1957, most of the land was sold with the stipulation that all houses must be either brick or stone, and have at the minimum a two-car attached garage. The houses were designed in a variety of styles, but because of the timing of the development, the Tanglewood housing stock included numerous ranch-styled houses and some mid-century modern ones. Driven by excellent schools and a great location, Tanglewood’s architectural integrity is eroding, HFW says. Oversized additions to existing houses and teardowns are occurring with greater frequency, which can affect the property values of remaining houses.