Downtown post office among Historic Fort Worth’s list of endangered placesMay 6, 2014
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U.S. Post Office in Fort Worth
Several prominent commercial buildings, residential neighborhoods surrounding Texas Christian University and the city’s own preservation program have been added to Historic Fort Worth Inc.’s 2014 list of the city’s “Most Endangered Places” list.
The nonprofit organization announced its annual endangered list during a news conference May 6 at the historic 1904 Thistle Hill cattle baron mansion.
The list of at-risk properties includes: the U.S. Post Office Building located at 251 W. Lancaster Ave.; the 1920 Ellis Pecan Building at 1012 N. Main St.; Chase Court Gates and Medians, built in 1906 at 1700 Hemphill St.; World War I aviation history sites at the Taliaferro Field Site and Hicks Station north of Fort Worth; Sandage Avenue and the Frisco Heights Neighborhood near the TCU campus comprised of single-family residential homes built between the 1920s and 1950s; and the City of Fort Worth Preservation Program, which has come under budget cuts, including staffing.
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.
The United States Postal Service has made an effort during recent years to decrease its number of properties. The main post office, built in 1933 and adjacent to the Texas & Pacific Terminal, is still in operation but is one of those properties planned for disposal by the USPS. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation is working to ensure that any changes to the post office – including its conversion to city offices, which has been proposed in recent months – will require a federal review, but the building’s future is uncertain.
The Ellis Pecan Building, originally constructed as the Ku Klux Klan Klavern No. 101 in 1920, has survived numerous uses, including use as a warehouse by Leonard Brothers Department Store, a boxing arena and by Ellis Pecan Co., which used it for its pecan processing operations in 1946. The Texas Ballet Theater considered using the building but it continues to sit vacant and in need of repairs. The building also is threatened by the surrounding Trinity River Vision construction and demolition projects.
The city of Fort Worth has one full-time staff member assigned to preservation programming, which, along with general budget cuts, has forced a moratorium on historic districts, updating the historic preservation plan and the historic revenues survey, and education and training for the Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission and staff, among other consequences.
Historic Fort Worth recommends that the city fund the preservation program in full from the general fund, according to HFW’s Executive Director Jerre Tracy.