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Petroleum Tower Historic Significance
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Petroleum Tower Historic Significance

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The Petroleum Tower is part of the Central Business District Historic District in Shreveport Louisiana. The building is an excellent example of high rise curtain wall construction and was designed by …

The Petroleum Tower is part of the Central Business District Historic District in Shreveport Louisiana. The building is an excellent example of high rise curtain wall construction and was designed by a famous Dallas architect, Wyatt C. Hedrick.

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  • 1. Petroleum Tower Historic Significance The Petroleum Tower is a high-rise commercial office building built in 1957. It is located in the heart of Shreveport Louisiana’s Commercial Historic District at the North corner of the intersection of Texas Street and Edwards Street. The building, designed by Wyatt C. Hedrick and Stanley Architects of Fort Worth, Texas, is an excellent classic example of high-rise curtain wall architecture during this timeframe. Wyatt C. Hedrick was a famous American Architect and designed buildings throughout the United States from around 1920 to the mid 1970s. At one time his firm was considered the third largest architectural company in the country. A number of his buildings are on historic preservation registries. Attached is information about Hedrick from several sources obtained through an internet search. The Petroleum Tower contributes the toute ensemble of the historic district and provides a layer of history of Shreveport’s Central Business District development. Its primary importance is in reinforcing the visual wall of buildings along the main street in the district, Texas Street. This wall of buildings that mark various timeframes of development is an important characteristic of Shreveport’s Commercial Historic District. Construction of the 16-story building is a concrete structural frame clad from the third floor to the mechanical penthouse with an aluminum curtain wall system including transparent glass and a 2-color pattern of opaque glass spandrel panels. The building is caped with a 2-story height solid aluminum panel system enclosing the mechanical penthouse. The facade above the second floor is perimeter framed with a distinctive aluminum “picture frame” detail on both the Texas Street, Edwards Street and alley elevations. The ground floor and second floor structural elements are clad in granite and establish a visual base for the curtain wall system that conceptually floats above the ground plain. A precast stone aggregate panel horizontally bands the building above at the second floor spandrel and visually creates a clearstory for the base design element of the facade. This element appears intended for signage. The ground floor entry to the upper floors is located on Edwards Street and ground floor tenant spaces have entries on both Texas and Edwards Streets. The building has a narrow footprint at 60’ wide along Texas Street and 150’ deep along Edwards Street to the alley. The structural bays are a grid of approximately 20 feet by 25 feet. The interior of the building is of no architectural or historical significance and was a building of tenants composed of local small businesses. Tenants changed during the years of occupancy of the building and space was reconfigured periodically. Interior construction includes drywall construction and suspended ceilings. Some areas include plaster partitions and ceilings. Asbestos containing materials were used in plaster ceilings and many other locations. The building was closed to tenants in the 1980s due partly to the costs of asbestos removal. The building core including stairs, elevators and toilets is also of no architectural historic significance and a deterrent to the renovation and use of the building. The importance of this building is its contribution to the historic fabric of the Shreveport Historic Commercial District within the Central Business District.
  • 2. Additional Buildings and information on Wyatt C Hedrick Architect • Fidelity Union Towers, 1509 Pacific Ave., Dallas, Texas – 21 and 31 story towers built in 1952 and 1960 sometimes referred to as the Mosaic Building and the Mayflower Building • Fort Worth Club Building, 1926, 175’, 16 floors • Historic Electric Building, 1929, 229’. 19 floors • Petroleum Buildiing, 1927, 228’, 14 floors • Will Rogers Tower, 1936, 208’ HEDRICK, WYATT CEPHAS (1888-1964). Wyatt Cephas Hedrick, architect and engineer, was born in Chatham, Virginia, on December 17, 1888, the son of Washington Henry and Emma Cephas (Williams) Hedrick. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, in 1909 and an engineering degree from Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, in 1910. He worked as an engineer for Lane Brothers in Alta Vista, Virginia, from 1910 to 1913, when he was hired by the Stone and Webster Engineering Corporation of Boston as a construction engineer for the company's Dallas office. He headed his own construction company in Fort Worth from 1914 to 1921, when he became a partner in the architectural firm Sanguinet and Staats,qv which had offices in Fort Worth and Houston. In 1925 Hedrick opened his own architectural practice with offices in Fort Worth, Dallas, and Houston. The next year, after Sanguinet and Staats retired, he also bought the remaining interest in their practice. From the 1920s through the 1950s he had an active nationwide practice, and at one time his was considered the third-largest architectural firm in the United States. Hedrick produced buildings in a wide range of historical and modern styles. Among his best-known works are the Shamrock Hotel in Houston (1949), the Sterick Building in Memphis, Tennessee (1930), and the Medical Arts Building in Fort Worth (1926). Hedrick also produced a large body of Moderne buildings in Fort Worth, including the Worth Theater (with Alfred C. Finn, 1927), the Lone Star Gas Company Building (1929), the Hollywood Theater (with Finn, 1930), the Texas and Pacific Terminal and Warehouse (1931), Will Rogers Memorial Center (1936), and City Hall (1938) (the last two in association with Elmer G. Withers). He also designed scores of schools and facilities for various universities, including Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas Christian University and Texas Wesleyan College in Fort Worth, and the University of North Texas in Denton. Hedrick married Pauline Stripling on June 17, 1918; the couple had one daughter. After his first wife's death, he married Mildred Sterling, on December 17, 1925; with her he had two daughters. Hedrick was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Institute of Architects, the Texas Society of Architects, the Scottish Rite and the Shrine, the Elks Club, the Dallas Athletic Club, the Houston Club, the Petroleum Club, and the Dallas, Houston, and Rivercrest Country clubs. He died in Houston of a heart attack on May 5, 1964, and was buried in Fort Worth. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Judith Singer Cohen, Cowtown Moderne: Art Deco Architecture of Fort Worth, Texas (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1988). Houston Post, May 6, 1964. Jamie L. Lofgren, Early Texas Skyscraper: A History of the Skyscraper Style (M.A. thesis, University of Texas at Austin, 1987). Sanguinet and Staats-Hedrick Collection, Architecture and Planning Library, University of Texas at Austin. Who's Who in America, 1960-61.
  • 3. Christopher Long Wyatt C. Hedrick: Distinguished Architect, quot;Man of Distinctionquot; By Frances Hallam Hurt, from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 27, 1950; used with permission. If you might as well hang for a sheep as a lamb, then it's just possible that you might as well be called a Man of Distinction as a distinguished man. Anyway, whatever his “druthers,” as they say in Wyatt C. Hedrick's adopted Texas, that's what happened to him. An architectural and engineering giant with almost $700,000,000 worth of projects behind him, Hedrick nonetheless remained a fairly nebulous figure until his photograph appeared, polished and poised, in magazines all over the nation as officially a Man of Distinction, Order of Lord Calvert, in that company's series of ads. The folks back home finally pushed their hats back on their heads and whistled. There seemed to be something to the rumors about that Hedrick boy, after all. So, at 62, Hedrick is in the curious position of owing his sudden national prominence to a whisky advertisement instead of to the great structures which have given the real lustre to his name. Hedrick's involuted road to popular recognition brought into the spotlight not only a remarkable architect, but an architect with a remarkable story. Wyatt C. Hedrick, born fourth in a family of nine to the Wash C. Hedricks of the practically invisible community of Museville in Pittsylvania County in 1888, walked to his two-room country school, worked his way through college and learned engineering the hard way, by carrying a chain and running an instrument. Some 30 years later this same man designed an $80,000,000 naval base in Trinidad among his many multimillion dollar jobs for the government. On the glamour side, he designed the fabled $20,000,000 Shamrock Hotel in Houston for Glenn McCarthy, a Texas reputedly of such Texanishness that you'd no sooner expect him to let a Virginian design his baby than Grandma Moses. Although Hedrick's main preoccupation seems to be with the mighty — such as the $50,000,000 plants for the Aluminum Company of America, hospitals, civic buildings, universities and schools — rather than with the mundane, he also designs residences. He finds the ranch-style house, so beloved in Texas, to his personal liking in a country where the kind of house you live in can make a big difference in how comfortable you are. He, no doubt, has few complaints himself, on the score of comfort, even in Texas, as his principal ranch home, “Anacacho,” looks like that of a Spanish grandee before the Republic. This is a far cry from the white farmhouse where he grew up, looking out over hills greener than the Shamrock lobby. From the beginning, Hedrick seems to have been different from his brothers, but not too different. He played football and baseball, hunted and fished and worked on the farm,
  • 4. but his oldest sister, Mrs. W. E. Bolling of Lynchburg, remembers him most clearly as bent over his books by the big open fire in their mother's bedroom. Another sister, Mrs. Clark Hodges, of Museville, remembers what her father always said of him when they returned from road- repairing trips. The elder Hedrick, in addition to being a tobacco farmer, was foreman in charge of highway repairs. In those days, when he and the crew took off, they camped on the road until the work was done. Wyatt generally got in on these expeditions, often as cook. His father's standing comment was that Wyatt held the frying pan in one hand and a book in the other. One of Hedrick's Museville schoolmates, Harry Wood Smith, of Danville, who is also singularly connected by way of being a double brother-in-law (one of his sisters married Irving Hedrick, of Museville and the other Dick Hedrick, of Lanette, Ala.), remembers that Wyatt always said he was going to be President. Smith takes a sharp interest in this matter, as Wyatt promised to make him Vice-President. After graduating from Chatham High School, Hedrick entered Roanoke College. He worked his way through three years there then took a BA degree at Washington and Lee University in 1910, all without having drawn up his personal prints for a career as architect and engineer. It seems to have been a combination of the Texas girls he met at Randolph-Macon in Lynchburg, plus his first post-graduate job (Lane Brothers Construction Company, at Marcus Hook, Pa.), which finally shaped his career. As nearly as Mrs. Bolling recalls, the young man went West in 1913 to see some of the girls he knew and has been back only on visits since. He got a job with Stone & Webster Engineering Corporation in Fort Worth as an engineer, which represented a lot of self-education for a boy with a BA degree. He had had no architectural experience until 1922, when he went with the firm of Sanguinet & Staats, forming a partnership of Sanguinet, Staats & Hedrick, of Fort Worth. The big break for him seems to have come after the first world war, when he laid out Love Field at Dallas. When an architect from Fort Worth gets a big job in Dallas, that's news. From that original surveyor's chain he carried, Hedrick has developed offices in Fort Worth, Houston and Dallas, manned by 150 employees. His official home is the aforesaid quot;Anacachoquot; at Spofford, some 300 miles from any of the offices. He has several other ranch homes, all equally remote. He commutes to his offices by plane. Two of his brothers, Luther Hedrick, of Wichita Falls, who made his in oil, and Russell Hedrick, resident architect and engineer at Texas Tech in Lubbock, are also pretty well Texanized. Another brother and sister, Claude Hedrick, of Alexandria, and Mrs. John Bennett, of Danville, complete the family roll call. Notes: • The above 1955 portrait of Wyatt C. Hedrick is provided by Ames Fender, Fort Worth, Texas (architect and grandson of Wyatt C. Hedrick); • If you know of an existing copy of the above-mentioned Lord Calvert “Man of Distinction” advertisement featuring Wyatt C. Hedrick, published in the 1950 era, please advise us by e-mail.
  • 5. Wyatt C. Hedrick From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Will Rogers Tower, Fort Worth, 1936 Wyatt Cephus Hedrick (1888, Pittsylvania County, Virginia - 1964) was an American architect, engineer, and developer most active in Texas and the American south. Starting in practice in Fort Worth in 1922, opening his own practice in 1925, Hedrick was responsible for many of the tallest buildings in the city and several buildings now on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1925 he married Mildred Sterling, and in 1931 his father-in-law, Ross S. Sterling, became governor of Texas. Hedrick worked mainly in a stripped-Classical style. With his extensive university and government work, at one time his firm was the third-largest in the United States. Commissions include: Eudora Welty House, Jackson, Mississippi, 1925 Medical Arts Building (razed), Fort Worth,Texas, 1926 Historic Electric Building, Fort Worth, Texas, 1929 Sterick Building, Memphis, Tennessee, 1930 Commerce Building, Fort Worth, Texas, 1930 Texas and Pacific Terminal and Warehouse, Fort Worth, Texas, 1931 United States Post Office, Fort Worth, Texas, 1933 Will Rogers Memorial Center, Fort Worth, Texas, 1936 (with Elmer G. Withers) Fort Worth City Hall, now the Public Safety and Courts Building, 1938 (with Elmer G. Withers) The legendary Shamrock Hotel (razed), Houston, Texas, 1946-1949
  • 6. Wyatt C. Hedrick & Co. # Building [from now to past] Complex Floors Year 1. First Energy Building Akron Centre 19 1976 2. 55 Marietta Street 21 1958 3. 1400 Hermann 17 1957 4. Kroger Building 25 1954 Memorial Hermann Hospital 5. Memorial Hermann Hospital.. 9 1949 Jones Pavilion Edwin Hornberger Conference 6. 5 1949 Center 7. Hermann Professional Building Memorial Hermann Hospital.. 15 1948 8. Brazoria County Courthouse 5 1940 9. Will Rogers Pioneer Tower 1936 Texas & Pacific Railway 10. 12 1931 Terminal 11. Frances Towers 11 1931 12. Texas & Pacific Warehouse 8 1931 13. Sterick Building 29 1930 14. Commerce Building Commerce/Oil and Gas 19 1930 15. Aviation Building 16 1930 16. Electric Building 15 1930 17. Marshall Hotel 8 1930 18. Baker Hotel 14 1929 19. Petroleum Building 12 1929 20. Lone Star Gas Building 7 1929 21. Sanger Building 5 1929 22. YWCA Building 6 1928 23. Medical Arts Building 19 1927 24. Worth Hotel 18 1927 25. Petroleum Building XTO Energy 14 1927 26. The Arlington Hotel 12 1924 27. Lamar Life Building 10 1924 28. The Neil P. at Burnett Park 11 1921 29. Criminal Justice Building 7 1918 30. Baker Building XTO Energy 10 1910 31. Houston Place Lofts 9 1906 32. Sterling Hotel 40