In 1883, Marshall R. Sanguinet moved to Fort Worth. He formed an architectural company, Sanguinet and Staats, with Carl G. Staats in 1903. This company then proceeded to build many of the buildings in the Fort Worth area including churches, schools, the Waggoner Building, and the Flatiron Building. The Flatiron Building in Fort Worth was commissioned by Dr. Bacon Saunders, who had seen the 22-story NYC Flatiron Building. Saunders, a prominent surgeon, had moved to Fort Worth in 1893 and desired to establish his medical practice atop a building like the one he had seen in Manhattan. The Fort Worth Flatiron Building was completed in 1907.
The Flatiron Building is located at 1000 Houston Street, on the corner of Houston Street and West 9th Street. This location is at the northwest corner of the Fort Worth Convention Center and just north of Fort Worth City Hall. It is roughly 2,750 square feet. At the time that it was built, the Flatiron Building was one of Fort Worth's first buildings to have a steel frame. It was also the tallest building in north Texas at the time that it was built.
The design of the Fort Worth Flatiron Building was heavily influenced by what is known as the Chicago School of Architecture. This style was developed by a number of architects active in Chicago during the 1880s through the early 1900s. It is notable for its steel-frame structure and fire-resistant materials. Architectural enthusiasts will be able to note the influences of the famous Chicago School architect, Louis Sullivan. The original plans were for the building to be ten stories, but due to cost, this was reduced to the current seven stories. Saunders had commissioned the building for $70,000.
Sullivan's concept of dividing a building into three parts, the base, shaft, and crown can be seen in the Flatiron Building's construction. The Flatiron Building has a two-story base and five-story shaft. Dr. Saunders' office and pharmacy were located on the top two floors. The exterior fazade of what was Saunders' offices is highlighted by numerous arches.
Above the second floor exterior, a number of panther heads stand out from the fazade. This symbolism harkens back to Robert Cowart's 1875 comment about Fort Worth, which lead to the Fort Worth being nicknamed "Panther City.'' The rather ornate cornice styling is often considered architecturally Neo-romantic.
In 1969, the building was listed as a state historical item and two years later was included on the National Register of Historical Places. When built it was the tallest building in North Texas. The building remains the only flatiron-styled building in Texas, and is one of five on the National Register.
Although the building can still be seen by visitors, the Flatiron Building is currently undergoing renovations that are anticipated to cost $4 million. The renovations call for a cafy to be added on the ground floor of the building. In addition, the renovations intend to convert part of the building into luxury loft apartments.
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