Fort Worth landmark restores the red
Worker Juan Ortiz puts the finishing touches to the restored red chimney and modern roofline of what is now the 6421 Camp Bowie building.
Fort Worth’s own splash of “Frank Lloyd Wright Red” returned to the west side on Tuesday.
A red chimney was restored in an office building on Camp Bowie Boulevard as designed by a friend of Wright’s architects in 1956.
The former Commercial Standard Insurance Co. building is often referred to as one of the city’s “unknown landmarks”. Generations of residents passed the long sprawling building on 4 acres that sloped off Camp Bowie Boulevard, but only lovers of mid-century modern architecture knew how it was changing.
When the late Houston architect Karl Kamrath designed the building, he chose an eye-catching chimney in Wright’s signature color.
But a long time ago, just after the old Western Hills Hotel next door disappeared, but before artist Nancy Lamb modeled an 8-foot jackalope up the boulevard, the chimney was painted off-white.
“It offended me a lot,” said Frank Sherwood, 88, an architectural engineer from Fort Worth.
“That took away the signature element. … It was almost like defacing it. “
The red was restored on Tuesday using Randy Trice Painting and the original builder, Thos. S. Byrne Construction shares the cost with a Benbrook owner.
When the $ 2 million building was constructed at 6421 Camp Bowie, it was one of two Wright-like buildings on a boulevard that was still paved in red brick as the main drag through Texas. (The Champlin Oil Building at 5301 Camp Bowie was demolished for the expansion of Interstate 30.)
At the groundbreaking ceremony, the then 72-year-old pastor and musician Albert Venting from Southern Baptist reminded listeners, according to the Star Telegram Archives, of how fast the city is growing and urban development is taking over the land that was once occupied for cow pastures.
Tall trees now hide a building that once stood on the edge of a rolling prairie.
Now you can’t miss the red.