• Rethinking Region along the Railroads:Architecture and Cultural Economy in the Industrial Southwest, 1890–1930
Map 1. Map of the Industrial Southwest, 1890–1930. Although east–west systems like the Missouri Pacific; Texas and Pacific; and Atchinson, Topeka, and Santa Fe, operated through this territory, it was the north–south regional lines that knit the cities and hinterland together. Rendered by Eric Cesal.
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Map 1.

Map of the Industrial Southwest, 1890–1930. Although east–west systems like the Missouri Pacific; Texas and Pacific; and Atchinson, Topeka, and Santa Fe, operated through this territory, it was the north–south regional lines that knit the cities and hinterland together. Rendered by Eric Cesal.

As D. W. Meinig has suggested, regions are best understood as dynamic processes, part of a continuous shaping of human culture. Regions are not "natural" phenomena but historical constructions.1 This is certainly true of that malleable category, the Southwest. As the nation expanded from its colonial boundaries, its location shifted ever westward. By 1904, the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase, railroads had finally domesticated the nation's southern frontier, fostering settlement and development. It would seem that under these circumstances the location of the Southwest would finally be a settled matter. Instead, the arrival of the railroads produced two distinctive but occasionally overlapping regions. The first, and better known, Tourist Southwest, is the desert land stretching from western Texas to California at the far southwestern boundaries of the North American continent.2 Architecturally speaking, this Southwest is defined by a style of building that interprets the historical traditions of the place: Native American pueblos, Spanish missions, and Santa Fe's mythic yet modern tradition of adobe buildings.3 The Tourist Southwest has remained a fixed geographical category in the minds of most Americans, in large part because of its consistent architectural image.

By contrast, the Industrial Southwest has disappeared from public memory. It was, for a brief period of time between 1890 and 1930, a powerful economic and cultural system, with St. Louis as its capital.4 Stretched across Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas all the way to San Antonio, its territory has today been absorbed into a no-man's-land at the edge of the Midwest and the South (Map 1).5 Unlike the Tourist Southwest, the architecture of the Industrial Southwest has no regionally distinctive style. It is not defined by common building materials or forms. Instead, it is bounded by the cultural economy: an intricate series of financial, industrial, and commercial connections between clients and designers, linked by common transportation and communication systems. Although there are occasional symbolic references to the Alamo, much of the regional architecture of the Industrial Southwest actually rejected the specifics of place, of history, of climate, instead emulating the Beaux-Arts design tradition as symbolic of its progressive connection to the national, modern, and industrial world. [End Page 16]

The regional architecture of the Industrial Southwest was an explicitly modern cultural landscape comprising factories, commercial buildings, public and entertainment spaces, and residential communities. Although these elements are distinct from each other in scale, function, materials, technology, and even in terms of style, they nonetheless hold together. They are linked by William Cronon's concept of Second Nature. Formed by railroad lines and flows of capital, Second Nature connects city and country together in a coordinated system of raw materials, processing, manufacturing, and distributing. At the end of the nineteenth century, Cronon posits, Second Nature changed the relationship between places, "naturalizing" the economic imperatives of capital.6 As Cronon's study shows, Second Nature ended the long rivalry between St. Louis and Chicago, consolidating the wealth and markets of the Great West into a single consolidated hinterland for the Windy City, a superregion that extended all the way to the West Coast. The Chicago-centered narrative is supported by the transcontinental emphasis in the historiography of American railroads, which has focused on the ambitious, even egomaniacal attempts by East- and West-coast based financiers to define and dominate what they considered to be their own "natural territory."7

Despite the bravado of an 1874 map locating St. Louis, and the new Eads Bridge, as the center of the rail and water systems of the nation, the city had lost the battle with Chicago for premier status in the Middle West by the end of the Civil War (Figure 1). In the traditional booster narrative of urban rivalry, trade territory, and the railroads, St. Louis is typically understood as a reactionary city that relied too heavily upon its connection to the Mississippi for too long. It has always occupied, as historian Mumford Jones has perceptively suggested, "a cultural principality all its own."8 Located in the center of the United States, at the confluence of several major waterways and ecological systems, it sits astride the New Madrid fault, a strained and cracked tectonic plate that is literally pulling the ground beneath in different directions. Aligned with both the North and South, St. Louis was historically connected to the Spanish New World, French New Orleans, and Yankee Philadelphia.

Figure 1. Central Magazine Cover, January 1874, Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.
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Figure 1.

Central Magazine Cover, January 1874, Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.

Lacking a central position in the dominant east–west railway network, it was demoted to a distinctly secondary position in American urban history. By the turn of the century, however, it recovered and developed its own, smaller, but still significant cultural and economic hinterland. St. Louisans, once located at the Gateway [End Page 17] to the West, reduced the scale of their ambition and looked to the Southwest. By the early 1890s businessmen in St. Louis saw in the bankruptcy of Jay Gould and the Southern Pacific the opportunity to reposition themselves and their city. Between 1880 and 1910 the city sidestepped, and managed to maintain a north–south hold, creating what John Stilgoe has termed "metropolitan" corridors.9 St. Louis's corridor was the spine of a long, narrow economic and cultural territory that cut across Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas (Figure 2).

Figure 2. St. Louis's banking hinterland 1881 and 1910, from William Cronon, Nature's Metropolis. Courtesy W. W. Norton.
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Figure 2.

St. Louis's banking hinterland 1881 and 1910, from William Cronon, Nature's Metropolis. Courtesy W. W. Norton.

Anchoring this territory were three regional rail systems: the KATY, the Frisco, and the St. Louis Southwestern. The KATY and the Frisco were organized as national enterprises in the 1880s, but emerged from bankruptcy as explicitly regional lines in the 1890s, and together with the local Cotton Belt Route, as it was known, were designed to bring the products of regional farms, ranches, and mines to St. Louis merchants and manufacturers. These corridors echoed the still functioning but increasingly obsolete north– south steamboat routes that brought the river city wealth in the nineteenth century.

The KATY, or Missouri, Kansas, and Texas line, had at first, in the 1870s, linked Chicago to Texas via Hannibal, Missouri. After the breakup of Jay Gould's national rail empire in 1888, St. Louis businessmen invested heavily in the construction of new east–west routes, giving the city rail connections to Oklahoma and the Gulf of Mexico by 1893. The St. Louis and San Francisco railroad, nicknamed the Frisco, began with the hope of transcontinental connections, but by 1896 it had refocused its territory to encompass growing markets in the South and Southwest. Frisco lines connected Kansas City, Oklahoma, St. Louis, Birmingham, and points in between.10 The Cotton Belt, or the old St. Louis Southwestern Railway, connected the Mound City to the cotton fields of eastern Arkansas, connected to Memphis, and crossed into eastern Texas at Texarkana.

Commodities and people moved north and south on these three regional systems. Texas and Arkansas provided abundant cotton and lumber for processing. The Tri-State mining district produced much of the world's lead and zinc. Oklahoma, "opened" to white men in 1890, offered rich seams of coal and asphalt, which was mined, shipped, and laid to improve the streets of the region's modernizing cities.11 Coming the other direction down the track were migrants, seeking their fortunes on the new frontier. In addition to human capital needed to farm the land, St. Louis also provided the Southwest with beer, boots, and, most important, banking services. St. [End Page 18] Louis financiers invested heavily in mining, real estate, and the development of urban infrastructure throughout the region.

Spindletop and the World's Fair

This railroad-based regional relationship deepened significantly after 1900, when St. Louis began to export its culture, particularly architectural culture, as a commodity. Two key events catalyzed this change: the discovery of oil and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, or St. Louis World's Fair.

In 1901 the opening of the great Spindletop oilfield catalyzed a period of incredible local wealth, urban growth, and cultural aspiration in Texas (Figure 3). After years of attempts to tap the riches of the salt dome formation near Beaumont, Anthony Lucas struck oil, and the area produced more than seventeen million barrels in the first year alone. People flocked to the state to get hold of the black gold and fortunes were made quickly, not only in oil but in the sale of real estate. The origins of many of the world's largest oil companies, including Texaco, Gulf, and Exxon, can be traced to this discovery.12

Coincidentally and conveniently, just as Texans had the money to modernize their lives and their cities, St. Louis put on its grand show, the 1904 World's Fair (Figure 4). Not to be confused with the better-known World's Columbian Exposition, the Chicago Fair of 1893, St. Louis's Louisiana Purchase Exposition was held to celebrate the opening of the western territories purchased by Jefferson one hundred years earlier and the role of St. Louis as a gateway to the region. Exhibits, housed in white plaster palaces similar to those in Chicago, showcased the riches, progress, and promise of the still-developing country as well as the contributions and achievements of the nations of the world to culture and modern life. Outside its gates, in an axial avenue of commercial amusements, was the Pike, which featured many of the same attractions as the World's Fair, including the Ferris Wheel and the Streets of Cairo.13

The wondrously beautiful and carefully planned buildings, gardens, streets, and attractions had enormous influence on the tens of thousands of Texans who visited over the course of the year, especially during "Texas Week" in September. Texas visitors to the fair wrote rapturous letters home detailing its artistic wonders, commenting upon the buildings, the painting, sculpture, and educational exhibits at length to friends back home. One of the most prominent displays was the Lone Star State itself. Texas spent more money on its building than any other state in the region, other than Missouri itself. Though hundreds of thousands of Texans likely visited the Fair, more than fifty thousand visited during Texas week, in September of 1904. Texas was featured in the Palaces of Forestry, Agriculture, Mines and Metallurgy, and Horticulture, highlighting the natural resources of the state and suggesting "the extraordinary possibilities" (Figure 5). A sign on the exhibit exhorted: "Wise Men of the East Behold the Star of Texas."

Figure 3. Spindletop Oil Field postcard, Beaumont, Texas, 1902. W. D. Hornaday Collection, Prints and Photographs Collection, Texas State Library & Archives Commission.
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Figure 3.

Spindletop Oil Field postcard, Beaumont, Texas, 1902. W. D. Hornaday Collection, Prints and Photographs Collection, Texas State Library & Archives Commission.

Figure 4. Map, St. Louis World's Fair, 1904. The Texas Building, with its distinctive star-shaped plan, was sited in the Plateau of States, upper left. The linear amusement alley, the Pike, was set aside from the Beaux-Arts grandeur of the Exposition, lower left. Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.
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Figure 4.

Map, St. Louis World's Fair, 1904. The Texas Building, with its distinctive star-shaped plan, was sited in the Plateau of States, upper left. The linear amusement alley, the Pike, was set aside from the Beaux-Arts grandeur of the Exposition, lower left. Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.

The construction of the Texas State Building, costs footed entirely by private, "public-spirited" donors, was meant to demonstrate its admirable civilization (Figure 6).14 In a competition with other states, these buildings served as headquarters for Texans who visited the fair, [End Page 19] much like an embassy. A trip to inscribe one's name in the register room was de rigueur for all citizens of the Lone Star State, and educational exhibits lined the walls in the historical room. Prominent ladies of the state served as hostesses and received in a ladies rest room. They offered tours of a historical exhibition room, as well as a rotunda embellished with statues of Sam Houston, Stephen Austin, and other prominent Texans.

Figure 5. Texas wheat display, Palace of Agriculture, St. Louis World's Fair, 1904. Jessie Beals Tarbox, photographer, LPE Collection, Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.
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Figure 5.

Texas wheat display, Palace of Agriculture, St. Louis World's Fair, 1904. Jessie Beals Tarbox, photographer, LPE Collection, Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.

Figure 6. Texas State Building, C. H. Page, St. Louis World's Fair, 1904. LPE Collection, Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.
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Figure 6.

Texas State Building, C. H. Page, St. Louis World's Fair, 1904. LPE Collection, Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.

Designed by Texan Charles H. Page Jr. in the shape of a five-pointed star, the building extended 234 feet from one end to the other. It was crowned by a dome and a statue of Liberty copied from the Texas State Capitol building's dome in Austin. As the official history of the fair noted, the building "compared favorably with any of the other large State buildings in size and appointment."15 Described in official guides as "the most unique, as well as one of the most attractive pavilions," the Texas State Building was something of an embarrassment to cultured Texans. Its design divided Texas from the moment it was proposed, long before the fair. Two state commissioners resigned in protest when the plans for the building were presented, declaring that it was a caricature, an architectural freak.16 Former Commissioner E. H. R. Green emphatically stated, "This state has outgrown its shooting and cutting and sombreros and high heeled boots."17 Although clothed in classical columns, this "duck" of a building, to anachronistically use Robert Venturi's term, was vulgar to some in its overblown symbolism, more suited to the Pike than the Plateau of States. Mary Craig, a Texas clubwoman and visitor to the fair in May 1904, thought the building a scandal: "I think the Texas building is a huge failure. It follows no canons of architecture; no one would know it is a star unless told." She preferred the New York and Pennsylvania buildings, with their historical associations. A replica of the Alamo would have been a better choice, because it "would have meant so much more to Texans."18 Craig's self-consciousness of Texas's place on the world stage of the fair is present in nearly every letter she wrote home. Despite her concern over the cowboy image projected by this star building, she was proud of her state, especially its women. Her pride in representing Texas, and the role of Texas at the fair was something important to her: "Texas shows in her building that she is a child in art, but she will grow for her women are bringing up sons and daughters of culture."19

The fracas over the state building exposed a sense of insecurity and the importance of architecture as a vehicle for articulating identity and status within the national framework. Thus the World's Fair focused Southwesterners' attention on St. Louis, not only as a source of financing but also for prestige and refinement. It was, in the first years of the oil economy, an important regional and national stage upon which to present their region and make an argument for their cultural, as well as financial position. As architectural historian Stephen Fox has noted, St. Louis, the fair, and its architecture, was "an important factor in the . . . imagination of the Southwest's early 20th century elite, especially Texans."20 The interaction between Texas resources and St. Louis culture transformed both places, and the spaces in between, creating the Industrial Southwest. [End Page 20]

Second Nature and Culture

In the years between the fair and the Depression the connections between St. Louis and the Southwest, the Second Nature once defined primarily by rail lines, oil fields, and bank offices, was overlaid with a commercial, industrial, residential, and entertainment landscape that linked the cities together in an architectural web. Second Nature reorganized the American economy and produced new trade territories, but also changed the relationship between culture and space, forging new regions along the lines of the railroads.

Opposite Map 2. The Industrial Southwest: Busch, Kessler, and Hoblitzelle. Mapping each man's business enterprises reveals a railroad-based sphere of activity. Rendered by Eric Cesal, with portraits from the Missouri History Museum and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin.
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Opposite Map 2.

The Industrial Southwest: Busch, Kessler, and Hoblitzelle. Mapping each man's business enterprises reveals a railroad-based sphere of activity. Rendered by Eric Cesal, with portraits from the Missouri History Museum and the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin.

Capital is the protagonist in this transformation of the Southwest, but credit does not flow on its own, goods do not move of their own accord, nor do railroads or buildings construct themselves. The cultural economy generated by Second Nature depends as much on the agency, mobility, and communicability of individuals as on technology and Second Nature. Individuals put their mark on the landscape and made it a contiguous space. My story of the Industrial Southwest is presented through the activities and experiences of individuals, individuals who are in some ways larger than life: Adolphus Busch, George Kessler, and Karl Hoblitzelle (Map 2).

Busch is best known as the inventor of Budweiser. Between 1891 and his death twelve years later Busch's southwestern enterprises left a distinctive mark on the modernizing landscape, including breweries and cold storage, meatpacking, residential real estate development, hotels, commercial office buildings, railroads, mining, and infrastructure like the Galveston Sea Wall. From his headquarters in St. Louis, or in his personal railcar along the lines of the KATY, speeding toward Dallas, or Waco, or San Antonio, Busch, supported by his staff and assisted by his favorite architects and contractors, shaped a region and its architecture in his own image.

The second regional catalyst is George Kessler, the landscape architect of the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904, and planner of Kansas City's Park and Boulevard System beginning in 1893. His fame in these capacities drew clients from many places, but the cities of Texas, including Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth, and El Paso, called upon him en masse, to give [End Page 21] their burgeoning centers the beauty and utility they viewed at the fair. He planted parks, laid out streets, and even developed prestigious residential districts, modeled on the elite private streets that both he and Texans knew from their time in St. Louis. The third figure is Karl St. John Hoblitzelle, a vaudeville and movie impresario who parlayed his experience in the building department at the St. Louis World's Fair into the Interstate Theatre Corporation, a circuit of first class vaudeville and then movie palaces that dominated and helped to define the modern landscape of leisure and entertainment in cities from Birmingham to Waco and beyond.

Figure 7. The Great Emigrant Route, advertisement for the Missouri Kansas Texas Railroad, 1880s. Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library.
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Figure 7.

The Great Emigrant Route, advertisement for the Missouri Kansas Texas Railroad, 1880s. Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library.

All three hailed from St. Louis, were of German or, in the case of Hoblitzelle, Swiss extraction, and moved out from that center to claim their world in the surrounding states. The three represent very distinctive spheres of activity from industry, to city planning, to entertainment, but all were intimately connected to the funding, organization, and design of the region's great magnet and catalyst, the World's Fair of 1904. Like millions of other Americans, the fair taught them about respectability, refinement, gentility, consumption, progress, and development. From the fair they took away a standardized, national, imperial, official vision of the modern cultural landscape that they would interpret and adapt to a regional frame.

These individuals, by building, writing, experiencing, and financing, created an identifiable industrial southwestern building culture.21 The framework for the production of this cultural economy was travel along the railroads. As anthropologist James Clifford has suggested, it is through motion, travel, and contact that cultures, and perhaps regions, are produced.22 Thus the railway is an important factor in the formation of culture within industrial capitalism. The railroad introduced a new system of behavior: not only of travel and communication but of "thought, feeling, and expectation." The experience of railroad travel helped delineate modernity and reorient the relationship of the "industrial subject" to landscape and territory. Through rail, travel time and space collapsed, and localities, once the source of identity, were connected into larger geographies.23

The Industrial Southwest, served by its own regional railroads, was particularly susceptible to this kind of experiential formation. St. Louisans moved to Texas in great numbers in the 1870s and 1880s, lured by cheap land and the advertisements of the railway companies (Figure 7).

Later, by the turn of the century, trips were made to visit relatives who had made the move. Some of the region's people vacationed on the [End Page 22] seashore in Galveston. Drummers, as traveling salesmen were known, lived in Kansas City but worked all over "the territory." Many white-collar businessmen traveled to St. Louis to transact business. Professionals, doctors, dentists, engineers, and lawyers from all over the Southwest were educated at Washington University in St. Louis, which positioned itself as the premier educational institution of the Southwest.24 More regularly, employees of the Railway Mail Service shuttled back and forth on their shifts, sorting letters and postcards to thousands of addresses they had memorized along the route, articulating the individual locations within the linear frame of the territory.

Busch, Kessler, and Hoblitzelle were among the most peripatetic of Southwesterners. Together with their architects and bankers, these travelers moved constantly on business from place to place within the Southwest: from Dallas to St. Louis, from Springfield to Tulsa, from Houston to Oklahoma City. It was through the windows of a railcar that they saw and understood their territory, connecting raw materials and population centers with manufacturing and development. Through their movement they envisioned and built a framework for a distinctive Southwestern region.

Adolphus Busch

Born in Germany, Adolphus Busch moved to St. Louis in the 1850s and became one of the city's leading brewers in the 1870s. By the mid-1880s he expanded his brewery business deeply into an untapped market, constructing the infrastructure to transport, store, and brew beer. By the early 1890s he had extended his business enterprises to invest in the real estate development of Texas cities, particularly Dallas, and became a Texas booster. This honorary citizen of Dallas never lived there; he passed through as a temporary resident of the region. Busch's perception and experience of the Southwest was shaped by railroads, from the comfortable vantage point of his luxuriously appointed private Pullman Palace Car, the Adolphus (Figure 8). He frequently traveled along the KATY, the Frisco, and the Cotton Belt, and brought with him friends, family, business partners, and architects to help him see its possibilities and understand its landscape.

As early as 1892, long before the discovery of oil, he announced that "Dallas is destined to be the great metropolis of the Southwest," and he took action that would make his prophecy come to be.25 Before his death twelve years later, Busch's enterprises up and down the railroad lines left a notable mark on the modernizing landscape.

Lager Landscape

Figure 8. The Adolphus, Adolphus Busch's private railcar, 1890s. Used with permission of Anheuser-Busch Archives. All rights reserved.
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Figure 8.

The Adolphus, Adolphus Busch's private railcar, 1890s. Used with permission of Anheuser-Busch Archives. All rights reserved.

Although Busch is generally known for his development of a national, and even international, market for the distribution of his beer products, region was an important element of this expansion. By all accounts an entrepreneurial genius, Busch was not content to remain a local brewer.26 The origin and base of his expansion was the Second Nature of the railroad territory to the Southwest, made possible by the introduction of artificial refrigeration. Like other St. Louis businessmen, he perceived the possibilities of the growing markets in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio to the Southwest. As a brewer, however, he faced a challenge unfamiliar to those who sold shoes or plows to local Texas merchants. Making beer, especially the German lager beer popular in the late nineteenth century, was a local and seasonal activity. It required chilling during a maturing period, and the plentiful caves in the limestone bluffs of St. Louis served as natural storage facilities that ensured year-round production. Casks could be kept at the consistent cool temperature necessary to "lager" the beer throughout the hot summer months in St. Louis. The longer, hotter weather and lack of similar [End Page 23] caves in Texas made the year-round brewing of lager beer a more difficult business before the advent of artificial refrigeration.27

Busch, who pioneered the pasteurization, bottling, and early chilling technology of condensed and vaporized ammonia, envisioned a beer market along Jay Gould's emerging rail system. He was able to overcome climate and expand a local business, much as the meatpackers did, collapsing distance from production to market.28 By 1884 he had thirteen wholesale facilities in Texas. The combination of his ambition, the transportation network, technology, climate, and the popularity of his new brand, Budweiser, offered a perfect field for expansion, a synergism that would transform him from a local to a regional player.29 The result was a "lager landscape" shaped by railroads, rather than locality or state boundaries.30

To accommodate demand for his products he started the Manufacturers' Railway Company in 1887, laying five miles of track from his brewery to connect it to the main tracks of the Cotton Belt Route. Railcars backed right up to the brewery buildings to take on kegs and cases of bottled beer. Through the 1890s and early 1900s he built storage facilities, breweries, ice houses, ice manufacturing, and cold storage plants all along the railroad routes to the Southwest. In 1892 he built a mammoth ice plant, storage vault, and improved distribution facilities in Dallas, the largest in the state, with the intent to monopolize ice and beer distribution in East Texas. In 1894 he bought an ice manufactory in Houston and by 1895 he owned and operated 1,250 refrigerator railroad cars.31 These needed to be iced in a specially designed siding and platform at the height of the railcars, with ice crushers, ice hoisting, and ice conveying machines.32 Such facilities allowed the company to ship perishable beer across long distances, even in summer.

Busch not only distributed his Budweiser and other A-B brands to Texas, he was deeply invested in local brewing as well, including the Lone Star Brewing Company in San Antonio, The Texas Brewing Company in Fort Worth, and the American Brewing Association in Houston in 1895. From there he extended shipment into Mexico and California.33 His St. Louis–based brewery architects, Widmann and Walsh (who, along with their predecessor Edmund Jungenfeld, defined the practice of brewery architecture), helped implement a network of facilities that duplicated the appearance and organization of the massive St. Louis headquarters34 (Figure 9). Designed in brick, with a Rundbogenstil, or round-arched style, each brewery was embellished with castellated rooflines and towers that imbued these modern facilities with a medieval European identity. The Germanic architecture of the breweries, defined by towers, symbolically linked his industrial lager landscape to his other major architectural enterprise in Texas: the skyscraper.

Skyscrapers

Like many other St. Louisans, Busch saw the Southwest as a great business opportunity, rich in natural resources, and with the discovery of oil in 1901, a lot of money. He extended his lager landscape beyond the actual production of beer, linking activities in varying sectors of the economy to consolidate his dominance in the region. In the same year as Budweiser was introduced, 1891, Busch, along with a consortium of his brewer colleagues in St. Louis, bought a recently constructed hotel in Dallas, The Oriental (Figure 10). They knew, as most businessmen of the period knew, the importance of a good hotel for the commercial development of any city or town. Not only did it provide meeting places and accommodations for business travelers, investment in a hotel was a sign of commitment and local pride. As Busch himself said, the Oriental was "the best hotel west or south of St. Louis until you get to San Francisco."35

Despite his affection for the Oriental, by 1910 the building was old and outdated. Dallas boosters wanted, indeed felt the need for a new hotel. Knowing of his investment in the area and his pride in the Oriental, they looked to him to finance a new, more up-to-date hostelry, primarily because Busch's commitment to the project would enhance the credit of the city in the eyes of the nation. The site they offered him was significant; it was the former location of the Dallas City Hall.36 Replacing the City Hall with a grand hotel would be an indication of the city's coming of age and commercial aspirations. Busch readily agreed to provide the capital for the twenty-story [End Page 24] hostelry. Edward Faust, Busch's son-in-law and representative in Dallas proclaimed proudly that the intention was to build a hotel that was finer "than any hotel south of the Mason-Dixon Line" and second to none in the country."37

Just as he distributed his beer from St. Louis to regional hubs, Busch linked the cities architecturally by giving the commission to George D. Barnett, of the firm Barnett Haynes Barnett. Barnett had been the designer of the Liberal Arts Building at the World's Fair and was one of the best known, best established architects in St. Louis, having constructed skyscrapers, hotels, and several churches, including the new St. Louis Cathedral Basilica. Busch then promptly sent Barnett to New York to make a study of the most up-to-date hotels in the country. Although he could have hired a New York hotel architect directly, he preferred to work with those he knew and trusted. This intermediary step ensured that national trends would be interpreted and filtered through the cultural and architectural taste of Busch and St. Louis.

Barnett gave the city the tallest and most elegant hotel in the region, quite unlike any hotel in New York, or even St. Louis for that matter. Its color and tower linked it conceptually with the Busch breweries, but its decoration distinguished it as an elite public building. Faced with red velvet brick, the skyscraper was lavishly trimmed with Bedford stone, especially on the mansarded upper floors (Figure 11). Richly decorated with Renaissance and Baroque statuary, a metal church spire, and circular dormer windows, the hotel had a distinctly continental flair strongly reminiscent of the Belgian Pavilion at the World's Fair. Busch had admired this building so much he purchased and moved it to the grounds of his St. Louis brewery, where it served as the glass works for the production of beer bottles.

The Adolphus Hotel, the most elaborate public architecture of this Industrial Southwest city, was decidedly defined through the lens of Germanic heritage, rather than the Spanish traditions of the region's history, or the Anglo-French Beaux-Arts styles used in many East Coast hotels.38 Its facilities, including the ladies parlor, men's grillroom, and lobbies, were elegant, far more sophisticated than any other hostelry in the city at the time. When it advertised, the Adolphus framed itself as "a progressive hotel for a progressive city." It was a monument to Adolphus Busch that stylistically, and programmatically, linked Dallas, and Texas, specifically to the cultural economy of St. Louis.

Figure 9. Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Brew House, Ninth and Pestalozzi, St. Louis, circa 1930. The railway shed provided direct access to the tower of the Brew House. W. C. Persons, photographer. Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.
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Figure 9.

Anheuser-Busch Brewery, Brew House, Ninth and Pestalozzi, St. Louis, circa 1930. The railway shed provided direct access to the tower of the Brew House. W. C. Persons, photographer. Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.

Figure 10. The Adolphus Hotel, Barnett, Haynes, and Barnett, Western Architect, 1914. Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library.
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Figure 10.

The Adolphus Hotel, Barnett, Haynes, and Barnett, Western Architect, 1914. Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library.

In addition to importing design talent, Busch also relied on St. Louisans for engineering and contracting, hiring the Gilsonite Construction Company to execute Barnett's plans. The firm [End Page 25] offered the specialized knowledge and skills necessary to build skyscrapers in a town that had not yet grown beyond five or six stories. The decision to use his own architects and contractors was not only technological but part of the vertical integration of his business, from the production of glass bottles for his beer to the manufacture of refrigerated cars to carry them to market. Gilsonite, directed by Busch's son-in-law and business cronies, was an outgrowth of another one of his enterprises in the Southwest: mining. Busch bought asphalt claims in the Choctaw Territory of Oklahoma in 1901 and helped build railroads to bring the minerals to market. Asphalt was in demand to help pave the streets of the region's growing cities, but Busch invested in it as an extension of his beer enterprises. His mine provided Gilsonite, a hydrocarbon material similar to coal and petroleum, to the Gilsonite construction company. They used it as an additive to waterproof the concrete used in the walls, floors, and roofs in his breweries, which were particularly susceptible to rot and decay due to the high levels of condensation in early refrigeration technology. This knowledge and experience was then applied to the erection of the Adolphus Hotel, closing the circle of a complete building culture that financed, designed, supplied, and constructed modern buildings for the Southwest.39

Figure 11. The Adolphus Hotel, roof detail. Western Architect, 1912.
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Figure 11.

The Adolphus Hotel, roof detail. Western Architect, 1912.

Not content with building and owning the city's most prestigious hotel, Busch invested in another important element of downtown Dallas real estate just a year later and a block away, a speculative office tower, the Busch building. Also designed by Barnett Haynes Barnett, and built by Gilsonite, it was the most up-to-date skyscraper, fireproof, with a maximum of light and ventilation. Modeled on the recently opened Woolworth Building in New York, it was described as "Continental Gothic, enriched with beautiful tracery and sculptured Gothic ornaments." A major local department store took a long-term lease on the ground floor, and Busch opened a rathskeller (traditionally a beer tavern located in the basement of a German city hall) in the basement, injecting a bit of racy but respectable excitement into Dallas nightlife.40 As another German St. Louisan, Karl Hoblitzelle, was discovering in his vaudeville enterprises, the conservative religious communities of Texas resisted saloons and anything associated with alcohol. In his Dallas rathskeller, Busch promoted, as he had in St. Louis, the consumption of beer in more sophisticated, as well as more family-oriented biergarten settings.

One of these ventures was the Tyrolean Alps, a ten-acre site on the Pike at the Fair (Figure 12). Designed by German architect Herman Knauer and financed by Busch and other local brewers, this attraction was a painted and molded canvas, rock, and staff creation representing a Tyrol Village and the Austrian peaks of the Ortler, complete with a cascading waterfall descending into a small lake. This themed eating establishment came complete with costumed inhabitants, yodelers, and rugged peaks that rose several stories above street level. Fair visitors could eat in [End Page 26] the indoor restaurant, quaff beer in an outdoor biergarten with views of the Alps, or even take a train ride through the mountains and ascend the highest peak via an elevator. Busch hoped to convert the exhibit to a summer theater and beer garden after the fair, but objections by Washington University, concerned about the close proximity to the campus and the temptation to students, prevented this plan from being realized. Busch simply tried again in Dallas, under slightly different circumstances.

The combination of steel-framed office space above with spaces for consumption and entertainment below was a distinctly modern and distinctively St. Louisan addition to the urban landscape of Texas. Together, the Adolphus Hotel and the Busch Building (now the Kirby Building), two of the largest skyscrapers in the city, were visible symbols of the cultural economy of the Industrial Southwest. At the time of his death, just one year after the Busch building was completed, Texas mourned him as one of their own.41 Although a national and international figure, he owned more property and businesses in the state than anywhere except St. Louis. This affiliation with the Southwest was immensely profitable, but also personal. He was acknowledged there as a leader in a way he was not at home in St. Louis, where his status as a brewer and a German immigrant kept him out of the best circles. No such distinctions were made in Texas, where he was welcomed as a celebrity; his comings and goings were celebrated in the newspapers. His debutante granddaughter Alice was crowned "Princess of St. Louis" at the Dallas Pageant in 1922.42 Busch, family and friends, and business associates frequently attended the Dallas Horse Fair and the Fort Worth Horse Show, bringing his famous Clydesdales to show. The engines of his involvement in the Southwest were clearly money, proximity, and opportunity, but it was also his personality that fueled his connection to the place and the form it would take.

George Kessler

Figure 12. Tyrolean Alps Exhibit, The Pike, St. Louis World's Fair, 1904. Jesse Beals Tarbox, photographer. Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.
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Figure 12.

Tyrolean Alps Exhibit, The Pike, St. Louis World's Fair, 1904. Jesse Beals Tarbox, photographer. Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.

Personality was also an important catalyst in the case of our next regional leader, George Kessler. Born and educated in Germany, he spent the intervening childhood years in Dallas, a fact that Texans never forgot. His status as a hometown boy appealed to public and private clients in the Southwest, as did his assured manner and mantle of authority. Following the fair, planning boards from Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth, El Paso, and smaller cities called upon him en masse to give their modernizing centers the beauty and utility they themselves had experienced at the Exposition. As a result, Kessler spent enormous amounts of time in Texas on jobs between 1908 and 1920. In 1909 alone he visited Fort Worth four times, in January, April, September, and November, stopping at other cities to investigate job possibilities and give lectures illustrated by lantern slides of the Fair and the Kansas City boulevards en route. When clients or members of city plan commissions couldn't get his attention through the mail or command his presence, they often traveled to St. Louis or [End Page 27] Kansas City to see him, not always successfully. On more than one occasion he was out of town when they arrived. His deputies always greeted and helped them, but their disappointment was palpable.43 Kessler and his young assistant, Henry Wright, simply couldn't keep up with demand, especially when combined with work in Denver and Cincinnati at the same time.

Figure 13. Map detail, Fair Park Boulevard with plantings and buildings, 1918. Texas/ Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library.
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Figure 13.

Map detail, Fair Park Boulevard with plantings and buildings, 1918. Texas/ Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library.

Figure 14. "Science" sculptural group, Liberal Arts Building, Louisiana Purchase Exposition, 1904, and repurposed at Fair Park, Dallas 1906. Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library.
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Figure 14.

"Science" sculptural group, Liberal Arts Building, Louisiana Purchase Exposition, 1904, and repurposed at Fair Park, Dallas 1906. Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library.

Kessler's mobility along the railways could be a distinct hindrance to work as a landscape architect. Constant movement meant less familiarity with the climate and conditions in a specific location at any specific time. A polite but tart letter, dated in March 1909, from Jennie Schueber, the librarian of the Carnegie Library of Fort Worth reminds him of his promise of a plan for planting around the library. "It is spring here and we won't be able to put anything more in the ground in two weeks," she complained. The strain of travel and maintaining practice throughout the Industrial Southwest is telling in partner Henry Wright's response that "it is hard to keep track of just when spring opens up at all four points of the compass."44 The variations in vegetation, soil, and plant life between steamy St. Louis and arid Texas were certainly a challenge.

World's Fair and State Fair

The distinction between the national culture of planning and the local topography and culture of place and region were ones that Kessler had to negotiate carefully in his first major commission in Texas: Fair Park, the site of the Texas State Fair since the late 1880s.45 This fair was, as Dallasites promoted it, the place to showcase the state's agricultural, industrial, and mineral potential, both to its citizens and the outside world. Local quilts, cattle, and poultry were exhibited, as were manufactured products from St. Louis: plows, pianos, hardware, and cigarettes. Horse racing, fireworks, and performances enlivened the event. The grounds were located on a rudely developed site just east of downtown. Even its supporters admitted it "an unsightly, inconvenient, ill-arranged place."46 The architecture of the fair, in the early years, comprised wooden structures including an entrance gateway, large exposition building, racing grandstand, and a variety of sheds, music pavilions, and pagodas. Landscaping was minimal: dirt paths connected the buildings, and a trellis framed the entrance to a "lover's lane," lined with clumps of trees and bushes. A creek ran through the park, requiring visitors to cross a bridge to enter.

In 1904–5, Dallas park officials, undoubtedly impressed by the landscape and architecture of the St. Louis Fair, planned improvements. Seeking to replicate, in more permanent form, its visual effects and cultural sophistication, park officials wrote to the director of the St. Louis Fair, David Francis, for advice and a recommendation. He referred them to Kessler and he gave his clients what they wanted. Kessler's plans for Fair Park were modeled on St. Louis literally and figuratively, a miniature version of the Palaces and the Pike. Kessler sought to create a unified and dignified park from the haphazard 120 acres, superintending the regularization and beautification of the park grounds, with its honky-tonk associations and rutted lanes. His work included the burial of evidence of telephone and telegraph [End Page 28] lines underground, a new drainage system, and an elaborate series of boulevards, fountains, statuary, and plantings.

Visitors were encouraged to walk outdoors through a neat and beautiful landscaped grounds linked by long axial cement walkways (Figure 13). The "boulevard" as it was known, was adorned with benches, a clock, regularly planted trees, artistic lampposts, fountains, and several "staff" sculptures they had purchased from the St. Louis Fair after it closed. A figure representing "Science" that had adorned the Liberal Arts Building was set atop an arch to frame the vista that Kessler had planned in Dallas (Figure 14). Postcards of Fair Park highlight the "scenery" that Kessler planned, most notably, a rectangular sunken garden, which mimicked the area Kessler had designed between the Mines and Metallurgy and Liberal Arts Buildings at the St. Louis Fair.

Set aside from this area of high culture was the State Fair's racetrack and Grandstand Drive: the equivalent of the Pike at St. Louis. The east end of the park had always been the site of the racetrack and amusement park. Kessler consolidated and organized these elements, along with commercial displays of agricultural implements and the latest telephone technology, into a single avenue lined by trees (Figure 15). The careful segregation of the artistic and commercial sectors of the park referred back to the distinction between the Palace and the Pike, and the segregation of high and low culture not present in the earlier incarnations of the Texas State Fair.

The connections between the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and the design of Fair Park were explicit and unmistakable. At the same time there were also strong expressions of local culture and history, which had always been part of the State Fair. In 1886, for example, the hybrid racial culture of Texas, and its connections across the Rio Grande, to St. Louis and to the plantation South were on display, with a concert by the national Mexican Band, maneuvers by the Busch Zoaves of the Missouri militia, and an "anthropological" exhibit, Morey's Negro Log Cabin. Sponsored by the St. Louis–based Liggett and Myers tobacco company, this exhibit purported to show "how the negroes live who raise tobacco."47 The integration of these types of "colorful" and anthropological displays into the imperial architecture and ceremonial of the State Fair anticipates their appearance at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition by twenty years. The major distinction in St. Louis was the way they were ordered, categorized, and presented as universal civilization. Kessler's job at Fair Park was to harness these expressions of local culture within a universal framework of the Beaux-Arts.

Under Kessler's supervision the fair overhauled its architecture, which took the form of classical palaces, like the Fine Arts and Textile Building, which was explicitly modeled on William Le Baron Jenney's Horticultural Hall for the Columbian Exposition of 1893. One prominent exception was the new gateway, a stone, steel, and cement structure (Figure 16).

Figure 15. Map detail, Grandstand Drive, Fair Park, Dallas, 1918. Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library.
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Figure 15.

Map detail, Grandstand Drive, Fair Park, Dallas, 1918. Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library.

This building, designed by Dallas architect and St. Louis World's Fair veteran James E. Flanders, seems to draw on two important St. Louis precedents: the Lindell Pavilion, a streetcar shelter at the entrance to Forest Park, and entrance gates of a private street of nearby Westmoreland Place, both designed by Eames and Young in 1902 (Figure 17). The towers, red tile roofs, and round arches of this private place gateway are themselves rare and tangible architectural [End Page 29] influences of St. Louis's strong cultural and economic connections to the Southwest. Both structures were well-known to fair visitors, and seem to have provided formal inspiration to Flanders. In Dallas he integrated an explicit reference to the Spanish colonial heritage of Texas in the gateway, with a small pediment that reminded fairgoers of the state's most important historic monument: the Alamo. This heritage theme was picked up in a half-size replica of the Alamo, donated to the Park by the manager of the Dallas Morning News, George Dealey (Figure 18).

Figure 16. State Fair Administration Building, Fair Park, Dallas, designed by James Flanders, circa 1911. Courtesy Steven Butler.
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Figure 16.

State Fair Administration Building, Fair Park, Dallas, designed by James Flanders, circa 1911. Courtesy Steven Butler.

Figure 17. Westmoreland Place Gates, St. Louis, 1902, Eames and Young. Emil Boehl, photographer. Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.
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Figure 17.

Westmoreland Place Gates, St. Louis, 1902, Eames and Young. Emil Boehl, photographer. Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.

A strong Dallas booster and advocate of City Beautiful planning, Dealey was keen to remind Texans of this important patriotic site. These two buildings, amidst the splendor of the Beaux-Arts buildings and City Beautiful landscaping, were important reminders of local history and local architecture, an overlap of the Tourist Southwest and Industrial Southwest within the temporary, hybrid landscape of the Fair, where commerce and culture were integrated. This was a realization of the dreams of Mary Craig and other "cultured" Texans of a symbol of the state with proper historical associations.

The influence of the mission style, however, did not only flow from Forest Park to Fair Park. In 1908, at the same time that Kessler was completing the Texas grounds, he received the go-ahead to build a refreshment pavilion atop Government Hill as part of the postfair reconstruction of Forest Park. His plan called for twin square towers with red-tile roofs linked by a round-arched arcade.48 This design, executed by Kessler's assistant Henry Wright, enlarged but unmistakably echoed the 1906 entrance pavilion to Dallas's Fair Park (Figure 19).

The profile and red-tiled roof of Wright's design, as well as the planting scheme below clearly communicates its allegiance to the Southwest and to the State Fair in particular. It also, in an endless circle of self-referentiality, links back to the nearby gates of Westmoreland Place and the Lindell Pavilion, which celebrate St. Louis's connections to the Southwest (see Figure 17). The reciprocal flow of influence, channeled through Kessler's practice, reinforced the connections between the places in the early twentieth century.49

Dallas's Fair Park, seen by thousands of Texans each year, was a cogent demonstration of the power of design. Its transformation whipped up enthusiasm for planning throughout the region. Local civic beautification committees turned to Kessler to modernize southwestern cities and green spaces. He spent the years between 1907 and 1920 traveling extensively along the KATY and the Frisco to work on park systems, boulevards, and civic plans in Oklahoma City, Fort Worth, Birmingham, Dallas, San Antonio, El Paso, Waco, Houston, Sherman, and Texarkana.50 His advice was eagerly solicited and he was hailed and feted, much as Adolphus Busch had been, as a visionary and miracle worker from up north who could transform and [End Page 30] polish the rough diamonds of Texas urbanism into gems.

Private Streets

Kessler's activity in the public realm of park and city planning in Texas was complemented by undertakings in the design of private residential neighborhoods. He was responsible, along with colleague Julius Pitzman, for transplanting a particular feature of the World's Fair City: private streets. By 1904 many American cities had impressive avenues of homes, but those in St. Louis were distinguished by their gates and their restrictive covenants, which required common setbacks, minimum cost, and expensive materials.51 This tradition of suburban planning, born just after the Civil War, was an elite attempt to ensure the quality of infrastructure such as streets and sidewalks, maintain property values, and control their residential environment in the face of rapid and uncontrolled urban development. Without any official zoning, elegant neighborhoods were often quickly surrounded by undesirable commercial or industrial uses, forcing residents to move further from the center in search of more pastoral living conditions.

The Forest Park Addition (1888) was larger and more restrictive than any of the half-dozen private streets Pitzman had planned before (Figure 20). Comprised of Portland and Westmoreland Places, these were the most prestigious addresses in town.52 All homes in this seventy-eight-acre tract required a forty-foot setback, a minimum cost of $7,000, and the architecture had to be approved by the owners' association. Behind the gates stood rows of palatial mansions designed by the city's most prestigious architects, as well as a sprinkling of imports from the East like Peabody and Stearns, and Cope and Stewardson's protégé James Jamieson, who had traveled to St. Louis to build Washington University and stayed to house the city's elites.

It was here that Eames and Young built the ornate, twin-towered, red-tile-roofed, southwestern-inspired gate: a tribute, perhaps, to the region that helped finance the wealth of the inhabitants. Laid out in long parallel rows with wide, landscaped medians, the streets seemed to continue the urban street grid, but the members of this community owned not only the streets and the median, but also the sewers and water and gas pipes. The elaborate gates clearly communicated this privacy to passersby.

Figure 18. Fair Park with Alamo replica, circa 1910. Courtesy Steven Butler.
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Figure 18.

Fair Park with Alamo replica, circa 1910. Courtesy Steven Butler.

Figure 19. Government Hill and World's Fair Pavilion, George Kessler, Forest Park, St. Louis, circa 1935. W. C. Persons, photographer. Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.
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Figure 19.

Government Hill and World's Fair Pavilion, George Kessler, Forest Park, St. Louis, circa 1935. W. C. Persons, photographer. Missouri History Museum, St. Louis.

Residents were among the wealthiest and most influential in St. Louis, the "Big Cinch" that ruled the economic and political landscape of St. Louis at the turn of the century. In addition to the city's leading lawyers, manufacturers, tobacco merchants, and bankers, the Forest Park Addition specifically included those whose wealth was defined by the railroads and connections to the southwestern hinterland. Carl Gray, president of the Frisco, lived there, as did Lewis Tebbetts, Edwin Steedman, and Robert [End Page 31] McKittrick, three heavy investors in the MKT line. All three had small towns named after them on the route. William McMillan, president of the Missouri Car and Foundry Company, and rival William Bixby, president of the American Car and Foundry company (as well as chairman of the board of the Frisco), both lived in the Forest Park Addition. Edward Faust, son-in-law and Texas agent of Adolphus Busch, lived there as well, although it took some time for this German son of the breweries to find social acceptance in this mostly Anglo-Protestant stronghold.53 The banking establishment of St. Louis, including the directors and board members of the Mississippi Valley Trust, the National Bank of Commerce, the St. Louis Union Trust, Boatmen's Bank, the Mercantile Trust Company, and the Merchants Laclede National Bank, which substantially provided the capital for the development of Texas and the Southwest, all lived within the gates of the Forest Park Addition.

Figure 20. Forest Park Addition, St. Louis, A. Gast after Julius Pitzman, 1888. Missouri Historical Museum, St. Louis.
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Figure 20.

Forest Park Addition, St. Louis, A. Gast after Julius Pitzman, 1888. Missouri Historical Museum, St. Louis.

The private place was a national phenomenon, and inspired imitation from Rochester to San Francisco. Visitors to the St. Louis World's Fair could hardly overlook the elaborate gates of the Forest Park Addition, which lined the major streetcar approaches to the Lindell entrance to the fair. One observer, S. L. Sherer, wrote an article on this innovative planning concept for House and Garden magazine.54 Although it appeared elsewhere, it was most admired and copied in the large cities of Texas, particularly Houston.55 Investors from St. Louis, and those familiar with St. Louis through business connections, were instrumental in bringing the concept south, where they saw enormous opportunities to replicate the concept for the newly rich oil barons of the state.

The first Texas example appeared even before the Fair publicized the concept nationally. In 1902 Julius Pitzman, a prominent St. Louis surveyor, was called down to Houston by William Wright Baldwin. As both president of the St. Louis, Keokuk, and Burlington Railroad and of the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railway, he no doubt traveled to St. Louis frequently on the twice-daily trains that linked the city to his hometown of Burlington, Iowa. Like other men involved in the expansion of railroad systems into Texas he understood the potential of real-estate development and founded the South End Land Company to develop suburban property in Houston.

A frequent visitor to St. Louis on business, and well connected to the elite of that city, he undoubtedly knew of the private streets and hired Pitzman to replicate the elegance and exclusivity of the new communities he had designed on the northern border of Forest Park ten years earlier. Called Westmoreland Place, it copied not only the name of a street that Pitzman had laid out in the Forest Park Addition but also its design features and legal structure. Distinguished by elaborate entrance gates, with limited street access and deed restrictions, it was a deliberate copy of the St. Louis example, down to the names of the streets. Flora Place is a direct copy of a southside St. Louis street of that name, and Courtlandt Place, just to the north of Westmoreland, echoes Portland Place. Located south on Main Street, these communities formed a new and distinctive suburban enclave (Map 3).

As it had in St. Louis, Houston's Westmoreland Place attracted the city's residents seeking privacy, exclusivity, and control over their environment. Many of the founders were involved in banking, railroads, and cotton and would have been tied directly to St. Louis. Residents included a local agent for the Frisco system, a rice dealer, and several lumber dealers. Virginia [End Page 32] Gentry Waldo, widow of the vice president of the KATY railway, emulated the St. Louis experience directly. Between 1891 and 1896 this Houston family had lived in St. Louis in Thornby Place, a tiny private street just north of the brand new Forest Park Addition. While there, her son, Wilmer Waldo, a Princeton-trained civil engineer, got the job from Julius Pitzman to supervise the layout of the Houston version of Westmoreland Place.56 Upon her return to Houston after her husband's death, she moved her house, stone by stone, from its old location to the Texas version of Westmoreland Place.

Although Pitzman never returned to Texas, the impact of Westmoreland Place on the residential fabric of Texas was enormous. Joseph S. Cullinan, oilman and founder of Texaco, transplanted the idea to Houston, on a site just south of Westmoreland Place. He had met Kessler on a train (where else?) from Kansas City to Dallas in 1914, and, much impressed with his credentials and ideas, enlisted him in a series of projects that were intended to transform the southwest side of Houston into a unified City Beautiful district that included the new campus of Rice University, Hermann Park, the state's first art museum, and Shadyside, a thirty-five-acre private residential community, all linked by boulevards lined with allees of trees (Figure 21).

Unlike Westmoreland Place, which continued the Cartesian grid of the surrounding neighborhood, Kessler's Shadyside was a picturesque composition with curving streets and green spaces.57 It had twenty-two lots arranged on two streets, one curved at a ninety-degree angle and one straight, meeting at a landscaped turnaround for cars. This turnaround proved to be a problem, as speeding cars made their way through the neighborhood, and in 1923 gates enclosed the private community.

Kessler was not the only St. Louis architect to participate in Shadyside's design. Cullinan's own house was designed by James P. Jamieson, whom Kessler recommended, as were the gates that mark its entrance. The deed restrictions and covenants were drawn up with the aid of those in use in St. Louis. Even the interior decoration of Cullinan's home was St. Louisan. The decorating service of Scruggs, Vandervoort, and Barney, the St. Louis department store, furnished it completely, from drapery to lighting fixtures.

Karl Hoblitzelle

Adolphus Busch shaped the commercial and industrial landscape of the Southwest, and Kessler its public spaces and private places. Karl St. John Hoblitzelle brought mass culture to Texas, through vaudeville and the movies. Like George Kessler, Hoblitzelle was a veteran of the Fair's Department of Works. He was a native of St. Louis, born in 1879 into an elite family that had fallen on hard times. His dreams of a legal education dashed, he took on a job in 1902 as assistant to Isaac Taylor, the director of works for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, then under construction. In this role he worked closely on every aspect of the construction of the fairgrounds, and when Taylor died unexpectedly, Hoblitzelle, at the age of twenty-five, assumed the position of acting director of works and was given the large responsibility of dismantling the fairgrounds. Although he was undoubtedly impressed by the glorious vistas of the exhibition buildings, it was the Pike and its lowbrow popularity with the visitors that made a deep impression on him.

Map 3. Private Places and Public Spaces, Southwest Houston, 1921. Just south of downtown, the private places of Houston were aligned with Main Street. The square Westmoreland Place, and the linear Flora Place came first, and then twelve years later, Shadyside appeared further south, adjacent to Rice University and Hermann Park. Rendered by Eric Cesal from Houston-Southwest map, 1921. Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas, Austin.
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Map 3.

Private Places and Public Spaces, Southwest Houston, 1921. Just south of downtown, the private places of Houston were aligned with Main Street. The square Westmoreland Place, and the linear Flora Place came first, and then twelve years later, Shadyside appeared further south, adjacent to Rice University and Hermann Park. Rendered by Eric Cesal from Houston-Southwest map, 1921. Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas, Austin.

Like the midway at the Columbian Exposition, this separate, commercial enterprise, presented in an axial avenue adjacent to the fairgrounds, offered visitors the opportunity to see [End Page 33] the Tyrolean Alps or visit a street in Cairo (see Figures 4 and 12). Constructed of staff, plaster, and paint, these fantastical, artificial worlds prepared visitors for the escapism and consumption of modern movie theaters. It was Hoblitzelle's discussions with the concessionaires of the Pike that inspired him to invest his savings in a new venture: a vaudeville circuit for the Southwest. Although well established in other regions of the country, this type of entertainment had not taken firm hold in St. Louis's largely rural and religiously conservative cultural hinterland.58

Figure 21. Site Plan, Hermann Park, Dallas, by George Kessler, 1916. The plan for Hermann Park emulated many of the features of St. Louis's Forest Park, including a science museum, public golf course, and zoo. Hare and Hare Collection, Houston Metropolitan Research Center.
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Figure 21.

Site Plan, Hermann Park, Dallas, by George Kessler, 1916. The plan for Hermann Park emulated many of the features of St. Louis's Forest Park, including a science museum, public golf course, and zoo. Hare and Hare Collection, Houston Metropolitan Research Center.

After some discussion with concessionaires, who traveled from place to place, he learned that Texas and Arkansas was a wide-open field, not served by the vaudeville circuits established elsewhere in the country. At least one observer noted that this reception was due to the strong Baptist and Methodist feeling in the South against the colorful language and risqué behavior associated with vaudeville.59 Out-of-towners, especially Northerners, who attempted to break into this untapped market for entertainment had found it unprofitable.60 Like Adolphus Busch, he was determined to provide respectable entertainment for the Southwest. At the same time that Busch opened his rathskeller, Hoblitzelle built elaborate palace theaters.

In 1905 he and his brother George scraped together $2,500 and organized the Interstate Amusement Company, sending agents into the territory to obtain existing theaters or drum up interest in constructing new ones.61 They found venues in Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Little Rock, Shreveport, and Birmingham, mostly along the lines of the Frisco Railroad. Hoblitzelle enlarged Interstate in 1914 to include the southwestern franchise for the Keith and Orpheum circuits, bringing the total to more than twenty-five theaters throughout the region, from Birmingham to Oklahoma City.

Hoblitzelle was a bold impresario, redefining the theater both conceptually and architecturally. The cornerstone of the Dallas Majestic Theatre states its purpose, "Dedicated to art, music, and wholesome entertainment." He forged a middle path between high and low. His goal, at first, was the offering of movies as part of a "refined vaudeville": a variant of the popular entertainment tradition designed to attract a middle-class family audience. His business plan was to weave entertainers like Al Jolson and the Marx Brothers into the evolving cultural economy of the Industrial Southwest. He wanted to win the middle class over as steady paying customers. One of his first acts was to introduce matinees. Then he instituted a censorship policy, deleting unacceptable lines from family performances. His theaters were intended to be community institutions, and were made available to churches and civic groups for meetings.

Another important step was the transformation of the physical space of vaudeville/movie entertainment. Although a refined "Sunday School Circuit" of elaborate vaudeville theaters had been built in New York and some major cities beginning in the 1890s, at the turn of the century respectable citizens in Texas cities avoided even walking past the existing vaudeville theaters and the early motion pictures houses, known as nickelodeons.62 They were often little more than storefronts that served as billboards: with garish, colorful posters advertising the bill plastered from the sidewalk to the roof of the façade (Figure 22).

Inside they were relatively small, modestly decorated, and poorly ventilated spaces, often in working-class neighborhoods. Patrons would enter directly from the street into a long, narrow [End Page 34] room, where entrepreneurs would simply set up chairs, a projector, and clear a space on the far wall for viewing. With a nickel entrance fee these establishments could attract passersby for a quick diversion. At the time Hoblitzelle began his enterprise in Texas, these popular forms of moviegoing lacked the élan and respectability necessary to become a widely accepted middle-class leisure activity.

A new strategy for the siting, design, management, and programming of the vaudeville theater was a necessary step. Hoblitzelle shaped and ennobled the enterprise with grand, elegant city landmarks. The first was the 1910 Houston Majestic, an early palace-style theater that combined respectable vaudeville with early motion-picture screenings.63 Although he had invested money in the renovation of the extant Empire Theatre in 1905, the addition of seats and the remodeling of the façade proved to be not enough to convince Houstonians to change their attitude toward theater. The association of vice and vaudeville proved so strong in Houston that he was forced to try new tactics: within two years he planned an entirely new building.

Figure 22. Façade, Dixie Theatre, Houston, 1909. Houston Metropolitan Research Center.
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Figure 22.

Façade, Dixie Theatre, Houston, 1909. Houston Metropolitan Research Center.

Ironically and appropriately, the site Hoblitzelle bought for his new Majestic had been previously occupied by the Shearn Methodist Church.64 In the 1890s Shearn minister George Rankin had been a vocal protestor against modern urban vices, drunkenness, and debauchery, speaking against it from the pulpit.65 In 1906 [End Page 35] the congregation, concerned about the encroachment of commercial building around them, and the emergence of a nearby entertainment district close to their spiritual home, had decided to move. Hoblitzelle's decision to build on the church site was a masterful stroke, associating his enterprise with church culture and easing the acceptance of leisure in Houston's cultural landscape.

Figure 23. Houston Majestic Theatre, 1910, exterior. Houston Metropolitan Research Center.
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Figure 23.

Houston Majestic Theatre, 1910, exterior. Houston Metropolitan Research Center.

In addition to the meaningful selection of site, Hoblitzelle very carefully considered the role of design. His experience at the world's fair led him to believe that "the public derives as much pleasure and relaxation from tasteful surroundings as from the entertainment which is offered from stage and screen."66 In 1906, he hired John Eberson, a fellow St. Louisan and colleague from the theater world in Chicago, to help him refashion. Like Kessler, Eberson had a national and even international practice. He designed more than one hundred theaters all over the East Coast and throughout the Midwest, from New York to Kentucky, and he is credited with the invention of the atmospheric theater. The origins of his practice and his innovations, however, were regional and southwestern.

A Romanian immigrant, educated in Dresden and Vienna in the 1890s, Eberson immigrated to the United States in 1901 and settled in St. Louis. Between 1901 and 1903, while Hoblitzelle helped to supervise construction of the fair, Eberson was employed by Johnston Realty and Construction Company, an electrical engineering and contracting company. Although it is not clear whether Eberson's employer was contracted to work on the fair, he was no doubt aware of, and fascinated by, the temporary construction methods and extensive electric lighting used there. This knowledge was first put to use in his first independent commissions, remodeling and building theaters for Hoblitzelle in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1906, and in Waterloo, Iowa, in 1907. For Waterloo, Eberson designed an opera house designed to house twelve hundred people with an elaborate scheme of electric lights, terracotta, and plaster. He ordered specially made scenery from a firm in Kansas City to decorate the interior, which arrived in several railcars, as well as upholstered leather seating, which was placed at a pitch in the auditorium, ensuring perfect sightlines for all spectators.67 The success of this theater gave him the nickname, "Opera-House John," and he established a successful practice based out of Chicago. His initial design for the Houston Majestic was executed in 1907–8, just after his Waterloo commission.

The new Majestic Theatre, completed in 1909, was a grandiose $300,000 six-story Beaux-Arts palazzo; a stage set designed to convince the middle-class public that it was possible not only to walk by the building but that theater-going was now socially respectable (Figure 23). Its street identity clearly aligned the building with the genteel Beaux-Arts tradition. As was typical in theater design at the turn of the century, the marquee was a minimal affair, and did not yet incorporate the name of the theater or the current attractions. Instead, it was an iron and glass shelter similar to those used in contemporary hotel building, with a row of electric bulbs around its edges to illuminate the sidewalk below. In an attempt to distinguish itself from the nickelodeons and cheap theaters, signage was kept to a minimum: a simple iron frame, illuminated electrically, hung perpendicularly from the façade, identifying the building as the Majestic Theatre, with "all Vaudeville." A spray of five-pointed stars aligns the building with the glamour of entertainment, but also links the building to the state's symbol. [End Page 36]

Once the theatergoer stepped off the street into the building he or she entered a series of themed spaces that, like the exhibits along the Pike at the World's Fair, transported them across time and space and immersed them in an elegant fantasy world even before they entered the auditorium. Eberson used decorative plaster finishes, paint, and furnishings to emulate different periods of architecture in each room. The lobby, clothed in richly veined marble revetment, elaborate garlands and urns, and panels painted to resemble mosaics of actors performing a Greek drama, framed vaudeville within a long thespian tradition of Western culture. It was modeled directly on the recently excavated House of the Tragic Poet at Pompeii. In contrast to the Roman-era lobby, the next room, the foyer, was designed in the "German baronial style" with plate glass mirrors, chandeliers, and gilt decoration. This choice of decoration, a direct emulation of the recently completed Maxine Elliott Theatre on Broadway in New York, ennobled the Majestic, not only through its aristocratic associations but also directly to a well-known bastion of legitimate theater.

Eberson completed the association of vaudeville with high European culture in the design of the auditorium itself (Figure 24). In a move designed to distinguish this vaudeville/movie theater from the simple and very democratic arrangement of seating found in cheap venues and the new and popular nickelodeons, he designed the room in a "modernized Renaissance style" with classical details rendered in plaster and gilt and twinkling electric lights. The 1,500 seats of the orchestra and balconies were flanked on both sides with boxes, designed to provide a distinctive vantage point and individual electric chandeliers and fans for 104 patrons willing to pay extra for the privilege.68

In stark contrast to the primitive conditions in most existing theaters, the Majestic was equipped with the latest in electrical, ventilation, and plumbing technologies. Advanced heating and cooling systems of the day were installed, including electric fans, and there were water fountains and bathrooms on each floor. As fundamental as these amenities seem now, they were an important feature in a vaudeville theater in Houston at the turn of the twentieth century. A final but key technological feature distinguished the Majestic from the nickelodeons: a small projection booth for movies was incorporated in the second balcony, integrating the new technology within the structure of the building, and lessening the danger from fire. Overheated equipment, which ran continuously in cheap storefront theaters, posed a serious danger and were considered extremely combustible. The containment of the projector into a specially designed space represented an advancement in theater design, a domestication of technology within opera house architecture.

Figure 24. Houston Majestic Theatre, 1910, interior. Interstate Theatre Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin.
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Figure 24.

Houston Majestic Theatre, 1910, interior. Interstate Theatre Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin.

Eberson and Hoblitzelle's Majestic further distinguished itself from less reputable popular entertainments by including a variety of other, notably middle-class, public spaces within the theater, meant to encourage and legitimize the attendance of families. Separate suites of rest and relaxation rooms, similar to those available in department stores and clubs, were available for men, women, and children. A fully equipped playroom, filled with toys and staffed by nurses, provided the ultimate family atmosphere, and freed adults to enjoy the shows as well as other luxurious amenities. A men's smoking room in the basement was decorated in the "Old Dutch" style. With beamed ceiling, red tiled walls, and velvet stuffed chairs arranged around a large fireplace, it was reminiscent of the rathskeller and other convivial German social spaces: jovial, [End Page 37] but still associated with family culture.69 Ladies had the option of retiring to a dressing room, a writing room equipped with desks and paper, and even that bastion of Victorian respectability, a parlor, decorated in the delicate style of Louis XIV. By 1908 the parlor was already a bit of an anachronism in the middle-class home, but its presence in the theater was still redolent of social refinement. A parlor strongly signaled the management's commitment to women.

The decision to include these specialized spaces in the theater tied it to a larger pattern of spatial segregation in the modern urban landscape. As Alan Trachtenberg has shown, during the "age of incorporation" Americans were deeply engaged in processes of cultural change, a "reorganization of perceptions . . . about the individual, the relation between public and private realms, and the character of the nation."70 At the St. Louis World's Fair, society was carefully defined through segregation: people and things were spatially categorized and carefully assigned a place within a singular controlling scheme.71 Women, blacks, and ethnic "others" were incorporated along with native-born white men into a mosaic of distinct but interlocking spheres. This spatial categorization was also in place at the Majestic Theatre. Men and women, that is, white men and women, only mixed in the auditorium or on the settees of the elegant mezzanine. A separate space in the second balcony, near to the noisy and potentially dangerous projection box, was added late in the design process, in what appears to be an acceptance by Hoblitzelle of a general tradition of racial discrimination in vaudeville theaters as well as local segregation practices.72 As an advertisement in the local paper made clear, black folks would be able to enjoy the new vaudeville palace, albeit from an inferior position within the auditorium.73

Texas, and most of the Southwest, was unambiguous in its attitude toward spatial separation of the races in public spaces. In the last years of the nineteenth century it was more typical for Houstonian African-Americans to frequent "colored" theaters located within the black business districts, as did Mexican-Americans within their own neighborhoods, but Hoblitzelle and other theater owners began to incorporate separate but unequal sections within downtown "white" theaters at the turn of the century.74 As a result moviegoing was one of the central tools for definition of the social structure and demarcation of "whiteness" in the Jim Crow Southwest.75 Historians have traditionally emphasized the role of the movie theater in the democratization of mass culture, but certainly in the case of the 1910 Houston Majestic the theater itself, through its program and plan, mapped, within one communal space, highly visible gender, class, and racial boundaries.

In making the last minute design decision to segregate the Majestic, Hoblitzelle, who was well-known as a strong supporter of education and housing for African-Americans in his later philanthropic work, seems to have both accommodated and been responsible for shaping modern public culture in the Industrial Southwest. As an entertainment impresario and a builder of the cultural landscape of leisure in this region, he played an important role of weaving a new technological phenomenon into the existing social and spatial fabric. His success in legitimizing vaudeville and then the movies in the Southwest, where others had failed before him, was due, as he himself acknowledged, to an acute understanding of the localization of a national, modern phenomenon with the particular culture of a region.

In 1910, this acculturation was framed in the language of the Beaux-Arts, in a theater dubbed by the local press as "The Theater Beautiful," a direct reference and link with the elite and refined architecture of the world's fairs and national City Beautiful movement which Kessler had introduced in Texas cities.76 A consummate showman, Hoblitzelle accentuated the association with high culture by hiring an orchestra to play on opening night, dressing ushers in uniforms, and printing programs on good paper tied with ribbon. Although it took a little while for Houstonians to completely accept the image and experience presented by the Majestic, the architecture gambit was ultimately successful, so much so that prominent citizen Ima Hogg chose it as the performance site for the fledgling Houston Symphony. [End Page 38]

The Atmospheric Theater

With the success of the Houston Majestic, Hoblitzelle expanded his empire of Eberson-designed theaters in Texas, building the Austin Majestic in 1916 and (The Paramount) Dallas Majestic in 1917. As the teens turned into the twenties, movies assumed an ever more central role at the Interstate Majestics, until they entirely replaced vaudeville. With this shift, and increased competition from other Texas movie entrepreneurs, in mind, Hoblitzelle and Eberson reconceived the design of their theaters yet again in Houston in 1923, rebuilding the Majestic little more than ten years after the first building opened. No longer guided by the necessity to convince their audience of respectability, they discarded the heavy Beaux-Arts mantle and tried a new approach.

For Hoblitzelle, St. Louis and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition was again a source of cultural inspiration and economic development. In partnership with Eberson, he created a new form of theater using the techniques and lessons learned at the Fair. As Jane Preddy has suggested, Eberson's entire way of thinking about decoration and detail reflect the carnival atmosphere found in world's fair designs.77 Together they made the Southwest, once an entertainment backwater, a center of innovation by pioneering a new type of design: the atmospheric theater.

Figure 25. Houston Majestic Theatre, 1923, interior. Houston Metropolitan Research Center.
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Figure 25.

Houston Majestic Theatre, 1923, interior. Houston Metropolitan Research Center.

Although the exterior of the 1923 Majestic maintained a stately splendor, on the interior [End Page 39] Eberson rejected the authenticity of reproduction found in the period rooms of the 1910 building, instead conflating different styles into a themed confection constructed of staff, the same ephemeral material used to build the world's fairs. Eberson fashioned a syncretic mixture in plaster: an Italian Baroque palace façade, a garden with a pergola and balustrades, crowned with statuary of Greek muses Venus and Diana, all in plaster. Trompe l'oeil landscapes and plantings were painted on the walls and behind them to lend further dimension to the "the appearance of an exterior wall in some foreign village"78 (Figure 25).

Eberson's experience as an electrical contractor brought further depth to the fantasy environment. Using the latest lighting techniques, he created the illusion of exterior space inside the theater, canopied by a blue coved ceiling with twinkling bulbs simulating stars. As patrons entered the auditorium, artificial clouds, butterflies, rainbows, even the Aurora Borealis, could be simulated by an imported Viennese Brenograph magic lantern machine.79 This invention allowed the management to artificially control the atmosphere of the theater, even the time of day. The show would start at twilight, with the sun setting in the western corner of the auditorium, followed by night, with twinkling stars. As the movie concluded the dawn emerged from the east.

The 1923 Majestic was a fantasy environment that turned the experience of sitting in the auditorium into part of the entertainment, simulating the experience of the outdoor cafe. This, combined with the artificial scenery of the theater, and the window into another world provided by the movie itself, drew upon the experience of the Tyrolean Alps concession at the St. Louis Fair, with its biergarten, artificial mountains, and Austrian village architecture. Moviegoers, immersed in a four-dimensional time–space experience, could imagine themselves elsewhere, and could, in air-conditioned comfort, imagine themselves outside.

This manufacture of an artificial visual "atmosphere" was accompanied by the creation of a refrigerated climate, made possible by the introduction of air conditioning. Prior to the introduction of fully refrigerated air in the early 1920s, Texas theaters had been closed in summer, too stifling to tolerate. With air conditioning, the movie theater was not only a morally acceptable but also a physically comfortable climate for entertainment in the South and Southwest, and provided year-round profit for theater owners. Eberson's introduction of the atmospheric theater in Texas as opposed to Minnesota was likely no coincidence.

The Interstate chain expanded in the 1920s to include Tulsa, Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Wichita, and Chicago, as well as several Tennessee and Florida cities. Eberson continued to build atmospheric theaters, notably in San Antonio, and then went on to design them around the country. Texas, however, remained the point of origin for this theater phenomenon. With Eberson's help Hoblitzelle made the Southwest, formerly a commercial entertainment wasteland, a center of innovation in the 1920s. The headquarters for this chain was moved from Chicago to Dallas. In addition to his theater holdings, he invested heavily in Dallas and became a Dallasite and "the dominant figure in Southwestern amusement."80 Although he became a national figure in the movie theater industry in the 1930s, his primary importance was in shaping this region. Native to St. Louis, Hoblitzelle became, first and foremost, a Southwesterner, exploring and shaping the cultural economy of Texas and the South, developing of a new form of mass entertainment tailored to the needs of the community. Blazoned on the exterior of the 1923 Majestic was a poem by Bessie Anderson Stanley that proclaimed Hoblitzelle's mission: "He has achieved success who has gained the respect of intelligent men, and the love of children, who has filled his niche, and has left the world better than he found it." He seems to have succeeded. By the late 1930s the Houston Majestic was not only a place to escape into the movies, it was also the weekly meeting site for the Elks, the Kiwanis, the Rotarians, and interestingly on Saturdays, for organized labor.81 In this way, Hoblitzelle had succeeded in emulating and localizing the fair, which accommodated many different interest [End Page 40] groups into their space, each on their own individual days.

The End of the Southwest

Figure 26. Texas Trade Territories as indicated by Toll Traffic, from Economic Survey of Texas by Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, 1928. Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library.
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Figure 26.

Texas Trade Territories as indicated by Toll Traffic, from Economic Survey of Texas by Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, 1928. Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library.

By 1929 the cultural economy that connected St. Louis and the Southwest had mostly unraveled. Texas's economic identity had definitively shifted from a supplier of raw materials to a producer of finished manufactured goods, from cotton bales to cotton spindles and cottonseed oil. Population, especially urban population, soared. The federal government, recognizing the large increase in the volume of banking transactions, chose Dallas over New Orleans as a Federal Reserve center. In 1910, as Cronon suggests, St. Louis still maintained a banking hinterland to the southwest, but by 1914 Texas, in particular Dallas, could compete on a national stage in banking. Its deposits expanded mightily in that time, from $88 million in 1904 to $246 million in 1914. In a competition [End Page 41] for a regional Federal Reserve Bank, Dallas won out over larger cities like New Orleans, Omaha, and Pittsburgh. Those who testified in favor of a Dallas Branch of the Reserve made a strong case that it was time to "divorce Texas . . . from an association with St. Louis, Kansas City, or New Orleans."82 The proposed territory included parts of New Mexico, Arizona, and Oklahoma, all of Texas, and two thirds of Louisiana.

Figure 27. Frost National Bank, Sanguinet and Staats, San Antonio, 1922. Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library.
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Figure 27.

Frost National Bank, Sanguinet and Staats, San Antonio, 1922. Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library.

Banking was supported by Texan jobbers, who now sold more goods to retailers than St. Louis jobbers, eating into that city's trade territory. The headquarters for business, and the definition of the Southwest, had moved away from its former capitals, St. Louis and Kansas City. Texas cities developed as metropolitan centers in their own right, with their own hierarchy and place-order. As the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company (still headquartered in St. Louis) calculated the expansion of long-distance service in 1928 it charted the toll traffic between places in Texas and discovered patterns of business connection, not only between Dallas and the rest of the state, but between Abilene, San Angelo, Sweetwater and San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Harlingen (Figure 26). The volume of phone connections indicates that trade territories had shifted and solidified within the state.

A Texan Building Culture

These economic shifts are reflected in significant changes in the building culture of Texas. Al-though there had been talented individual architects in Texan cities in the nineteenth century, and architectural training at Texas A & M since the 1890s, the local profession remained provincial until the teens.83 As Texas matured economically it gained confidence culturally. The result was the development of its own native professional culture and, ultimately, the establishment of its own regional landscape. In 1914 a Dallas issue of Western Architect featured the work of many St. Louis firms. By the 1920s a special publication of the Dallas Architectural Club proudly proved that by then there was little necessity or desire to bring in an outside architect or contractor for the construction of booster architecture in Dallas or other major Texas cities.

The firm of Sanguinet and Staats is a case in point; a literal shift of practice from St. Louis to the Southwest. Marshall Sanguinet, a native son of an old St. Louis family, trained in architecture at Washington University and moved to Fort Worth in 1883 to make his fortune, carrying the cultural authority and the business connections of his birthplace with him. By the teens he had, along with Carl Staats, developed the capacity and organization to serve local Texas clients, operating the first large bureaucratic, statewide design firm in Texas. Their clients were fervent Texans like Thomas Frost, whose father had shepherded the establishment of the wool ranching industry in San Antonio, and then, through the establishment of the Frost National Bank in 1899, fueled [End Page 42] the economic growth of textile manufacturing in the state. In 1922, asserting the bank's strong local roots, Frost hired Sanguinet and Staats, the preeminent Texas firm of the day, to build a twelve-story Beaux-Arts skyscraper on the Main Plaza in San Antonio. Towering over the cathedral, the building was an explicit expression of the Industrial Southwest in the historic heart of the Spanish city (Figure 27).

In that same year Sanguinet and Staats were called in as the big city advisors and experts in the design of the Baton Rouge Parish courthouse. Within a single generation the cultural sway of St. Louis over Texas was diminished and its territory reduced. In turn, Texas architects turned eastward and developed their own small trade territory to Louisiana and Alabama.

As their cultural economy matured, Texans not only supplied their own commissions and architectural talent, but they produced their own flow of building materials. By 1914 advertisements in a special "Dallas" issue of Western Architect for Dallas-headquartered companies like Southwestern States Portland Cement Company and Lone Star Concrete, with factories in Eagle Ford and Cement, Texas, communicate Texans' pride of independence in the building culture. In the ultimate act of independence from St. Louis, Houston architect Birdsall Briscoe, building a house in the Shadyside Addition for Craig Cullinan, chose Acme Brick for the Tudor mansion (Figure 28).

Craig's father Joseph had hired Kessler and Jamieson to design the community, but little more than ten years later his son chose Houston's favored elite architect to design his home, and Briscoe chose locally manufactured materials. The use of local brick in this house in Shadyside, in a community based on the St. Louis private street and designed by a St. Louis landscape architect, was a bold assertion of the self-sufficiency and artistic maturity of Texas. Known throughout the country for the quality and variety of its brick manufacturers, St. Louis had long been a dominant supplier of brick throughout the Southwest region and throughout the country. Acme Brick, founded in 1891, had by 1928 expanded its domain to encompass factories in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Figure 28. Advertisement for Acme Cement. Architecture, 1928.
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Figure 28.

Advertisement for Acme Cement. Architecture, 1928.

Figure 29. "Source Areas and Routes of Diffusion," from "Folk Housing: Key to Diffusion" by Fred Kniffen, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 1965. Courtesy Taylor and Francis.
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Figure 29.

"Source Areas and Routes of Diffusion," from "Folk Housing: Key to Diffusion" by Fred Kniffen, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 1965. Courtesy Taylor and Francis.

Conclusion

The fixed relationship between region and transportation technology, so important to the cultural landscape of the Industrial Southwest, began to disappear at the end of the 1920s with the arrival of trucking and air transport. Similar [End Page 43] technological transformations are occurring today, as cell towers dynamically and perpetually triangulate new local, regional, national, and global territories. From this perspective the story of the Industrial Southwest goes beyond the identification of architectural linkages between St. Louis and Texas: it suggests that architectural historians rethink the concept of region. This is especially true for vernacularists, for whom region, tied to the idea of the cultural hearth, is a central premise (Figure 29).

Much scholarship has been devoted to understanding the role of diffusion in folk culture, and to the impact of pattern-books and standardized designs on the early national landscape.84 But students of the vernacular, as Richard Harris has recently pointed out in the pages of this journal, have been reluctant to embrace the modern and the manufactured. The study of the Industrial Southwest suggests how we might further explore the relationship between individuals and the large economic forces that shape their building practices. Diffusion and cultural exchange continued to be a force in the landscape as the nation made the transition from folk to mass culture and from builders to clients, developers, and professional architects.

Paula Lupkin

Paula Lupkin teaches history of architecture at Washington University in St. Louis. Her current research interests include the historiography of American architecture, the middle-brow built environment of twentieth-century cities, and the intersection of progressive reform, corporate culture, and architectural practices and processes. She is the author of Manhood Factories: YMCA Architecture and the Making of Modern Urban Culture (Minnesota, 2009), a project supported by the Charles Warren Center for Study of American History at Harvard University and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in the Fine Arts. "Rethinking Region along the Railroads" is part of an ongoing book project on modern cultural landscape of the Industrial Southwest.

Acknowledgment

Many thanks to Carol Roark, Emily Burns, Bryna Campbell, Daniel Abramson, Steven Butler, Maureen Ogle, Eric Cesal, Ellen Thomasson, Joshua Lupkin of the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library at the University of Illinois, and the two anonymous Buildings & Landscapes reviewers for help in developing this article.

Notes

1. D. W. Meinig, "The Continuous Shaping of America: A Prospectus for Geographers and Historians," American Historical Review 83 (1978): 1186-208, quoted in James R. Shortridge, The Middle West: Its Meaning in American Culture (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1989).

2. Excellent recent scholarship situates the Southwest region within the fabric of the modern cultural landscape. See Chris Wilson, The Myth of Santa Fe: Creating a Modern Regional Tradition (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1997); Abigail Van Slyck, "Manana, Manana: Racial Stereotypes and the Anglo Rediscovery of the Southwest's Vernacular Architecture, 1890-1920," Gender, Class, and Shelter: Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture 5 (1995): 95-108; Rachel Lebowitz, "The Million Dollar Playhouse: The Office of Indian Affairs and the Pueblo Revival in the Navajo Capital," Buildings & Landscapes 15 (2008): 11-42.

3. The professional architectural discourse on regionalism is ably anthologized in Vincent Canizaro's Architectural Regionalism: Collected Writings on Place, Identity, Modernity, and Tradition (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2007).

4. Kansas City was also a source of cultural and architectural influence in the Industrial Southwest, but St. Louis's banking facilities, railroad headquarters, and World's Fair made it the dominant urban center of the region.

5. The existing scholarship on the territory covered by the Industrial Southwest includes urban studies of individual cities, state histories of architecture, and even regional works on the Midwest. The dynamic overlap between the early twentieth-century Midwest and Southwest requires further study. See Shortridge, The Middle West; John S. Garner, The Midwest in American Architecture (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991); William H. Tishler, Midwestern Landscape Architecture (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004): Paul Larson, The Spirit of H. H. Richardson on the Midland Prairies (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1988); Leonard Eaton, Gateway Cities and Other Essays (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1989); Eric Sandweiss, St. Louis: The Evolution of an Urban Landscape (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2003), and Jay Henry, Architecture in Texas, 1895-1945 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993).

6. William Cronon, Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (New York: W. W. Norton, 1992), 259.

7. James Vance, The North American Railway (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), 196-200.

8. Quoted in Eaton, Gateway Cities and other Essays, 3.

9. John Stilgoe, Metropolitan Corridor: Railroads and the American Scene (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1983).

10. S. G. Reed, A History of Texas Railroads (Houston, Tex.: The St. Clair Publishing Company, 1941), 378; Charles P. Zlatkovich, Texas Railroads: A Record of Construction and Abandonment (Austin: Bureau [End Page 44] of Business Research, University of Texas at Austin, Texas State Historical Association, 1981).

11. "Territory News" Dallas Morning News, November 20, 1901; I. B. Holley Jr., "Blacktop: How Asphalt Paving Came to the Urban United States" Technology and Culture 44 (2003): 703-33.

12. James Anthony Clark and Michel T. Halbouty, Spindletop (New York: Random House, 1952); Joseph A. Pratt, The Growth of a Refining Region (Greenwich, Conn.: Jai Press, 1980).

13. Mark Bennitt, History of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (St. Louis, Mo.: Universal Exposition Publishing Company, 1905).

14. Ibid., 439.

15. Ibid., 2337.

16. "Proposed Freak Building for Texas Raises a Row," New York Times, April 13, 1903.

17. Ibid.

18. Mary Craig to Mrs. Rogers, May 13, 1904, Box 1, Mary Craig letters, Dallas Public Library.

19. Mary Craig, Sunday May 29, 1904, Box 1, Mary Craig letters, Dallas Public Library.

20. Stephen Fox, National Register Nomination, "Westmoreland Historic District," Houston, Texas.

21. Howard Davis, The Culture of Building (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 5-13.

22. James Clifford, Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997), 3.

23. Wolfgang Schivelbusch, The Railway Journey: The Industrialization and Perception of Time and Space (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1987), 38.

24. Chancellor David F. Houston, "A University for the Southwest: An Address Delivered before the Commercial Club of St. Louis at a Dinner Given by the Club Saturday, October 31st, 1908" (St. Louis, Mo.: Washington University, 1908).

25. "The Oriental Hotel," Dallas Morning News, December 1, 1892; "Much Regret in Dallas," Dallas Morning News, October 11, 1913.

26. Maureen Ogle, Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006), 41.

27. Michael Hennech, The Encyclopedia of Texas Breweries: Pre-Prohibition, 1836-1918 (Irving, Tex.: Ale Publishing Company, 1990).

28. Cronon, Nature's Metropolis, 230-40.

29. D. Reid Ross, "Beer and Synergism: A Tale of Two Cities," Queen City Heritage 47 (Winter 1989): 3-16.

30. Ross, "Beer and Synergism," 12.

31. Roland Krebs and Percy J. Orthwein, Making Friends Is Our Business—100 Years of Anheuser-Busch (St. Louis, Mo.: Anheuser-Busch, 1953), 154.; Ronald Jan Plavchan, "A History of Anheuser-Busch, 1852-1933" (PhD Diss., St. Louis University, 1969), 54-60, 69-72, 78-86.

32. William Hamilton Sellew, "Icing Stations," Railway Maintenance Engineering, (New York: D. Van Nostrand Company, 1915), 309-11; John Wilson Orrock, Railroad Structure and Estimates (New York: John Wiley, 1918), 396-419.

33. Stanley Baron, Brewed in America: A History of Beer and Ale in the United States (Boston: Little, Brown, 1962), 266; 100 Years of Brewing (Chicago: H. S. Rich & Co., 1903), 528.

34. Susan Appel, "The Midwestern Brewery before Prohibition: The Development of an American Industrial Building Type" (PhD Diss., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1990), 216.

35. "Talk with Adolphus Busch," Dallas Morning News, February 8, 1895, 3.

36. The removal of the City Hall from this spot was part of a comprehensive city plan for Dallas, then being superintended by St. Louisan George Kessler.

37. Dallas Morning News, July 16, 1910.

38. Annabel Wharton, Building the Cold War: Hilton International Hotels ( Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), 168-73.

39. Gilsonite Construction Advertisement, Dallas Issue, Western Architect 20 (July 1914); Dallas Morning News, July 19, 1910. Joseph Ross, Waterproofing Engineering for Engineers, Architects, Builders, Roofers, and Waterproofers (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1919), 159. Busch himself built another hotel in 1912, in Waco, designed by Widmann and Walsh, his brewery designers. St. Louis designers were called in to build hotels across the Southwest including Barnett, Haynes, and Barnett in Springfield, Missouri; and Mauran, Russell, and Crowell in Fort Worth, Houston, and Galveston.

40. Dallas Morning News, May 26, 1912.

41. "Much Regret in Dallas," Dallas Morning News, October 11, 1913.

42. "Busch Heiress to Be St. Louis Princess in Dallas Pageant," Dallas Morning News, November 11, 1922. [End Page 45]

43. Letter from Henry Wright to Jennie Scheuber, March 6, 1909, Box 21, Folder 15, Kessler Papers, Missouri Historical Society.

44. Letter from Henry Wright to Jennie Scheuber, March 6, 1909, Kessler Papers, Missouri Historical Society.

45. The most important published source on Fair Park is Steven Butler's extensive Web site, Historic Fair Park. I am much indebted to his research: http://www.watermelon-kid.com/places/FairPark/Fairpark.htm (accessed March 10, 2009).

46. Dallas Daily Times Herald, October 10, 1920, 4; "Texas State Fair and Dallas Exposition" Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, September 27, 1890, 4.

47. Reported in the Daily Dallas Times Herald, October 26, 1886. Cited in Steven Butler, "First Exposition Building," Historic Fair Park.

48. Loughlin and Anderson, Forest Park (St. Louis, Mo.: Junior League of St. Louis, 1986), 90-91, 133-34.

49. Ibid., 90-92.

50. Files on these projects are located in the George Kessler Papers, Box 21, Missouri Historical Society.

51. Charles C. Savage, Architecture of the Private Streets of St. Louis: The Architects and the Houses They Designed (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1987).

52. Julius Hunter, Westmoreland and Portland Places: The History and Architecture of America's Premier Private Streets, 1888-1988 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1988), 27.

53. Ibid., 26-54. Although the concept of the private street was not explicitly intended as a tool of racial segregation, it certainly functioned that way. The only African-American inhabitants were servants.

54. S. L. Sherer, "The Places of St. Louis: A Form of Suburban Community Peculiar to the World's Fair City," House and Garden (April 1905): 187. This article helped to diffuse the St. Louis idea to New York, Rochester, and San Francisco. The concept arrived earlier in New Orleans, in the form of Audubon Place (1894). As in Texas, the adoption of the private place there was the result of direct economic and professional connections to St. Louis.

55. I am much indebted to the work of Stephen Fox on the private streets of Texas. See his National Register Nomination, "Westmoreland Historic District"; "Courtlandt Place on Tour: A Look at Houston's First Elite Neighborhood," Texas Architect 6 (November-December 1982): 62-63; "Public Art and Private Places: Shadyside," The Houston Review 2 (Winter 1980): 37-60; Sadie Gwin Blackburn, "The Evolution of the Houston Landscape," in Houston's Forgotten Heritage: Landscape, Houses, Interiors, 1824-1914 (Houston, Tex.: Rice University Press, 1991): 46-47; Marguerite Johnston, Houston: The Unknown City, 1836-1946 (College Station: Texas A&M Press, 1991).

56. Gwin Blackburn, "The Evolution of the Houston Landscape," 46-47.

57. Although Westmoreland and Portland Places had straight streets, Julius Pitzman, as well as Kessler and his assistant Henry Wright had been experimenting with winding roads in Compton Heights (1888), Parkview (1905), Brentmoor, and Forest Ridge (1910).

58. Gregory A. Waller, Main Street Amusements:Movies and Commercial Entertainment in a Southern City, 1896-1930 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1995), 78.

59. Carol Yokalevich, "John Eberson's Theatres in Texas" (Masters thesis, University of Texas at Austin, 1987), 12.

60. Waller, Main Street Amusements, 78.

61. In Waco, he found that the existing theater had, ironically and not coincidentally, just been purchased and renovated by another St. Louisan, Adolphus Busch. "New Theatre Opens: Majestic Gives Its First Bill of the Season at Waco," Dallas Morning News, November 21, 1906, 6.

62. David Welling, Cinema Houston: From Nickelodeon to Megaplex (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007), 45.

63. Yokalevich, John Eberson's Theatres; John Eberson, "A Description of the Capitol Theatre in Chicago," Architectural Forum 42 (January 1925): 373-76.

64. Isabella Margaret Elizabeth Blandin, History of Shearn Church, 1837-1907 (Houston, Tex.: Shearn Auxiliary of Woman's Home Mission Society, 1908), 211-18.

65. David G. Macomb, Texas: A Modern History (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1989), 114.

66. Yokalevich, John Eberson's Theatres, 13

67. Waterloo Times-Tribune, August 14, 1907, 5.

68. Hoblitzelle's inclusion of individual boxes, chandeliers, and fans emphasizes hierarchy within the upscale vaudeville theater. On the inscription of hierarchy and democracy in the design of theaters at the turn of the twentieth century, see Joseph Siry, "The Auditorium Building: Opera or Anarchism?" Journal [End Page 46] of the Society of Architectural Historians 57 (June 1998): 128, 132, 139.

69. Welling, Cinema Houston, 47-50.

70. Alan Trachtenberg, The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society in the Gilded Age (New York: Hill and Wang, 1982), 3-7.

71. Ibid., chapter 7.

72. Welling, Cinema Houston, 178; David Nasaw, The Rise and Fall of Public Amusements (New York: Basic Books, 1993), 49.

73. Welling, Cinema Houston, 52; advertisement, Houston Post, February 21, 1910.

74. James Forsher, The Community of Cinema: How Spectacle Transformed the American Downtown (Westport, Conn.: Praeger), 47-55; David Welling, Cinema Houston: From Nickelodeon to Megaplex (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007), 178.

75. On Jim Crow and the practice of both racial and gender segregation, see C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow (New York: Oxford University Press, 1955); Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996); Grace Elizabeth Hale, Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940 (New York: Pantheon, 1998), 9.

76. Welling, Cinema Houston, 50.

77. Jane Preddy, Palaces of Dreams: The Movie Theatres of John Eberson (San Antonio, Tex.: The McNay Art Museum, 1989).

78. Ibid., 53.

79. Karal Ann Marling, "Fantasies in Dark Places: The Cultural Geography of the American Movie Palace," in Textures of Place: Exploring Humanist Geographies, eds. Paul C. Adams, Steven D. Hoelscher, and Karen E. Till, 8-23 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001); Maggie Valentine, The Show Starts on the Sidewalk: An Architectural History of the Movie Theatre, Starring Charles S. Lee (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1994), 14-33.

80. Hoblitzelle established Hoblitzelle Properties, which bought real estate throughout the Dallas area. He was a director of the Republic National Gas Company and Southwestern Life Insurance Company, and he served as chairman of the board and chairman emeritus of the local Republic National Bank. In later life he earned a reputation as a philanthropist in the areas of agronomy, medical research, community affairs, and education. Joe Linz, undated article, Dallas Times Herald, Hoblitzelle Clippings File, Dallas Public Library.

81. Welling, Cinema Houston, 59.

82. James Kenneth Howard, "An Economic and Social History of Dallas, Texas" (PhD Diss., Harvard University, 1956), 109-10.

83. Several of the most prominent Texas architects of the day got their start supervising projects for St. Louis design firms. Sensing the opportunities available in these growing cities and credentialed with the patina of St. Louis's cultural leadership, they stayed. Albert Finn started as a supervisor working for Mauran, Russell, and Crowell on the Rice Hotel and went on to fame as the city's most prominent practitioner. J. L. Wees built several major homes in St. Louis before moving to Texas. The Swedish-born Olle H. Lorehn came to Houston to supervise construction of the American Brewery for Anheuser-Busch and stayed to a long practice. James P. Jamieson, who came from Philadelphia to supervise construction of Washington University for Cope and Stewardson and designed several houses in the Forest Park Addition, was lured to Houston to design a house for oil magnate Joseph S. Cullinan.

84. Fred Kniffen, "Folk Housing: Key to Diffusion," Annals of the Association of American Geographers 55 (December 1965): 549-77; Dell Upton, "Pattern-Books and Professionalism: Aspects of the Transformation of Domestic Architecture in America 1800-1860," Winterthur Portfolio 19 (Summer-Autumn, 1984): 107-50. An important exception is Catherine Bishir's work on the South, especially Southern Built: American Architecture and Regional Practice (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006). [End Page 47]

Additional Information

ISSN
1934-6832
Print ISSN
1936-0886
Pages
16-47
Launched on MUSE
2009-12-06
Open Access
No
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