Houston Post-Dispatch Building - Houston, Texas
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member JimmyEv
N 29° 45.552 W 095° 21.687
15R E 271662 N 3294439
Quick Description: Ross Sterling, founder of Humble Oil and Governor of Texas, erected this 22-story Beaux-Arts building in 1926 to house the offices of his newspaper, the “Houston Post-Dispatch”, and radio station, KPRC. It is now the Magnolia Hotel.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 10/9/2006 5:38:47 PM
Waymark Code: WMTQ8
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 32

Long Description:

Ross Sterling purchased both the Houston Dispatch and the Houston Post newspapers in 1924, creating the Houston Post-Dispatch. He hired William P. Hobby, a former Texas governor, as President of the new paper. In 1926, Sterling contracted with the Fort Worth architectural firm of Staats, Sanguinet and Hedrick to design a building to house the offices for the Post-Dispatch and his radio station, KPRC.

Staats, Sanguinet and Hedrick designed a 22-story skyscraper, the tallest building in Houston when constructed. The building followed the typical pattern of skyscrapers at the time, with a well-defined four-story base, a 14-story shaft, and a crown of four-stories. The base contains a two-story colonnade of paired classical pilasters framing the windows. This pattern of framed windows is repeated on three floors of the attic. In traditional Beaux-Arts style, the very top features lions’ head gargoyles topped by a shell and cherub frieze. This was one of the last skyscrapers built in Houston that emphasized a horizontal look, necessary at the time to allow maximum use of natural light.

Although Sterling became governor of Texas in 1930, he was bankrupted during the Depression. By 1932, he had liquidated the Post-Dispatch, including this building. The building then became the regional headquarters of Shell Oil Company, and the name was changed from the Post-Dispatch Building to the Shell Building. Shell Oil was a northeastern oil company that had acquired Roxanna Oil of Texas in 1924, then built a refinery in near-by Deer Park by 1929. The company consolidated its midwestern offices by relocating them to Houston in 1930. In 1971, Shell moved its national headquarters to One Shell Plaza in Houston, vacating the Post-Dispatch Building.

The building is now the 314-room Magnolia Hotel. The exterior of the building has mostly been restored, but the Magnolia hasn’t restored the historic interiors opting instead for a sleek modern look.

Main Street/Market Square Historic District
Next: Christ Church | Previous: U.S. Customhouse

Texas Historical Commission, "Houston Post-Dispatch Building," available at Texas Historical Atlas

Street address:
609 Fannin Street
Houston, TX USA

County / Borough / Parish: Harris County

Year listed: 2002

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering (Classical Revival)

Periods of significance: 1925-1974

Historic function: Office Building

Current function: Hotel

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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