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Officials extol the beauty and authenticity of the T&P

FORT WORTH -- Transit leaders and historic preservationists heralded the
restored Texas & Pacific Building last night as the city's "art deco grande
dame."

A $1.4 million renovation of the 1931 terminal building replaced missing
chunks of the elaborate plaster ceiling, restored the elegant black marble
ticket counter and marble floor and repaired water-damaged walls in the
grand lobby.

"This isn't a replica. This isn't phony. This is what it looked like in
1931," John Bartosiewicz, general manager of the Fort Worth Transportation
Authority, told the crowd of 800 at a reopening reception. "And we're going
to keep it that way for the posterity of this community."

Commuter rail service from Dallas on Trinity Railway Express trains won't
begin at the station for 18 months, Bartosiewicz said. But event planners
may rent the lobby until then. The room also will be open to the public
during most business hours, he said.

Richland Hills, Hurst and the CentrePort community south of Dallas/Fort
Worth Airport are scheduled for train service by September. Rail service
would reach downtown Fort Worth in early 2001, transit officials have said.

But although Fort Worth commuter rail service is still many months away,
yesterday's celebration of the restored Texas & Pacific Building gave
several people an opportunity to remember the days when trains fed Cowtown's
economy.

Constance Weinbrenner, 79, returned to the station where she had worked as a
clerk for the Pullman Car Co., a manufacturer of sleeping cars. Weinbrenner
met her husband there.

Seeing the building decay over the years "just broke my heart," Weinbrenner
said. But yesterday, as she surveyed the fountains, scrolls and pyramids
cast in patterns on the lobby ceiling, she said: "Oh, it's marvelous."

Frank Wallace, 78, said he couldn't help but peek into the adjacent waiting
area built originally to segregate black and white customers. That room has
yet to be restored.

"It makes you think that some things have changed. But maybe not soon
enough," Wallace said.

Beckman Construction of Fort Worth served as general contractor on the
project. Bob Adams, a vice president of the GideonToal design and planning
firm, served as chief architect on the restoration.

Fort Worth architect Ames Fender said the restoration would have pleased his
maternal grandfather, the Texas & Pacific's original architect, Wyatt C.
Hedrick.

"This is a tremendous landmark that few cities have," Fender said. "This is
a Grand Central Station kind of space."

Kristin Sullivan, (817) 390-7610

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The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
Kristin N. Sullivan