The Texas and Pacific Railroad Passenger Terminal was built by the firm of Wyatt Hedrick (designer Herman Koeppe) and the building served as Fort Worth's main rail station. Since its decommission in 1967, it has been added to the National Register of Historic Places (1978) and recorded as a Texas Historic Landmark (1980).
Recently, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority secured two of the ground-floor spaces - the Main Waiting Room and White Women's Waiting Room - to serve as a station for new rail service connecting Fort Worth and Dallas. Gideon Toal was engaged to restore the facility to its original grandeur, and assembled a multi-disciplined design team to accomplish the task, including Terra-Mar to address environmental concerns, ARJO Engineers for necessary MEP improvements, and preservation architect Donna Carter of Austin to document the restoration effort. Beckman Construction Company brought together a group of sub-contractors who are all true artisans. More important, Beckman and its subs shared with the design team the feeling that the project was important, and were privileged to be involved in the restoration.
Among the challenges was abatement of asbestos found above the ceiling and in the mechanical tunnels, as well as removal of lead paint on the walls and ceiling. Paint scrapings were sent to a lab in Florida for chemical analysis in order to replicate the 1930 finishes. Donna Carter then prepared a color schedule to guide painter Roy Parr of Phoenix Restoration on the elaborate Art Deco ceiling. (After several trips up and down the 30-plus-foot scaffold to direct color application, I discovered that working from the floor with a laser pointer was an easier way to accomplish that task.) Artisan Matt Henson spent many hours making polyurethane casts to replace damaged sections of the intricately molded plaster ceiling. In addition, Linda Broiles of Smith Studios repaired all 11 chandeliers and cast new grilles and wall sconces to match the few remaining originals. From the only remaining T&P logo found in the basement, replicas were cast for all door hardware. Broken and damaged sugar-cane tile was replaced with exact material found abandoned in other parts of the building. Stuart Dean painstakingly refinished the nickel-plated bronze doors to their original luster.
The hours and care given by each individual to every element of the project is evident in the finished product.
--Robert G. Adams, AIA, is a vice president of Gideon Toal.
paints: Jones-Blair, Neoguard; metal restore: Stuart Dean; plaster: Henson Plastering; glass and metal fabrication: Smith Studios