Blackstone Hotel (Fort Worth, Texas)
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|Courtyard Fort Worth Downtown/Blackstone|
|Architectural style||Art Deco, Terra Cotta
|Location||601 Main StreetFort Worth, Texas
|Completed||1929, 1952, 1999|
|Roof||82 m (269 ft)|
|Floor area||1,262 sq ft (117.2 m2)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Mauran, Russell & Crowell|
|Number of rooms||188 rooms
2 meeting rooms
Corner Bakery Deli
|Location||601 Main St., Fort Worth, Texas|
|Area||less than one acre|
|Architect||Mauran, Russell & Crowell|
|Architectural style||Modern Movement|
|NRHP Reference #||84001961|
|Added to NRHP||February 02, 1984|
The Blackstone Hotel is the tallest hotel in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, at 268 ft (82 m) tall. Located on the corner of Fifth and Main Streets, it is noted for its Art Deco with terracotta ornamentation with setbacks on the top floors. The hotel was constructed in 1929, and sat vacant for nearly 20 years. The Blackstone Hotel guest list is full of notable people including Presidents of the United States ranging from President Harry Truman to President Richard Nixon. The hotel was also host for a few movie stars. The building was restored in the late 1990s and is still in use today as the Courtyard by Marriott Fort Worth/Blackstone.
- 1 Blackstone Hotel (1929-1952)
- 2 Hilton Hotel (1952–1962)
- 3 Blackstone Hotel (1962–1982)
- 4 Vacant (1982–1997)
- 5 Restoration (1997–1999)
- 6 Courtyard by Marriott Fort Worth/Blackstone (1999–present)
- 7 Building owners
- 8 Hotel managers
- 9 Structure facts
- 10 Blackstone Hotel's Talk of the Town
- 11 Final Thoughts
- 12 Photo gallery
- 13 See also
- 14 Books & Reading Material
- 15 References
- 16 External links
Blackstone Hotel (1929-1952)
The 23-story, 284 room Blackstone Hotel had its official grand opening on October 10, 1929. The hotel was built by cattleman C.A. "Gus" O'Keefe. The architects were Mauran, Russell & Crowell from St. Louis. The contractors were Bellows and Marclay. Famed Fort Worth resident Amon Carter was the first guest of the new Blackstone Hotel. Seventy years later, his daughter, Ruth Carter Stevenson, would be the first guest of the restored hotel after 17 years of vacancy.
The structure was built with reinforced concrete, and the exterior boasted buff color brick with terra cotta ornament throughout. The ground floor facade is faced with Minnesota granite. The setbacks on the top floors allowed private outdoor terraces for guests. The interior showcased a two story lobby with a mezzanine, wide stairwells, a Venetian Ballroom and Italian marble placed on pillars and floors throughout.
In the mid-1930s, Fort Worth's first radio station, WBAP, was based out of the Blackstone Hotel. The hotel was first managed by Wallace N. Robinson Hotels Company. Management was taken over by H. Fuller Stevens, of Dallas in 1946.
Hilton Hotel (1952–1962)
In 1952, the Blackstone came under the ownership of Conrad Hilton. For the next 10 years, the building would be known as the Hilton Hotel. During that time, an addition was constructed to the South, adding additional ground level retail, a new ballroom, meeting rooms, and a rooftop swimming pool. Also, the interior of the hotel was renovated. This included closing in the two story lobby, converting the mezzanine into a "2nd" floor.
Blackstone Hotel (1962–1982)
The Hilton Hotel was again sold, and the name was reverted to Blackstone Hotel. During the next twenty years, a decline in business forced the closing of the hotel due to bankruptcy of the owners, seeing its last guest at that time in 1982.
The hotel closed down in 1982, mothballed for almost twenty years. Ground level windows and doors were boarded up, presenting murals painted by local citizens. Many windows in upper floors were broken or opened, allowing rain and birds to enter the structure, causing further deterioration. Windows on the top floor were removed for unknown reasons. The basement was flooded for many years. The future of the hotel was unknown, but a developer purchased the building with intent to restore.
The Blackstone Hotel building was purchased by Historic Restoration, INC. (HRI, based in Louisiana for an estimated $2.2 million. Restoration commenced in 1998. An exterior elevator was installed and workers converged on the building. Once again after almost 20 years, the sleeping giant was coming back to life. The City of Fort Worth contributed 10 years of bed tax to Marriott Corp in pursuit of restoration.
There are no known original drawings of the interior, so HRI had a task on their hands. They had to go in, and document every aspect of the building, including measurements of floor to ceiling heights and mechanical equipment to name just a few. Original plaster ceilings found hidden behind suspended ceilings were discovered. Finally interior demolition began, gutting the interior down to the floor plates, stairwells, and elevator shafts. This included removal of escalators in the lobby, tearing out and replacing all electrical and plumbing. The window frames in the guest rooms were made of cypress and were restored with broken glass replaced.
The annex, originally constructed when the hotel was part of the Hilton chain in the 1950s, was converted to an indoor valet parking garage while the top floor hosted additional guestrooms, a swimming pool, hot tub and a workout room.
The original Italian marble in the lobby was removed years ago during renovations, however marble from the vestibule of the Venetian Ballroom was used on the pillars and around the elevators. Moldings were cast of the terra cotta above the first floor on the exterior, and placed on the top of the columns in the lobby. The exterior was washed and restored to its original appearance. Very little was touched on the outside because of the building's historical significance.
A small set of original terrazzo steps that lead to nowhere remain in the lobby due to their historical significance. The estimated cost of the restoration was $26 million. Daughter of famed Fort Worth resident Amon Carter (First guest of the Blackstone Hotel in 1929), was the first guest of the Courtyard by Marriott Fort Worth Downtown-Blackstone in 1999, 70 years after her father's stamp as the hotel's first guest.
Courtyard by Marriott Fort Worth/Blackstone (1999–present)
The Blackstone was officially branded the Courtyard by Marriott Fort Worth Downtown-Blackstone and reopened to the public on April 7, 1999 offering 203 guestrooms on 20 floors with a Corner Bakery Cafe on the ground floor. Artifacts from the hotel's 70 year history were put on display during grand opening on April 6 & 7, 1999. A rooftop swimming pool and whirlpool spa are located on the original Hilton annex. The hotel also offers meeting rooms (1,262 sq feet), a lobby bar, room service, internet access and a workout room.
In 2004-2005, the Courtyard by Marriott-Blackstone received a $1.5 million renovation which included caulking and repainting the windows. Over 2,000 lbs of caulk was used. New furnishings, bedding, and draperies were put in. The hot tub overlooking the swimming pool on the roof of the annex was replaced with a Mini Gym.
The Blackstone building was put on the market by HRI in 2005.
1929–1946(?) Wallace N. Robinson Hotels Company
1946–1952 H. Fuller Stevens of Dallas, Texas
1952–1962 Hilton Hotels
1997–2005(?) Historic Restoration, INC. of New Orleans, Louisiana
2001 - Current Jed Wagenknecht
- Address: 601 Main Street Fort Worth, Texas 76102
- Phone: (817) 885-8700
- Height: 268 ft / 82m
- Floors: 23
- Architectural style: Modern Movement
- Constructed with reinforced concrete, terra cotta ornamant with art deco.
- The top two floors are not public space. They are primarily the crown of the building.
- Developer (1929): C.A. "Gus" O'Keefe
- Architect: Mauran, Russel & Crowell
- Contractor (1929): Bellows and Marclay
- Restoration developer (1997): Historic Restoration, INC. of New Orleans, LA
- Renovations (2005): Symmetric, LLC
- Constructions & Renovations: 1929, 1952, 1997–1999
- Abandoned: 1982-1997
- Hotel names: Blackstone Hotel, Hilton Hotel, Blackstone Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott
Blackstone Hotel's Talk of the Town
- Fort Worth's first radio station, WBAP, was located on one of those floors in the 1930s.
- Sid Richardson had a penthouse in the Blackstone for $750 a month from 1929–1932.
- Presidents of the United States that have stayed at the Blackstone: Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon.
- Notable famous people to enter into the Blackstone included Bob Hope, Clark Gable and Elvis Presley
- Local public figures to have stayed at the Blackstone: Amon Carter, Sid Richardson
Added on the National Register of Historic Places (Building #84001961) on February 2, 1984, the Courtyard by Marriott will always be known as the "Blackstone Hotel" to those who live in or have ties to Fort Worth.
Books & Reading Material
- Courtyard Fort Worth Downtown/Blackstone official site
- 360 Fort Worth Courtyard by Marriott
- America's Historic Places Blackstone Hotel - One of America's Historic Places in Texas
- Architecture in Downtown Fort Worth Blackstone Hotel
- Atlas Data: State of Texas
- Emporis.com Blackstone Hotel
- National Register of Historic Places
- Preservation Nation Restoration of the Blackstone Hotel
- Symmetric, LLC Project Portfolio
- Yahoo! Courtyard by Marriott Fort Worth Downtown-Blackstone
- Dismuke's Hit of the Week
- 1998, October 23 "Fort Worth building permits hit a high record" Dallas Business Journal
- 1999, March 12 "Second time around" Dallas Business Journal
- 1999, April 5 "Art deco grandeur lives on at renovated Blackstone" Dallas Business Journal
- 2004, December 31 "FW's Blackstone to get $1.5M makeover" Dallas Business Journal
- 2005, June 24 "High-profile FW hotels set to change hands" Dallas Business Journal
- 2009, February 5 Author discusses his book Fort Worth's Sid Richardson, other Texas oil dynasties Fort Worth Star-Telegram