A Field Guide to Industrial Properties in Texas
In the truest sense, industrial properties are more likely than any others to fit architect Louis Sullivan’s oftquoted assertion that “form ever follows function.” Despite their substantial role in economic and social spheres, industrial properties have long been glossed over by those interested in material culture. It seems, in fact, that neither a comprehensive nor a contemporary overview of these property typologies has been accomplished to date. A Field Guide to Industrial Properties in Texas is an attempt to address an identifiable information gap. It takes into consideration industrial properties that are related to the petroleum and natural gas, grain, cotton, and utilities and services industries. These seem to be the most understudied sectors, which have few modernday interpretive studies and lack any clear synthesis in the secondary literature. The primary goals of this publication are three-fold. The first objective is to synthesize and impart information about these property types. The second aim is to give the Texas Department of Transportation a tool that will help staff identify and classify industrial buildings and structures. Thirdly, it will aid in evaluating properties for eligibility in the National Register of Historic Places. This illustrated field guide is one of two publications produced by Prewitt and Associates, Inc., for the Texas Department of Transportation, Environmental Affairs Division, describing the history and architectural resources of the U.S. Highway 277 corridor from Wichita Falls to Abilene, Texas (under Contract #572XXSA005, Work Authorization #57204SA005). The second report, which was prepared by Martha Doty Freeman concurrently with this field guide, is entitled The Development of an Agricultural Landscape along a Portion of the U.S. Highway 277 Corridor, with a Case Study of the Cotton Industry in Haskell, Texas. It contains three main parts: a broad historic overview of the corridor focused on railroad construction and development of an agricultural landscape; a historical case study of Haskell, Texas, centered on the local cotton industry and briefly describing cotton-related cultural properties; and an annotated bibliography. The project parameters delineated certain limitations for this publication. One significant constraint was that images had to be acquired from secondary sources. Because of this, some images are not as clear as original photographs, drawings, or footprints would be. The focus of the images was limited to industrial buildings and structures, rather than the equipment and machinery they housed. Emphasis is on properties constructed from the late nineteenth century through the 1950s, and does not take into consideration mid-nineteenth- or late twentieth- century buildings or structures. Although many industrial complexes included corresponding housing facilities for workers, residential property types are not discussed. Since the project was based on industrial properties along the U.S. Highway 277 corridor between Wichita Falls and Abilene, the initial research pertained specifically to that area. As a result, many of the sources and images are from that region of the state, which was intended to serve as a representative cross-section. However, the broader applications of this field guide were taken into account and its usefulness generally pertains to industrial properties statewide.