Friday, May 15, 2015

Intriguing Old San Antonio Towers

My wife had never been to Texas. After several years of talking things over, we decided to go there last month to satisfy her curiosity. Texas is a prosperous, fast-growing business-friendly, income tax-free state. Generally a nice place to live, but from my perspective it lacks five-start tourist sites.

Probably the most famous Texas site is the Alamo, where a group of Texans were wiped out in a famous battle against a Mexican army. That's the main building in the foreground, its well-known curved facade top having been added decades after the fight.

But the building that intrigued me was the tall structure in the background. It was completed in 1924 as the Medical Arts Building, but now is the Emily Morgan Hotel, named after a woman (disputedly) associated with the events of 1836. A sketch of the building's history is here.

The street layout dictated a "flatiron" plan, but the architect took advantage of this by placing a tower where the angled sides converge.

Here is a view of the ornamentation at the upper floors.

Not far away, also in the Riverwalk district of downtown San Antonio, is the Tower Life Building. According to the link, it was completed in 1929 as the Smith-Young Tower.

A close-up of ornamentation near the top. The building is unusual in that it has eight sides. It might have been an executives' heaven if it had corner windows (though it probably has eight corner offices per floor).

I have always liked the American skyscrapers built from the mid-1920s to the early 1930s, most of which were in Gothic and Art Deco (or Moderne, in those days) style. The Tower Life Building is no exception. It's a fine example from that era.

No comments: