Building of the Week: Texaco Building, Houston, Texas
Upon the discovery of oil at Spindletop (the infamous salt dome oil field), the Texas Fuel Company was established in 1901 by four oil boomers of Beaumont, Texas. Known as officially as the “The Texas Company”, and also, more importantly, as Texaco, the company was first purchased from its original owners in 1911 by the Red Star Oil Company. Needless to say operations were expanded. Houston, Texas was selected to house Texaco’s regional offices. Texaco was the first oil company to house corporate operations in Houston, a city that eventually burgeoned with such creatures.
In order to house these early operations, planning of what was a ”skyscraper” in early twentieth century Houston was underway by the early 1910s. The Texas Company (Texaco) Building was designed by Warren and Wetmore in 1915. The premier New York City based architects Whitney Warren (1864-1943) and Charles Wetmore (1866-1941) are among the most productive architectural firms of their time, designing large hotels and commercial buildings.
The Texas Company (Texaco) Building was completed in 1918. Ten years later Texaco established itself as the first U.S. oil company to sell its gasoline nationwide, including all 48 of the united states at that time. Operations developed further and expanded internationally. The Texas Company (Texaco) Building was used until the mid 1980s when plans for Heritage Plaza were underway. Heritage Plaza was completed in 1987 as the last major office building prior to the collapse of the Texas real estate, banking, and oil industries of the 1980s.
The Texas Company (TEXACO) Building is extant and remains abandoned or, a least empty. Could Houston not stand up to save this treasure, as it represents the development of one of the largest cities in America.