Doctors’ Orders

The demolition last February of the turn-of-the-century residences of cattle baron George T. Reynolds and Dr. G.V. Morton, one of Fort Worth’s first obstetricians, has many citizens railing once again that Fort Worth’s preservation laws have no teeth. Ophthalmology Associates brought plans for their new facility in the hospital district to the Fort Worth Historic and Cultural Landmark Commission last December. After the commission invoked its 90-day moratorium against tearing down the historic homes, preservationists used the three-month grace period to offer alternatives to destroying the houses: offers to move the homes to another location and an anonymous bid by a prominent Fort Worth person (a Bass, some say) to buy the homes outright.

All the offers were rebuffed.

“They [the doctors] never had any intention of trying to keep those houses because they probably want to resell that part of the property,” said Marty Craddock, who heads the Historic Preservation Council for Tarrant County.

The eye doctors said they never received any of the offers in writing and argued that moving the homes would have pushed back their construction date by several months. The doctors also pointed out that the buildings had been boarded up for several years and had garnered no interest from preservation groups.

Though the mortar and brick has been hauled away, look for the wreckage to eventually make its way to Fort Worth City Hall. Preservationists-still smarting from the razing of the old Fort Worth Library in September 1990-will push for a stronger ordinance that forces developers to look at all options before tearing down historic buildings.

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