James Edward Flanders
Dallas' First Architect
Sherman, Texas

The Binkley Hotel of Sherman, Texas was an impressive beginning for Flanders and helped to establish his reputation as a competent architect.  This three story building located at 200 North Travis Street, at the corner of Pecan Street, was built by a joint stock company and the hotel was named for one of the major stockholders, Judge C. C. Binkley.  The structure was an elegant and sophisticated accommodation and boasted a reputation as the best hotel in North Texas. A contemporary account describes the building as:
Fire destroyed the building in 1887 but it was rebuilt on the same location. Several years later, the building burned again, and again it was rebuilt. In 1943 the name of the hotel was changed from the Binkley Hotel to the Texas Hotel. When the building burned for the last time on May 7th, 1969, it was no longer serving as a hotel but had been converted to a music store.
"…most conveniently situated in the business center of Sherman, on the local as well as the interurban railroads lines entering the city, opposite the Federal Building and opera house.  The hotel contains one hundred rooms, a number of which are en suite, with bath connections.  The hotel throughout is handsomely furnished, well lighted with electricity and steam heat."

Rockwall, Texas

The county of Rockwall was chartered in 1873 and only two years later, its' first courthouse was destroyed by fire on March 16, 1875. It took several years for the citizens to muster the resources to replace the structure. But, in 1878, the commissioners court took the unusual step of hiring an architect to design their simple frame courthouse that was built on a budget of only $4000.  This courthouse, built less than two years after Flanders' arrival, was one of his earliest buildings and was his first courthouse.  The county also built a separate small stone building to house the office of the county clerk and the county records. The stone building was chosen to protect the records in the event of another fire. This was a prudent move that saved the records when the courthouse burned again in 1891. The small frame courthouse was listed by JEF as a reference in the Dallas City Directory in 1883.

Dallas, Texas

When William H. Flippen arrived in Dallas in 1880, he boarded at the Grand Windsor Hotel. Another boarder at the hotel was the French emigrant J. Bertrand Adoue. He and his brother Jacques had built the Adoue Building in Calvert, Texas several years earlier and established a bank there. Flippen and Adoue soon joined with Galveston investor and banker Joseph Lobit to establish the private banking house of Flippen, Adoue and Lobit. The trio commissioned JEF to design their new bank constructed at 616 Elm Street on the southwest corner of Elm and Poydras. The organization later became known as the National Bank of Commerce. There were five banks in Dallas at the time, two National banks; City National Bank and Exchange Bank; the private bank of Adams & Leonard and the two new private banks of Flippen, Adoue & Lobit, and Oliver & Griggs. The Flippen, Adoue and Lobit bank was one of three banks designed by Flanders in the 1880's. He also designed the Oliver & Griggs Bank for Roderick Oliver and William L. Griggs.  This bank was built at 735 Elm Street at a cost of $12,000.  The third bank was the extant Getzendaner and Ferris Bank of Waxahachie.

Dallas, Texas

The year after designing the Flippen, Adoue & Lobit Bank, JEF designed a residence for one of the partners. William H. Flippen, who was later a member of the same Masonic lodge as JEF, Tannehill No.52, hired JEF to build his magnificent home on the north side of Ross Avenue between Oleander and Masten, next door to the home of Jules Schneider. The house was a Victorian Italianate structure that reflected a gothic influence. The massive brick columns on either side of the entry continued upward above the roofline of the porch and there were joined by spans of ironwork railings. The huge porch wrapped around the left end of the house creating a large and comfortable sitting area for taking refuge from the hot Texas afternoons. Another circular porch in a classical style, topped with a balcony, extended from the right rear of the house. An unusual combination of brick, tile and stone work completed the exterior of this prominent design. The Flippen house cost $12,000 and it survived until 1922 when it was demolished.
Dallas, Texas

Jules E. Schneider was president of the Schneider & Davis Wholesale Grocery Company. Their building was constructed on the corner of Elm and Market Streets in 1878 and was designed by JEF.  In that year, Schneider was boarding with his partner Alfred Davis and the following year he commissioned Flanders to design this Victorian Italianate residence that was built on the northeast corner of Ross Avenue and Akard Street, towards the end of the popularity of this style. This home, which cost $10,000 helped begin the growth of luxury mansions along Ross Avenue that soon became home to the wealthier citizens of the city. It was razed in 1919.  Schneider later organized the Dallas Gas and Fuel Company whose offices were just across the street from his home. Still later, he became involved in banking and in the transportation industry, owning at various times, interests in several Dallas trolley and railway companies. In 1887, the four existing Dallas trolley companies merged into one company, The Dallas Belt Street Railway Company, controlled by a local syndicate that included Schneider and two bankers T. J. Oliver and Royal Ferris. Both of these men later became clients of Flanders.

Dallas, Texas

The First Presbyterian Church, constructed in 1882 on the northeast corner of Main and Harwood streets, is a rare example of JEF's use of the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Three arches, the center one pedimented, supported by squat columns spanned the greater part of the asymmetrical front elevation. The remainder of the front wall contained a grouping of three arched windows that were echoed in the parapeted wall dormer above.  A belt course, at the roof height of the portico, continued around the building with polychromatic brick and stonework accenting the architectural elaborations. A circular tower with a conical roof flanked the building on the left and the central tower stood just off-center to the right.

This edifice was, architecturally, the most advanced house of worship in Dallas at the time of its construction. It was used until the reconciliation of the two factions of the Presbyterian Church that took place in 1907. The congregations of the two churches then joined together and built a larger church on the corner of Harwood and Wood streets. This building was later abandoned and was razed sometime before 1920
"We are within the walls of a temple. The solid masonry, the artistic finish, the general elegance and beauty of both design and accomplishment which we see here today are not equaled in any similar structure in Texas or in the south.  It is indeed an Ebenezer, an indestructible monument to Dallas thrift and energy and generosity, and for (sic) sightedness and enterprise that it is not rivaled by any other like structure not only in the state but in the entire southwest.

The Exchange is a magnificent structure and is indeed a monument to the energy, thrift and intelligence of the businessmen of Dallas.  It is located on the northeast corner of Lamar and Commerce streets.  Its dimensions are 65 feet, 4 inches by 99 feet, four inches, three stories high, with a basement 3 feet, 6 inches below the sidewalk grade, 58 feet high from sidewalk to cornice, and 80 feet to the top of the tower. The building contains thirty rooms beside the exchange room, furnace room and closets .The Exchange room which is located on the second floor, and fronting Commerce Street, with three sets of double folding doors opening into a corridor and adjoining rooms, giving fine ventilation. The height of the exchange room is twenty-six feet, the ceiling being panneled (sic) in Texas pine being trimmed with California redwood; this being the combination of finish throughout the entire building, including the basement. The exchange room contains a visitor gallery; with access from the third floor corridors. There are two large stone entrances to the building, one from each street. These are nine feet, six inches wide by twenty feet high, and are ornamented by cut stone throughout. From the gallery in the exchange room, a special stairway leads to the tower above, from which a splendid view from the building is obtained.

The style of the exterior architecture is Romanisque (sic) treated in the modern style, the body being of St. Louis pressed brick and trimmed with stone from Fannin county, Texas. The basement story is all stone, with battered pilasters to the main watertable, on line with floor of the principal story. The carrier room in the principal story has an iron stairway entrance direct from the sidewalk. The cost of the building, is, in round numbers, not including the lot, $45,000. The contract for the work was superintended by Mr. J. E. Flanders, the well known architect of No.709 Main street, whose good taste and judgement are pronounced throughout the building. It is a monument to his ability and good taste, as are the many buildings he has designed and whose erection he has superintended. Mr. Flanders has served as architect in the building of the finest and most stately court-house buildings in the state, but his crowning effort for combining beauty, convenience, comfort and solidarity is found in the Merchants Exchange, which will remain a monument to his genius years after he has passed away. It is a structure that Dallas is proud of, and will comparable favorably with any building in the South."
Waxahachie, Texas

The construction of this building, designed by Flanders, coincided with the reorganization of the Getzendaner and Ferris bank in 1884.  The original owners of the bank both retired from the company. Getzendaner sought and won election to the state senate and Judge J. W. Ferris left the bank to form a law partnership, leaving his position to his son, Royal A. Ferris. In 1884, Royal Ferris bought an interest in the Exchange Bank of Dallas and left Waxahachie to become its' cashier. Ferris became a civic leader of Dallas and Ferris Plaza on the west side of the downtown area was named for him. The Getzendaner and Ferris Bank then merged with the Citizen's National Bank of Waxahachie. JEF's building was occupied by the Citizen's National Bank until 1927 when it became the home of the Waxahachie Federal Savings and Loan Company. The extant building is situated on the northwest corner of the town square, opposite J. Riley Gordon's noted Ellis County courthouse, was built in the Romanesque style. The massive lower level load-bearing walls are twenty-four inches thick and are made of cut sandstone. The upper walls are red brick with cut sandstone around the windows
When the exchange was dissolved in 1889, Gaston purchased the building and located the Gaston & Gaston Bank there. The structure became known as the Gaston Building or the Gaston and Gaston Building. The building survived for eighty-five years until it was razed in 1969 to make way for a parking lot.
The Merchants Exchange was organized on April 15, 1882 and the members stated that its' primary goal was "the purchase, handling and simplifying traffic in, and increasing the receipt of, produce in the city." They met daily at noon and conducted the cities business in the selling of commodities and produce that included wheat, corn, oats, barley, rye, bran, flour and cotton. The exchange was chartered in 1883 and they immediately made plans for the construction of a facility. Capt. W. H. Gaston of the National Exchange Bank took charge of the project. The site selected was the northeast corner of Commerce and Lamar Streets. Capt. Gaston's bank was one block away on the corner of Main and Lamar Streets and Flanders' office was a block away.  On May 24, 1883, the Dallas Weekly Herald carried the announcement that the plans of Flanders had been selected for the design of the structure and in October of the following year, the building, which was to remain a city landmark until its destruction in 1969, was dedicated. The building was one of the first in the city to be constructed using locally manufactured brick. The red bricks were manufactured on the southwest side of Dallas at the brickyard of S. M. Leftwich and P. H. Jamison. 

An enthusiastic and lengthy account of the opening and dedication of the structure on October 16, 1884 contains the following description of the building and contemporary comparisons of it to other Flanders buildings and other buildings in the south.

Dallas, Texas

Thomas Field was a successful real estate agent and was a factor in determining much of the direction of the growth and development of Dallas in the 1880's and 1890's.  The office of Field and Field, Real Estate and Financial Agents was located on Main Street, just a few doors down from JEF's office. When the depression of 1893 caught Field unprepared for its' financial impact, he was in the midst of building the palacious Oriental Hotel.  The burden of this project proved too great for his resources and he was forced to sell the half-finished hotel to out-of-state developers who completed the building. It became known as "Field's folly" but it was soon noted as the finest hotel in Dallas. Field was also forced to sell his home. John B. Wilson, a cattleman and banker with investments in the Trinity Cotton Oil Company and the Dallas Electric Street Railway Company bought the Field residence in 1894. Wilson was more diversified and more able to withstand the rigors of the depression. Just as Field was building his dream, the "onion domed" Oriental Hotel, Wilson was also planning his own dream - but it was to be another fifteen years before his majestic Second Empire style Wilson Building, designed by Sanguine and Stats of Fort Worth, was completed.  This building is still a landmark in downtown Dallas today.

Dallas, Texas

Alexander Cockrell was one of the earliest Dallas pioneers and, in 1852, he purchased much of the land that then made up the city of Dallas from its' founder, John Neely Bryan.  At once he began developments that included a toll bridge across the Trinity River and a saw mill.  His plans for a luxury hotel were hardly delayed when Cockrell lost his life in a gun fight in 1855. His widow, Sarah, carried on with the plans and completed the hotel. When the flood of 1858 destroyed the toll bridge, she reopened the ferry and, in 1872, purchased an iron bridge from a St. Louis company, transporting it to Dallas by train. Sarah and her two sons Alexander and Frank became one of the most active families in developing Dallas real estate. Alexander continued developing industrial sites on the west side of the city, subdividing and developing land that they family owned between Lamar Street and the Trinity River. Frank joined other city leaders in ventures towards the north side of the city. He was a partner in the construction of the North Dallas Circuit Railway which ran to his Cockrell's Fairland Addition that encouraged growth towards the north part of the city and beyond. By the 1880's, the family had real estate and development interests throughout the city and they commissioned Flanders to design their downtown office building, the Cockrell Building, near the intersection of Main and Field Streets. The family owned the building until it was acquired by the Republic National Bank in 1922 who occupied it until 1926. The building was razed in 1930.

The Grand Windsor Hotel is a building that evolved from first one small hotel, then two, then the joining of the two in an unlikely manner and finally an annex and remodeling that solidified its' position as Dallas's grandest hotel.

The original Le  Grand Hotel, built in 1875, was on the southwest corner of Main and Austin streets.  On the northeast corner of Commerce and Austin was the Windsor Hotel, originally known as the San Jacinto Hotel, built in 1879.  When Col. William E. Hughes purchased the two hotels in 1882, he joined them by a diagonal second floor bridge across Austin Street and they became known as the Grand Windsor. In 1884, Flanders was retained to design the annex that was built on the northwest corner of Commerce and Austin and to unify the building with a common exterior.

The Grand Windsor was Dallas's preeminent hotel for the next decade after its completion in 1885. It was, architecturally, one of the finest and most pretentious buildings in the city. An $1,100 chandelier hung in the rotunda of its' lobby. The hotel was noted for its' luxurious accommodations and for its' fine menus. The Grand Windsor was completed a year after the Merchant's Exchange Building that was located one block east. This was adjoined by the Gould  Building that was completed the same year. These three buildings were part of a concentration of JEF's designs in the center of the downtown area and were considered to be among the finest buildings in the city. The Grand Windsor was preempted by the Oriental Hotel in 1893, a project begun by Thomas Field. JEF had built Field's home in 1884 but Field called on another architect for the Oriental. However, when the depression of 1893 caught Field with the construction only half completed and his finances over- burdened and he was forced to sell the project to several St. Louis investors. The investors included the brewer Adolphus Bush who, in 1913, built the extant Adolphus Hotel

The modest little two story building, approximately thirty feet square, was a simple design but the details of it reflect the hand of an architect. The surviving illustration of this building shows entries in the center of two adjacent sides indicating that it probably utilized a cruciform plan, dividing the first floor into quadrants with offices in each corner. The second floor, which had a taller ceiling, was the courtroom. The tower rested on the peak of the roof and was encircled by a balustrade observation deck. The arched dormers on each of the four sides of the tower roof appear to be too small to hold the traditional clock.  When the courthouse burned in 1891, another building on the square was designated as a temporary courthouse. The 1892 courthouse that replaced JEF's building was made of rusticated native stone. The Romanesque design was by an Arkansas architect, M. A. Orlopp, who also designed Dallas' "Old Red" courthouse the same year
Dallas, Texas
Illustration courtesy of Citizen's National Bank, Waxahachie, Texas
Dallas, Texas
FLANDERS GRAND WINDSOR HOTEL was a rusticated stone building with an Italianate cornice and a roofline treatment suggesting castellations.

Photograph from the Collection of the Dallas/Texas History Archives, Dallas Public Library
Dallas, Texas

C. A. Keating was a very successful businessman in Dallas.  He ran a farm implement and machinery company as well as serving as an officer for the Dallas Fair as sitting on several boards.  He built this home in 1884 on the corner of San Jacinto and Pearl Streets. It was, he said, "for a few years ... among the show places of Dallas".  He sold this a few years later when the family had to move to New York for treatment of his son's illness.  He did return a few years later.  Flanders listed this as a reference in his 1883-1884 Dallas City Directory listing.
Dallas, Texas
Illustration from the Collection of the Dallas/Texas History Archives, Dallas Public Library
Photograph from the Collection of the Dallas/Texas History Archives, Dallas Public Library
Photograph from the Collection of the Dallas/Texas
History Archives, Dallas Public Library
Illustration from the Collection of the Dallas/Texas
History Archives, Dallas Public Library
Photograph from the Collection of the Dallas/Texas
History Archives, Dallas Public Library
Photograph from the Collection of the Dallas/Texas History Archives, Dallas Public Library
Illustration from the Collection of the Dallas/Texas History Archives, Dallas Public Library
Photograph from the
Collections of the Dallas
Historical Society
Photograph is
from a postcard.
publication unknown
Illustration from  "Keating and Forbes Families and Reminiscences of C. A. Keating", Dallas, 1920