Architecture in Fort Worth

Armour & Co. Packing Plant

400-700 E. Exchange Ave. - 1902-58; All but one building demolished 2011-12 (NRHD, RTHL, CFWHD, DD)

 

Both Armour and Swift built their meatpacking plants on East Exchange in 1902. Armour was located on the north side of the street and Swift was located on the south side. The Amour plant was originally eight linear buildings, all interconnected. They were arranged on boths sides of a central drive that also had rail lines. Acme Brick's Bennett Plant provided the brick, and Fort Worth Mayor William Bryce's construction firm was involved with the construction. Meat by-products were also made at the plant. The plant expanded over the years and the last construction appears to have taken place in 1958. The sides of the five and six story buildings were painted with the company's name on them, similar to the way Swift painted their buildings across Exchange Avenue. The Armour plant closed in 1962, but continued to be operated by other food processing companies. The general offices of both plants faced each other on Exchange. The Swift Office Building remains, but the Armour Office building was demolished in the 1970's. In 2007, the property was purchased by Chesapeake Energy for a future gas drilling site. However, the drilling never occurred, and the property was eventually demolished for future development in 2012. In 2009, XTO Energy purchased the westernmost building. This building is the only structure left of the complex.

The remaining building was constructed between 1943 and 1951. Serum Albumin, used in laboratories, was processed within the structure. The design of the building is industrial in nature, but the facades have Mid-Century Modern elements. It appears that this was one of the last buildings constructed at the plant. The lowest level of the building uses poured in place concrete for its facade, with red brick for the upper two floors. Horizontal cast stone bands are present above and below the windows on each floor on the second and third floors.