Kirby Building

Kirby Building

1509 Main - 1913 (NR, RTHL, D)

Shortly after he completed construction on the Adolphus Hotel, Adolphus Busch found a site one block away to construct a companion building that would serve as an office and retail supplement to the hotel.  He hired the architectural firm of Barnett, Hayes, & Barnett of St. Louis to design this 17 story Gothic Revival early Dallas skyscraper.  Lang & Witchell of Dallas were the associate architects.  When it opened, it was named the Busch Building.  Adolphus Busch passed away the year the building was completed and the family sold the skyscraper to the Kirby Investment Company from Houston five years later.  It was at that time the building took the Kirby name.  The lower floors of the building were occupied by A. Harris & Company from 1913 until 1960, when the department store was purchased by Federated Department Stores and was merged into the Sanger-Harris name (now Foley's) and into a new store two blocks away.  As the need for more retail space grew, two annexes were constructed on the property to the north giving access to A. Harris and the Kirby on Elm Street.

The Kirby Building's facades that face Akard & Main Streets are clad in terra cotta with a strong emphasis on the vertical elements of the facade.  The terra cotta has many fine details, shapes, and images within its sculptural relief in friezes, panels, cornices, and finials.  The top of the building takes all of the columns and terminates them in spires and the corner bay of the building is terminated by a two story gothic penthouse that is ornamented on all four sides.  The rear of the U-shaped tower is clad with tan brick with an ornamental terra cotta parapet, with the light well out of lighter brick.  The interior features a green vaulted ceiling with gothic ribs and detailing, similar to the interiors of the gothic cathedrals of Europe.  The base of the building is 7 stories in height, but is only visible from the rear of the structure.

In 1999, the Kirby Building was converted into 156 apartments by architects Corgan Associates of Dallas.  Many of the buildings rich architectural details were restored as the building was converted from an office use into residential uses.  As a part of this project, a parking garage was constructed to the north of the building on the site of the Kirby Annex on Elm Street.

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