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White House Department Store and Hotel McCoy
El Paso, Texas

 

Description: White House Department Store and Hotel McCoy
Other Names: La Casa Blanca; The Centre
Address: Pioneer Plaza
Type: commercial and hotel: department store and hotel
Original Client: consortium of investors, including Felix Martinez
Historic Inventory: National Register number 80004115
Date: opened September, 1912
Condition: extant

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Trost; John J. Stewart, supervising architect
Contractors: Joseph E. Morgan
Dimensions and Orientation: irregular ground plan, 7 stories; 147 feet 4 inches across x 180 feet 6 inches deep
Architectural Style: Chicago School/ Sullivaneque
Budget/Cost:

Architectural Style: Chicago; Other
Foundation:
concrete
Wall Materials: reinforced concrete
Roofing Materials: composition
Other Materials Used: marble facing specified for first floor and mezzanine; terra cotta facing specified for upper floors. Tile flooring in first floor arcade. Iron balconies at third floor level.
Remodeling and Additions: There have been numerous remodelings; the most recent remodeling converted the building to office and retail space with a seven level atrium lobby.

Present Owner: Al Lum Associates, Houston (1985) Paul Foster (2012)
Location of Drawings: El Paso Public Library: (F-9) 36 ink on linen sheets including all floor plans, elevations, and sections, dated September 7, 10, 16 and 27, and October 4, 1911; (F-11) 17 ink on linen sheets for an addition, dated February 1917 and November, 1922; (F-10) 3 ink on linen sheets for an addition, dated November, 1922; and one ink on linen sheet dated May, 1941.
Location of Documentary Photographs: El Paso Public Library: Ponsford 540, facade; Aultman A5039, A5545, duplicate of Ponsford 540; A5286, A5599, A5203, A5543, and A5050, view from South El Paso Street; Aultman¬†EP1930-1940, aerial view of downtown El Paso showing the White House and the McCoy Hotel; C260, aerial view of downtown El Paso showing the White House and the McCoy Hotel; one of the “Golden Jubilee” photographs, made May 16, 1923, includes an aerial view of downtown El Paso with the White House and the McCoy Hotel visible (given to the El Paso Public Library along with a letter describing the gift, Walter Bender to Maud Sullivan, May 29, 1923). Arizona State University, Luhrs Collection, duplicate of A5545

Bibliography: (1) Frank Mangan, El Paso in Pictures (El Paso: The Press, 1971), page 51 (photograph, A5545); page [64] (photograph of window display at the grand opening in 1912)
(2) Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht, Henry C. Trost: Architect of the Southwest (El Paso: El Paso Public Library Association, 1981), page 76 (mentioned); page 131 (bibliographic note)
(3) “Developer Allows Peek at Centre,” El Paso Times, February 1, 1985,”Local” section, page [1] (report on renovation, budget, tenants)
(4) El Paso Herald, January 27, 1917 Page 28. two story addition at a cost of $70,000.

Remarks: The 1922 plans are commission number 2403.
The first floor, the basement, and probably the mezzanine, were originally occupied by the store, while the remaining floors were occupied by the hotel. The 1917 addition, for use by the store, extended the third through fifth floors, which originally did not go the length of the building. This annex was later increased to seven floors.The building follows the Sullivanesque scheme of base, shaft and ornamental cornice, and is an early example of the structural and decorative possibilities of reinforced concrete.

Prepared for the El Paso Public Library by Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1990