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Bell Telephone Building
El Paso, Texas


Description: Bell Telephone Building
Other Names: Tri State Telephone and Telegraph Company Building
Address: 500 Texas Avenue at North Campbell Street, El Paso, El Paso County, Texas
Type: commercial: telephone facility
Original Client: Mountain Bell Telephone & Telegraph Company
Historic Inventory:
Date: ca. 1904-1907
Condition: extant

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Trost
Contractors: MacKenzie
Dimensions and Orientation: two stories with elevated basement
Budget/Cost: $10,000

Foundation: unknown; apparently cemented over
Wall Materials: red brick, trim in stone
Roofing Materials: flat
Other Materials Used: double hung windows; window sills, lintelsdoor surround and cornice of a light colored material.
Remodeling and Additions: at least four additions were made, the earliest in 1910; windows have been closed in and wall surface succoed

Present Owner: Southwestern Bell Telephone Company
Location of Drawings: none known to exist
Location of Documentary Photographs: El Paso Public Library: 0297, building as expanded in 1910

Bibliography: (1) Trost and Trost, Architects. El Paso, Trost & Trost, 1907, photograph, perspective view, page 26
(2) El Paso Chamber of Commerce, Prosperity and Opportunities in El Paso and El Paso’s Territory the 1911 Report of the El Paso Chamber of Commerce (El Paso: Chamber of Commerce, 1911), page 23 (photograph of exterior [nearly identical to EPPL 0297, but slightly cropped] showing the building after the addition of 1910; details of acquisition of the “El Paso exchange” by Tri State Telephone and Telegraph Company and construction of the addition)
(3) El Paso Herald, February 20, 1904, page 2 ‘Plans for the Telephone Exchange are Accepted’
(4) El Paso Herald, January 18, 1904, page 4 ‘Construction Work For Telephone Company’

Remarks: In January of 1904, the construction force of the Southwestern Telegraph and Telephone company started for El Paso. The underground work in the city was completed and the plans for the building were drawn.

The basement was for the batteries and machinery, the first floor for the business offices of the company and the second story for the exchange. Modern apartments were also arranged for the operators

The structure is now incorporated into the main corporate headquarters building. The building is to be a beauty and designed after the new”American” school of architecture.

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