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Occidental Fire Insurance Building
Albuquerque, New Mexico


Description: Occidental Fire Insurance Building
Other Names: Occidental Life Building; Albuquerque Production Credit Association
Address: southwest corner, Third Street and Gold Avenue, Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, New Mexico
Type: commercial: insurance offices
Original Client: Occidental Insurance Company; A.B. McMillian, President
Historic Inventory: National Register number 78001805; New Mexico Register of Cultural Properties
Date: 1916; opens it doors to the public August 1, 1917
Condition: extant

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Trost and George P. Hill
Dimensions and Orientation: 142 feet x 100 feet
Budget/Cost: $35,000.00

Foundation: concrete
Wall Materials: brick with terra cotta facing
Roofing Materials: composition over cinder concrete
Other Materials Used:
Remodeling and Additions The loggias have been filled in to create more office space

Present Owner: Albuquerque Production Credit Association
Location of Drawings: El Paso Public Library: (H-14) preliminary non-Venetian design of 6 stories, 36 ink on linen sheets, including Gold and Third Street elevations; (H-13) Commission no. 2385, as built, 18 sheets ink on linen plans, including east, south and north elevations, dated July 19, 1916 (some sheets have later revision dates).
Location of Documentary Photographs: UTEP Special Collections; Albuquerque Museum Photo archives, photo by Milner Studios, ca. 1915, No. 80.101/3 EA p.62

Bibliography: (1) Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht, Henry C. Trost: Architect of the Southwest (El Paso: El Paso Public Library Association, 1981), pages 97-99
(2) Brochure, copy of which is in Special Collections, University of New Mexico Library (Box I, collection 112, item 24): Albuquerque, New Mexico, Chief City of the New Sunshine State (Albuquerque: Press of the Morning Journal, 1912), unnumbered pages, one of which contains a rendering which resembles, but is not identical to, the preliminary version of Occidental Insurance Co. (El Paso Public Library, H-14)
(3) A 1912 advertisement for Trost & Trost lists Occidental Life, Albuquerque, but it is unclear whether this is the old building or the preliminary version of the projected new building: Worley’s Directory of El Paso, Texas, 1912(Dallas: John F. Worley Directory Co., 1912), page 498. Remarks: Commission no. 2385 (H-13)
(4) El Paso Herald, January 27, 1917 Page 28 reports cost of building

Remarks: The building was modeled after the magnificent 14th century Doges’s Palaces in Venice, Italy. Also there is evident that Trost incorporated some features of the Baum Building, built in 1910 in Oklahoma City. The design motif was suggested by A.B. McMillian, one of the founders of Occidental Life.

The fire  on April 24, 1933 destroyed everything except the arches and the band of quatrefoil ornaments. It was believed to have started between the ceiling and the roof on the northeast corner. W. Miles Britelle remodeled and rebuilt it, adding the windows to the arches and replacing the cornice with an elaborate parapet, topped with conical projections.
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.