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  • Val Verde Hotel – Socorro, New Mexico

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  • The Owls Club – Tucson, Arizona

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  • El Paso High School – El Paso, Texas

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  • Trost Residence – El Paso, Texas

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  • Albuquerque High School – Albuquerque, New Mexico

    Albuquerque High School
  • University of Texas El Paso – El Paso, Texas

    University of Texas El Paso

Roberts Banner Building
El Paso, Texas


Description: Roberts Banner Building
Other Names: Banner Building
Address: 215 North Mesa Street and Mills Avenue, El Paso, El Paso County, Texas
Type: commercial: office with street level stores
Original Client: Martin D. Roberts and William M. Banner (some accounts identify Martin D. Roberts as B.M.R. Roberts)
Historic Inventory: National Register number 80004112
Date: 1908-1910
Condition: extant

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Trost; John J. Stewart, supervising architect
Contractors: Sorenson & Morgan
Dimensions and Orientation: 5 stories, U-shaped 4 story office tower on rectangular base, 80 feet on Mesa x 95 feet on Mills
Architectural Style: Late 19th and Early 2oth Century American Movements;Romanesque
Budget/Cost: $95,000. 1911 final cost $125,000

Foundation: probably concrete
Wall Materials: exposed reinforced concrete
Roofing Materials: flat
Other Materials Used: storefronts originally faced with “Turtle soap green” tile; Luxfer prisms were installed above the show windows
Remodeling and Additions: Harry Farah, architect for remodeling, 1979, including space for a McDonald’s restaurant

Present Owner: Macario Perez and Sam Attaguile; Lane Gaddy
Location of Drawings: none known to exist (except as cited in Bibliobraphy item 3, below)
Location of Documentary Photographs: El Paso Public Library: Ponsford 287, Mills Street facade; Aultman A5571, perspective view; E.P. 1910-1920 file: 388; other photographers, E.P. 1940 file: unnumbered

Bibliography: (1) Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht, Henry C. Trost: Architect of the Southwest (El Paso: El Paso Public Library Association, 1981).pages 53-54 (discussed); page 53 (illustrated [A5571]); page 58 (mentioned); page 127 (bibliographical notes)
(2) Frank Mangan, El Paso in Pictures (El Paso: The Press, 1971), Page [68] (early photographs, showing details of cast concrete ornament; Page 70 (photograph of 1911, seen from across San Jacinto Plaza)
(3) Evan Haywood Antone, editor, Portals at the Pass; El Paso Area Architecture to 1930 (El Paso: El Paso Chapter, American Institute of Architects, 1984), pages 26-29 (discussed, illustrated with early photographs and a 1983 drawing of ornamental details by Morris A. Brown)
(4) El Paso Herald, January 26, 1910 page 13, reports opening of bids. The structure to be four stories, cost $95,000.00
(5) El Paso Herald, January 11, 1911 page 23 “A Big New Business Home”
(6) El Paso Herald, February 27, 1913 page 3
(7) El Paso Herald, June 3, 1916 page 9 six weeks the eight story will be completed with a roof

Remarks: The Robert Banner building is one of the earliest reinforced concrete structures in the United States and the largest office building in El Paso.  The exposed concrete facades are considered bold for it’s time.

During the Mexican Revolution, a spy station was set-up in the building by the Mexicans. This is the only time the American government let a foreign country set-up a spy station on American soil.

In February of 1913, plans were drawn for an additional three stories to be added to the Roberts-Banner building. The plans were being prepared by Otto Thorman. The cost $40,000. The top floor would be a library for doctors and a meeting room for the Builders’ exchange. New elevators would be installed to reach the additional floors. The addition would be a steel skeleton frame with exterior surface of concrete so the upper stories will conform with the present structure. As you can see this was not carried out.

Then in June of 1916, architects Braunton & Liebert reported that within six weeks the new Robert Banner building of eight stories at southwest corner of Stanton and Mills streets will have it roof in place


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