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F. W. Woolworth (Spence) Building
El Paso, Texas


Description: Spence building
Other Names: F.W. Woolworth Company retail store
Address: northwest corner, East Second Avenue (now Paisano Drive) and South Stanton Street
Type: commercial: retail store, with offices, rooms and flats
Original Client: F. A. Spence
Historic Inventory:
Date:  foundation 1907 building complete 1912
Condition: extant

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Trost
Dimensions and Orientation: 3 stories; 120 feet X 104 feet, 6 1/2 inches in 1912 plan change to two stories
Budget/Cost: $35,000 1907 – $50,000

Foundation: reinforced concrete piers
Wall Materials: brick, with stone trim and galvanized iron gutters
Roofing Materials: flat
Other Materials Used: galvanized iron cornice; cast iron columns in stores
Remodeling and Additions:

Present Owner:
Location of Drawings: El Paso Public Library: (M-11 and M-3) ink on linen, 13 sheets, including front, side and alley elevations dated February and March, 1907, and rear elevation, dated February, 1912; ink on linen, 9 sheets, dated March, 1907, and September 9, 1907; ink on linen, 6 sheets dated March, 1907, donated by Malcolm McGregor in March, 1979
Location of Documentary Photographs:

Bibliography: “3 Story House to Be Erected at 2nd and Stanton,” El Paso Herald, January 30, 1907, page 14 (report that “excavating on the site has already been begun,” description, architect named, budget given)
(2) El Paso Herald – May 28, 1912 page 3 ‘Work on New Spence Building
(3) El Paso Herald – June 29, 1912 page 31 ‘ Work Is Progressing’
(4) El Paso Herald – July 6, 1912 page 16 ‘Working on Second Floor’
(5) El Paso Herald – June 27, 1912 page 8 ‘Spence Building’
(6) El Paso Herald – August 5, 1912 page 4 ‘Putting on the Roof’

Remarks: In 1907, it was the second largest building in height in the city.

In 1907, Frank A. Spence a real-estate developer in El Paso hired the firm of Trost & Trost to design a three story building at the southwest corner of Second (now Paisano) and Stanton Street.

At the beginning of the year, work began with the pouring of the foundation and the basement pillars. The building was to be built of brick, with a pressed brick front. Fronting 104 feet on South Stanton Street, the building would have a depth of 120 feet on Second Street. The lower floor was to be used for storerooms. The second and third floors were to be offices, rooms and flats. The cost of the building was $50,000.

It was not until May of 1912, that the steel supports for the ground floor were put into place and work began again on the actual laying of the first floor. The building was to be 34 rooms, with one large retail store on the ground floor and the second floor a rooming house. The approximate new cost was $35,000.
The building was open for business in 1912. It once was the home of Woolworth retail store. Today the second floor is boarded up and the first floor is used for retail shops.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