The works of a Longview native will be highlighted during the 21st Annual Architectural Tour of Longview Landmarks this weekend, benefiting the Gregg County Historical Museum.
BW Crain Jr., born in 1914, traveled a path from Longview at the University of Texas at Austin to Harvard University, where he earned degrees in architecture, according to museum information. He then served in the Navy during World War II before joining and becoming a partner in a Houston architectural firm.
In 1948 Crain returned to Longview, eventually playing a design role in many projects across the city through his Houston firm.
Six of the structures designed by Crain and his company – two commercial buildings, two houses and two churches – are featured in the Landmarks of Longview tour, which runs Saturday and Sunday.
The stops on the tour are:
The Petroleum Building (now the Alton Plaza apartment complex) at 202 E. Whaley St.;
The former Longview National Bank and Regions Bank building (and future home of the Longview Museum of Fine Arts) at 213 N. Fredonia St.;
The Gossum House at 603 E. Melton St. in the Mobberly Historic District;
Mrs. Barbara Thomas Pool’s home at 1111 Hillcrest Drive;
Trinity Episcopal Church at 906 Padon Street; and
Longview First Baptist Church at 209 E. South St.
Lindsay Loy, executive director of the Gregg County Historical Museum, said the old bank building was actually made up of two structures, and Crain’s company connected the two buildings with a “fake facade.”
“When you enter the main bank building you will see a huge entrance hall, but if you enter through the small door on the left it is this very 20s Art Deco style building connected to a hallway”, Loy mentioned. “(Crain) sort of put a shell around everything.”
Loy said that during the tour, guides will be inside each stop and provide the history of architectural features as well as interior design details, such as artwork.
She adds that COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place.
“We’re asking everyone to wear masks inside, and we’ll sanitize your hands as you enter and wipe everything down,” Loy said. “(Only a certain number) of people will be allowed inside each structure at a time.”
The Landmarks of Longview tour is set to kick off at an event from 5-7 p.m. Friday at the former Regional Banks building.
Longview Mayor Andy Mack will receive the Historic Museum Preservation Award, which is given to an individual who has helped preserve and protect historic buildings.
Additionally, Loy said an added “special” feature for this year’s event is two organ performances on Saturday and Sunday at the two churches on the tour.
Bill Bane will perform from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Trinity Episcopal, while Cherisha York will perform from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at First Baptist.
Organ concerts are included in the regular admission price.
Tickets, which are $20 in advance and $25 on Saturday and Sunday at any location on the tour, are available at the Gregg County Historical Museum, Barron’s, Louis Morgan Drug No. 4, Blue Door Antiques/ Pen and Company and GZ Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar.