Mr. Navarro, you are sooooo wrong. This building did not become the Tower Life building in the 40s. The Zachary family had its grimy little hands on this prize until the 70s or 80s. It was the Transit Tower before that. Please state the facts correctly. (and your last name is Navarro? Really?) Sad, I don't believe that the Zachary family will alway keep the wonderful old building pristeen. Thank goodness, for now, though, it is safe from the greedy Houston developers. Compare cities and you can see what I mean. History means absolutly nothing in Houston, save a few handful of people. Somehow the developers have kept zoning at bay by convincing the public to vote against their own self interest.
Landmark building elegantly combines classic ornate and modern minimal style..
Lone Sentinel of Commerce
Once reputed to be the tallest building west of the Mississippi River, the Tower Life Building opened in 1929 to house a Sears & Roebuck store and office space overlooking the river. Designed by Atlee and Robert Ayres, the structure was originally designed as the centerpiece of a commercial/residential complex of buildings called the Bowen's Island project. Only the Tower Life Building and the adjacent Plaza Hotel were completed before the Depression sank the economy and the development.
The octagonal edifice has the appearance of an elaborate lighthouse, a beacon in the darkness. The grotesques at street level guide the eye to the gargoyles perched high above. Pointed arches and a beautiful green tile roof give the building its European context. At night, dramatic lighting adds height and intensity to the tower, which, like Gothic cathedrals, emphasizes by refined vertical ascent the desire of humanity to reach out to mysteries far beyond.
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