Thursday, February 11, 2010

Casa Ricardo Hotel by Architect, Louis S. Curtiss in Kingsville, Texas

I was able to find a few additional postcard images of various vintages of the Casa Ricardo Hotel by Louis S. Curtiss on the internet. I also found this online mention by KCMODERN friend, Cydney E. Millstein of the Hotel in this application to the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, applying for the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1911-1912, Curtiss undertook a number of projects for the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railroad in the new town of Kingsville, Texas. One of these was for a tourist hotel called the Casa Ricardo, to be operated under Fred Harvey management. An L-shaped structure with broad eaves and continuous balconies along the interior of the L, the design was one of Curtiss' finest and set the pattern for the Bernard Corrigan residence on Ward Parkway in Kansas City, built the following year.

Cydney E. Millstein. "The Norman Tromanhauser House," National Register of Historic Places Nomination. August 18, 2000.
I think Cydney is right on target with the parallels between the 1912, Casa Ricardo and the 1913, Corrigan Mansion. I also see some resemblance of the Casa Ricardo end elevations to the work of the Greene brothers of Pasadena and their 1909, Gamble Residence.

This image appears to be from the early 1930's judging from the Model A Fords in the parking lot.

Judging from the cars this one is from the 1940's.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Louis S. Curtiss Mystery Planters at Casa Ricardo Hotel - Kingsville, Texas

Armed with some new search words I began Googling for some images of Casa Ricardo in Kingsville, Texas by Architect, Louis Curtiss. After filtering my results to remove Ricardo Montalban and Ricki Ricardo, I was able to find another Kingsville postcard. This postcard depicted Casa Ricardo fully landscaped in subtropical slendor and embellished with some beautiful planters near the entrance gate. I had finally found the source of the Louis Curtiss Mystery Urns. I bet that they were even more beautiful in person and in there original setting!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More on Louis S. Curtiss in Kingsville, Texas

So... Upon returning from our stay on South Padre Island, Texas, I wanted to look in my book, Stalking Louis Curtiss by Wilda Sandy and Larry K Hanks. I had to see if the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railroad General Offices in Kingsville, Texas were included in the locally published monograph. Turns out that the St.L.B.&M General Offices project was a Louis Curtiss design and it was not some long lost or forgotten project. There it was on page 59 and it was a black and white image cropped from the exact same photograph that was used in the post card, minus the color tinting. By the way, the building was built in 1911 and if you blow the photo up large enough you can make out FRISCO on the front of the building. Frisco was the railroad that purchased the St.L.B.&M. line.

But the biggest surprise was on page 58, which depicted another Curtiss project in Kingsville, a rendering of a hotel for Fred Harvey of Harvey House fame, called Casa Gertrudis and a construction photograph of the same project renamed, Casa Ricardo.
I was disappointed to read that both the Hotel and the railroad offices were demolished sometime around 1970.

Still, there were no Louis Curtiss mystery urns visible in either image.

More to come....