Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Collection Summary

Administrative History of Lang and Witchell

Biographical Sketch of Otto Lang (1864-1947)

Biographical Sketch of Frank Witchell (1879-1958)

Scope and Content of the collection

Restrictions

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series A: Personal Papers

Series B: Professional Papers

Series C: Office Records

Series D: Project Records

University of Texas, Alexander Architectural Archive

Lang and Witchell collection



Collection Summary

Creators: Lang, Otto (1864-1947), and Witchell, Frank (1879-1958)
Title: Lang and Witchell collection
Dates: 1910-1965, undated
Abstract: The Dallas firm of Lang and Witchell was a leader in the city's construction during the first half of the twentieth century and had a lasting effect on its architectural style. The collection consists of photographs and photoprints, drawings, project lists, and an office scrapbook that document the work of this prolific firm.
Identification: LW 2001001
Quantity: .35 linear feet of papers, 147 photographs, 8 drawings
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Alexander Architectural Archives, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Administrative History of Lang and Witchell

"The local firm of Lang and Witchell dominated construction in Dallas from 1910 to 1942 and had a profound impact on the city's architectural character. The most respected firm in Dallas during this time, their long and prolific career and consistently high quality designs contributed substantially to the cityscape. In 1905 Otto Lang established a partnership with Frank Witchell, 33 years his junior. Although he had no formal architectural training, Witchell worked for Sanguinet and Staats as a designer and draftsman from 1898 until 1905.

For thirty years the firm of Lang and Witchell kept up with the latest in architectural thought; from the Chicago School to the Art Deco they were able to produce quality designs in whatever the current mode. The firm's undisputed masterpieces are the Dallas Power & Light and the Lone Star Gas Company buildings, both finished in 1931. These two elegantly detailed structures remain Dallas' finest Art Deco skyscrapers."

Source: Lofren, Jamie. Early Texas Skyscrapers. UT Thesis, 1987.

Return to the Table of Contents


Biographical Sketch of Otto Lang (1864-1947)

"Otto H. Lang, architect, was born in Freiburg, Germany, on December 2, 1864. In 1888 he traveled to the United States on a wedding trip and stayed to make his home in Dallas, Texas. He worked in local architects' offices for two years and then became responsible for architecture and design for the Texas and Pacific Railway. In this position Lang designed the Texas and Pacific depot in Fort Worth. He also eventually designed railroad stations in Wichita Falls, Amarillo, Paris, and Weatherford. He formed a partnership with Frank O. Witchell in 1905 and began practicing in Dallas. Lang worked on many architectural projects in that city, including the Southwestern Life Building, the White Plaza Hotel, Exposition Hall at Fair Park, Fair Park Auditorium, and the Sanger Brothers Department Store. He also worked on the Dallas Gas Company Building, the Wholesale Merchants Building, the Southland Life Building, the Cotton Exchange Building, the Jefferson Hotel, Highland Park High School, the Texas Bank Building, and the Adolphus Hotel Annex. He designed courthouses in Houston, Gainesville, Snyder, and Cleburne. Other projects included improvements of the Dallas street-lighting system, local street repair, and work on the garbage disposal facilities. From 1915 to 1919 he served two terms as Dallas street commissioner. At his retirement in 1942, Lang gave his library on architecture and engineering to the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University) and his file of technical journals to Southern Methodist University. Lang was a member of the American Society of Construction Engineers and the Texas Association of Architects. He was a thirty-second-degree Scottish Rite Mason, a Knight Templar, and a member of the Hella Temple Shrine. For many years he was a member of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. He had one son and two daughters. Lang died in Dallas on October 18, 1947, and was buried at Restland Memorial Park in Dallas."

Source: "LANG, OTTO H." The Handbook of Texas Online.

http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/LL/fla69.html

[Accessed Fri Sep 6 11:04:25 US/Central 2002 ]

Return to the Table of Contents


Biographical Sketch of Frank Witchell (1879-1958)

"Frank O. Witchell, junior member of the firm of Lang and Witchell, was born in the south of Wales, England, on May 30, 1879. He and his parents immigrated to the United States when Witchell was two years old. They settled in San Antonio, where Witchell attended public schools until he was thirteen. He had no formal professional training, similar to Lang, yet at the age of fourteen he entered an architect's office to study for his life's work. In 1898, Witchell came to Dallas from San Antonio and entered the architectural firm of Sanguinet and Staats as a designer/draughtsman. Evidently, he worked there until 1905, at which time he entered into the partnership with Otto Lang. He and Lang were in partnership until 1938 when Witchell retired. Witchell was the only living Honorary member of the Dallas chapter of the A.I.A. in 1952 and continued to be so until his death."

Source: Bigger, Jim. The Firm of Lang and Witchell. Report for Arc. 373, UT School of Architecture, April 26, 1971.

Return to the Table of Contents


Scope and Content of the collection

The Lang and Witchell collection contains record types such as office correspondence, a scrapbook, project lists, photographic documentation, professional certifications, and Frank Witchell's passport. The analog materials consist of approximately .35 linear feet of paper records, 8 architectural drawings, and 147 black and white photographs. Collection materials relate to Lang and Witchell's practice, which defined the early Dallas cityscape. The collection also includes certifications and office ephemera for Frank Witchell's son, Charles.

Return to the Table of Contents


Restrictions

Policies Governing Use and Access

This collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using archival materials. As all or portions of this collection may be housed off-site, advance notice of at least three working days is required for retrieval. Certain items may require additional time for flattening or humidifying before they can be viewed. Access is by appointment only. Please contact the archives' reference staff for further information.

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasions of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person).

The Alexander Architectural Archives operate in accordance with applicable federal or state laws and regulations, providing unrestricted access to university records not covered by state and federal right to privacy acts.

The Alexander Architectural Archives, The University of Texas Libraries, and The University of Texas at Austin, assume no responsibility for infringement of literary property rights and copyright or for liability to any person for defamation or invasion of privacy that results from a researcher's use of collections.

Researchers agree to indemnify and hold harmless The University of Texas at Austin, and their officers, employees, and agents from and against all suits, claims, actions, and expenses arising out of use of collections held by the libraries. Please alert staff if anything inappropriate is found during research.

Copyright interests in this collection may not have been transferred to the University of Texas. Researchers assume full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply. Additionally, the public use of material must be cited. See citation information below.

Return to the Table of Contents


Index Terms

Subject (Persons):
Lang, Otto H.
Witchell, Frank O.
Witchell, Charles B.
Subject (Organizations):
Lang and Witchell
Subjects:
Architecture--Texas.
Architecture--Texas--Dallas.
Churches--Texas.
Skyscrapers--Texas
Office buildings--Texas
Architecture
Places:
Texas--Dallas
Document types:
Correspondence
Newspaper clippings
Photographs
Photographic prints
Scrapbooks
Passports
Office files
Architectural drawings (visual works)

Return to the Table of Contents


Administrative Information

Citation

Lang and Witchell collection, Alexander Architectural Archives, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Processing Information

Collection processed by Alison Brislin, March 2020

Return to the Table of Contents


Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection

Series A: Personal Papers

Series Abstract
The Personal Papers series contains an undated portrait of Frank O. Witchell as well as his passport from 1931, which contains a ticket, additional photographs of Witchell, and sketches.
A1: Travel, 1931
box folder
1 1 Frank Witchell's passport, 1931
Note: the passport contains his steamship ticket, additional photographs of Witchell, and sketches
A2: Photographs, 1930, 1961, undated
box folder
1 2 Photographs of Frank Witchell (2 black and white prints), 1930, undated
3 Class of 1926 reunion photograph, 1961

Return to the Table of Contents




Series B: Professional Papers

Series Abstract
The Professional Papers series contains professional certifications for Frank O. Witchell, 1937, as well as Charles B. Witchell, 1937 and 1951.
box folder
4 4 Professional certificate, Frank O. Witchell, 1937
5 Professional certificates, Charles B. Witchell, 1937,1951

Return to the Table of Contents




Series C: Office Records

Series Abstract
The Office Records series contains records created by Lang and Witchell in any capacity, other than the design and construction of a project. This series includes office correspondence, building photographs and drawings, professional letterhead and calling cards, and a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about the firm.
C1: Administrative, undated
box folder
1 4 Charles B. Witchell office letterhead and calling cards, undated
C2: Correspondence, 1919-1923, undated
box folder
1 5 Letters of recommendation (23 black and white prints), 1919-1923, undated
C3: Public Relations, 1958-1965
box folder
1 6 Brochure and directory, 1958-1965
C4: Photographs, 1910-1930, undated
box folder
1 7 Building photographs (26 black and white prints), 1926, undated
box folder
2 2 Project photographs 1 of 2 (36 black and white prints), 1910, undated
3 Project photographs 2 of 2 (40 black and white prints), 1910, undated
box folder
4 3 Building photographs and drawings (13 black and white prints), undated
box folder
3 3 Building photographs and drawings (27 black and white prints), undated
1 Group photographs (4 black and white prints), undated
box folder
2 1 Leather binder "Lang & Witchell Architects, Dallas, Texas," undated
Note: Contents of binder removed, see LW box 1, folder 5
box folder
3 2 Leather binder "Lang and Witchell, Architects, Dallas, Texas, Frank O. Witchell," undated
Note: Contents of binder removed, see LW box 3, folder 3
C5: Clippings/Scrapbooks, 1920-1930, undated
box folder
1 8 "San Antonian Wins First Prize in Architectural Competition," San Antonio Eventing News clipping, 1930
box folder
4 6 Scrapbook pp 1-2: Newspaper clippings about the Dallas Athletic Club opening, 1920
7 Scrapbook pp 3-4: "Quiet Luxury Marks Every Feature of Dallas' New Club Skyscraper," The Dallas Morning Star, May 10, 1925 and clippings about Dallas Main Street, Crazy Hotel, and Scott Hotel, undated
8 Scrapbook pp 5-6: Various newspaper clippings about Fair Park Auditorium, undated
9 Scrapbook pp 7-8: Various newspaper clippings about Fair Park Auditorium, The Dallas Morning News, May 3, 1925
10 Scrapbook pp 9-10: Various newspaper clippings about Sanger Apartment Hotel, undated
11 Scrapbook pp 11-12: Various newspaper clippings about Sanger Apartment Hotel, June 29, 1926
12 Scrapbook pp 13-14: Various newspaper clippings about Cotton Exchange Building, undated
13 Scrapbook pp 15-16: Newspaper clipping of unidentified building, undated
14 Scrapbook pp 17-18: Newspaper clippings about the Mercantile National Bank, Proposed Museum Memorial Hall, Rhodes S. Baker property, Studebaker Building, undated
15 Scrapbook pp 19-20: Newspaper clipping about Highland Park Town Hall, The Dallas Morning News, June 7, 1925, various other buildings, undated
16 Scrapbook pp 21-22: Newspaper clipping about American Exchange National Bank, Sears-Roebuck building, and various other buildings undated
17 Scrapbook pp 23-24: Newspaper clipping about "Frank O. Witchell A&M Award" recipients, and Dallas business area growth, undated
18 Scrapbook pp 25-26: Newspaper clipping about Adolphus Hotel Plant, image of The North Texas National Bank, and entrance to Tenison Memorial golf course, undated
19 Scrapbook pp 27-28: Newspaper clippings of Fidelity Union Building, "Buildings on Sites That Once Changed Hands for Few Cents a Front Foot," undated
20 Scrapbook pp 29-30: Newspaper clippings of images of buildings in Dallas, undated
21 Scrapbook pp 31-32: Newspaper clippings about Southwestern Bell Telephone Company building, undated
22 Scrapbook pp 33-34: Newspaper and printed images of buildings and the Telephone Building, undated
23 Scrapbook pp 35-36: Printed images of the Telephone Building exterior, an aerial view, and interiors, undated
24 Scrapbook pp 37-38: Newspaper clipping about Hoover-Lehman Company remodel, exterior images of other buildings, undated
25 Scrapbook pp 39-40: Newspaper clippings with Frank O. Witchell attending a banquet at Mineral Wells and Baylor University Chapel and Dispensary, undated
26 Scrapbook pp 41-42: Newspaper clippings about Marvin building and Construction at Oak Lawn Avenue, undated
27 Scrapbook pp 43-44: Clippings about Fair Park Auditorium, New University Park School, and Cotton Exchange Building, undated
28 Scrapbook pp 45-46: Newspaper clippings about Highland Park City Hall, undated
29 Scrapbook pp 47-48: Newspaper clippings about County Hall of Records, recipients of "Frank O. Witchell Award," and Mineral Wells Hospital, undated
30 Scrapbook pp 49-50: Clippings of exteriors of American Exchange building, new proposed hotel in Waco, and Highland Park High School, undated
31 Scrapbook pp 51-52: Black-and-white prints of various mission-style Frank Witchell buildings and Church and newspaper clipping of proposed Church Plant, undated
32 Scrapbook pp 53-54: Newspaper images of Eastland County's new courthouse, Parish House, and Ceremony at University Park School, undated
33 Scrapbook pp 55-56: Newspaper clippings about new Central Fire Station, undated

Return to the Table of Contents




Series D: Project Records

Series Abstract
The Project Records series contains Lang and Witchell project lists from 1939 and undated, as well as drawings of Eastland County Courthouse, undated, the Ardmore Hospital & Sanitarium, undated, and The Ardmore General Hospital, 1957.
D1: Project Lists, 1939, undated
box folder
1 8 Project list, 1939, undated
D2: Drawings, 1957, undated
box folder
4 2 Ardmore General Hospital and Sanitarium architectural drawings, 1957, undated
1 Eastland County Courthouse drawing, undated

Return to the Table of Contents