The works of a Longview native will be highlighted this weekend during the 21st Annual Longview Monuments Tour, which benefits 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 at a Houston architectural firm.
In 1948, Crain returned to Longview, eventually playing a role in the design of many projects across the city through his Houston company.
Six of the structures Crain and his company designed – two commercial buildings, two houses and two churches – are featured on the Landmarks of Longview tour, which takes place Saturday and Sunday.
The stops of the visit are:
The Petroleum Building (now the Alton Plaza apartment complex) at 202 E. Whaley St .;
The former Longview National Bank and Bank of the Regions building (and future headquarters of the Longview Art Gallery) at 213 N. Fredonia St.;
The Gossum House at 603 E. Melton St. in the historic Mobberly district;
Mrs. Barbara Thomas Pool’s house at 1111 Hillcrest Drive;
Episcopal Church of the Trinity at 906, rue Padon; and
First Baptist Church of Longview at 209 E. South St.
Lindsay Loy, executive director of the Gregg County Historical Museum, said the old bank building is actually two structures and Crain’s company connected the two buildings with a “false facade.”
“When you enter the main bank building, you will see a huge lobby, but if you enter through the small door on the left, it is this very 1920s Art Deco style building connected to a hallway”, Loy mentioned. “(Crain) kind of put a typo around everything.”
Loy said during the tour, docents will be inside each stop and provide historical architectural features as well as interior design details, such as artwork.
She adds that COVID-19 security protocols will be in place.
“We ask everyone to wear masks inside, and we will sanitize their hands when you enter and everything will be wiped up,” Loy said. “(Only a certain number) of people will be allowed inside each structure at a time.”
The Landmarks of Longview tour is scheduled to begin with an event scheduled for Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the former regional banks building.
The Mayor of Longview, Andy Mack, will receive the Historical Museum Preservation Award, which is awarded to someone who has helped preserve and protect historic buildings.
Additionally, Loy said that 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 play from 2:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Trinity Episcopal, while Cherisha York will play from 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the First Baptist.
Organ concerts are included in the regular admission price.
Tickets, which cost $ 20 in advance and $ 25 Saturday and Sunday at any location on the tour, are available at Gregg County Historical Museum, Barron’s, Louis Morgan Drug No. 4, Blue Door Antiques / Pen and Company and GZ Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar.