Houston Bar Center Building
The extensive remodeling and transformation of the two earlier twentieth century building into the Houston Bar Center Building in 1966 represents Houston’s downtown development during the national energy downturn of the late 1960s. During those years in the central business district, only property owners with substantial assets could afford to build new, or extensively remodel older buildings in a slumping real estate market. The Houston Bar Center Building began as two adjacent 10-story towers in 1913 and 1915 designed by Houston architect Alfred C. Finn and developed by Jesse H. Jones (1874-1956), one of the city’s most energetic and successful entrepreneurs. Jones and his wife Mary Gibbs Jones (who died in 1962) upon his death in 1956 passed much of their wealth and real estate assets to the philanthropic non-profit Houston Endowment, including the combined then-named Gulf Building Annex (and Old Gulf Building) at 723 Main Street. The Houston Endowment assigned its in-house architect Eugene Slater, hired by Jones immediately after graduation in 1946 from Rice University, to design the extensive 1966 remodeling in the New Formalist style.