Many of the distinctive buildings in Denton were built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
The Evers Building
The Evers Building, 109 West Hickory Street , is most famous as the site of the Evers Hardware Store, which was owned and operated by members of the Evers family for 115 years. The current building was built in 1913, but the business operated in the same spot from 1885 until 2000. As “big box” hardware stores became increasingly popular, the great-granddaughter of Mr. Evers made the decision to close the store and lease it to another business.
Bayless-Selby House Museum
The Bayless-Selby House Museum, 317 W Mulberry St , was built at the end of the 19th century in the Victorian "Queen Anne" style. The museum is located in the Historical Park of Denton County, not far from The Square, and is Denton County's first historic house museum. The museum, recently restored, features many exhibits including 19th-century American furniture with emphasis on the Eastlake-style, a music room complete with a square grand piano, Victorian handpainted porcelain in the dining room, Victorian-style wallpapers, Victorian lighting devices, Victorian fashions, and many examples of late-19th-century children's clothing and toys. Visitors may follow the chat walks through the house's Victorian-style gardens, which features an antique rose garden.
It is a must-see for people who love steampunk.
Denton County Courthouse on the Square
For more information see the Courthouse on the Square main page.
The Campus Theatre
For more information see the The Campus Theatre main page.
The Campus Theatre, 214 West Hickory Street , was built in 1949 in the popular art deco style. The theater was a popular gathering place for university students. The Campus Theatre hosted the world premier of Bonnie and Clyde, with Warren Beatty in attendance. It showed its last film in 1989 and sat empty until 1994 when the Greater Denton Arts Council purchased it and mounted a campaign to restore the building and open it as a live performance venue. Over $1.8 million was raised and the building was restored to its original splendor. Texas Woman's University art students restored the art deco paintings on the interior walls, the original carpet was matched, and a stage and dressing room were added. Since opening, the Campus Theatre is booked over 300 nights a year and is home to eight performing art groups. It is owned by the Greater Denton Arts Council and managed by Denton Community Theatre.
The Sherman Building
The Sherman Building, 101 North Elm , has been the site of two fires: the “great fire of 1860,” which destroyed most of the west side of the Square, and the 1994 fire, which most recently leveled the historic 1880 building. Situated on the last of the public lots sold in January 1857, the Sherman Building is a good example of infill construction that salutes the architecture surrounding it.
The Scripture Building
The Scripture Building, 123 North Elm . R.C. Scripture built this structure in 1882 as a general store. It has also served as a grocery store, an ice cream shop and an auto parts store. The second floor has housed the Grand Orient Lodge, a domino parlor and the Carpenter's Union. While their church was being built, the Episcopalians met here from 1917 to 1920. Completely restored after a fire in 1976, the building now houses loft apartments and the law offices of Randall S. Boyd.
The Fine Arts Theater
The Fine Arts Theater, 115 North Elm , was built as an opera house in the 1880s. By the 1940s, there were three movie houses on the west side of the square; the Fine Arts was known as the Texas Theater at that time. The original murals can still be seen inside — one is a picture of an elephant by the Eiffel Tower.
Thomas’ Ethan Allen
Thomas’ Ethan Allen, 200 West Oak , was the site of the first Texas Normal College (now the University of North Texas) in 1890. Situated on 10 acres, the school was known to the locals as “Public School No. 2.” The total enrollment from the first year is not known, but included in the first year’s students were thirty Creek Indian students from the Indian Territor (Oklahoma). Classes met on the top two floors of the building and the ground floor was occupied by the B.J. Wilson Hardware Store. In the 1940s the same lot, but not the same building, housed the U.S.O. — followed by a series of furniture stores. Thomas’ Ethan Allen has occupied this corner since 1962.
The Original City Hall
The Original City Hall, 221 North Elm , was built in 1927. It operated as City Hall, the jailhouse, fire station and general city headquarters until 1967 when the “new” city hall was built on McKinney. The City still owns the building. Planning, building inspection and code enforcement departments are now housed here.
The Texas Building
The Texas Building, 100 West Oak , was built on the original site of the Lacy Hotel in the early 1930s. In the 1880s, the Lacy Hotel was the most imposing hotel in town—a 2-story wooden structure, painted white with stables and a “well that people said was capable of watering 5,000 head of stock at once.” When famous outlaw Sam Bass first came to Denton, he worked in the wagon yard of the hotel and helped take care of the guests’ animals. The Lacy Hotel burned in 1884. In the 1970s the building fell victim to the slipcover craze. In an effort to “modernize” the building, blue and white aluminum encased the facade, aluminum windows were installed and the front was recessed with an all-glass entry. In 1994, led by the Denton Main Street Program, the owners undertook the task of “finding” the old building again. Aluminum was stripped off, black glue removed from the brick, and original transom windows were uncovered. The front of the building was rebuilt using pictures from the 1940s. When the project began, the building had an occupancy rate of only 10%. Since the renovation, occupancy has been 95 to 100%.
The Wright Opera House
The Wright Opera House, 200 N Locust , 1899, was the elite showcase of Denton. Built from the bricks from the condemned 1870s Courthouse, the Wright Opera House operated until 1910. The building now houses Recycled Books and seven luxury apartments on the second and third floors.
The Paschall Building
The Paschall Building, 122 North Locust , 1877, is the oldest building facing the Courthouse. In 1890, the entire east side of the Square burned except for this building. Members of the Paschall family claimed the building was saved by the use of salt. There was a four-inch space between this building and the one to the south; this space was filled with salt. During the fire, water was poured into the wall. In the 1930s and 1940s the building housed The Ritz, one of the numerous movie houses that were located on the Square. By the 1970s, the theater was showing “blue” movies and was commonly referred to as “The Rat.” Although thebuilding has been radically altered since its construction, it remains one of the few original structures in downtown.
The Denton County National Bank Building
The Denton County National Bank Building, 100 North Locust , highlights the commercial heart of Denton. The bank was built in 1913 with concrete, stone, decorative columns and marble. In 1937, as Denton was beginning to emerge from the Great Depression, it was remodeled. David Martino purchased the building in 1996. The exterior was restored and the interior remodeled. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.