W. R. Kaufman Was The Architect For Many Building in Pampa

William Raymond Kaufman (1881-1948) was the son of Amarillo architect Davis Paul Kaufman (1852-1915). Working together as the firm of D. P. Kaufman & Son, they designed many buildings in the Texas Panhandle and nearby New Mexico. W. R. Kaufman and _____ Berry designed the White Deer Land Building completed in 1916 at 116 South Cuyler.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

The tan brick school building, completed in 1920 at 126 West Francis, was designed by W. R. Kaufman, Architect. (This inscription is on the cornerstone now at the White Deer Land Museum). The original building with east and west additions was known as Pampa High School in 1931 when it was designated by the Board of City Development as one of the buildings On Pampa’s “Million Dollar Row,” the three blocks of Russell Street between Francis Avenue on the north and Atchison Avenue on the south. When brick was ordered for the school building, L. C. McMurtry, a member of the school board at that time, ordered a quantity of the same brick for himself. W. R. Kaufman was the architect for the L. C. McMurtry home at 505 North Gray — the second solid brick house in Pampa.

The house, which belonged to Mrs. E. L. Tarpley in 1931 and then to the Rose family (Tom, Sr., Tom, Jr.5 Rex, and Mary Jane Rose Johnson), now belongs to Keith and Melinda Stowers. The first Pampa city directories (1929 and 1930) show W. R. Kaufman, architect, at 114 1/2 South Cuyler and W. P. and Florence Kaufman living at 121 North Frost. W. P. Kaufman was the architect for the red brick building at 200-204 North Ballard. It was built in 1929 for Horace E. Saunders who opened the Studebaker Agency, the first automobile agency in-Pampa.

In later years the building was occupied by various tire companies, service stations and the Coca Cola Bottling Company. On September 2, 1986 it was officially opened as the Pampa Community Building, housing the Pampa Chamber of Commerce and other offices. The Sam Houston Elementary School building at 900 North Frost, designed by W.R. Kaufman, is a good example of the Spanish Renaissance Revival style applied to an institutional structure. The most original of Pampa’s early school buildings, it opened for classes at the end of 1930.

The elementary school, after serving as a middle school between 1973 and 1978, was closed in May 1978. After a brief period of vacancy, the Claren- don College, Pampa campus, leased the structure and held classes there until it moved to 1601 West Kentucky in early 2000. The Pampa city directory for 1931 shows W. R. Kaufman & Son, architects, on the fifth floor of the Combs-Worley Building, and W. R., Sr., Florence and W. R., Jr. living at 1032 Twiford. W. P., Jr., who trained as an architect at Texas Tech, graduated in 1931. W. P. Kaufman & Son, Architects, designed many of Pampa’s historic build- ings, including the Gray County Courthouse at 205 North Russell, Pampa City Hall at 200 West Foster, Central Fire Station at 203 West Foster and Combs- Worley office building at 120 West Kingsmill. W. P. Kaufman & Son were also the architects for other Pampa buildings, including a proposed clubhouse for the Pampa Country Clubhouse.

The Panhandle Lumber Company (now Houston Lumber Company) at 420 West Foster is an example of the commercial architecture used in Pampa during the oil boom era. It was built for the Panhandle Lumber Company that operated a small chain of lumber yards in the Panhandle region. During the boom days of the 1930s, a myriad of oil field construction items from derrick timber to simple nuts and bolts poured out of its bins and storage racks. The Pampa News building at 322 West Foster was occupied by the newspaper – until about 1951 when it was moved to its present location at 403 West Atchison.

Mitchell’s for Women was opened in 1931 by William C. and Pearl Mitchell who kept the business until about 1940. Once a strong wind blew away the first four letters of the sign, MITCHELL’S FOR WOMEN, and the remaining letters were a topic of conservation for several days. Ruth Ann Holland, daughter of W. C. and Pear(Mitchell, made a bequeathal which enabled the White Deer Land Museum to develop the Holland Wing. From about 1946 until about 1987 the Mitchell building was occupied by the American Legion VFW. The Gordon-Denebeim Building at 105 North Cuyler, located at the major intersection (Cuyler and Foster) of Pampa’s central business district, is only the second structure to occupy that site.(The first was Johnson Mercan- tile in 1902 — changed to J. N. Hardware and Furniture in 1907). August Gordon, who came with his wife Leah in 1926, and his father-in-law, Abraham Denebeim of Kansas City, Missouri, bought the site in May 1928, and the building was completed in a record shattering 45 days.

It is unusual due to the extensive use of terra cotta on its exterior walls. When completed, the structure was divided into commercial units: C&C System grocery, Kraft’s Mint, Junior Department Store, The Diamond Shop, City Shoe Shop, Wiley’s United Cigar Store and The Model. In the mid 1940s the structure was leased to the M. E. Moses chain of variety stores and the building was remodeled. M. E. Moses purchased the building. in 1954 and continued to occupy the building until 1995. Since 1996 the building has been occupied by Dollar General. The Southwestern Public Service Office building at 209 North Cuyler is an outstanding and rare example of the Art Deco style as it was used in Pampa and the Panhandle in the 1930s.

The entire front facade is terra cotta (a Kaufman trademark) and Carrera glass arranged to present a stylized “star burst.” In 1940 the structure was converted into a small clothing store named Gilbert’s and served in that capacity until Gilbert’s closed after a 45 year occupancy. The building now houses the Pampa Office Supply Christmas Shop. The Pampa city directories for 1934 and 1935 show only W. R. Kaufman, Jr. living at 1032 Twiford and that he was a draftsman at Cabot Company. In October 1935 Buster Kaufman (W. R. Jr.) was employed by the City of Pampa to draw plans for the fairground plant, including administration building, race track, stadium, display buildings, dams, roadways, and landscaping, as well as tennis courts and water extensions in the city proper.

The Amarillo city directory for 1938-1939 shows Kaufman, Wm. P. (Florence) architect, at 1007 Monroe and Kaufman, W. Raymond, Jr. (Margaret) draftsman for Harold Walsh at 3412 Washington. In 1939 W. R. Kaufman moved to San Antonio to work in the Army Engineer’s office at Fort Sam Houston. He died at San Antonio in 1948 and W. R. Kaufman, Jr. took over the family business. In 1964 W.R. Kaufman (W. P., Jr.) was employed by Potter County Commis- sioners to supervise repairing and repainting work in the county courthouse. In In 1968 he was one of a group of architects employed to develop a master plan for the Amarillo Medical Center on the old county section along Highway 66 west.

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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