Vintage Buildings

Historical building in downtown Dallas' West End opens for tenant tours

Historical building in downtown Dallas West End opens for tenant tours

Purse Building
The doors are now open for tours. Photo courtesy of Wildcat

A historically recognized building in downtown Dallas is about to hit the limelight. Located at 601 Elm St., the 113-year-old Purse Building has been thoughtfully renovated and is now ready to get the party started.

The building, which was built in 1905 and is a Texas State Archaeological Landmark, has been developed as a high-tech six-story workspace by real estate developer Tanya Ragan, founder of Wildcat Management.

Phase 1 of the restoration has just finished; completion is set for spring 2020. But there's a showroom ready and progress tours are now available to media and prospective tenants.

Serving as the gateway to the West End Historic District, the six-story building is one of the last undeveloped historic buildings in the West End, facing the Dallas County Founders Park and the Kennedy Memorial, in what might be viewed as the most quintessential-Dallas location downtown.

According to Candy's Dirt, the building was built in 1905 but has been vacant for years, "a ghost of its past" as offices and warehouse space for the Parlin and Orendorff Implement Co., which sold agricultural equipment. The building also housed Purse & Company Wholesale Furniture and was used by Dallas County for office space.

It's called the Purse Building because it still has a "Purse & Co." painted letters on its side.

Phase 1 entailed cleaning out all six floors left behind by the last tenant in the 1980's, including partitions, drop-down ceilings, and old carpet.

The first-level exterior stone and brick and storefront of this Chicago Italianate-style have been cleaned. The original historic paint color has been restored to the large window frames, which allow for a wash of natural light to permeate the building's interior.

"Being able to close Phase 1 and marvel at the original finishings from the late '40s has been a major accomplishment," Ragan says in a release.

The space has high ceilings, heavy timber columns and beams, exposed brick walls, floor-to-ceiling windows, and original wood floors that revealing the building's historic character.

The building's century of use and neglect has been documented and is displayed in an installation of 40 photos and ads from the 1940s on a story wall inside the new showroom. Tours are open Tuesday-Friday from 10 am-3 pm.

"We're creating an atmosphere that is a fine balance between paying homage to history and being cutting edge," Ragan says.