Built in 1907 by Fort Worth jeweler, James E. Mitchell, this building was designed by the architectural firm of Sanguinet and Staats. Sanguinett and Staats was one of the most influential and successful firms in Texas between 1903 and 1930 and was responsible for many landmark buildings throughout the state. Besides this building, others still standing today are Thistle Hill at 1509 Pennsylvania Ave., William J. Bryce House at 4900 Bryce Ave., and the Baldridge House at 5100 Crestline Rd.
Dr. Charles B. and Eva Simmons bought the house from the original owner and friend of the family in 1920. Charles and Eva had a daughter who would marry Dr. Frank Schoonover in 1922, who then moved into the home. Throughout the years, the house was the source of many family events, especially weddings. Eventually Dr. Schoonover moved his medical practice into the house.
In 1979, the family home was sold to an investment group and converted it to commercial use with a newly obtained Texas Historical Commission designation for the property. The building was leased to various commercial enterprises, including a home health care service, a physician, and an architect. Art and Lynda Brender purchased the home in 1995 for Mr. Brender’s law office and began restoration after the great Cinco de Mayo hailstorm inflicted considerable damage. Subsequently, the Brenders purchased and restored the other two homes on the block. All three houses have been admitted to the National Register of Historic Places.
The living room is graced with front door, door panels and windows of faceted glass that hark back to the jeweler who built the home. The traditional Arts and Crafts fireplace and dramatic staircase set the scene for social events of the era. The dining room has an “annunciator” button on the floor by the hostess’s chair so that servants could be discreetly summoned. The dark oak that dominates the living room, dining room, and bathroom give way to pine in the more utilitarian rooms of the butler’s pantry, kitchen, and service porch.The only major changes that have been made to this floor are the temporary wall and Dutch door added between the living room and parlor to provide privacy for the law office staff and the enclosure of an exterior door to the service porch.
The living room and dining room have been furnished with furniture from Stickley Brothers, a manufacturer born in the early twentieth century and still in existence. The kitchen had a large stove, and the two pantries remain in their original state. The lighting system was originally designed to use either gas lamps or electricity because Mr. Mitchell did not entirely trust the newer technology. Heat was supplied by fireplaces and a coal burning furnace. In the basement were both a coal room and a room for storage of wood.
The Mitchells hired a married couple as servants, and their bedroom and bathroom were also in the basement. The laundry, food storage, a wine cellar, and a large room for storing furniture and out of season clothes were in the basement as well. Upstairs there were originally three bedrooms, a parlor with a fireplace, and a bathroom. After the Simmons bought the house, another bedroom was added by converting the upstairs sleeping porch for their granddaughters.
This home has been the center of many social gatherings, professional offices, and historical citizens that we are glad to honor by preserving the building as much as possible.
600 Eighth Avenue
Our historical building was built in 1907 and has been a significant landmark in Fort Worth with many notable professionals in and out of its walls. We are proud to call it ours and continue to relish in its historic beauty.