Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Building Letterheads IX

In June 1949, Guaranty Savings and Homestead Association's Curtis F. Scott, Jr. wrote to New Orleans surveyor Guy Seghers requesting clarification related to a lot subdivision in the Second Municipal District (above). One month later, Seghers developed a Sixth District property survey, and used the verso of Curtis' letter to take notes. Seghers' office then inter-filed the letter with the most recent survey inquiry, made by Mr. J.L. Banos for a property located at 2424 Octavia Street, Sixth Municipal District Square 613. The Curtis letter subsequently became detritus, discarded information severed from the lot surveys cited in the correspondence but now included in a lot survey file associated with a different property in an altogether different district.

For a researcher interested in the Guaranty Savings and Homestead Association, it would normally be a matter of luck or perseverance to locate this letter amid the Guy Seghers Office Records, since documents were organized by municipal district and square numbers.

Lately, this blog has featured images of buildings found on company stationery, and so we have included the letter here as another such example.

The Guaranty Savings and Homestead Association had moved into the Pere Marquette building in April 1939. The 18-story skyscraper was then  nearly 14 years old, having been constructed in late 1925. Built by Chicago investor-architect Stephen Scott Joy for $2 million, the Pere Marquette was touted as "the largest real estate deal in the city's history."(1) Its accouterments were some of the finest locally available: iron railings by Hinderers' Iron Works; walnut and mahogany fixtures by Riecke Cabinet Works; and bricks by Standard Brick & Clay Products Company. Jesuit College granted the investors a 99-year-lease on the site. The American Terra Cotta Company, based in Illinois, provided the ornamental terracotta.

In 1928, the Pere Marquette was sold to the Chicago-based Straus Trust Company, a deal that was brokered by Meyer Eiseman and included the 99-year-lease provision. The selling price was $1,600,000.(2)

The Southeastern Architectural Archive retains plans for the building in its William T. Nolan Collection. American Terra Cotta and Ceramic Company records -- including historic photographs -- associated with the Pere Marquette are housed at the Northwest Architectural Archive.

(1) "2,000,000 Skyscraper for Jesuit Site." The Times-Picayune 25 July 1925, p. 1.

(2) "Pere Marquette Building Is Sold." The Times-Picayune 15 April 1928, p. 33.

Image above: Detail & Full Page, C[urtis]. F. Scott, Jr., letter to Guy Seghers, 22 June 1949, Guy Seghers Office Records, "6th District, Square 613 (Rickerville 76)," Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

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