The Keller Restoration Project
In Downtown Wichita Falls, between Ohio and Indiana on 7th Street, sits the J. F. Keller building in the Depot Square Historic District. It was built in 1886, the early days of Wichita Falls, when the city saw a sudden influx of pioneers searching for oil. The city was just incorporated in 1882 and became the county seat when the Union Square Passenger Depot was built, creating Wichita Falls as the center point for commerce and transporation in the early 20th century.
J.F. Keller and H. M. Durrett, the first owners, ran a saddle, harness and hardware business in conjunction with the building next door, 615 7th Street.
The two story red, brick Victorian has portions of the original cast iron store front still existing today. The upstairs windows and downstairs display windows were replaced and altered for stabilization. Over the years the ornate facade was removed but the intricate brick work, sign band, stone sills remain.
The oldest two story brick building in Wichita Falls that holds so much of our community’s early history and has sat vacant for decades. The windows have been boarded up with no maintenance done to the building. Over the past few years Downtown Wichita Falls Development has seen the building go under contract several times with out ever seeing a successful buyer.
Preserving the Past and Building the Future
In 2022, Downtown Wichita Falls Development took action. The Board of Directors chose to purchase the building and do historical restoration to not only save the building from its impeding demise but be able to add another property to the district that brings in taxes that can help the city grow.
As a nonprofit, Downtown Wichita Falls Development has the ability to host a capital campaign, apply for grants, and seek funding from foundations to help bring this beautiful building back to her glory. It is no easy task, the building needs extensive work. The first steps will be shoring the building, adding a new roof, and improving the facade.
As of August 2023, DWFD has been working with Post Oak Preservation Solutions out of Austin, Texas to make sure the historical restoration will be accurate and eligible for Historic Tax Credits. Soon the organization will be seeking RFQs to begin the design and engineering plans.
Brick by Brick
Together we can make sure this piece of history is not demolished and downtown continues to flourish as a vibrant place for small businesses to thrive. Brick by brick, block by block, downtown sees revitalization and a new life for future generations to enjoy the heart of our city.
To give to the efforts of restoring the Keller building you can make a donation during Texoma Gives from August 24 to September 7.