de Salernes French marble and the walls and columns are of Siena
travertine, an Italian product.
Flanking the long sides of the lobby are eight mural panels
illustrating the history of Texas, executed in wet fresco. The subjects
are: Aboriginal Indians, circa 1500; Landing of La Salle, Matagorda
Bay, 1685; Spanish Domination, 1770; Mexican Ascendancy, 1821;
The Fall of the Alamo, 1836; Capture of Santa Anna, 1836; Houston,
Capital of the Republic of Texas, 1837, and Modern Houston. This
method of decoration has become a lost art in America, although
there has been considerable interest in its revival during the past
year. All of the work in these panels was executed at the building on
wet plaster, a small section at a time, similarly to the work done on
all of the original Italian frescoes, including such famous paintings
as "The Last Supper." The paint applied to wet plaster is absorbed
into the laster in such a manner that the color becomes an integral
part of the material. It is permanent and indestructible.
Doors leading into the banking room, elevators and shops and
all radiator-enclosing grilles are unusual examples of metal-craft art
done in Benedict nicke,. Concealed lighting illuminates the fresco
panels, while suspended fixtures of Benedict nickel and etched glass
lend themselves as ornaments in the general scheme of illumination.
To the left on entering the lobby of the main building, one finds
two banks of elevators: one set of four rising to the seventeenth floor,
the other four operating to the thirty-fourth floor. These elevators,
which are of most modern design, rise at the rate of nine hundred feet
per minuted. The doors overdoor ad frame are of nickel, richly
ornamented with elaborate designs in etched and band chased metal
work. The cabs are of English harewood panels, framed with nickel
and ornamented with grilles of the same metal. There are a total of
fourteen elevators in the building, including those in the banking
rooms, stores and service lifts.
Typical office floors have elevator lobbies with marble walls and
rubber tile floors, the corridors have the same floor and marble base
with doors and trim of select gumwood brought to furniture polish.
Access to the observation tower on the roof is by means of a metal
and marble staircase. On this is located a powerful telescope through
which Galveston and the surrounding territory may be viewed on a
clear day. Visitors are admitted during daylight hours.
Four hundred fifty feet above the street level is mounted the
Jesse H. Jones Aeronautical Beacon. This is the Houston air mail
beacon authorized and approved by the United States Department
of Commerce. Utilizing twenty-three thousand candle power, this
light is visible on clear nights for a distance of fifty miles. Two shafts
of light are incorporated into the scheme, one of fifteen thousand
candle power, pointing vetically into the heavans and nother of
eight thousand candle power, sending a horizontal beam toward the
Houston Airport. The searchlights are equipped with an automatic
device which changes globes in case burned-out filaments, so that
light is constant between sunspet and surnise.
The general arrangement of exterior floodlighting for the edifice
utilizes two hundred thirty-two projectors distributed between the the
twenty-second floor and the top of the building, bathing it in a clear
white light which rings into strong contrast tefthe carvings and ornamentation of the upper thirteen stories of the structure. The whole
plan provides for a distribution of twelve million six hundred thousand candle power.