Victory Arts Center in Fort Worth
My husband and I live in a 100+ year old building that used to be a department store and offices, and has been renovated to be "hip, urban lofts." We love living in renovated buildings and we also love touring other lofts and renovated buildings.
When I heard about the Victory Arts Center in Fort Worth, I was just dying to see it. The web site has some amazing pictures of what the convent used to be.
So when my husband Dan and I were driving around in Fort Worth this past weekend, we decided to see if we could find this place and check it out. After much searching (and a little help from "Google" on our cell phones), we were able to find it. (HINT: To get there, take I-35W South to the Barry Street exit, drive down to about the 800 block, turn left and go two or so blocks, and you'll run into Shaw. They're at 801 Shaw.)
We ended up getting there just a little before midnight. While they have blocked off resident parking, there is just a simple low gate keeping cars from driving in. There is no security guard, no secure entry, no type of covering. We could have gone up and totally broken into the cars. The lack of security was amazing considering the fortress we live in. We were very surprized to find the front doors unlocked and with no security, so we were able to just waltz right in and had a run of the place.
While the finish out was very nice, there were very few reminders of the grandeur that the place must have been in its heyday. The chapel had been completely gutted and the stained glass that was in there was an obvious replacement over what had been there before. There were a few small architechtural clues that the building was old, but virtually none that prove it used to be Catholic, at least on the inside. I think they wasted a great opportunity to really feature this building.
While the building was rather unique, its complete lack of security and total waste of potential made it a huge disappointment as a "dream place" to live. There was a very small building next to the center, which I assume is the "Old Nun's Home" where the last of the OLV nuns live. I'd love to talk with them and hear what stories they have to tell about their building.