University of Texas, Alexander Architectural Archive

Lang and Witchell:

An Inventory of their Collection

Collection Summary

Creators:Lang, Otto (1864-1947) and Witchell, Frank (1879-1958)
Title:Lang and Witchell papers
Abstract:The Dallas firm of Lang and Witchell was a leader in that city's construction during the first half of the twentieth century had a lasting effect on its architectural style. The collection consists of photoprints in album and loose (180 b/w), .35 linear feet of papers, 2 framed certificates, and 8 drawings.
Identification:LW 2001001
Quantity:photoprints in album and loose (180 b/w), .35 linear feet of papers, 2 framed certificates, 8 drawings
Language:Materials are in English.
Repository:Alexander Architectural Archives, The University of Texas at Austin.

Administrative History of Lang and Witchell

"The local firm of Lang & Witchell dominated construction in Dallas from 1910 to 1942 and had a profound impact on the city's architectural character. The most respected firm in Dallas during this time, their long and prolific career and consistently high quality designs contributed substantially to the cityscape....In 1905 [Otto] Lang established a partnership with Frank Witchell, 33 years his junior...Although he had no formal architectural training, Witchell worked for Sanguinet and Staats as a designer and draftsman from 1898 until 1905.

"For thirty years the firm of Lang & Witchell kept up with the latest in architectural thought; from the Chicago School to the Art Deco they were able to produce quality designs in whatever the current mode....The firm's undisputed masterpieces[]are the Dallas Power & Light and the Lone Star Gas Company buildings, both finished in 1931. These two elegantly detailed structures remain Dallas' finest Art Deco skyscrapers."

Source: Lofren, Jamie. Early Texas Skyscrapers... UT Thesis, 1987.

Biographical Sketch of Otto Lang (1864-1947)

"Otto H. Lang, architect, was born in Freiburg, Germany, on December 2, 1864. In 1888 he traveled to the United States on a wedding trip and stayed to make his home in Dallas, Texas. He worked in local architects' offices for two years and then became responsible for architecture and design for the Texas and Pacific Railway. In this position Lang designed the Texas and Pacific depot in Fort Worth. He also eventually designed railroad stations in Wichita Falls, Amarillo, Paris, and Weatherford. He formed a partnership with Frank O. Wichell in 1905 and began practicing in Dallas. Lang worked on many architectural projects in that city, including the Southwestern Life Building, the White Plaza Hotel, Exposition Hall at Fair Park, Fair Parkqv Auditorium, and the Sanger Brothersqv Department Store. He also worked on the Dallas Gas Company Building, the Wholesale Merchants Building, the Southland Life Building, the Cotton Exchange Building, the Jefferson Hotel, Highland Park High School, the Texas Bank Building, and the Adolphus Hotel Annex. He designed courthouses in Houston, Gainesville, Snyder, and Cleburne. Other projects included improvements of the Dallas street-lighting system, local street repair, and work on the garbage disposal facilities. From 1915 to 1919 he served two terms as Dallas street commissioner. At his retirement in 1942, Lang gave his library on architecture and engineering to the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University) and his file of technical journals to Southern Methodist University. Lang was a member of the American Society of Construction Engineers and the Texas Association of Architects. He was a thirty-second-degree Scottish Rite Mason, a Knight Templar, and a member of the Hella Temple Shrine. For many years he was a member of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. He had one son and two daughters. Lang died in Dallas on October 18, 1947, and was buried at Restland Memorial Park in Dallas."

Source: "LANG, OTTO H." The Handbook of Texas Online.

[Accessed Fri Sep 6 11:04:25 US/Central 2002 ]

Biographical Sketch of Frank Witchell (1879-1958)

"Frank O. Witchell, junior member of the firm of Lang and Witchell, was born in the south of Wales, England, on May 30, 1879. He and his parents immigrated to the United States when Witchell was two years old. They settled in San Antonio, where Witchell attended public schools until he was thirteen. He had no formal professional training as had land, yet at the age of fourteen he entered an architect's office to study for his life's work. In 1898, Witchell came to Dallas from San Antonio and entered the architectural firm of Sanguinette and Staats as a designer/draughtsman. Evidently, he worked there until 1905, at which time he entered into the partnership with Otto Lang. He and Lang were in partnership until 1938 when Witchell retired. Witchell was the only living Honorary member of the Dallas chapter of the A.I.A. in 1952 and continued to be so until his death."

Source: Bigger, Jim. The Firm of Lang and Witchell. Report for Arc. 373, UT School of Architecture, April 26, 1971.

Scope and Content of the collection

The collection consists of photoprints in album and loose (180 b/w), .35 linear feet of papers, 2 framed certificates, and 8 drawings.


Policies Governing Use and Access

This collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using archival materials. As all or portions of this collection may be housed off-site, advance notice of at least three working days is required for retrieval. Certain items may require additional time for flattening or humidifying before they can be viewed. Access is by appointment only. Please contact the archives' reference staff for further information.

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Administrative Information


Lang and Witchell papers, Alexander Architectural Archives, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Processing Information

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Detailed Description of the Collection

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