Details for M. & J. Nelson Building (Atlas Number 5507014036)

Historical Marker — Atlas Number 5507014036


Marker Number 14036
Atlas Number 5507014036
Marker Title M. & J. Nelson Building
Index Entry Nelson, M. & J., Building
Address 300 Main St
City McAllen
County Hidalgo
UTM Zone 14
UTM Easting 576196
UTM Northing 2897665
Subject Codes commercial buildings; Art Moderne (Architectural style)
Marker Year 2007
Designations Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
Marker Location 300 Main St
Marker Size 27" x 42"
Marker Text This noteworthy Moderne style commercial building remains a distinctive McAllen attraction. Morris Randall Nelson built and owned the building, designed in 1949 for the use of the J.C. Penney Company. Nelson, born in McPherson, Kansas, followed his father's profession as a carpenter before becoming a builder, property developer and entrepreneur. Morris moved to Palacios, where he met and married Ruth Stainbrook; the two arrived in McAllen in 1914, three years after the city incorporated. The couple had two children: Jack R. and another son who died in childbirth. M.R. Nelson built commercial, public and residential buildings throughout McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley, often working with local architect Zeb Rike. The Nelsons, active in First United Methodist Church, were also civic leaders and supporters of local organizations and charities. The 30,000 square foot, three-story reinforced concrete M. & J. Nelson Building features a streamlined Art Moderne exterior finished in horizontal bands of two-tone buff brick with a darker cast stone trim. Recessed entry doors and interior stair rails are aluminum. The building includes a basement, but plans for additional floors did not materialize. The building included the first 13-passenger elevator in McAllen, as well as one of the earliest air conditioning systems in the city. The top story included professional and government offices, including Jack R. Nelson Insurance. The progressive building was an architectural and commercial anchor in McAllen's postwar business district and continued to serve as a downtown landmark as the city experienced dynamic growth. Recorded Texas historic Landmark - 2007 Marker is property of the state of Texas