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McAllen in Hidalgo County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

M. & J. Nelson Building

 
 
M. & J. Nelson Building Marker image. Click for full size.
cmh2315fl via Flickr (cropped) (CC BY-NC 2.0), December 27, 2020
1. M. & J. Nelson Building Marker
Inscription.  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,
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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

 
Erected 2007 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 14036.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1949.
 
Location. 26° 12.073′ N, 98° 14.102′ W. Marker is in McAllen, Texas, in Hidalgo County. Marker is at the intersection of South Main Street and Chicago Avenue, on the left when traveling north on South Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 308 S Main St, McAllen TX 78501, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. M & J Nelson Building (here, next to this marker); McAllen Post Office (within shouting distance of this marker); Sacred Heart Catholic Church (about 400 feet away, measured in a
M. & J. Nelson Building Marker image. Click for full size.
cmh2315fl via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0), December 27, 2020
2. M. & J. Nelson Building Marker
direct line); First Presbyterian Church of McAllen (approx. 0.2 miles away); McAllen, The Beginning (approx. ¼ mile away); Casa de Palmas (approx. ¼ mile away); Archer Park (approx. ¼ mile away); Site of Casa de Palmas (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in McAllen.
 
Also see . . .  M & J Nelson Building (PDF). National Register of Historic Places nomination package submitted for the building. (Texas Historical Commission) (Submitted on April 15, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 15, 2022. It was originally submitted on April 15, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 193 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 15, 2022, by Duane and Tracy Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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Apr. 23, 2024