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John B. Ragland Mercantile Company Building

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1909, Jules Leffland. 201 E. Kleberg Ave.
  • (Photograph by Gerald Moorhead)

This architectural beacon guards the western entrance to downtown. Both its grand design and influential owners, including Kleberg and Flato as partners, guaranteed the success of the “Raglands” (the store's popular name) as the leading dry goods and clothing store in Kingsville. The two-part commercial block, in outdated late-nineteenth-century vocabulary by its time of construction, underwent a curious reincarnation in 1950 as King Ranch, Inc., its sole owner since 1940, brought in family friend and noted industrial designer Raymond Loewy to usher the Rag-lands into the modern era. Loewy turned the ground floor into a sleek, totally transparent sales space, and sheathed the upper stories in metal panels punctured with a dotted grid pattern. After its closure in 1979, the King family rehabilitated the building as an elegant saddle shop in 1989. Chronicling the tension between preservation and modernity in the twentieth century, the store was brought back to its original 1909 Leffland design in the new rehabilitation effort, with none of Loewy's modernist features left standing.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "John B. Ragland Mercantile Company Building", [Kingsville, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: Central, South, and Gulf Coast, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 255-255.

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