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Building (Outlar and Blair Clinic)
This complex, designed and constructed by a Houston firm, is in the Wharton 1960s modern style, with panels of clay tile solar screens separated by steel columns, glass curtain walls recessed beneath the stucco soffits of a flat roof, brick end panels, a porte-cochere entrance, and black volcanic rock accent walls. The former Outlar and Blair Clinic and Caney Valley Memorial Hospital were built so far north on the highway heading toward Houston that they are still on the outskirts of Wharton. When U.S. 59 bypassed Wharton to the west in the 1980s, it led to abandonment of the old hospital in favor of a new one (operated by a hospital corporation) located beside the freeway. The decline in local ownership of community institutions in the last quarter of the twentieth century can be correlated with a decline in professional opportunities for architects, a trend especially evident in small towns such as Wharton where new construction tends toward franchise design rather than architecture.
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