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Bobbie and Baylor Van Meter House

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1962, Frank Welch. 2102 N. L St.

Upon his arrival in Midland in late 1959, Frank Welch (1927–2018) recalled in his autobiography, On Becoming an Architect (2014), “The upper-class neighborhoods with tree-lined streets lay to the west and north of downtown. The architectural message of the better houses was well-heeled, relaxed comfort, not the ostentation that one later associated with the oil-rich.” Welch is often labeled a regionalist, but he does not make a pastiche of vernacular references. Even in a suburban setting, his houses are designed to protect from the sun and wind of the Texas Plains and are formed of a concise palette of materials into crisp geometries.

Welch came to Midland to design an addition to BLee and John Dorn’s house (1959) at 1201 Country Club Drive. The Van Meter House was Welch’s first new Midland house. A distinctive street-facing loggia of seven segmental arches provides protection from the west sun for a long gallery that connects the wings of the U-plan, ranch-type house of brick. Low-pitched, side gabled roofs are covered with standing-seam metal, and three oversized chimneys counter the strong horizontal lines of the roof, a rhythmic counter found in many Welch houses.

In contrast to the simple form of the Van Meter House, Welch’s Innerarity House (1973; 1701 N. L) is a village of shed-roofed shapes. The core of the house is an indoor tennis court, with living areas along the east and south sides treated as lean-tos.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Bobbie and Baylor Van Meter House", [Midland, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: East, North Central, Panhandle and South Plains, and West, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019, 460-461.

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