Historic Defoor Building Crumbles

Historic Defoor Building Crumbles

The Defoor building in downtown Wichita Falls is full of history and now it's falling apart.

The rich history of the Defoor building has been captured in the hearts of those who've heard and appreciate it. Now the crumbling historic building has been deemed a dangerous structure.

With each fallen brick of the facade, it was like a tear dropping for those who revel in the rich history of the Defoor building; the original home of Zales jewelry, now the Zales Corporation.

"Well the Defoor's building, the actual building right here on the corner was actually the very first Zales jewelry store in the world," said Julie Coley owner of Historical Tours of Wichita Falls.

Hearing the news that part of the building had fallen was shocking and emotional. "I said can I cry now. I mean it would just break my heart, because we stand on this street corner weekend after weekend telling the story of our notoriety of having the first Zales in the world," said Coley.

The building has seen a number of different businesses over it's long history. Dating back before World War II the building has been used as a bank, jewelry and loan store and one of the largest gun shops in Wichita Falls.

"It was actually a gun shop when it was Brown's. Then of course the Defoor's carried it on from there and they expanded over into the building next door; which actually use to be a firing range. An indoor firing range," said Coley.

Newschannel Six spoke with Code Enforcement Supervisor Rita Miller who said, the owners will be given a 60 day notice, leaving them time to be issued permits to either fix or demolish the building.

When asked what it would mean for residents if the building was torn down, Coley said, "Oh it would just kill the area with people that know that this use to be Zales. We wouldn't have that anymore, all we'd have of that is in pictures," said Coley. And those pictures would be worth a thousand words.

Miller said,  if nothing is done with the building during those 60 days, the City Council which acts as the Building Commission, will have to decide if it meets the criteria for demolition.

Code Enforcement officials said the owners were cooperative when the building was being evaluated.

Jenyne Donaldson, Newschannel Six.