The Last Remaining Piece of the Prudential Tower

THE LAST REMAINING PIECE OF THE PRUDENTIAL TOWER It made it: The 1952 Peter Hurd mural, formerly of the wall of the demolished Kenneth Franzheim-designed Prudential Tower in the Med Center, has completed its 2-year stop-and-go journey from 1100 Holcome Blvd., to a storage space in Midland, to the brand-new Artesia Public Library in northern southeastern New Mexico. The largest ever to be transported, the 16-ft.-by-46-ft. mural, titled “The Future Belongs To Those Who Prepare For It,” underwent a successful 20-hour installation last week, reports Swamplot commenter Artesia_NM Resident. And Albuquerque’s KOB Eyewitness News reports that the big unveiling of the big thing is planned for November 9. [KOB; previously on Swamplot] Photo: Candace Garcia

19 Comment

  • What an amazing feat for a town of 11,000.

  • Thanks for the great happy-ending story about a piece of a classic mid-century surviving – even if it had to be in a state that is far more respectful of the past with an eye to the future than here in Texas! Texas is learning but not very quickly, it seems.

  • It’s lamented that Houston could not find a place for this (who’s surprised, right), but also gratifying that this small New Mexico town could see the value of this mural that those in Houston couldn’t.

  • The Prudential Tower was monumental from the outside & had some nice public areas. But the office areas were grim, cramped & very hard to adapt–to modern technology or to employees with physical issues. (Those dinky ladies’ room stalls!) Then there were the foundation problems….

    How many people actually visited that charming mural during its many years in Houston? The building was not used by “the public” but anybody could have dropped by during regular business hours. Glad it’s found a new home…

    And the space where the building stood is growing prairie grasses, as further development is on hold; it’s a nice green space in the Medical Center. The sculpture formerly in front of Prudential is also in view–awaiting a more permanent home once that development happens.

  • It’s interesting how the developers rushed to destroy the building and yet nothing rises from the ashes. Houston, always in such a hurry to destroy never stopping long enough to think of what’s lost or what will come next. Sic Transit Gloria

  • Sad to see it leave, but happy it found a new home and was not destroyed.

  • As funds allow, a new clinic will be built on what’s now a green space. (No “ashes.”) Houston Main (formerly the Prudential Building) housed administrative offices, since it was utterly unsuited for patient care. (It wasn’t really well suited for modern offices, either.) Those functions are now housed in a new building, a few blocks away.

    As I mentioned, the statue that ornamented the fountain in front of Houston Main is nearby–a short stroll from the TMC Transit Center. “The Wave of Life” by Wheeler Williams is actually the last piece of the Prudential Building. And it’s still here.

    It’s a pity that the mural could find no home in Houston. M D Anderson took a great deal of time & money to avoid destroying it.

  • I work for MD Anderson, and there are no plans to build on that site for at least 5 years. I’m glad they worked with the prairie conservancy to plant TX native plants that have attracted rabbits, butterflies and birds. Although I miss HMB (what we called Prudential), it’s nice to see some open green space in the Medical Center. Now, if they can only move the statue back to its rightful place along the sidewalk on Holcombe and restore the fountain that it sat in.

  • MD Anderson has all the money in the world (you know Making Cancer History and all) so I would hope they would have saved the mural. since the have no plans in the near future to build in the field, it would be nice if they really spent money landscaping it like a Botanical Garden and plant tree etc that they could plant elsewhere then they decide to build some hulking research center.

  • Oil money paid to conserve, transport and
    preserve the Hurd mural . . . small oil$.

  • Our loss, their gain.

  • Only in Houston can a building be “impossible” to renovate to another use; and the citizens believe it. Try telling that BS to New Yorkers, Parisians, Bostonians, or even the folks in NOLA. Houstonians are a rare breed of gullible; and developers here (including MDAnderson) are a rare breed of lame.

  • When the area is finally developed, it will be for patient use–research buildings are now being located out in the wilds of OST.

    M D Anderson does not have endless funds & I think the “wild” area–with benches, paths & signs–is a fine use for the land.
    A few trees have been planted but no elaborate landscaping is needed.

    I think the statue is slightly fragile & they don’t want to move it until it has a new permanent home. Still, anybody who actually wants to see it just needs to visit the Med Center. (Just as anybody who actually wanted to see the mural could have seen it before “Prudential” was closed. How many here took the trouble?)

  • You can’t tell me MD Anderson isn’t wealthy beyond belief, they certainly have the funds to make this land temporarly into a Botanical Garden etc. My Dad was treated (unsuccessfully) by MD Anderson and I am more than aware of the Midas like wealth it has behind it. (Tho they still solicit by Mom for money every chance they get), so it would be nice to see them actually spend some real money making this a beautiful spot, then later on remove the plants and trees to another location so they can build some beheamoth and continue with their quest to…….Make Cancer History

  • M D Anderson is not “wealthy beyond belief.” The land is being used in a way that suits patients, visitors & employees. The wild grasses will eventually be transplanted & expenditures were not excessive. If it fails to impress those who drive by a few times a year–too bad.

    Sorry for your sad family history.

  • I can assure you MD Anderson is all abutting PR, I’m sure your reaction would not be theirs. MD Anderson is one of the wealthiest hospitals in the world, they have spent hundreds of millions on new buildings in the last 10 years, just look at their campus for heavens sake and thank you for your condolence.

  • As a resident of Artesia, I hope to express to you the pride this community has in welcoming Hurd’s giant fresco into its new home. It is absolutely wonderful! Just a note to clarify our location, Artesia is actually in the South East corner of the state, at the intersection of NM highways 82 and 285, 187 miles North West of Midland,164 miles West of Lubbock, TX. So you see, we are just a hop across the TX NM border! The city of Artesia would like to extend to all of you a heart felt invitation to the library’s grand opening, November 9, 2013.

  • @Sandi: Thanks for catching that! The story has been corrected.

  • We in Artesia are so pleased to learn about Houston’s continued interest in the Peter Hurd mural. The entire relocation process has been extraordinary, as is the building where it is now. We, of course, feel that the mural has come home, as Peter Hurd was from our area.
    Installing this large box through a hole in the roof of a 32′ building was a sight to see! The mural is displayed permanently 9′ above the floor and will be visable from Main Street. If you are ever in our area, please come by. Artesia is a small but thriving, active community. The Grand Opening of our new library is November 9th.