In 1923, William Fitzgerald was ready to build his new plumbing and heating company at 939 Louisiana Ave. In December of that year, city building inspector J.T. Harrison issued a permit for a one-story building with basement that would cost an estimated $25,100.

By August, Fitzgerald Plumbing and Heating Company was open for business, and what a business it was. Over time, the plumbing and heating company (remember, there was no air conditioning back then) expanded into a full line of home appliances and fixtures. One newspaper article in 1947 touted that ‘Housewives of Shreveport and the Ark-La-Tex territory will find in this new department many of the valuable and useful household items for which they have searched in vain…” Interestingly, one of those items for which housewives had been searching in vain was ‘shower curtains in a variety of patterns.’ In addition to a full line of shower curtains, Fitzgerald’s offered plungers, fixtures, tools, small home appliances, wastebaskets, stepladders, and a full line of fishing tackle.

The building in 2014.

The company was a mainstay downtown for 31 years, but in 1954, they moved, leasing the building to the Surluster Company. Other companies followed in rapid succession until 1957 when McClamroch Machinery moved in. McClamroch stayed until selling out to Morgan Tool and Supply in the late 2000’s. By then, the building had been remodeled, and wings added. In addition, the original transom windows above the front door had been replaced with glass blocks and the front windows and doors were covered with unattractive security fencing.

The new look today, sans glass blocks and with new windows and doors.

Several years ago, Morgan Tool’s Richard Williford and family decided to make improvements to the building that would restore the transom windows and replace the large front windows and door to remove the fencing. Sadly, Richard did not live to see the culmination of the improvements he had started, but his family, Morgan Tool employees and the community at large will be the beneficiaries for years to come. Thank you, Richard!

If you stop to look at the building, note, too, the building’s beautiful architectural touches. Even small and less expensive historic buildings have amazing details…like this brickwork near the roofline.

…the multi-colored bricks used throughout the facade in a pattern to give the building more interest.

And the patterns built into the front wall below the transom windows. Look how straight the bricks are laid and the attention to detail and craftsmanship. This is just one more reason that historic properties deserve to be saved and utilized.