Scope and Contents
The Lenard Gabert, Sr. Architectural Records, 1930-2002 contains over 250 drawings on a variety of paper types and sizes, reflecting the architectural style of the time. Older drawings are often on brown tracing paper, moving to sheaves of pre-marked white planning paper, with the more modern ones printed in bound packets. Some of the drawings have complete plans with indexes (Arranged by category: Constructive, Architectural, Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing), and many include partial plans, blueprints or sketches.
The drawings are dated from 1930 to 2002, with the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s most heavily represented, with more than 50 jobs completed during each decade. Though the collection is certainly not a comprehensive gathering of Lenard Gabert’s work, it provides insight into the astonishing range of commissions that the architect (and later his company) took on.
Gabert’s most famous works are his synagogues--including temples for the congregations Israel, Shearith Israel, Emanu El, Adath Emeth, Beth Jacob, and Beth Yeshurun. He also designed a number of churches and chapels for different faiths. The bulk of Gabert’s work was in store buildings and warehouses, especially those focused on packing, processing, and distribution.
He also designed commercial buildings, such as groceries, food supply stores, restaurants, banks, and professional and office buildings, as well as elementary schools, and clinics. The residences, apartment buildings, and motels that Gabert conceived show off his personal touch with concept sketches and attention to presentation. Some of the more unique commissions that Gabert took on include a Mobile Home Park, Dog Pound, Rabies Control Center, N.A.S.A Space Food Preparation Facility, Zoo Service Center and Commissary, and a Health Club in Saudi Arabia. A large portion of the collection is also devoted to plans drawn up for Additions and Alterations to Gabert’s past projects, remodeling commissions, or partial contributions to larger commissions, like sign supports, derrick details, rice dryers, and swimming pools.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish material from the Lenard Gabert, Sr. Architectural Records, 1930-2002 must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
Lenard Gabert was born in 1894 in Navasota, Texas. He attended college at Texas A and M University and Rice University, where he was a student in the first entering class, and received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture in 1917. He was among the first to graduate from Rice with a B.S. in Architecture. Gabert served in World War I and World War II. On March 14, 1922, Lenard married Gladys Thelma Rotholz, with whom he had a son, Lenard Morris Gabert Jr., and daughter, Rilda Gabert.
Lenard Gabert had a long career designing both residential and commercial buildings in Houston from the 1920s to 1970s. As the principal at the architectural firm of Lenard Gabert and Associates, Gabert designed many works of note, including the 1930 Congregation K’Nesseth Israel Synagogue in Baytown (Recorded Texas Historic Landmark 1991), the 1939 Eldorado Ballroom on Elgin Avenue, the 1940 Brochstein’s Inc. building (with I. S. Brochstein), the 1949 Temple Emanu El (with MacKie and Kamrath), and the 1958 Julian Hurwitz House (with W. Jackson Wisdom).
Gabert continued to practice architecture until his death in September 1976. Lenard Morris Gabert grew up to be a civil engineer, and continues his father’s legacy as part of Gabert-Abuzalaf. Today the firm survives under Green Dome Services. The mid-century modern style architecture of Gabert’s celebrated works is still beloved and cherished today as a defining characteristic of Houston’s ambience.