Abdou Building

As part of a sudden, explosive building boom in 1909-1910, the Abdou Building, located at the corner of Mesa and Texas Avenue in El Paso, adds interesting character to a walk down Mesa Street downtown. The 7-story structure, designed in a Romanesque Revival style, was purchased by Sam Abdou in 1925, giving the building the name we are most familiar with today. It is unique in that its exterior bears no parallel lines, giving the impression from its northern view that it is very slender and quite ready to topple over. 

The structure was built by the Rio Grande Valley Bank, and was known by that name for its first 8 months. It was then sold to Two Republics Life Insurance, who owned the building until approximately 1925, when it was purchased by Abdou.

We see clear Louis Sullivan ("Sullivanesque") influence in Henry C. Trost's Romanesque Revival design of the building, which is reminiscent of Adler & Sullivan's first major commission in Chicago, the 1889 Auditorium Building. The Abdou is frequently referred to as Chicago School, which is an equally valid description of the style.

The building has recently been completely restored and remodeled into high-end apartments, and is gorgeous, especially when lit at night. According to Elpasomoves dot com, the entire building (apart from the retail spaces on the first floor) has been divided into 9 apartments, many of them taking an entire floor. Rent averages $2,500.00 per month with parking available at the Cortez parking garage a block to the north.

Text and research provided for Sketchclub.net by Mark Stone, citing the above referenced sources, in addition to references in image comments.

New interior elevator lobby images taken by myself on March 22, 2019:

Stairs and elevator to the left; retail space #4 straight ahead. Everything is done up in marble!

Cool looking lighting fixture

Marble staircase

The Two Republics Life Insurance Building in the June 21, 1911 El Paso Herald, pg. 2. Image credit: University of North Texas via Library of Congress

September 1910 advertisement very shortly after the Rio Grande Valley Bank was opened. El Paso Herald, 9/3/1910. Image credit: University of North Texas via Library of Congress

This photo is likely from the 1920s. The sign mounted on the corner is indistinguishable to me, but if it can be read may be a date clue. Image credit: El Paso Museum of History's Digie

This image is from probably February 1910 as construction is wrapping up. Judging by some of the items along the front of the building and the missing 1st floor window glass, this may be shortly before the building's completion in March. Image credit: El Paso Museum of History's Digie

After September 1910 but before June 1911. The Posener Building (present in the image) was completed in Sept. 1910, and the Trost addition to the Abdou (completed June 2011) is not present yet. Image Credit: Trost Society
When it was a Walgreens!The Lerner building was completed shortly after the Little Caple's 1941 demolition, helping to date this image. We are looking at the southeast corner of the structure. Photo Credit: El Paso Public Library

This is the northwest corner of the building, probably as recently as 2016 (as indicated by the blue awning on the neighboring Hills Bldg). The building looked pretty run down before renovations began. Image credit: Wikipedia Commons

Zales Jewelry occupied the first floor in (at least) the early 1960s. We know this date is correct because President John Kennedy visited El Paso in 1963, and the Zales sign on the Abdou is clearly visible in one of the pictures of the President. Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Shortly after Urban Lion's acquisition of Abdou. Renovations started! Photo Credit: El Paso Inc.

Image taken by myself on 7/26/18

Image taken by myself on 7/26/18. This is the north end of the building.

Image taken by myself on 7/26/18

Image taken by myself on 7/26/18. Update: As of 8/15/18, the unpainted section on the left rear
of the building, also visible on the right side of the image immediately below, has been nicely painted. For historical perspective, compare this image to the "Walgreens" image above. 

Image taken by myself on 7/26/18

Another early 1960s picture of the building during its Zales days. Photo Credit: El Paso History Alliance from their Facebook page.