Modern Meets Mexico in McAllen, Texas
Architects -Merle A. Simpson
Text – Stephen Fox
Merle Simpson came to the Valley from the Fort Worth office of Wyatt C. Hedrick to work for R. Newell Waters in 1949. Simpson was from Iowa, where he had attended architecture school. During the seven years of their association, Waters and Simpson designed public schools in Weslaco, Donna, Edcouch-Elsa, Los Fresnos, La Sara, Lyford, and Santa Rosa, as well as auto dealerships for the Knapp Motor Company in Weslaco, Mercedes, Harlingen, and Brownsville, and the Harlingen State Tuberculosis Hospital. Simpson became Waters’s “modern” designer, as can be seen in the Hidalgo County Courthouse in Edinburg. After Simpson went on his own in 1956, he designed houses in Weslaco, Harlingen, and McAllen, and additions to the Fairway Motor Hotel complex in McAllen. Simpson moved to Austin in 1962, where he was involved with development of the Lakeway complex. He was the architect for a substantial addition to the Hidalgo County Courthouse (1980). He subsequently practiced in Houston and in Philadelphia, where he died in 1993. McAllen architect Robert Simpson of Boultinghouse Simpson Gates is the son of Merle Simpson.