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The City of Fort Worth, through its historic preservation ordinance, provides three levels of designation for historic properties: Demolition Delay (DD), Historic and Cultural Landmark (HC), and Highly Significant Endangered (HSE). Properties designated as DD must meet at least two out of ten criteria based on architectural, historical, or cultural significance. Under this designation, properties are subject to a delay in the issuance of a wrecking permit for a maximum of 180 days. The delay is intended to provide the opportunity to explore alternatives to demolition. Historic schools that have received this designation are Alice Carlson, Charles E. Nash Elementary School, North Fort Worth High School (now the J.P. Elder Middle School Annex), North Side Senior High School, and I.M. Terrell.
Properties designated as HC must meet three out of ten criteria measuring historical, architectural, and cultural significance. Owners of HC properties must apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness with the City&rsquos Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission before exterior changes can be made to a property. The following schools have this form of designation: Amon Carter-Riverside High School, E.M. Daggett Elementary School, North Hi Mount Elementary School, W.C. Stripling Middle School, and Trimble Tech High School. It should be noted that the designation applications for Stripling and Trimble were prepared by students of those schools. In addition, Daggett Middle School and De Zavala Elementary School are within a local historic district so this designation applies to them as well. One former school, the James E. Guinn School, also has the HC designation.
To be designated as HSE, a property must meet five out of ten criteria measuring historic, architectural, and cultural significance and must be under some form of threat such as deterioration or demolition. The City&rsquos Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission must also review proposed changes to the exterior of these buildings. Two former school buildings have received this designation. They are the old Fort Worth School on South Jennings Avenue and the Alexander Hogg School.
The National Register of Historic Places is the nation&rsquos official list of properties that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, or culture. It is administered by the National Park Service through the various State Historic Preservation Offices under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act. Properties generally must be fifty years old, retain their historic and/or architectural integrity, and meet at least one of four established criteria. This level of designation places no restrictions on a property unless one receives federal grants or applies for federal tax credits when rehabilitating the property (the latter would only apply to former school buildings that are being adapted an income-producing property). National Register listing can provide some limited protection if a historic resource is threatened by a federally funded, licensed, or permitted activity.
One functioning historic school in Fort Worth is individually listed on the National Register. The former North Fort Worth High School (J.P. Elder Annex) was listed on the National Register through the efforts of concerned citizens who feared the building would be demolished because the school had been closed. Fortunately, the Fort Worth ISD reversed it plans for demolition and shortly thereafter rehabilitated the building back to a functioning school. One other school that is listed on the National Register is the De Zavala Elementary School. It is listed as a contributing resource in the Fairmount-Southside Historic District. Another school, E.M. Daggett Middle School, is also within the boundaries of the district. However, it is counted as a noncontributing resource because it was constructed after the district&rsquos period of significance. Five former school buildings are individually listed on the National Register. They are the Stephen F. Austin School, the James E. Guinn School, Riverside Public School, Fort Worth High School, and the Alexander Hogg School.
The historic Stop Six neighborhood in southeast Fort Worth was founded by African-American pioneer Amanda Davis (1865-1960), who purchased a one-acre tract in the undeveloped area in 1896 for $45. Mrs. Davis had 10 children, raised poultry and worked as a laundress. Amanda Avenue is named for her.
Alonzo and Sarah Cowan paid $200 for three acres in the community of small farms and homesteads in 1902. Mr. Cowan donated land for the area’s first church, Cowan McMillan United Methodist Church. The community was segregated, and it became known for its successful black-owned barber and beauty shops, barbecue stands and other businesses.
The Northern Texas Traction Co. ran an electric-powered, interurban streetcar through the community from 1902 to 1934. Cowanville was the sixth stop on the 90-minute trip from the Tarrant County Courthouse to Dallas. The nickname “Stop Six” stuck.
The 300-unit J.A. Cavile Apartments opened at Rosedale and Etta streets in December 1953 following community concern over inadequate housing available throughout the city, but especially in neighborhoods populated by African-American families. Cavile, with its sturdy red brick exterior, was named for a pioneering African-American teacher and was the last of the old-fashioned public housing projects developed in Fort Worth.
Over the decades, the community grew to be a thriving, predominantly African-American collection of neighborhoods and home to longtime business owners, educators, elected officials, ministers and other civic leaders. Paul Lawrence Dunbar High school on Ramey Avenue served as a hub of activity.
Dunbar High school gained national prominence with the remarkable success of its basketball program led for 32 years by Coach Robert Hughes, the winningest boys high school basketball coach in the United States.
Construction of Camp Bowie began on July 18, 1917. The camp, in the Arlington Heights neighborhood about three miles west of downtown Fort Worth, was established by the United States War Department to give training to the Thirty-sixth Infantry Division. Local officials expected financial gain and urged that the camp be located at Fort Worth. Including the adjacent rifle range and trench system, the site encompassed 2,186 acres. The camp was named for Alamo defender James Bowie. Cavalrymen of the First Texas Cavalry guarded the camp during its raising. Although classified as a tent camp, it required much construction to accommodate a division of men. Camp Bowie was opened officially on August 24, 1917, with Maj. Gen. Edwin St. John Greble of the regular army as commandant. During Greble's absence, the camp was commanded by a number of generals, including Brig. Gen. George Blakely.
The Thirty-sixth Division remained at Camp Bowie for ten months. Training dragged, partly because of epidemics and equipment shortages, but morale never flagged, thanks in part to the cooperation of Fort Worth in tending to the social needs of the troops. Relations between town and camp were remarkably good throughout the camp's existence, though the February 18, 1918, issue of Pass in Review, the bimonthly newspaper of camps Bowie and Taliaferro (near Saginaw), announced a base-mandated "purity crusade" designed to close down the brothels that thrived near the camp.
Camp Bowie's greatest average monthly strength was recorded in October 1917 as 30,901. On April 11, 1918, the Thirty-sixth went on parade in the city for the first time. The four-hour event drew crowds estimated at 225,000, making it possibly the biggest parade in Fort Worth's history. For about five months after the departure of the Thirty-sixth for France in July 1918, the camp functioned as an infantry replacement and training facility, with monthly population ranging from 4,164 to 10,527. A total of more than 100,000 men trained at the camp. Greble's retirement in September 1918 began a fairly rapid turnover of commandants that did not end until the camp ceased operation.
Shortly after the Armistice on November 11, 1918, Camp Bowie was designated a demobilization center. By May 31, 1919, it had discharged 31,584 men. The heaviest traffic occurred in June, when it processed thousands of combat veterans of the Thirty-sixth and Ninetieth Texas-Oklahoma divisions. The demobilization having been concluded, Camp Bowie was closed on August 15, 1919. After the camp closed it was quickly converted to a residential area, as builders took advantage of utility hookups left by the army.
Ben-Hur Chastaine, Story of the 36th: The Experiences of the 36th Division in the World War (Oklahoma City: Harlow, 1920). Bernice B. M. Maxfield, Camp Bowie, Fort Worth (Fort Worth: Maxfield Foundation, 1975). Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1931–49 facsimile, Washington: United States Army, 1988). Lonnie J. White, "Major General Edwin St. John Greble," Military History of Texas and the Southwest 14 (1976). Lonnie J. White, Panthers to Arrowheads: The 36th Division in World War I (Austin: Presidial, 1985). Mack H. Williams, comp., The News-Tribune in Old Fort Worth (Fort Worth: News-Tribune, 1975).
Discover Hilton Fort Worth, as President John F. Kennedy gave his last address in the hotel's Crystal Ballroom on November 22, 1963.
Hilton Fort Worth, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2016, dates back to 1921.
A member of Historic Hotels of America since 2016, the Hilton Fort Worth has been among the most luxurious hotels in Texas since 1920. This brilliant historic hotel originally debuted as the Hotel Texas, which was designed by a team of architects from the firms Sanguinet & Staats and Mauran, Russell, & Crowell. Its amazing Beaux Arts-style façade is still one of the most recognizable landmarks in downtown Fort Worth. Among the many illustrious guests to visit the hotel over years was President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy. The two stayed in Room 850 when they visited the greater Dallas area in 1963. President Kennedy even addressed the media in the building’s celebrated Crystal Ballroom. Unfortunately, this speech would prove to be Kennedy’s last, as he was assassinated hours later at Dealey Plaza.
The hotel has since undergone a series of extensive renovations that have sought to preserve its historical integrity. It underwent the first of several major renovations in 1968, which involved splitting the original two-story lobby into two floors. The architects working on the project also added an annex that crossed Commerce Street. Its owners at the time—Sheraton Hotels and Resorts—initiated the construction in the hope that the hotel would appeal to the travelers visiting the nearby Fort Worth Convention Center. The hotel then underwent another major renovation when it was sold to new owners nearly a decade later. Led by architects from the firm Jarvis, Putty, & Jarvis, the building received an marvelous atrium in between the wings of its original “U” shaped tower. Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, t his amazing historic hotel is now cared for by Hilton Hotels & Resorts as the Hilton Fort Worth.
Fort Worth’s historic downtown and stockyards gets a boost from new partnership
Fort Worth is planning to expand the usual programming in its historic district through a new partnership with a California-based venue management company and professional bull riding organization, PBR.
The partnership involves three businesses: PBR, Stockyards Heritage Development Co. and venue management company ASM Global, which operates a global portfolio of 300 arenas, stadiums and convention centers.
Fort Worth’s iconic Stockyards area welcomes 4.7 million guests each year. And the new joint partnership means even more Western sports events coming to the 16,000-square-foot Cowtown Coliseum — dozens annually, according to a release from PBR parent company IMG.
The PBR Stockyards Showcase on June 4 will be the first event held at the coliseum under the new joint venture.
Cowtown Coliseum was the site of the first PBR premier series event in 1993, and ASM Global has worked closely with the bull riding organization to host its events at ASM Global venues in the past.
The companies involved in the new partnership say they want to grow the entertainment options in Fort Worth’s historic district into a “global tourist destination,” PBR commissioner and CEO Sean Gleason said.
“I am honored to see these visionary partners, Stockyards Heritage Development Co., PBR and ASM Global, coming together to take the investment in the Stockyards to the next level, building for the future in a way that still keeps true to our proud Western roots,” Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said in a statement.
“This announcement and partnership is fantastic news for Fort Worth, both for the people who hang their hat here and the ones who will visit and experience our unique style. As the city of cowboys and culture, there is no better home for this venture than Fort Worth.”
Stockyards Heritage Development Co. is a partnership between developer Majestic Realty Co. and Hickman Investments. The group works alongside the city of Fort Worth and Tarrant County on public-private development of the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, which spans 200 acres.
Stockyards Heritage Development Co. has already invested $200 million in the Stockyards area over the last three years in which it developed the new Hotel Drover and Mule Alley — a redevelopment of the area’s historic horse and mule barns into restaurant and retail boutique space.
Events & Tours
Due to construction, parking for Thistle Hill guests is now in the garage on 7th Avenue, at Pennsylvania Avenue, and immediately east of Thistle Hill. Parking in the garage is free for guests of Historic Fort Worth, Inc. To reach the back gate of Thistle Hill, exit the garage, turn left towards Pruitt Street and then right onto Pruitt Street. The gated entrance to Thistle Hill will be on the right. Please allow additional time for parking.
During the winter months, if weather conditions are such that driving becomes hazardous, we will close the houses.
If the weather is questionable and you are planning to tour one or both houses, please check the website or call to make sure we are open.
House Museum Tours Purchase tour tickets online here
Historic Fort Worth offers tours of its stately cattle baron mansions, Thistle Hill (1509 Pennsylvania Avenue) and the Ball-Eddleman-McFarland House (1110 Penn Street), on the following days:
(Appointments are not needed for these days and times.)
Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday: 11:00, 12:00, 1:00 & 2:00
2:00 is the last tour at both houses. In order to tour both properties, you must begin by 1:00.
Sundays: 1:00, 2:00, & 3:00
3:00 is the last tour at both houses. In order to tour both properties, you must begin by 2:00.
Tours begin on the hour and you may begin at either house.
Admission includes a tour of both properties:
$10.00 Children, 12 years of age and under
Group rates available for 20 or more. Groups by appointment only.
“Behind the Scenes” at Thistle Hill – Behind the Scenes tours have been suspended temporarily. We hope to have them back in the fall.
Become one of the few to venture beyond the standard tour. Join us as we explore the basement, third floor and carriage house. See how the family and staff really lived. Peek into the nooks and crannies of the house. Listen to the sounds the house makes and hear some of the stories only the staff can tell…
Some may even keep you up at night!
Tour pricing includes both the Behind the Scenes tour and the main house tour, both at Thistle Hill.
Reservations are highly encouraged!
In advance: $30
At the door: $35
Add McFarland House for an additional $10.
Group rates available for 10 or more.
Please call 817-332-5875 to make reservations.
- No children under the age of 10
- Appropriate footwear and outerwear is required
- Involves the climbing of over 60 stairs
- Many areas are not climate controlled or restored
- Signed waivers are required for each adult participant. Download the form here.
Flashlight Tours are not available during the months of June through September due to extreme heat.
Historic Fort Worth organizes three exclusive tours for its members each year free of charge. These tours are a unique opportunity to explore historic sites in Fort Worth that are not typically open to the public. Past tours include Heritage Park Plaza, Sinclair Station, the Forest Park Tower, Fire Station No. 18, Martin Sprocket & Gear, Fairview (the Bryce House), and many more. Non-members may attend for a fee.
The first African-American settler was Amanda Davis, who purchased several acres and built a cabin there sometime after 1896. Other early settlers were the Brockman, Stalcup and Cowan families. The settlement originally was known as Cowanville after Alonzo and Sarah Cowan. It was a community of small farms and homesteads and lacked municipal services, including police protection.
Stop Six is bordered by Rosedale Street on the north, Miller Street on the west, Loop 820 on the east and Berry Street on the south, and it still retains its rural flavor. Several smaller neighborhoods are part of the Stop Six area, such as Village Creek, Bunche-Ellington, Stop Six Sunrise Edition, Ramey Place and Carver Heights.
In the 1970s, Dunbar High School basketball coach Robert “Bob” Hughes put Stop Six on the map by becoming the public school boys’ basketball coach with the most wins in the nation. Born in Bristow, Okla., he was an All-American at Texas Southern University in Houston.
Legendary educator and basketball coach Robert Hughes put Stop Six on the map. (courtesy photo)
The Boston Celtics drafted Hughes in 1955, but he did not make the team. While playing for the barnstorming Harlem Magicians, a ruptured Achilles tendon ended his competitive career. He earned a degree from Tulsa University and in 1958 came to Fort Worth for his first coaching job at I.M. Terrell High School.
In 1973, Hughes became coach at Dunbar High School, located in the Stop Six neighborhood. During his tenure, the Flying Wildcats won two state championships and finished in second place three times. With both the Terrell and Dunbar teams, Hughes made 30 consecutive trips to the state championship and had only one losing season.
When Hughes retired in 2005 after 47 seasons, he had a 1,333-264 career record in 47 seasons, making him the high school coach with the most wins in the nation. His record was surpassed in 2014 by Leta Andrews at Granbury High School, who has 1,416 career wins.
In 2002, the Fort Worth Independent School District renamed the Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center’s basketball court after Coach Hughes.
In 2006 and 2007, Fort Worth designated the Carver Heights and the Stop Six Sunrise Edition neighborhoods as historic districts.
In 2015, Fort Worth renamed the portion of Cass Street in front of Dunbar High School “Robert Hughes Street.” Now Hughes’ son, Robert Hughes Jr., is the basketball coach at Dunbar High School.
Tarrant County's roots lie in the 'Old West' and much of our heritage can be traced to the era of the cowboy and the cattle drives that passed through Tarrant County. Tarrant County is one of 254 counties in Texas which were originally set up by the State to serve as decentralized administrative divisions providing state services and collecting state taxes.
Tarrant County, one of 26 counties created out of the Peters Colony, was established in 1849. It was named for General Edward H. Tarrant, commander of militia forces of the Republic of Texas at the Battle of Village Creek in 1841. The village of Grapevine the Texas Ranger outpost of Johnson's Station (in what is now south Arlington) and Bird's Fort, a short-lived private fort just south of present-day Euless, were early areas of western civilization in the region.
General William Jenkins Worth
On the bluff where the Tarrant County Courthouse now stands, a military post was established in 1849 by a company of the 2nd U.S. Dragoons under the command of Major Ripley A. Arnold. The fort was named in honor of General William Jenkins Worth, a hero of the Mexican War and commander of United States forces in this region.
Historic Tarrant County Courthouse - Before and after remodel
The first county seat election was held in 1851 and the location receiving the most votes, a few miles to the northeast, became Tarrant County's first county seat, designated Birdville as required by the statute creating the county. After the military post closed in 1853 and the little towns of Fort Worth and Birdville grew, a fierce competition sprang up between them to be the seat of county government. A second special county seat election was held in 1856, when Fort Worth edged out Birdville by only a handful of votes. Fights and fatal duels ensued over the next four years by supporters of both locations. Finally, in 1860, another special election was held. This time, Fort Worth, by now the larger town, received 548 votes. The geographical center of the county, a compromise location, garnered 301 votes. Birdville tallied only four.
From as early as 1856, regular stagecoach service passed through Tarrant County, carrying mail and passengers from the east on to the frontier forts and the West Coast. By the 1870's, mail stagecoaches arrived and departed from downtown Fort Worth six days a week. From the close of the Civil War and through the late 1870's, millions of cattle were driven up the trail through Tarrant County (roughly following Interstate 35 West) to the railheads in Kansas. After the Texas & Pacific Railroad reached Tarrant County and Fort Worth in 1876, Fort Worth became the largest stagecoach terminus in the Southwest - a hub for rail passengers to continue their journeys west by stagecoach.
1895 Tarrant County Courthouse
The Tarrant County Courthouse, completed in 1895, is fashioned of pink granite from central Texas and took over two years to build. Upon completion, even though the project had come in almost 20% under budget, the citizens of the county were so outraged by the perceived extravagance that, at the next election, the County Judge and the entire Commissioners Court were voted out of office.
Today, Tarrant County has a population of over 1.8 million, more than 2,700 times larger than in 1850, when its inhabitants numbered only 664.
For more information on Tarrant County history, please visit the Tarrant County Historical Commission page or contact the Tarrant County Archivist.
from "A Ranger of Commerce"
by Howard W. Peak
"It has grown customary for most modern cities to be given an appelation based on their location or the scene of some notable events or accomplishment."
"Fort Worth is named the "Panther City", from the tradition that a panther laid down in one of it's streets."
"The origin of this rather confusing term seems to bother some minds, so I will describe how the term happened to be applied, I having been a witness to it's parentage."
"At the time, Fort Worth had but a few designated streets, and the one known as the "Weatherford Road", now Weatherford street. As a boy, my father's horse and cow lot were about fifty feet south of this road, the residence facing the "Dallas Road" now known as Houston street."
"One spring morning while I was in the lot feeding the horses and milking the cows, I was called for by an old Baptist preacher, named Fitzgerald, who occupied the second story of a building located on the corner adjoining our residence."
"'Howard, come here quick, I want to show you something'. I alertly responded, and was shown by this man of highly imaginative mind, the outlines of what he imagined was a 'panther' described in the dusty roadway. He even traced the indenture of the cat's claws."
"There resided in Fort Worth at the time a young lawyer, Bob Cowart by name, and as he made but a precarious living by law, he was, in addition, a correspondent for the Weekly Herald, published in Dallas.
Being informed of the parson's find, Cowart wrote the incident up in a very graphic manner, which, being duly published, and derisively commented on by that weekly, the name 'Panther City' resulted and stuck."
Lewis Brooks of Young County caught a panther cub on the Brazos River.
His son later recounts the story
"On the Dead Man Bluff, across the Brazos River not far from here, my father took his saddle blanket and threw it over the panther cub to keep it from biting him."
"He gathered it up in his arms and brought it home. They named it Billy, Billy the Panther."
"Sometime later, he took it to Fort Worth and gave it to the Fire Chief. And that's how come Fort Worth to be The Panther City."