When Substance and Style Had the Same Address (Exhibit B)

In 1931 the city and two railroads teamed up to build four underpasses. Eighty-plus years later the two railroads—Texas & Pacific and Missouri-Kansas-Texas—are gone. But the four underpasses remain. And they remain handsome structures.

I give you exhibit B: The Jennings Avenue underpass runs beneath the wide swath of tracks just south of downtown. Inset shows the Texas & Pacific “brand” in the upper-left corner of each side of the underpass. The Jennings Avenue underpass replaced the Jennings Avenue overpass.

jennings underpass 1-15-31 dmnThe construction contract for the Jennings underpass was awarded on January 14, 1931 to Butcher & Sweeney. Clip is from the January 15 Dallas Morning News.

The Jennings Avenue underpass is perhaps Fort Worth’s most interesting because one approach to it is another underpass: As you turn north from eastbound Vickery onto Jennings you can take a surface lane or take the gopher lane under Vickery and into the Jennings underpass.

Like the roof of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas underpass on Morningside Drive (see Exhibit A), the roof of the Jennings Avenue underpass is supported by arcaded piers.

Not far from the underpass, T&P also built its art deco passenger terminal in 1931. In the 1930s arcades such as these were a common feature of bridges and underpasses. The Jennings Avenue underpass has arcades . . .

at three levels. Arcades . . .

running east to west, north to south, and diagonally. Arcades . . .

totaling a half-mile in length.

The 1931 Jennings Avenue underpass replaced a bridge over the rail yard. The 1952 aerial shows that the underpass actually has two parts. The new I-30 was plopped down neatly in the space between them. I think the narrow part was a crossover for automobiles. Automobiles parked on the roof of the big Service Life Company building (south half still standing; north half replaced by I-30).

Tomorrow: Follow the Red Brick Roads (Part 1)

Share:Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Tumblr
This entry was posted in Architecture, Downtown, Downtown, All Around, Rails 'n' Roundhouses. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>