North Glenwood: The Inner City’s Little Island of Anonymity

It was perhaps the most centrally located neighborhood you never heard of.

north glen 1902 UTALNorth Glenwood was an unincorporated subdivision planned early in the twentieth century by Horace and Lyman Cobb of the Cobb brothers. It was located less than two miles from the courthouse. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Library.)

north glen cobb society 3-27-10 stThe Cobb brothers were affluent, lived on Quality Hill, were often mentioned in the society columns. The brothers owned the Cobb brick plant, were officers of the Belcher land mortgage company, owned the O. K. cattle ranch, donated land for Cobb Park, and helped found Glen Garden Country Club. (In the clip’s top paragraph, Belle Bunting was daughter of a developer of Hi Mount. The street Belle Place is named for her.) Clip is from the March 27, 1910 Star-Telegram.

north glen plat textOn February 17, 1902 a notary public notarized the Cobb brothers’ 1898 plat, and North Glenwood was primed to be another Cobb brothers success.

Or not.

North Glenwood, as its name implies, was just north of Glenwood, a similarly unincorporated community southeast of downtown. Glenwood had been developed by Richard L. Vickery in the 1890s. Glenwood prospered, built a public school, had a volunteer fire department and streetcar service to Fort Worth and Polytechnic, enjoyed a popular resort in Tyler’s Lake. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Library.)

north glenwood glenwood news 5-17-07 teleLocal newspapers reported Glenwood news. Clip is from the May 17, 1907 Telegram.

north glen 1920 rogers peteNorth Glenwood, on the other hand, was small: just forty-seven lots on five short streets. North Glenwood was bounded by the Texas & Pacific tracks on the south, East Front Street (Lancaster Avenue) on the north, Riverside Drive on the east, and the Waples-Platter canning plants (including the Ranch Style Beans plant) on the west. (1920 map detail from Pete Charlton’s “1000+ Lost Antique Maps of Texas & the Southwest on DVD-ROM.”)

wp 42This Waples-Platter ad is from the 1942 city directory.

Aerial of Fort Worth looking west showing East Lancaster (on right) and railroad tracks on left; downtown buildings are on far right near middle of image, 05/1939

This aerial photo (looking west) shows sparsely developed North Glenwood in 1939. East Avenue, the only entry to the subdivision, was parallel to the T&P tracks. The Waples-Platter cannery, with its water tower, can be seen to the west. (Photo from UTA Libraries.)

The North Glenwood plat indicates that the Cobbs were counting on Glenwood’s Exeter Street being extended north to North Glenwood, giving North Glenwood an outlet to the south. That extension never happened. North Glenwood was connected to the outside world only by East Avenue, which connected to Riverside Drive on the east.

But North Glenwood did have some selling points. It was near the interurban line—both the line to Dallas and the line to Cleburne. It was just eight blocks from the streetcar line on Vickery Boulevard in Glenwood. Decades later North Glenwood would be less than a mile from the very axis of Fort Worth transportation—the intersection of I-30 and I-35W. And North Glenwood offered a fine vista, especially to the west. Hatch marks on the North Glenwood 1898 plat indicate that the land is on a bluff—an elevation of about forty feet.

north glen cobb classified 4-26-4 teleBut by 1904 North Glenwood had only a few residents. The Cobb brothers placed this ad for a rental house “on bluff” in 1904. Clip is from the April 26 Telegram.

north glen santa 12-24-09 stAnd in 1909 Rudelle Donaldson of North Glenwood asked Santa for a little boy and a little doll. Clip is from the December 24 Star-Telegram.

north glen cow ad 10-3-13 stBut by 1913 you could trade one Jersey cow for two lots in North Glenwood. By 1916 only five of North Glenwood’s forty-seven lots had occupied homes; by 1920 only three. The year 1940 brought a boom to North Glenwood: seven occupied lots. Aerial photos from 1952 onward show at most a half-dozen well-spaced houses. Clip is from the October 3 Star-Telegram.

CM hub 1921This 1921 photo of the nearby Hub Furniture factory shows a few scattered homes in North Glenwood to the northeast across the railroad tracks.

north glen 52This 1952 aerial photo shows only a few houses. Riverside Drive is on the right; Lancaster Avenue is at the top.

The building at the north end of Cobb Street had a diverse career. Retired Fort Worth police sergeant and historian Kevin Foster said, “The building on top of that hill was the Ku Klux Klan building with meetings there as late as the 1940s.”

north glenwood hotelBy 1966 North Glenwood was so deserted that the city closed most of its streets so that G. A. Mortimer could build his seven-story Metropolitan House hotel, which would feature “costumed female ‘Belle-Hops’ equipped with transistor radios.”

But, alas, the belles never hopped: The hotel was not built.

north glen 1960 cdnorth glenwood amita 69By 1968 the sole occupant of North Glenwood was the Amita Club at 2300 Cobb Street. The Amita Club, formed in 1954, was an Italian-American social organization. Carl Laneri was manager of Fort Worth Macaroni Company.

north glenwood policeThe building eventually was owned by the Fort Worth Police Officers Association.

By 2001 the only public street connecting North Glenwood to the outside world—East Avenue—had been paved over by a recycling plant. North Glenwood was landlocked.

north glen todayToday North Glenwood is a ghost town: The only resident of North Glenwood is a gas well.

north glen aerialAnd today North Glenwood is even more isolated with U.S. 287 on its western edge and a connector ramp between U.S. 287 and Lancaster Avenue on its north. The big concrete slab is all that remains of the recycling plant that covered much of North Glenwood sometime after 1990.

north stone wallStone steps climbing the bluff from Riverside Drive up to North Glenwood are just litter-strewn rubble today.

north glenwood cobb streetNorth Glenwood’s Cobb Street—the brothers’ namesake street—was never paved. Today a dirt path curves up the bluff off Riverside Dive and connects to Cobb Street. This Google aerial photo labels both the street and the path “Cobb St.”

north glen homeless In recent years North Glenwood experienced an ironic population explosion as people with no home pitched their tent or unrolled their bedroll on a street named after brothers whose homes were on Quality Hill.

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11 Responses to North Glenwood: The Inner City’s Little Island of Anonymity

  1. J. Neystel says:

    I bet back in the day, you could take your Date up on top of the Hill & watch the movies along I-30 to the east (Southside Twin?) or look just to the north & watch the movie playing at the Meadowbrook Drive-In…

  2. Stacy Schnellenbach Bogle says:

    I always wondered what was up on that bluff…having only ever seen it from down below. Now I know. Thanks, Mike!

  3. Ronnie Westmoreland says:

    Me and a couple of my friends kept our horses just north of Lancaster at Riverside Dr close to the river. In 1949 the pasture flooded and one of my fiends and I attempted to rescue our horses with an ol’home made boat. The horses turned the boat over and sunk it. We had to swim to the Riverside Dr bridge and found the horses about a mile east eating grass. We covered that whole area as kids and never knew it was a real place.

  4. Keith Robinson says:

    Fascinating stuff Mike. I never knew!

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Keith. Neither did I. That area always was just a place I passed by on my way somewhere else.

  5. Tex says:

    Another great story, Mike. Where exactly was Quality Hill?

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Tex. Quality Hill was along Summit from about Pennsylvania to West 7th. I’ll have a post on Quality Hill and its residents on June 11.

  6. Gary says:

    And just down the road from our favorite baseball field Mike, East Side Pony League, which is also a past memory.

    • hometown says:

      Great memories, Gary. And if we had been playing at the Pony League park a century ago, the Cleburne interurban would have been whizzing past us on the third base side.

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