The word post as a prefix can mean “after,” of course, and the posts pictured in this post certainly have lived on long after their time. When I first saw one of these concrete posts with an iron ring stapled on top planted near the curb in front of an older house, I thought, “You know, that looks like it could be a . . . but . . . but. No way. Not in the twenty-first century. ‘Nay,’ I say. ‘Nay!’”
But my first thought was indeed correct. These concrete anachronisms survive in several areas of Fort Worth.
Here are two more at 1100 (1912) and 1101 (1911) Elizabeth Boulevard.
On 5th Avenue in Fairmount.
On Lipscomb Street in Fairmount.
Fairmount yet again. (And what about that long, low slab to the right? More on that later.)
In front of 1222 Virginia Place in Arlington Heights. Another post is across the street. A resident told me that the block was developed in the 1920s. According to Tarrant Appraisal District, the house at 1222 was built in 1929; no city directory lists an occupant at that address until 1930. Perhaps the post was intended solely as an address sign.
At the nearby Markeen Apartments (1910) on St. Louis Avenue on the near South Side. The “fireproof” Markeen also was built after the 1909 fire.
So, what are all these concrete posts? Right you are: They’re hitching posts.
The age of the horse and the age of the horseless carriage overlapped, of course, and hitching posts were still sold in the early twentieth century. Plain but sturdy, concrete hitching posts were popular. This short in the Telegram in 1903 included hitching posts among the things that can be made of concrete.
You could buy your hitching post from J. A. Long in Greenville and put a stop to runaways.
But a hitching post can’t hold a horse—of course, of course—when that horse hears the call of the wild.
Or you could buy your hitching post from Worth Monumental Company on the south end of the Jennings Avenue Viaduct. As the poem indicates, Worth Monumental also sold cemetery monuments to “ease your conscience.”
And where do hitching posts and cemetery monuments meet? At Oakwood Cemetery, of course. Oakwood (1879) predates automobiles, so I am not surprised to find a few hitching posts there. These two were installed by the widow of Captain John T. Burt near his grave.
Relics related to—but rarer than—hitching posts are carriage steps. The carriage step of E. G. Rall survives in Chase Court, and the carriage step of Henry Schwartz survives on East 1st street. (Does the fourth Fairmount photo above show a hitching post-carriage step combination?)
The house (1894) of architect Marshall Sanguinet on Collinwood Avenue in Arlington Heights has two iron hitching posts and an embossed carriage step. Iron hitching posts can be quite ornate and are collectible.
Here’s another iron hitching post on 5th Avenue in Fairmount.
Gilchrist made these pyramid-shaped hitching posts and center carriage step with the name “Eitelman” carved on it for his father-in-law, blacksmith Michael Eitelman, whose house next door to the Gilchrist house still stands.
Even in 1921 the city reminded readers that it was illegal to “paste, post, paint, print, nail or otherwise fasten any handbill, sign, poster, advertisement or notice” upon a hitching post.
But by the 1920s, as this extract from a 1922 Star-Telegram article shows, hitching posts (and carriage steps) were fast becoming the stuff of nostalgia. But the article accurately predicted that because of the sturdy construction of hitching posts both steel and concrete, such anachronisms would stand for years “to mark the passing of the horse as a fashionable means of locomotion.”