Fort Worth was a busy place in 1890. The stove foundry opened. The Natatorium opened. The Union Stockyards was in full operation. The Spring Palace was being enlarged for its second—and last—season. The city was served by eight railroads. Its streetcars had evolved from hoof power to electric power. In the city’s mayoral election, progressive candidate William S. Pendleton would be elected but would soon be found to have one wife over the legal limit.
On the prairie west of town Arlington Heights had opened to development with a major marketing campaign:
And south of town a quieter marketing campaign had begun for Fairmount:
These Fort Worth Gazette ads are from March 1890. One ad located Fairmount west of E. E. Chase’s new residence. Another predicted that lots in Fairmount, boasting graveled streets and a newly electrified streetcar line a half-mile from Fort Worth University, would appreciate in value. Still another said Fairmount was destined to be “one of the finest residence portions of Fort Worth.”
Bellevue Hill addition, dating back to 1883, is perhaps the oldest platted portion of what today is the 375-acre Fairmount National Historic District, bounded by Magnolia and Jessamine streets on the north and south and by Hemphill Street and 8th Avenue on the east and west. This 1907 map shows Fairmount addition, Bellevue Hill addition, and Chase Court. (Since 1907 many of the street names have changed. Potter Avenue, for example, became 6th Avenue.)
Fairmount, now in its third century, remains “one of the finest residence portions of Fort Worth.” It also has become a living museum of architecture of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. And like any museum, Fairmount is best explored on foot. Fairmount should be moseyed, not motored:
Picket fence and dormer windows on Lipscomb Street.
Steps with rusticated stone columns on Lipscomb Street. Note the decorative pineapples, which can symbolize hospitality.
Wooden columns on stone bases and a hitching post on 5th Avenue.
A half-moon mellow-yellow gable window on Fairmount Avenue.
More mellow yellow on Hurley Avenue.
The entrance of Chase Court.
And more columns: composite capitals and rusticated stone bases.
And still more columns.
Copper bas-relief on Lipscomb Street.
Chimney on Alston Street.
Fairmount was developed during an era when front porches were eminently sittable. Here are a few that would tickle the fancy of the most fastidious fanny:
On South Adams Street.
On 6th Avenue.
Balcony and horseshoe gable on College Avenue.
Full porch and balcony of the house of blacksmith Michael Eitelman on College Avenue. What appears to be rusticated stone is actually a concrete product made by Eitelman’s son-in-law, stone mason Andrew Gilchrist, who lived next door.
Gambrel roof on Lipscomb Street.
The Stearns house (1909) on Lipscomb Street, another planbook house, has a half-moon gable window with an elongated keystone and a dormer with finial.
If you look on the south wall of Southside Preservation Hall at Lipscomb and Maddox streets you’ll see a coal chute.
The building had opened in 1912 as the new sanctuary of Central Methodist Church. (Bellevue Street today is Maddox Street.)
Central Methodist Church was founded in 1905 when Reverend Oscar F. Sensabaugh was presiding elder of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Fort Worth. In 1910 Sensabaugh’s daughter Leona married Frank Holt, who one weekend in 1915 planted a time bomb that damaged the U.S. Capitol building, talked his way into the mansion of financier J. P. Morgan Jr. and shot him, and planted a time bomb that damaged a ship carrying munitions to England.
As the handpainted sign shows, in 1927 the right half of the Old Home Supply building on College Avenue was a Piggly Wiggly store. Piggly Wiggly stores were small but plentiful back then, most of them located in neighborhoods. The left half of the Old Home Supply building in 1927 housed a drugstore.
Oculus with four keystones and square shingles on South Adams Street.
Gable brace, square, round, and octagonal shingles, and an oculus with four keystones on Lipscomb Street.
Five-sided dormer with latticed window, a gable brace, and round shingles on Washington Avenue.
Sawtooth, square, and octagonal shingles on College Avenue.
Gable brace and half-cove shingles on the Benton house on 6th Avenue.
The rest of the Benton house (1898), one of the fairest of the fair in Fairmount.
More on Fairmount:
Century Club, Fairmount Edition: Home, Sweet Hundred
A Memory Lane Named “College Avenue”
Along Lipscomb: Sittin’ Pretty, Steppin’ Lively
Fairmount: Where History Finds a Home
Spring Is Here! Sit a Spell and Raise a Glass of Tea to Front Porches Past