Fairmount: The South Side’s Living Museum of Architecture

The South Side’s Fairmount addition opened for development in the spring of 1890—129 years ago.

fairmount palaceFort Worth was a busy place in the spring of 1890. The stove foundry opened. The Natatorium opened. And the Spring Palace was being enlarged for its second—and last—season.

fairmount arlingtonArlington Heights had opened to development on the prairie west of town.

fairmount 2 14 and 27-90 gazAnd, more quietly, Fairmount (“one of the finest residence portions of Fort Worth”) had opened to development south of town. These Gazette ads are from March 1890. An ad on March 2 said Fairmount was west of E. E. Chase’s new residence. On March 27 the Gazette 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.

But the Gazette of the late nineteenth century could not have predicted that the Fairmount of the early twenty-first century would remain “one of the finest residence portions of Fort Worth.”

1907 fairmountThis 1907 map shows Fairmount addition and Bellevue Hill addition.

Bellevue Hill dates back to 1883, but Fairmount is the largest addition in the 375-acre Fairmount Southside Historic Distruct, bounded by Magnolia and Jessamine streets on the north and south and by Hemphill Street and 8th Avenue on the east and west. Most of the Fairmount addition had been platted, most of those graveled streets were in by 1907. Since 1907 many of the street names have changed. Potter Avenue, for example, became 6th Avenue. (Map detail from Pete Charlton’s “1000+ Lost Antique Maps of Texas & the Southwest on DVD-ROM.”)

In a way it’s a shame that Fairmount has all those streets. Because when you drive through Fairmount in a car you cannot notice, much less linger over, architectural details in the way you can when you walk or pedal. Fairmount is meant for moseying, not motoring:

fence lipscomb 6Picket fence and dormer windows on Lipscomb Street.

steps lipscomb pineappleSteps with rusticated stone columns on Lipscomb Street.

hitch 5thWooden columns on stone bases and a hitching post on 5th Avenue.

yellow window fairmount avenueA half-moon mellow-yellow gable window on Fairmount Avenue.

More mellow yellow on Hurley Avenue.

entry columns chase 1906The entrance of Chase Court.

fairmount columnsColumns.

fairmount columns compositeAnd more columns: composite capitals and rusticated stone bases.

fairmount columns washingtonAnd still more columns.

turret on collegeA turret on College Avenue. This house was relocated from the Edna Gladney orphanage on Hemphill Street by Michael S. McDermott, author of Fort Worth’s Fairmount District.

chimney 1805 alstonChimney 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:

porch 1712 adamsOn South Adams Street.

porch 1400 6thOn 6th Avenue.

porch collegeBalcony and horseshoe gable on College Avenue.

eitelman 1816 nowFull 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.

fairmount lipscomb blueGambrel roof on Lipscomb Street.

window 1404 adamsThe Fairmount district includes the Swastika subdivision. This house on South Adams Street probably was built from a planbook.

yellow stearns 1909 on lipscombThe Stearns house (1909) on Lipscomb Street, another planbook house, has a half-moon gable window with single keystone and a dormer with finial.

window adams 3Oculus with four keystones and square shingles on South Adams Street.

fairmount shingles lipscombGable brace, square, round, and octagonal shingles, and an oculus with four keystones on Lipscomb Street.

shingles washingtonFive-sided dormer with latticed window, a gable brace, and round shingles on Washington Avenue.

shingles college 2Sawtooth, square, and octagonal shingles on College Avenue.

shingles 6th benton 2Gable brace and half-cove shingles on the Benton house on 6th Avenue.

benton wide with fenceThe rest of the Benton house (1898), one of the fairest of the fair in Fairmount.

More porches of Fairmount.

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