On this date—June 2—in 1916 George W. Haltom held the grand opening of his expanded jewelry store in the new Fort Worth Club building on Main Street at 6th Street.
Haltom’s occupied the ground floor of the new building, which today is the Ashton Hotel. But Haltom’s actually had occupied that site before the new building did.
See, the Fort Worth Club originally was called the “Commercial Club” when it was founded in 1885. Clip is from the July 23 Gazette.
In 1887 the Commercial Club built its own home on Main at 6th. (Sketch from Amon Carter Museum.)
This 1891 bird’s-eye-view map detail shows the Commercial Club building and the little Winfree Building (1890) next to it.
Not until 1906 did the Commercial Club change its name to the “Fort Worth Club.” Clip is from the May 16 Telegram.
George W. Haltom was born in 1872 in a log house on a farm outside the town of Rosston in Nevada County, Arkansas. In the 1880 census his father was seventy-three; his (step?)mother, thirty-five. His oldest sibling was thirty-four; the youngest, less than one year.
Haltom moved to Texas in 1891. By 1893 he was in Bowie, selling jewelry and repairing watches. Bowie was a railroad town—the Fort Worth & Denver City Railroad and Rock Island—and railroad employees carried watches that were required to keep accurate time. The Bowie newspaper in 1902 printed one-sentence ads for Haltom.
(And what was the name of the newspaper in the town named for Jim Bowie? Why, the Blade, of course.)
In 1905 Haltom opened a store in Fort Worth at 407 Main. The store was operated by his brother Thomas H. Haltom until George moved to Fort Worth in 1907 and moved his store into the 1887 Commercial Club/Fort Worth Club building on Main at 6th.
The Fort Worth Club building was a perfect location for a jewelry store: Many of Fort Worth’s wealthiest men were members of the club. This photo, from Greater Fort Worth 1907, shows the Haltom’s showroom.
In 1915 the Fort Worth Club demolished its 1887 building and built a larger building on the site. Haltom’s moved to a temporary location across the street during construction and moved back to the new building for its June 2, 1916 opening.
In 1918 Haltom’s installed the big clock on the corner.
In 1926 the Fort Worth Club built its third and current building on West 7th Street, designed by Sanguinet and Staats.
Ad from 1930.
In 1941 Haltom’s sponsored a news broadcast on KGKO radio. This ad congratulates Karl Hoblitzelle and Interstate Theaters on the thirty-fifth anniversary of Fort Worth’s Majestic Theater.
In 1949 the building at 6th and Main was bought by Mid-Continent Supply Company, owned by Ken Davis, father of Cullen. Mid-Continent owned the building until 1989. The building reopened as the Ashton Hotel in 2001.
For George W. Haltom, the repairer of railroad watches who became the king of diamonds, all that glitters was gold. He prospered in his House of Diamonds and lived on a three-thousand-acre ranch on Denton Road. He also developed real estate. (Photo from Tarrant County College NE.)
George W. Haltom died in November 1943 in the midst of World War II. His grandson, G. W. Haltom II, had been killed in action in April.
George W. Haltom is buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
In 1988 the store at 6th and Main moved its inventory—lock, stock, and great big clock—to its current home in Sundance Square in the Knights of Pythias lodge hall (1901) on Main. By then the Haltom family no longer owned the company. But the name of George W. Haltom and of his House of Diamonds lives on in the name of the Haltom’s stores, the town of Haltom City, and Diamond Oaks Country Club.