George W. Haltom: Cowtown’s King of Diamonds

On this date—June 2—in 1916 George W. Haltom held the grand opening of his expanded jewelry store.

The store was located 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.

fwc formed 7-23-85 gaz

See, the Fort Worth Club originally was called the “Commercial Club” when it was founded in 1885. Clip is from the July 23 Gazette.

haltom 1889 carterIn 1887 the Commercial Club built its own home on Main at 6th. (Sketch from Amon Carter Museum.)

fw club 1891 wellgeThis 1891 bird’s-eye-view map detail shows the Commercial Club building and the little Winfree Building (1890) next to it.

fwc name change 5-16-6Not 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 Street. 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.

fort worth clubIn 1926 the Fort Worth Club moved into its third and current building on West 7th Street, designed by Sanguinet and Staats.

haltom ad 1930Ad from 1930.

haltom 41 adIn 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.)

haltom deadGeorge 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.

Haltom’s had a factory on East Belknap Street. Among its products were class rings for high schools and colleges. About 1959 Haltom’s opened a store at 6102 Camp Bowie Boulevard.

haltom to sundance 88

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.

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12 Responses to George W. Haltom: Cowtown’s King of Diamonds

  1. M. Benuit says:

    Bought my first Rolex, 1980, at Haltom’s.

  2. Stephen English says:

    I’d love to know whether Haltom City was named for the Haltom family;do you have any sources on this?

  3. Pam Burnett says:

    Can you tell me about the knight’s history on the Knights of Pythias building? I know he is not the original. At what point was he replaced? I have a 1980’s pic of the building and he is missing. Maybe you have written about this little guy already.

    • hometown says:

      What little I know about him is in this post. I think the replica was placed up there when the building was restored in 1981. I do not know if the original knight was still up there until it was replaced.

  4. Lesley says:

    Hometown wins this round.

  5. earl belcher says:

    Good work, Mike. But don’t get Bobby Bass fooled by the reproduction of the lodge hall. The real one was leveled in the 1980s; this is a fake one and just as ugly as the original. The Haltom house looks like one I lived in in the mid-1970s at Eagle Mountain Lake. It was Ken Davis Sr.’s house, then belonged to Cullen, Ken Jr., and Bill Davis. There was a couple thousand acres on the lake front near Azle, Texas.

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Earl. Because both the Star-Telegram in 1982 and the website Fort Worth Architecture today refer to the building as having been “restored” in 1981, I continue to include its original 1901 construction date.

  6. george klecan says:

    Great page…There’s a good article about Mr.Haltom in Monday’s FWST

  7. Stu Langley says:

    Great story, HH. Didn’t have a clue.
    Thank you for your diligence in helping your neighbors- me- better understand a little history about Fort Worth.

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