past the tree that George Hilton once decorated with bicycles . . .
and past the chapel of Oakwood Cemetery . . .
and then curves northwest to run parallel to Jacksboro Highway along a bluff. By the time Grand Avenue ends just about even with Odd Street, it has risen 120 feet above North Main Street and offers its bluffside residents a view that befits its name. That’s Casa Manana and the Will Rogers tower two miles to the south across Rockwood Park and the Trinity River. Also visible from Grand Avenue is Lockheed Martin five miles to the west.
Grand Avenue is a reminder of the boom that began in 1902 when the packing plants brought people and prosperity to the North Side, which back then was mostly the city of North Fort Worth (incorporated 1902) until it was annexed by Fort Worth in 1909. As the boom began, on April 10, 1902 the Register announced that North Fort Worth Townsite Company had incorporated to develop the “boom zone.” Note the incorporators of the company: Joseph B. Googins in 1904 would become manager of the new Swift plant. (His daughter Ruth would marry FDR’s son Elliott.) W. B. King was general manager of the Stockyards. Edward Swift was the son of Swift president Augustus Swift. Samuel McRoberts was treasurer of Armour. Louville Veranus Niles was a Stockyards stockholder and was instrumental in luring the two packing plants to town.
Niles City (incorporated 1911), the tiny enclave that enclosed the Stockyards and packing plants, was named for him. Niles City was called “the richest city in the world” because of the big assets in its small area. (Map detail from Pete Charlton’s “1000+ Lost Antique Maps of Texas & the Southwest on DVD-ROM.”)
Thus, the packing plants and Stockyards did as the railroads had done earlier: accumulated adjacent land and sold lots, benefiting from the boom they created.
In 1906, as North Fort Worth Townsite Company was developing its Belmont Terrace subdivision, Grand Avenue was touted as the, well, grand avenue of the “new Quality Hill,” referring to Fort Worth’s silk stocking row along Summit Avenue. This ad is from the July 15 Telegram. I have enlarged some of the ad’s text.
This ad in the November 11, 1906 Telegram points out that Grand Avenue is ten feet higher than the second story of the courthouse.
Grand Avenue had been platted by 1889, but its development didn’t take off until the boom as many of the houses on Grand Avenue were built for employees of the Stockyards and packing plants. Today Grand Avenue is the western edge of the subdivision. But as originally platted, another street—Terrace Avenue—ran parallel to and west of Grand Avenue. The expansion of Jacksboro Highway took the land that the Terrace Avenue houses would have been built on. (1894 map from Pete Charlton’s “1000+ Lost Antique Maps of Texas & the Southwest on DVD-ROM.”)
These houses on Grand Avenue date between 1907 and 1930: