Cowtown Yoostabes, Stockyards Edition: Billy Bob’s and Fiesta

Here is a Cowtown yoostabe two-fer: Billy Bob’s Texas and Fiesta supermarket.

This recent aerial photo shows the Stockyards area. Labeled are Billy Bob’s Texas honky tonk and the Fiesta supermarket in a shopping center on Northeast 28th Street just north of the Stockyards.

This aerial photo shows the Stockyards area in 1952. Labeled are what the Billy Bob’s Texas and the Fiesta supermarket sites yoostabe.

billy bobsThe Billy Bob’s Texas building was built in 1910 as an open-air livestock barn (with a sloping floor for easier cleaning). In 1936 the building was enclosed by the city and used to house cattle for the Stock Show. Livestock events were held in the barn until the Stock Show moved to Will Rogers Memorial Complex in 1944.

Beechcraft_AT-10-GF_in_flight_c1943During World War II the building housed Globe Aircraft Corporation, which built about six hundred AT-10 trainer airplanes for Beechcraft. (Photo from Wikipedia.)

A few buildings of Globe’s main facility still stand on Blue Mound Road in Saginaw.

In 1960 the building housed Fort Worth’s second Clark’s discount department store. I remember buying some lawn furniture there, about where the mechanical bull would later be. The bull has held up better than the lawn furniture did. With three acres of floor space, Clark’s was so big that the stock boys got around on roller skates.

By 1961 Fort Worth had three Clark’s stores.

Twenty years later Billy Bob’s opened on April 2, 1981 in the former discount store building.

Now let’s move north and climb Mount Manure. The 1952 aerial photo above shows the Stockyards when it stretched from North Main Street east to the packing plants and from Northeast 23rd Street north to Northeast 28th Street. It was a vast labyrinth of wooden pens and chutes holding hundreds of animals. That many animals generated a lot of manure. That manure was removed from the pens and chutes and trucked across Northeast 28th Street to land that had once been the site of the Stockyards water plant. There truckload after truckload of manure was dumped, eventually rising to form a mountain of manure. Little went to waste at the Stockyards and packing plants. The manure was sold as fertilizer. I remember going to Mount Manure with my father, who worked at the Stockyards, and helping him load his pickup truck bed with manure to spread on his garden.

My father would back his pickup up to the big brown mountain, then we’d grab shovels and serve ourselves. In terms of good, organic fertilizer, we were mining pure gold. At local fairs I wonder how many prize-winning vegetables, when giving their acceptance speech, could say, “I owe it all to Mount Manure.”

I was not very tall at the time, but I remember Mount Manure as being about twenty feet high and two hundred feet in diameter—about the size of the Fiesta supermarket.

In the 1952 aerial photo the darker area at the summit of Mount Manure was the fresher, undried manure.


By the 1960s Mount Manure was gone, as were many of the Stockyards pens. In the 1990s the Fiesta supermarket was built on the site of Mount Manure. The site’s rich past may or may not have been featured in the supermarket developer’s brochure presented to potential investors.

This entry was posted in Cowtown Yoostabes, Downtown, All Around, Life in the Past Lane, North Side. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Cowtown Yoostabes, Stockyards Edition: Billy Bob’s and Fiesta

  1. Ovella Russell says:

    I remember the pungent and memorable smell from the stockyards, the beautiful sight of the courthouse aproaching from Main Street at the age of 12. A very impressionable age. All of which is embedded in my memory. I lived a stone’s throw from Mrs Bairds Bakery.

  2. Greg Speer says:

    My brother and I got to select a deck of cards each at Clark’s Discount Department Store (now Billy Bob’s) when we were children. We both still have them after almost 50 years!

    • hometown says:

      I bought two webbed deck chairs there. Unlike you and your brother, I no longer have the chairs. Long, long ago.

  3. LWM says:

    In the early fifties when I was around 5 years old, my family lived in Haltom City and my uncle was stationed at Carswell. We’d drive up 28th Street to get to his house, right past the stockyards and Mount Manure. The stockyards would become particularly aromatic on those wonderful 100+ degree summer days. On one of those days as I was standing in the back seat of the Dodge in nothing but a pair of shorts and cowboy hat with my trusty six guns strapped on, my mother started gagging and retching as we drove through. I proudly told her that the reason she couldn’t stand the smell was because she wasn’t a TEXAN! (My parents were transplanted Yankees).

    • hometown says:

      Today I smile to think of those days at Mount Manure with my father, but I probably was not smiling when I had that shovel in my hand.

  4. Mike chiles says:

    Those were the good old days.

  5. Mellinda Timblin says:

    Ah, yes. I remember well, the two most pungent and memorable smells of Fort Worth were the Stockyards and Mrs. Bairds Bakery.
    You always remind me of who I am and what shaped me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *