Old News: When Fort Worth Was All Cows and No Ice Cream

These newspaper clips about Fort Worth are from the 1860s and 1870s.

110000 cows 5-20-71 dwhThe May 20, 1871 Dallas Weekly Herald quoted the McKinney Enquirer as reporting that 110,000 head of cattle had passed through Fort Worth on the trail north during the spring.

ice shortage 8 and 14 76 daily demoOn July 8 and 14, 1876, the Fort Worth Democrat reported on the shortage of ice, affecting whiskey drinkers and ice cream eaters. Because Fort Worth did not have an ice plant, ice had to be imported. A railroad disruption between St. Louis and Dallas had prevented ice from reaching Dallas by rail and thence to Fort Worth by road. The first railroad would not reach Fort Worth until July 19.

new invention 1861 2-13 DWHOn February 13, 1861, C. A. Harper of Fort Worth announced in the Dallas Weekly Herald that he had invented a device that would allow one man to do the work of one-half horsepower. Harper claimed that by using his invention he could grind his own “flour and meal with only the pleasant exercise of a few minutes each day.” But could it make ice? Or ice cream? (Make mine mocha.)

city of heights 5-8-75 DWH 78 cdYou’ve heard Fort Worth called “Cowtown” and “Panther City” and “Queen City of the Prairies.” But another early nickname was “City of Heights.” The top clip, from the May 8, 1875 Dallas Weekly Herald, is about a celebration of the Middleton Tate Johnson hook and ladder company. The second clip is from the 1878 Fort Worth city directory. The bottom two clips are from the October 11 and September 23, 1876 Daily Fort Worth Standard.

fort worth high 9-14-66 dwhAn ad in the September 14, 1866 Dallas Weekly Herald announced that Captain John Hanna would open a private high school in the Masonic lodge building. That building was at East Belknap and Grove streets, built on land donated by Middleton Tate Johnson, one of the lodge’s charter members. Fort Worth would not establish a public school system until 1882. “A.M.” is “artium magister” (master of arts).

t&p progress 6-24-72 gal tri-weeklyOn June 24, 1872 the Galveston Tri-Weekly News printed the report of B. B. Paddock’s Democrat about surveying of the Texas & Pacific railroad track route westward from Marshall. However, the T&P, stalled by the national economic panic of 1873, would not chug into Cowtown until July 19, 1876.

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