Where? (The City)

Fort Worth was established at the confluence of the upper two of four branches of the Trinity River. That confluence—that blending of elements—has served as a metaphor for the city ever since. Fort Worth is a blending of heifers and Heifetz, of pickups and pearls. It is rodeo and Radio Shack, low-riders and high-rollers, sweet tea and tequila, and a museum district where the cowboys of Remington tip their hats to the bare-breasted women of Degas.

Settled in the nineteenth century by men on horseback who fought hostile Indians, Fort Worth is powered in the twenty-first century by businessmen and women on smartphones who fight hostile takeovers. In between were booms driven by the railroads, cattle, oil, and national defense.

Audially Fort Worth is four orchestras, three secular choirs, and one Delbert McClinton. Visually it is art deco, glass-skinned skyscrapers, and cowboy kitsch. As many bricks lie horizontally on its streets and Stockyards as stand vertically on its buildings.

Economically there are neighborhoods of new money, old money, and no money at all, shotgun houses on the East Side and citadels of conspicuous consumption on the West Side.

Fort Worth is 531 Baptist churches, 593 bars, and 741,206 people (2010 census) searching to find the meaning of life or at least a parking space downtown.

Fort Worth is the gateway to the West, the sister city to Budapest, and the antidote to Dallas.

16 Responses to Where? (The City)

  1. Susie Mitchell Heil says:

    Hello Mike,
    Reading your stories about the people and history of Fort Worth is wonderful. Thank you very much for the time you have put into enriching our lives.
    My mother turns 99 on April 29. I am looking for information regarding the rooming house that my grandfather, John McKenzie, owned in the early 1900’s. It was located at 413 E. First in Fort Worth. He was killed in a car wreck in the summer of 1926, when my mother was three.
    Thanks for all you do.

    • hometown says:

      Thanks, Susie. I don’t know anything about that rooming house but have e-mailed you eleven clips in four batches.

  2. Shari Patterson says:

    Can you share any photographs of the poor farm on Kimbo Rd.? They are not on the site anymore.

  3. Barbara D Jones says:

    Mike, I have your book and have enjoyed it! I would like to see a piece on Edna Gladney. I was a secretary for the Gladney Home in 1959-60 and often took dictation in her bedroom raising money for the home. Her home was in the hospital district but I can’t remember on which street. She was a grand, dignified lady who was instrumental in getting legislation passed in Texas to stop the state from putting “illegitimate” on birth certificates. Her early story was told in the movie “Blossoms in the Dust.”

  4. Kelly Lawrence says:

    Hi there,

    I’m wondering if you have any pictures or any information about some apartments that were at Rosedale and Jennings in 1967. They were used by the musicians and waitstaff that worked at the Cellar.

    Many thanks in advance!

    • hometown says:

      Kelly Lawence:
      Not much I can tell you about the building in 1967. According to the 1968 city directory, there were several apartment buildings within a block north and south of the intersection of Rosedale and Jennings. But the only apartments on that corner were the Evans Apartments at 1025 South Jennings. That building was built in 1909 to house Bell Telephone’s Rosedale telephone exchange. The building is just south of Ernest Parker Junior High School (1911). Both buildings are still there.
      In 1939 Bell transferred the Rosedale exchange to a different location. After that time, according to the website Architecture in Fort Worth, the building was used for offices, a warehouse, and a “hotel for gypsies.” In 1970 the building, with fifteen units, was for sale for $50,000. In 1983 the building was converted back to offices. The building currently houses the Finance Department of John Peter Smith Hospital.
      A search of Star-Telegram archives for that address turns up only “furnished apartments” classified ads (rent in 1966 was $50 and up, all bills paid, children accepted) and one police story about the arrest of a burglary suspect living at that address.
      I have e-mailed you the 1968 city directory listing for the apartments.
      Mike Nichols

  5. Ashley Schmitzer says:

    Do you have information about 3715-3717 Meadowbrook drive 76103 in West Meadowbrook? Curious about its history as we have been here several years now.

  6. Linda Hughes says:

    I’m looking for information regarding property built in 1928 at 905 So. Haynes Ave. 76103 in W. Meadowbrook area.

  7. Danielle Slater says:

    I was born in 1996 in an apartment complex called Vieux Coulee (formerly Churchill Park) and remember that most of the
    TV I grew up watching was local and public TV,
    Some of the shows I watched were mostly local news shows, court shows and shows from KERA (The PBS station in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Denton). I also remember having my third and seventh birthday party in the Stockyards. Do you think you can post something for me and all the other Fort Worth residents who were born in the 90s?

  8. sally dee norris swan says:

    …a wonderful city to grow up in. now, at 69 yrs, i look back on Cowtown fondly. i grew up on the West Side, and cannot remember a mean person there. west siders were classy, inclusive, at least to me, and warm-hearted. Fond memories of AHHS, my friends there… i finally returned home to my birthtown, Amarillo, TX, another top city, in my book!

    • hometown says:

      Sally, I grew up on the East Side, and the West Side was the other side of the moon to me. I have enjoyed exploring the half of town west of Fort Worth’s prime meridian (I-35). And I have come to appreciate my hometown more in the last eighteen months than I had in the previous sixty years combined.

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