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.