Established originally in 1849 as a protective Army outpost situated on a bluff overlooking the Trinity River, the city of Fort Worth today still embraces its western heritage and traditional architecture and design more than its more contemporary neighbor, Dallas.
In 1843, the Republic of Texas commissioners signed a treaty with the Native American tribes dividing the new frontier. Native Americans were given the land to the West of an imaginary line, while the settlers were given the land to the East. This imaginary line became known as the place 'where the West begins'.
By the 1840s scores of Americans from the East coast were moving westward. As Ranchers and Settlers from the Eastern states made their way into the area, Native Americans retreated from the North Texas frontier. Meanwhile, tensions mounted between the Republic of Texas and its southern neighbor, Mexico, since Texas' victory over Mexico at San Jacinto in 1836.
Major General William Jenkins Worth (1794-1849) was second in command to General Zachary Taylor at the opening of the Mexican-American War in 1846. Born in Hudson, NY, Worth was a tall and commanding figure said to be the best horseman and handsomest man in the Army. He was of a manly, generous nature, and possessed talents that would have won him distinction on any field of action. While leading his troops, Worth himself personally planted the first American flag on the Rio Grande.
Under General Taylor, Worth conducted negotiations for Mexico's surrender of Matamoros and was entrusted with the assault on the Bishop's Palace in Monterrey, Mexico. The assault on the Bishop's Palace was a hazardous undertaking. Worth and his troops managed to drag their cannon and ammunition over adverse terrain and up sheer cliff faces while under constant heavy enemy fire. Worth passed from post to post during the entire action on horseback escaping personal injury and losing a minimal number of his soldiers.
Worth played a critical role in the capture of Puebla (Mexico's second largest city in 1846) and was one of the first to enter the city of Mexico, where he personally cut down the Mexican flag that waved over the National Palace. At the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848, Worth was placed in command of the Department of Texas in 1849.
Upon Worth's death, General William S. Harney assumed command of the Department of Texas and ordered Major Ripley A. Arnold to find a new fort site near the West Fork and Clear Fork. On June 6, 1849, Arnold established a camp on the bank of the Trinity River and named the post Camp Worth in honor of General Worth.
In August 1849 Arnold moved the camp to the North-facing bluff which overlooked the mouth of the Clear Fork of the Trinity River. The U.S. War Department officially named the post Fort Worth on November 14, 1849.
Although Indian attacks were still a threat in the area, pioneers were already settling near the fort which was flooded the first year and moved to the top of the bluff where the courthouse sits today. No trace of the original fort remains.
During the 1860s Fort Worth suffered from the effects of the Civil War, and Reconstruction. The population dropped as low as 175, and money, food, and supply shortages burdened the residents. Gradually, however, the town began to revive.
By 1872 Jacob Samuels, William Jesse Boaz, and William Henry Davis had opened general stores. The next year Khleber M. Van Zandt established Tidball, Van Zandt, and Company, which became Fort Worth National Bank in 1884.
In 1876 the Texas & Pacific Railway arrived in Fort Worth causing a boom and transformed the Fort Worth Stockyards into a premier cattle industry and in wholesale trade. The arrival of the railroad ushered in an era of astonishing growth for Fort Worth as migrants from the devastated war-torn South continued to swell the population and small, community factories and mills yielded to larger businesses. Newly dubbed the nickname, "Queen City of the Prairies", Fort Worth supplied a regional market via the growing transportation network.
Fort Worth became the westernmost railhead and a transit point for cattle shipment. With the city's main focus being on cattle and the railroads, local businessman, Louville Niles, formed the Fort Worth Stockyards Company in 1893. Shortly thereafter, the two biggest cattle slaughtering firms at the time, Armour and Swift, both established operations in the new stockyards.
With the boom times came some problems. Fort Worth had a knack for separating cattlemen from their money. Cowboys took full advantage of their last brush with civilization before the long drive on the Chisholm Trail from Fort Worth up North to Kansas. They stocked up on provisions from local merchants, visited the colorful saloons for a bit of gambling and carousing, then galloped Northward with their cattle and whoop it up again on their way back. The town soon became home to Hell's Half Acre, the biggest collection of bars, dance halls and bawdy houses South of Dodge City, giving Fort Worth the nickname of "The Paris of the Plains.
Crime was rampant and certain sections of town were off-limits for proper citizens. Shootings, knifings, muggings and brawls became a nightly occurrence. Cowboys were joined by a motley assortment of buffalo hunters, gunmen, adventurers, and crooks. As the importance of Fort Worth as a crossroads and cowtown grew, so did Hell's Half Acre.
What was originally limited to the lower end of Rusk Street (renamed Commerce Street in 1917) spread out in all directions. By 1881 the Fort Worth Democrat was complaining Hell's Half Acre covered more like two-and-half acres.
The Acre grew until it sprawled across four of the city's main North-South thoroughfares. These boundaries, which were never formally recognized, represented the maximum area covered by the Acre, around 1900. Occasionally, the Acre was also referred to as "The bloody Third Ward" after it was designated one of the city's three political wards in 1876.
Long before the Acre reached its maximum boundaries, local citizens had become alarmed at the level of crime and violence in their city. In 1876 Timothy Isaiah (Longhair Jim) Courtright was elected City Marshal with a mandate to tame the Acre's wilder activities.
Courtright cracked down on violence and general rowdiness by sometimes putting as many as 30 people in jail on a Saturday night, but allowed the gamblers to operate unmolested. After receiving information that train and stagecoach robbers, such as the Sam Bass gang, were using the Acre as a hideout, local authorities intensified law-enforcement efforts. Yet certain businessmen placed a newspaper advertisement arguing that such legal restrictions in Hell's Half Acre would curtail the legitimate business activities there.
Despite this tolerance from business, however, the cowboys began to stay away, and the businesses began to suffer. City officials muted their stand against vice. Courtright lost support of the Fort Worth Democrat and consequently lost when he ran for reelection in 1879.
Throughout the 1880s and 1890s the Acre continued to attract gunmen, highway robbers, card sharps, con men, and shady ladies, who preyed on out-of-town and local sportsmen.
At one time or another reform-minded mayors like H. S. Broiles and crusading newspaper editors like B. B. Paddock declared war on the district but with no long-term results. The Acre meant income for the city (all of it illegal) and excitement for visitors. This could possibly be why the reputation of the Acre was sometimes exaggerated by raconteurs which longtime Fort Worth residents claimed the place was never as wild as its reputation.
Suicide was responsible for more deaths than murder, and the chief victims were prostitutes, not gunmen. However much its reputation was exaggerated, the real Acre was bad enough. The newspaper claimed "it was a slow night which did not pan out a cutting or shooting scrape among its male denizens or a morphine experiment by some of its frisky females."
The loudest outcries during the periodic clean-up campaigns were against the dance halls, where men and women met, as opposed to the saloons or the gambling parlors, which were virtually all male.
A major reform campaign in the late 1880s was brought on by Mayor Broiles and County Attorney R. L. Carlock after two events. In the first of these, on February 8, 1887, Luke Short and Jim Courtright had a shootout on Main Street that left Courtright dead and Short the "King of Fort Worth Gamblers."
Although the fight did not occur in the Acre, it focused public attention on the city's underworld. A few weeks later a poor prostitute known only by the name of Sally was found murdered and nailed to an outhouse door in the Acre.
These two events, combined with the first prohibition campaign in Texas, helped to shut down the Acre's worst excesses in 1889. More than any other factor, urban growth began to improve the image of the Acre, as new businesses and homes moved into the South end of town.
Another change was the influx of black residents. Excluded from the business end of town and the nicer residential areas, Fort Worth's black citizens, who numbered some 7,000 out of a total population of 50,000 around 1900, settled into the south end of town. Though some joined in the profitable vice trade (to run, for instance, the Black Elephant Saloon), many others found legitimate work and bought homes.
A third change was in the popularity and profitability of the Acre, which was no longer attracting cowboys and out-of-town visitors. Its visible population was more likely to be derelicts, hoboes, and bums.
By 1900 most of the dance halls and gamblers were gone. Cheap variety shows and prostitution became the chief forms of entertainment. The Progressive era was similarly making its reformist mark felt in districts like the Acre all over the country.
In 1911 Rev. J. Frank Norris launched an offensive against racetrack gambling in the Baptist Standard and used the pulpit of the First Baptist Church to attack vice and prostitution. Norris used the Acre to scourge the leadership of Fort Worth. When he began to link certain Fort Worth businessmen with property in the Acre and announce their names from his pulpit, the battle heated up.
On February 4, 1912, Norris's church was burned to the ground; that evening his enemies tossed a bundle of burning oiled rags onto his porch, but the fire was extinguished and caused minimal damage. A month later the arsonists succeeded in burning down the parsonage.
In a sensational trial lasting a month, Norris was charged with perjury and arson in connection with the two fires. He was acquitted, but his continued attacks on the Acre accomplished little until 1917. A new city administration and the federal government, which was eyeing Fort Worth as a potential site for a major military training camp, joined forces with the Baptist preacher to bring down the curtain on the Acre finally.
The police department compiled statistics showing that 50 percent of the violent crime in Fort Worth occurred in the Acre, a shocking confirmation of long-held suspicions. After Camp Bowie was located on the outskirts of Fort Worth in the summer of 1917, martial law was brought to bear against prostitutes and barkeepers of the Acre. Fines and stiff jail sentences curtailed their activities. By the time Norris held a mock funeral parade to "bury John Barleycorn" in 1919, the Acre had become a part of Fort Worth history. The name, nevertheless, continued to be used for three decades thereafter to refer to the depressed lower end of Fort Worth.
When oil began to gush in West Texas, Fort Worth was at the center of the wheeling and dealing. In July 2007, advances in horizontal drilling technology made vast natural gas reserves in the Barnett Shale available directly under the city, helping many residents receive royalty checks for their mineral rights. Today the City of Fort Worth and many residents are dealing with the benefits and issues associated with the natural gas reserves under ground.
Fort Worth was the fastest growing large city in the United States from 2000-2006 and was voted one of "America’s Most Livable Communities.
Diamond Hill is located in the northern part of Fort Worth. It is a low income neighborhood that is predominant with Mexican, and Mexican-American families.
A large storage dam was built in 1913 on the West Fork of the Trinity River, 7 miles (10 km) from the city, with a storage capacity of 30 billion US gallons (110,000,000 m³) of water. The lake formed by this dam is known as Lake Worth. The cost of the dam was nearly US$1,500,000 - a handsome sum at the time.
The average annual precipitation for Fort Worth is 34.01 inches (863.8 mm). The wettest month of the year is May, when 4.58 inches (116.3 mm) of precipitation falls.. The driest month of the year is January, when only 1.70 inches (43.2 mm) of precipitation falls The average annual snowfall in Fort Worth is very light, only 2.6 inches (66.0 mm)
As of the census of 2000, there were 534,694 people, 195,078 households, and 127,581 families residing in the city. The July 2004 census estimates have placed Fort Worth in the top 20 most populous cities (# 19) in the U.S. with the population at 604,538. Fort Worth is also in the top 5 cities with the largest numerical increase from July 1, 2003 to July 1, 2004 with 17,872 more people or a 3.1% increase. The population density was 1,827.8 people per square mile (705.7/km²). There were 211,035 housing units at an average density of 721.4/sq mi (278.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 59.69% White, 20.26% Black or African American, 0.59% Native American, 2.64% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 14.05% from other races, and 2.72% from two or more races. 29.81% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 195,078 households out of which 34.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.8% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.6% are classified as non-families by the United States Census Bureau. Of 195,078 households, 9,599 are unmarried partner households: 8,202 heterosexual, 676 same-sex male, and 721 same-sex female households.
28.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.33.
In the city the population was spread out with 28.3% under the age of 18, 11.3% from 18 to 24, 32.7% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $37,074, and the median income for a family was $42,939. Males had a median income of $31,663 versus $25,917 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,800. About 12.7% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.4% of those under age 18 and 11.7% of those age 65 or over.
Fort Worth stands as the ninth-safest U.S. city among those with a population over 500,000 in 2006.
Kimbell, Amon Carter, Science and History, Texas Cowgirl, Modern, Stock Yards
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Texas Ballet Theater, and Van Cliburn pianist competition (Bass Hall), Fort Worth Opera (Scott Theater), Live Ecletic Music (Ridglea Theater)
Club Sport Founded League Venue
Fort Worth shares its media market with the city of Dallas.
WBAP 820 AM - (News/Talk)
KRLD 1080 (News/Talk)
KTCK 1310 AM Sports Radio (Dallas/Fort Worth Sports Radio)
ADZV 87.5 FM K-LOVE (Christian Contemporary, 80's Rock, Religious, Other) WXCD 87.5 FM KDOL (News/Talk Website) KNTU 88.1 FM University of North Texas (Jazz, Radio) KJCR 88.3 FM Southwestern Adventist University (Religious, Radio) KEOM 88.5 FM Mesquite Independent School District (Oldies, Radio) KMQX 88.5 FM Power FM - The Christian Rock Station (Christian Contemporary, Radio) KTCU 88.7 FM Texas Christian University (Variety, Radio) KETR 88.9 FM Texas A&M University-Commerce (Variety, Radio) KSQX 89.1 FM Lite Rock Favorites (Adult Contemporary, Radio) KNON 89.3 FM The Voice of the People (Variety, Radio) KYQX 89.5 FM Lite Rock Favorites (Nostalgia, Radio) KVRK 89.7 FM Power FM - The Christian Rock Station (Christian Contemporary, Radio) KERA 90.1 FM Public TV and Radio for North Texas (Public Radio, Radio) KCBI 90.9 FM Criswell College (Christian Contemporary, Radio) KDKR 91.3 FM Solid Bible Teaching, Passionate Praise & Worship (Religious, Radio) KVTT 91.7 FM (Religious, Radio) KPFC 91.9 FM Non-commercial Educational Radio Station (Top-40, Radio) KXEZ 92.1 FM Your Home for Hits from the 50s 60s and 70s (Oldies, Radio) KZPS 92.5 FM Lone Star (Classic Rock & Country/ Americana, Radio) KMKT 93.1 FM Katy Country - Playing the Best of the New & Gold (Country, Radio) KDBN 93.3 FM 93.3 The Bone Rocks Harder (Classic Rock, Radio) KIKT 93.5 FM (Country, Radio) KNOR 93.7 FM (Hip Hop, Radio) KLNO 94.1 FM Radio Estereo Latino (Spanish, Radio) KSOC 94.5 FM 94.5 K-Soul (Urban Contemporary, Radio) KLTY 94.9 FM Safe for the whole Family (Christian Contemporary, Radio) KHYI 95.3 FM The Range (Americana/Roots, Radio) KJKB 95.5 FM Boss 95.5 (Classic Rock, 80's Rock) KFWR 95.9 FM The Ranch - Texas Country (Country, Radio) KSCS 96.3 FM The Country Leader (Country, Radio) JTMJ 96.7 FM country (Country, Dance, Hip Hop, Top-40) KTYS 96.7 FM 967 The Twister (Country, Radio) KEGL 97.1 FM Pure Rock 97.1 The Eagle (Classic Hits, Rock, Radio) (Started playing again on Dec. 18th, 2007) KBFB 97.9 FM 97.9 The Beat - The HipHop Station (Hip Hop, Radio) KFYZ 98.3 FM (Country, Radio) KLUV 98.7 FM K-Luv - Oldies Radio (Oldies, Radio) KFZO 99.1 FM (Spanish, Radio) KPLX 99.5 FM 99.5 The Wolf - Texas Country - Wolf Radio (Country, Radio) KNOB 99.9 FM Mineral Wells Community Radio (Variety, Radio)
KJKK 100.3 FM Jack FM (Mixed rock and pop, retro and current)
KDGE 102.1 FM The Edge (Rock,radio,alternative)
KDMX 102.9 FM The Mix (pop music)
KKDA 104.5 FM K104 - Hip-Hop 104 - (Hip-Hop, Radio)
The Fort Worth Weekly is an alternative weekly newspaper that serves the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. The newspaper has an approximate circulation of 50,000. The Fort Worth Weekly publishes every Wednesday and features, among many things, news reporting, cultural event guides, movie reviews, and editorials.
Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center, located in the easternmost section of the city, controls air space in the area.
Other school districts that serve portions of Fort Worth include:
The portion of Fort Worth within the Arlington Independent School District contains a wastewater plant. No residential areas are in the portion.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth oversees several Catholic elementary and middle schools.
Ray Miller - Texas journalist originally from Fort Worth