Historical Markers in Tarrant County

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Spring Garden Community

Located at Spring Garden Cemetery, Cheek Sparger Rd., 1 mile east of Jackson Dr., Bedford.

The first permanet settler to this area was Samuel Cecil Holiday Witten of Spring Garden, Missouri, who came here in 1854. In 1865, with Milton Moore, he built a schoolhouse here which was named for his Missouri home. The building also served as a Chapel and Meeting Hall. Once the site of churches, a Grange, and a Justice of the Peace Court, Spring Garden declined in the 1870s because fire and the nearby development of Bedford. Only the pioneer burial ground at this site marks the location of the early settlement.

 

Site of Arlington Downs Racetrack

Located at 2225 East Randol Mill Rd., Arlington.

Wealthy rancher and oilman W. T. Waggoner (1852-1934) developed a stable of fine Thoroughbreds and quarter horses at his ranch here in the 1920s. At this site he built Arlington Downs, a one-and-one quarter mile race track with a 6,000-seat grandstand. Racing days drew thousands of spectators including numerous celebrities. Waggoner and his sons Guy (1883-1950) and Paul (1889-1967) campaigned for pari-mutuel betting, which was legalized in Texas from 1934 to 1937. The Racetrack was used for rodeos and other events before the buildings were razed in 1958. (1978)

 

Near Site of Azle Post Office

Located at 124 W. Main St., Azle.

Originally named O'Bar, the Azle Post Office opened in 1881. The name was changed in 1883 for Dr. Azle Stewart, who gave land for the townsite. Initially the Post Office was located in a store. Postmaster Cora Lovell moved the operation to a frame building at 141 W. Main, where it remained from 1916 to 1953. The Post Office became a community gathering place. During the 38-year term of Postmaster Elsie Gipson Parker, it also housed a small public library. A larger postal facility was erected in 1970-71, after Azle attained the rank of First Class Station. (1979)

 

Barron Field

Located on Oak Grove Rd., 1/10 mi. S. of Everman Rd., near Everman.

One of three World War I fight training centers in the Ft. Worth area, Taliaferro Field No. 2 was built on this site in Nov. 1917. First used by Canadian cadets, it was occupied in April 1918 by American military units. In May, the facility was renamed Barron Field for Cadet Robert J. Barron, who was killed at another flying school. Covering over 600 acres, the camp housed as many as 150 officers and 900 enlisted men. Barron Field sent six Air Squadrons to France before the war ended, Nov. 11, 1918. The training facility closed in 1921, and today only the munitions building remains. (1976)

 

Site of Bird's Fort

Located 1 mile south of Calloway Cemetery Rd.on FM 157, Arlington.

Established in 1840 by Jonathan Bird on the Military Rd. from Red River to Austin. In its vicinity an important Indian treaty, marking the line between the Indians and the white settlements, was signed September 29, 1843, by Edward H. Tarrant and George W. Terrell, representing the Republic of Texas. The ragged remnant of the ill-fated Snively expedition sought refuge here, August 6, 1843. (1936)

 

Site of Bird's Fort (One Mile East)

Located on FM 157, 1 mile north of Trinity River, Arlington.

In an effort to attract settlers to the region and to provide protection from Indian raids, Gen. Edward H. Tarrant of the Republic of Texas Militia authorized Jonathan Bird to establish a settlement and military post in the area. Bird's Fort, built near a crescent-shaped lake one mile east in 1841, was the first attempt at Anglo-American colonization in present Tarrant County. The settlers, from the Red River area, suffered from hunger and Indian problems and soon returned home or joined other settlements. In August 1843, troops of the Jacob Snively expedition disbanded at the abandoned fort, which consisted of a few log structures. Organized to capture Mexican gold wagons on the Santa Fe Trail in retaliation for raids of San Antonio, the outfit had been disarmed by United States forces. About the same time, negotiations began at the fort between Republic of Texas officials Gen. Tarrant and Gen. George W. Terrell and the leaders of nine Indian tribes. The meetings ended on September 29, 1843, with the signing of the Bird's Fort Treaty. Terms of the agreement called for an end to existing conflicts and the establishment of a line separating Indian lands from territory open for colonization. (1980)

 

Camp Bowie Boulevard

Located in Veterans Park, 4100 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth.

In 1917-18, this roadway was the main artery through Camp Bowie, a World War I training center. Narrow strips of asphalt paving flanked streetcar tracks that ran the length of the avenue, then called Arlington Heights Boulevard. After the war, business and residential development spread into this area. In 1919 the street was renamed Camp Bowie Boulevard. In 1927-28, like many of the major thoroughfares in Ft. Worth, it was paved with durable Thurber bricks. Today this street is a reminder of Ft. Worth's heritage and a source of pride to area residents. (1979)

 

Camp Bowie in World War I

Located in the City Park, 4100 block Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth.

Headquarters, 36th Division, United States Army, 1917-1919. Established to train Texas National Guard and Oklahoma National Guard, after the U.S. entered World War I April 1917. Named for James Bowie (1795-1836), one of the commanders who died at the Alamo in Texas War for Independence, Camp Bowie was occupied in July 1917. First troops to arrive slept in deep Johnson grass that covered the site, an undeveloped suburb. By Nov. 1917, the 36th Division had 25,000 men here, and on July 8, 1918, they were shipped to France, to form reserve for French Armies of the Center. After nightfall, Oct. 6, the 36th occupied a segment of the fighting front; on Oct. 8 joined by elements of the U.S. 2nd Division, it captured St. Etienne-A-Arnes. It fought Oct. 10-28 in the Meuse-Argonne operation that shattered the German Army and assured victory to the Allies, bringing Armistice on Nov. 11, 1918. The 36th Division, embarking for home the next May, had all its men on U.S. soil by June 11, 1919. Soon demobilized, it saw its "Home" at Camp Bowie revert to civilian uses between July 1919 and Aug. 1920. When the Texas National Guard entered World War II its new camp at Brownwood was also named Bowie. (1973)

 

Chase Court

Located just inside entrance of Chase Court, 1700 block of Hemphill, Fort Worth.

When E.E. Chase purchased the property that is now known as Chase Court, the area was some distance from the City of Fort Worth. Chase, a business man and investor, built a house in the center of the court and raised horses on his land. In 1900 his home was moved to what became lot No. 4 in 1906, when the property was bought and subdivided by the Consolidated Improvement and Construction Company of Fort Worth. Throughout its history, the neighborhood has been the home of many distinguished Fort Worth businessmen and professionals. (1984)

 

Cross Timbers

Located at 2602 Mayfield Rd., Grand Prairie.

This narrow strip of sandy timberland, called "The Eastern Cross Timbers", separates the Blackland Prairie and the Grand Prairie. It covers about one million acres. Indians camped here because the mild climate, good soil, frequent rains and nearby prairies supported large herds of buffalo and horses. There were salt licks, fresh water springs, trees for fuel, and good grass. They also found game for food and hides. West of the Grand Prairie, covering about 2.7 million acres, is "The Western Cross Timbers". During the 18th century Wichita Indians, of Caddoan stock roamed this area. Southern plains tribes, such as the Kiowa and the Comanche, often wintered here and traded with them. Cultural exchanges occurred here as trade routes developed between flint sources in the south and tribes from the north. By 1720 French traders came. They opened the trading posts and bartered with the Indians. The Spanish moved through, traveling to their Mission outposts. Settlement in the 1840s by Anglo-Americans led to clashes. A turning point came on May 24, 1841, with the battle of Village Creek, a few miles west of this site. The Indians withdrew to the west, leaving the land to the white settlers. (1979)

 

Eastern Cattle Trail

Located in Heritage Park, 100 N. Commerce, Fort Worth.

This native stone, dug from the Trinity River Valley, marks the route of the Eastern Cattle Trail, where cattle were driven north on Rusk Street, now Commerce Street, through the City of Fort Worth, Texas, to the bluff and then across the Trinity River to the broad valley below, where they rested before continuing their long drive north. From the end of the Civil War to the bringing of the railroad in 1876, great herds of cattle passed this way to Abilene, Kansas. The Eastern Trail, also called the McCoy Trail, became the Chisholm Trail when it reached the Red River. Fort Worth, the last place for provisions before Indian Country, received its name, 'Cow Town', and it first major industry, from this period.

 

Elizabeth Boulevard

Located at the northwest corner of Page & College Aves., Fort Worth.

This Boulevard, named the wife of developer John C. Ryan, was designed as the first phase of a residential district known as Ryan Place. Elaborate entry gates and the first house, the W.T. Fry home at 1112 Elizabeth, were built in 1911. Construction here peaked in 1920 and declined as a result of the economic depression at the end of the decade. The exclusive area was the home of many prominent Fort Worth oilmen and business leaders. Detailing of the elegant houses reflects the variety of architectural styles popular during the early 20th century. (1981)

 

Fort Worth Zoological Park

Located at 2727 Zoological Park Dr., Fort Worth.

The oldest continuous Zoo site in Texas, the Fort Worth Zoological Park has provided its visitors with many recreational and educational opportunities since 1909. The first Zoo in Fort Worth was a small menagerie then located in an old City Park and operated by the newly established Park Board. After a 1909 flood destroyed the animal collection, George Vinnedge, the city's first Park Superintendent, chose this site for a new Zoo. Over the years, the Zoo has experience a steady growth in facilities and additions to its collection, largely due to community support and concern. (1983)

 

Hell's Half Acre

Located at the corner of 12th & Houston Streets, Fort Worth.

A notorious red light district known as Hell's Half Acre developed in this section of Fort Worth after the arrival of the Texas and Pacific Railway in 1876 launched a local economic boom. Fort Worth was soon the favorite destination for hundreds of cowboys, buffalo hunters, railroad workers, and freighters eager to wash off the trail dust and enjoy themselves. To meet the demand, a large number of saloons, dance halls, gambling houses, and bordellos opened between the Courthouse Square and the railroad depot. Illegal activities in Hell's Half Acre were tolerated by city officials because of their importance to the town's economy. The district prospered in the 1880s and added to Fort Worth's growing reputation as a rowdy frontier town. Famous gamblers Luke Short, Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp and outlaws Sam Bass, Eugene Bunch, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are known to have spend time in Hell's Half Acre. A 1906 newspaper headline calling the district Fort Worth's den of sin and refuge of criminals was representative of periodic efforts to clean up the district. These efforts proved unsuccessful until Army officials at Camp Bowie, established here during World War I, helped local officials shut the district down. (1993)

 

Marrow Bone Spring

Located on the trail in Founders Park, corner of Matlock & Arkansas Sts., Arlington.

An Indian habitat in the 1700s or earlier, Marrow Bone Spring in 1843 was visited by President Sam Houston's envoys seeking peace. A trading post licensed by the Texas Republic opened in 1845 near the Spring. Hiram Blackwell of the Peters Colony pioneered here before 1848. Soldier-statesman Middleton Tate Johnson (1810-1866) posted troops nearby in the late 1840s. The first Post Office in Tarrant County opened on Oct. 31, 1851, at Johnson's Station. In 1852 Blackwell sold Johnson his rights to land surrounding the spring. The Village of Johnson's Station flourished for many years. (1979)

 

Missouri Colony

Located near the Tarrant/ Dallas County line on SH 121 about 4 miles from Grapevine.
Marker is on north side of SH 121 access road.

In 1844 related families from Platte County, Missouri, settled in this area. James Gibson, one of the earliest settlers in Tarrant County, owned this site. In 1845 more relatives and friends arrived. They became known as the "Missouri Colony". The pioneers raised cattle and grain. John. A Freeman taught school and preached to the settlers at Lonesome Dove. Some original colonists moved to pioneer other frontier regions. Others remained to help build the northeastern section of Tarrant County, the first permanently settled area in the county. (1979)

 

Site of Confederate Park

Located on FM 1886 (Confederate Park Rd.), 1.5 miles west of SH 199 (Jacksboro Hwy.), Fort Worth

Local businessman Khleber M. Van Zandt organized the Robert E. Lee camp of the United Confederate Veterans in 1889. By 1900 it boasted more than 700 members. The camp received a 25-year charter to create the Confederate Park Association in 1901, then purchased 373 acres near this site for the "recreation, refuge and relief of Confederate soldiers" and their families. Opening events included a picnic for veterans and families on June 20, 1902, and a statewide reunion September 8-12, 1903, with 3,500 attendees. The park thrived as a center for the civic and social activities of Texas Confederate organizations. By 1924 the numbers of surviving veterans had greatly diminished, and the Confederate Park Association voluntarily dissolved when its charter expired in 1926. (2000)

 

Village Creek

Located on the 7th Tee at Arlington Golf Course, Arlington.

Archeological excavations along the course of this Trinity River tributary have unearthed evidence of several prehistoric villages. Artifacts from the area date back almost 9,000 years and represent a culture of food-gatherers and hunters. In the 1830s the Creek served as a sanctuary for several Indian tribes who made frequent raids on frontier settlements. The conflict grew worse in 1841 when major attacks were reported in Fannin and Red River Counties. Brigadier General Edward H. Tarrant (1796-1858) of the Republic of Texas Militia led a company of volunteers in a punitive expedition against Indian villages in this area. On May 24, 1841, following brief skirmishes at several encampments, two scouting patrols were attacked near the mouth of the Creek and retreated to the main camp. Reportedly twelve Indians and one soldier, Captain John B. Denton, were killed. As result of the Battle of Village Creek, many tribes began moving west. Others were later removed under terms of the 1843 Treaty signed at Bird's Fort (10 mi. NE) which opened the area to colonization. Much of the battle site is now located beneath the waters of Lake Arlington.

 

Ann Waggoner Hall

[location not given]

[text not given]

 

Arlington Heights Lodge No. 1184, A.F. and A.M

Located at 4600 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth.

Chartered on December 9, 1921, Arlington Heights Lodge No. 1184 is located on land donated by Lodge members W.C. Stonestreet and F.H. Sparrow. This building, designed by Lodge member John C. Davies (1885-1963), was dedicated January 3, 1923. The Classical Revival structure with strong Greek temple influence features pedimented gables, brick pilasters with stone capitals, round-arch upper windows and entry, stone motif details, and art glass transoms. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark-1987.

 

Atelier Building

Located at 209 W. 8th, Fort Worth.

Developer Thomas S. Weaver had this structure built about 1905. Named "Atelier", the French word for an artist's studio, it has housed the offices of architects and contractors, a restaurant, and financial institutions, including the banking firm of W.R. Edrington, a noted Fort Worth benefactor. In 1936 the building served as the temporary location of the Carnegie Library. Built of brick, it features two chimneys with terra cotta ornamentation. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark-1980.


This page was last modified 27 Sep 2001.

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