Historical Markers in Tarrant County

Page 6

Fort Worth-Dallas Interurban

Located at 6604 E. Rosedale, Fort Worth.

In 1901 the Texas Legislature authorized the Northern Texas Traction Company of Fort Worth to extend rail service to Dallas. The interurban system, powered by overhead electrical lines, was completed one year later. The thirty-five mile trip took just over an hour. Passengers could flag the train and board at any point on the route. Each car held up to forty travelers. Rail traffic began to decline in the 1930s when paved roads were constructed between the two cities, and the last train made the interurban run on Christmas Eve, 1934. (1980)


Fort Worth-Yuma Mail (Star Post Route No. 31454)

Located on Spur 520, 1.1 miles west of IH 820, Fort Worth.

By the 1870s remote areas of the frontier not served by the railroads needed mail delivery routes. In response the U.S. Post Office Department, in 1873, began establishing Star Post Routes. On Aug. 15, 1878, Star Route No. 31454 was opened between Fort Worth and Yuma, Arizona Terr., under contract to J.T. Chidester. Stagecoaches carried the mail along much the same route used by the Butterfield Overland Mail in the late 1850s. Fort Worth to Yuma mail was discontinued after completion of the southern transcontinental railroad in 1881. (1976)


Freese & Nichols, Inc.

Located at 4055 International Plaza, Fort Worth.

Engineer John B. Hawley, designer and builder of Fort Worth's first city water system in 1892, was joined by Simon W. Freese in 1927 and Marvin C. Nichols in 1930 to form Hawley, Freese, and Nichols. The firm designed the nation's first dual-purpose reservoirs and pioneered the use of environmental engineering concepts in water treatment. One of Texas' oldest engineering firms, Freese and Nichols, Inc. is noted for developing water for West Texas by designing regional supplies to serve several cities and industries. It continues to play a vital role in the development of Texas. (1994)


Majestic Theatre

Located at 9th & Commerce Streets, Fort Worth.

At the turn of the century Ft. Worth's live entertainment consisted chiefly of saloon, dance hall, church, and school presentations. Matters changed in 1905 when Karl Hoblitzelle founded the Interstate Amusement Company and chose Ft. Worth for its Southwest Vaudeville Theater Circuit. One of Interstate's famous "Atmospheric" Majestic Theaters was built at Tenth and Commerce streets (one block south) in 1910-11. The Majestic's lavish interior included Turkish rugs, French doors and mirrors, plush Spanish leather upholstery and a lobby with marble floors, hand-painted walls ,and 18 karat gold leaf ceilings. The 1,356-seat theater reportedly contained the country's first indirect stage lighting system and the country's largest concrete arch, an 80-foot balcony support beam. Performers on Ft. Worth's Majestic stage included Will Rogers, Walter Huston, Tallulah Bankhead, and Fred Allen. The Theater added feature movies to its Vaudeville program in 1922 and in 1932 discontinued its Vaudeville presentations. Thereafter strictly a motion picture theater the Majestic fell on hard times and closed in 1953. Despite efforts to restore it, the Majestic was razed in 1970 to make room for the new Tarrant County Convention Center. (1993)


Mansfield Mill

Located at 100 East Broad St., Mansfield.

Julian Feild (1825-1897) and Ralph Mann (1825-1906) became acquainted in Harrison County, Texas, about 1850. About 1854 they built a mill near the Clear and West Forks of the Trinity River. The two business partners came south of Fort Worth in 1856 and at this site found the ruins of a mill that had ben constructed by Charles Turner. With the help of local settlers and brickmaker S.W.A. Hook (1836-1917), Mann and Feild built a three-story steam-powered wheat and corn mill during the winter of 1859-60. The mill attracted business from San Antonio to the Oklahoma Territory. The community that developed around the mill was given the name "Mansfeild" (now Mansfield). During the Civil War, The Confederate Government collected for its use a certain proportion of the mill's output. After the War, Government contracts were secured to supply flour for Federal forts. Julian Feild sold his interest in the mill in 1874. The mill continued in operation until the early part of the 20th century. The site has been used since that time as a Memorial to World War I veterans and for municipal offices. It is a historic site as the beginning of the City of Mansfield. (1985)


Randol Mill

Located at the Precinct Line Road crossing of Trinity River; 100 yards west of bridge, Fort Worth.

In 1856 Archibald F. Leonard (1816-1876) built a dam and grain mill at this site. Hiram Crowley became a partner. The mill became a community center and county voting place. During widespread abolition violence in 1860, Leonard's Mill was burned. It reopened by 1862 and operated during the Civil War. Owners after 1867 were H.B. Alverson and J.H. Wheeler. In 1876 R.A. (Bob) Randol (1850-1922) acquired Wheeler's Mill. A water-driven turbine powered the mill, a circular saw,and a cotton gin. Randol Mill played an important role in the area economy and closed after Randol's death.


Site of Fort Worth's First Telephone Exchange

Marker is set into sidewalk at W. 2nd & Houston, Fort Worth.

[text not given]


Six Flags over Texas

Located inside the main gate, 2201 Road to Six Flags, Arlington.

Flags of six different countries have been raised over Texas. In 1519 the land was claimed for Spain, whose explores came later in search of silver and gold, but found buffalo, Indians and mirages. They planted the red and gold banner of Spain, with its lions and castles, beside the cross of the missionaries intent on converting the Red Men. The gold and white standard of France arrived in 1685 with the expedition of La Salle, the first resident Governor of Texas. Around a fort built near the Lavaca River, La Salle tried to establish a permanent colony for his King. He failed and in 1687 was killed by his own men. French activity in Texas caused Spain to renew her interest. Finding the fort of La Salle in ruins, the Spaniards in 1689 began to build missions and presidios, and grant land for ranches and colonies. Smoldering rebellion in 1821 brought an end to Spanish rule. Afterward the green, white and red flag of Mexico--with its eagle, serpent and cactus--flew in Texas for 15 years. The settlers joined together in building towns, farming, fighting Indians. Then the policies of dictator Santa Anna provoked revolution. On March 2, 1836, the Texas Declaration of Independence was adopted and signed at Washington-on-the-Brazos. The Republic of Texas was born in the dark era of the fall of the Alamo, Goliad Massacre and "Runaway Scrape" of settlers fleeing before the coming of Santa Anna and his army. The glorious victory of the Texans at San Jacinto on April 2, 1836, established the sovereignty of the Lone Star Flag. As a nation, Texas built towns and mills; developed strong commerce; fought against the Indians and foreign raiders; established patterns of justice, with Homestead Acts and other laws; and won the respect of all the world. However,after nine yeas as a Republic, the people voted in favor of annexation to the United States. On February 16, 1846, the Lone Star banner became a state flag and Texas took her position as the 28th star in the United States flag. Until 1861 no other state adopted a flag, but the Lone Star has been the pride of Texas through all the years since 1836. For 4 years, 1861-1865, the stars and bars of the Confederate States of America flew over Texas. 90,000 Texans served the South. The state supplied large amounts of cotton, food and other goods. At the end of the Civil War, Old Glory with its stars and stripes again was raised. Some other flags have flown somewhat briefly over parts of Texas, but the six national banners shown here are those of enduring history. The exhibits associated with the Six Flags over Texas make vivid the colorful history of the Lone Star State.


Swift & Company

Located at Packing House Plaza, 500 block of E. Exchange Street, Fort Worth.

A leading national meatpacking firm by the 1880s, Swift & Co. adopted a practice of opening branch plants nearer the source of supply. Attracted to Texas by the State's vast livestock herds, the Company chose this site for a new operation as a result of efforts by the Fort Worth Stock Yards Company. The plant opened in 1903 and soon had a dramatic impact on the economy of the City and the State. It also spawned several support businesses, including a railway company and publishing firm. The Swift plant remained in operation until 1971.


The Grapevine Sun

Located at 332 S. Main St., Grapevine.

Benjamin R. Wall (1876-1955) started the Grapevine Sun in 1895 at the age of nineteen. It was sold in 1897 to James E. Keeling (1847-1925), a native of England. His son Ed took over as editor in 1912 and published the paper with the help of his wife Grady. The weekly printed mostly encouraging news for its readers. When Ed died in 1953 his daughter Zena Keeling Oxford became editor and her husband Gene was typesetter. The sale of the Sun following her death (1976) ended the family connection which lasted 80 years and spanned three generations. (1980)


The Handley Power Plant & Lake Erie

Located at 6604 E. Rosedale, Fort Worth.

The Northern Texas Traction Company built the original plant at this location to generate electrical power for the Fort Worth-Dallas Interurban. Lake Erie provided water for plant operations. The area developed as a park and became popular for local outings and social events. A two-story auditorium extended over the edge of the lake. When interurban traffic declined the park was closed. The power plant was expanded to meet increased electrical demands. In 1956 Lake Arlington became the new source of water for the Handley Plant, and Lake Erie was drained. (1980)


WBAP-TV - Channel 5, First Television Station in Texas

Located at 3900 Barnett St., Fort Worth.

Founded by Amon G. Carter, noted publisher of the "Fort Worth Star-Telegram", the first progam--a public appearance, Sept. 27, 1948, by President Harry Truman--made Texas the sixteenth state in the nation to open a commercial station. Among other "Firsts" of WBAP-TV are the first live entertainment in Texas ("Flying X Ranchboys"), and first Texas colorcast via NBC-TV, 1954. Today Channel 5 serves aproximately 60 counties in Texas and Oklahoma. Since its birth, television has made many advances. In Washington, D.C., 1927, Herbert Hoover (at that time Secretary of Commerce) appeared on the first major telecast in the nation. In 1931, H. & W. Corset Company in New York conducted the first experimental use of closed-circuit television to display its models to a buyer and sold $5,000 worth of merchandise. Modern commercial telecasting did not begin, however, until 10 years later, when New York opened the first station in the country. After a slow start, major strides were made in 1947 and 1948. As of July 1, 1967, the U.S. had 628 commercial and 128 educational stations, with 224 under construction. Of these, Texas had 49 commercial and 5 educational.


Baldridge House

Located at 5100 Crestline Rd., Fort Worth.

This property was part of the original Chamerlain-Arlington Heights development of the 1890s. Earl and Florence Baldridge built this elegant residence in 1910-13. Designed by the architectural firm of Sanguinet & Staats, it was a showplace of the time. Massive limestone columns line of the line facade. Carved oak woodwork decorates the interior. The home was occupied for many years by W.C. Stonestreet, a prominent Fort Worth clothier. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1978.


Benton House

Located at 1730 Sixth Ave., Fort Worth.

Victorian Gingerbread Cottage. Erected by pioneer businessman Meredith A. Benton in 1898, when the 4-lot site was "out in the country," and young Mrs. Benton (formerly of St. Louis) feared the Wild West. Designed by builder's father, house has central hall, six rooms, tiled fireplaces. Mrs. Benton, an active civic worker, helped plant rose beds that now are part of famous Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. Benton family lived here until 1942. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark- 1971. Marked by Junior League of Fort Worth.


Bidault House

Located at 1416 Glade Road, Colleyville.

Constructed of molded concrete blocks, this house was designed and built by French native Anthlem Bidault (1862-1951), a farmer and wine maker. Started in 1905, the house was completed six years later. Bidault's farm became noted for its orchards, berry fields, and vineyard. During World War I French soldiers stationed at Camp Bowie near Fort Worth were entertained in the house. The Bidaults and their unmarried children returned to France in 1920. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark-1980


Cobb-Burney House

Located at 1598 Sunset Terrace, Fort Worth.

Prominently sited along the bluff of the Clear Fork of the Trinity River, this home was built in 1904 for mortgage company president Lyman D. Cobb and his wife, Emma. Emma Cobb sold the home in 1919 to Judge Ivy Burney, a lawyer whose special field was the cattle industry. The low-pitched roof, wide overhanging eaves, and use of multiple casement windows reflect influences of the Chicago Prairie School style of architecture. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark-1985.


Douglass-Potts House

Located at 206 W. North St., Arlington.

Built in 1907 by local contractor Joe O. Crawley, this was the home of city marshall (later chief of police) Wilson M. ("Bud") Douglass and his wife Clara (Ramsey). The cottage was constructed on land formerly owned by Clara's father, Arlington pioneer Seth Ramsey, and his family. W. A. and Clara Potts purchased it in 1919 and it remained in their family until 1987. A classic example of vernacular architecture, the house features a steeply pitched roof over a central hall with intersecting gables and side bay. The home is typical of the period, with restrained wood trim. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1999


Dr. Clay Johnson House

Located at #3 Chase Ct., Fort Worth.

Completed in 1912 for Dr. Clay Johnson, this house was designed by the Fort Worth architectural firm of Waller and Field. The Prairie School influence is visible in the home's horizontal roof line and broad cornices, while more Classical detailing appears in the semi-circular windows and the balustrade around the roof. Dr. Johnson, Chief Surgeon for the Fort Worth and Denver City Railroad's Wichita Valley Line, lived here until his death in 1948. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark-1983.


Dr. George M. Munchus House

Located at 1130 E. Terrell Ave., Fort Worth.

This Craftsman style house was constructed in 1922 for Dr. George Murry Munchus (1887-1952) by locally prominent black contractor George Powell. The son of former slaves from Alabama, Munchus was founder, manager, and physician for Fort Worth's Negro Community Hospital. The Munchus home is a two-story wood frame residence featuring wide overhanging eaves, stick brackets, and prominent gables.


Eddleman-McFarland House

Located at 1110 Penn St., Fort Worth.

Designed by Howard Messer, this Victorian house was built in 1899 for Sarah C. Ball (1825-1904), widow of Galveston banker George Ball. William H. Eddelman (1850-1932), a local banker, bought the home in 1904 and in 1921 gave it to his daughter Carrie (1877-1978), wife of cattleman Frank H. McFarland (1869-1948). She lived here 75 years. The finely crafted interior retains most of the original woodwork and fixtures. The exterior features marble, sandstone, brick, and copper. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark- 1980.


Fairview, William J. Bryce House

Located at 4900 Bryce St., Fort Worth.

A native of Scotland, William J. Bryce (1861-1944) moved to Fort Worth in 1883 and developed a successful brick contracting business. In 1893 he constructed this house, which was designed by the prominent architectural firm of Sanguinet & Messer. The Mayor of Fort Worth from 1927 to 1933, Bryce lived here until his death. One of the rare examples of a Chateauesque dwelling in Texas, Fairview features Richardsonian arches and gabled dormers. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark-1983.

This page was last modified 27 Sep 2001.

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