Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sam Street's Great 1895 Tarrant County Map ~ A Look Deep Inside

In 1895, long time Fort Worth resident and business man Sam Street published what was to become one of the most important maps of Tarrant County. It is considered the benchmark reference for Fort Worth and Tarrant County in the late 1890's.

Click to enlarge map
When one first looks at the entire map, the effect is overwhelming.  There is so much detail and even on a fairly large sheet, the text and script is so fine that it is very hard to pick a point to start. A good glass is very useful to pick out the detail.  This gets very tedious.  That is why the digital map scans are so important. A good high resolution scan reveals details that are often overlooked or ignored. I have selected a few clips from inside this great map as examples.  Red dots have been added to highlight specific places.

Click to enlarge Title
This map was originally printed in several sizes. Some time ago I found what is one of the smaller printed copies that had been closely trimmed to about 17"x 17". Except for the smallest script, it was very readable.  Later owners have added comments and colored portions. 

Click to enlarge Legend
As far as is known, Sam Street was not a professional mapmaker or surveyor.  This map and his later map of Dallas County should be considered as primitive's even though their content is unmatched by any of its other contemporaries. Using the Tarrant GLO ownership map, he laid in over 3000 separate details by hand.

Arlington Heights ~ Stove Foundry ~ Click to enlarge map
Because of space limitations Street did not try to detail inside the city limits. This clip shows West 7th Street out past the city limits which were on the east bank of the Trinity at this time and then the angle southwest onto Arlington Heights Boulevard. The streetcar line and Lake Como are also shown.  Notice that Ye Arlington Inn is "burnt".  The Stove Works which started in 1891 and gave its name to Stove Foundry Road is marked.  The location is just to the east of today's Vickery and Montgomery Street intersection. 

Glenwood ~ Poly ~ Handley  Click to enlarge map
In 1895 Handley and its gin was a long way from downtown Fort Worth.  The Interurban was about 7 years in the future. The road was mostly mud and seldom graded, but the T&P railroad did come through. In between Handley and Glenwood was the now seldom remembered community of Manchester Mills which later became a part of Polytechnic Heights.  The map shows the Palace Stables, Polytechnic College and Tyler Lake. Notice how Street indicated areas that were wooded at the time.

North Fort Worth ~ 1st Stockyards ~Click to enlarge map
It is generally not well remembered that the first stockyards in North Fort Worth started up in the early 1890's and continued off and on until Swift and Armour came in 1901. The Packing House location a little south & east of where Swift is today is shown as well as the Stockyards Hotel, and the early streetcar line that came out over a rutted North Main up to around 20th street and then angled off to cross Marine Creek.  

West on White Settlement Road was a Powder House just about where the road drops off the low bluff into the Clear Fork plain. Street has at least one other powder house on this map. New Cemetery was the common name of what is now a much larger Oakwood. 

On the east side is Drumm's Nursery on the Birdville Road and further south in Riverside is the Brickyard which was the namesake for the Brickyard Crossing near 1st street.

06-14-1901 Fort Worth Morning Record 
Sam Street and two sons are buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Fort Worth.

The clips above show just a fraction of the detail that Sam Street put on this map. Days could be spent analyzing and referencing it to other sources.  After completing a Dallas County map in 1900 he died in 1901 leaving an historical legacy that he probably could not have imagined.  

Map images from The Electric Books Collection..


  1. Looking at that map, it suddenly seems clear why there are so many rural roads with abrupt right angle turns. Many of the plots of land had right angles nested in right angles, and to go around them (in between adjacent plots) you had to follow the right angles.

    Seems odd in a way. When I visited England, there is apparently a very old right of way law that says you can't put up a fence around your property if people need to cut through it to get from one point to another. So when I was out walking, I crossed a farmer's sheep pasture to get to the pub on the other side. Not trespassing as long as I don't linger in the field.

    In the U.S. property rights I guess include the right to keep strangers off your land, so the roads had to snake between the farms and ranches resulting in some very odd paths for the roads.

  2. Sam Street is a relative. Clara Street married Manny Turner who was my grandfather. Would like more details, have the Tarrant Co map and want the Dallas map.

  3. I would also like to know more. Who was Clara Street? Wife?

    Here's a link to eBay and the Dallas map..

  4. My crude calculations would indicate Clara would have been born around 1865/1875 time frame. I don’t know how old Sam was when he died in 1901. It may be that Clara is the daughter mentioned in the obituary who lived on East Thirteenth st. (or perhaps a younger daughter). like to discuss more, my e-mail is