Friday, September 6, 2013

An Old Fort Worth Letterhead With a Great Map & Bankhead Highway History

In 1925 Hugh H. Lewis Jr. owned an auto garage in Fort Worth that was doing booming business.  I collect a few Fort Worth letterheads and had never gotten around to scanning this particular sheet.  Other than the fine letterhead, the face of the letter is not terribly interesting. It is simply an authorization for an attorney to do some land work for him. In 1925 Hugh Lewis had ranching interests in West Texas and as would be expected, was into the oil play of the era..

In the process, I did a little historical review on Mr. Lewis and found that he was an interesting, well known person.

02-09-1909 Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Lewis was one of the earliest Fort Worth auto enthusiasts and by 1909 had his garage in operation and was selling automobiles. He was a friend of Weatherford banker H. W. Kuteman, another enthusiast who was promoting good roads in North Texas.  Kuteman was instrumental in getting a more direct route from Fort Worth to Weatherford and a section of the earliest Tarrant County portion of the Bankhead Highway was eventually named the "Kuteman Cutoff".

The Lewis family was socially prominent and as the clip above shows, he sometimes acted as an ambassador for the city when prominent people visited.

08-08-1909-Fort Worth Star-Telegram
In 1909, Hugh Lewis was selling both Peerless and Franklin automobiles. One of the best ways to sell cars in those early days was to be a little bit of a daredevil and push your vehicle out into the wilds to test its road worthiness..

Later, in 1912 he was involved in the notorious Rev. Frank J. Norris shooting trial as he apparently was one of the first witnesses that accompanied Norris back into the church after the gunfire.  Norris was acquitted after a spectacular trial.

1925 Fort Worth Map <click image to enlarge>
Perhaps the most interesting part of this piece of Fort Worth ephemera is the 1925 city map that I found on the reverse.  The map was published just before the Federal highway numbering came into effect in 1926. It is very well done with with good, automotive related captioning.  Because of its detail, it would have been very useful to any city visitor that was using either the Bankhead Highway or the north-south Meridian Highway.

The practice of placing maps or illustrations on the back of letterhead paper has long ago been abandoned.  But they are very valuable in producing unique history when they turn up.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Fabled Dallas Pike: Where Is It Now? This Post Card Has a Story..

A little Fort Worth Bankhead Highway/Broadway of America/US-80 Tourist Court nostalgia:  

Harrow Court <click image to enlarge>
I recently picked up a linen PC showing the Harrow Tourist Court.  The PC shows an address of 5800 E. Dallas Pike and in the picture is what appears to be a late 1940's or maybe early 1950's car. For many years, East Lancaster Avenue was also known as The Dallas Pike

Court description <click image to enlarge>
The paragraph on the back tells use more about it..  Air cooled with ventilated heat and operated by Mr. & Mrs. L.E. Stubbs.

Curiosity grabbed me. I looked up the address on Google Earth, and it turns out that the place is still operating, now known as the Central Court.  

5800 E. Lancaster <click image to enlarge>

The property is on a more or less triangular plot in between E. Lancaster and Dallas Avenue. 

Recently, I went out there and took some pictures showing the sign and the main building and the backs of the courts facing south on Dallas Avenue. As you would expect from the area, the court is pretty well beaten down but still has customers.

Central (Harrow) Court - Office & Main Building <click image to enlarge>
This was a pretty substantial operation at one time.  I assume that there was probably a cafe or restaurant in the main building along with the Office and maybe someone lived upstairs.

The Old Courts.. Backing on Dallas Avenue <click to enlarge image>
Here are the little courts on the back row of the compound or enclosure which has security fence all around it..  They back on Dallas Avenue..

1945 Fort Worth Ashburn Map <click image to enlarge
Above is a clip from a 1945 Fort Worth map by J. Foster Ashburn that still shows the Dallas Pike picking up from Lancaster just on the east of the Meadowbrook area. The name was still used on some maps even later.. 

One of the most interesting things is the persistence that the name "Dallas Pike" has had historically.  In general, most old Fort Worth maps start showing the Dallas Pike as beginning after Front Street (Lancaster Avenue) hit the city limits, which of course changed several times as the city grew. However, it was also called Handley Road on some maps as well. 

By the early 1920's, the Pike became part of the Bankhead Highway, then part of the Broadway of America promotion and of course US-80. In Dallas, the same road predictably, was called The Fort Worth Pike as it headed west. A very busy road until the turnpike and the Interstate highways took over in the 1960's. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Down the Brazos In The Late 1950's.. What If John Graves Had...

The news of John Graves death at age 92 did not make me particularly sad.  He had a long interesting life that was traversed mostly on his own terms. He had a life that succeeded in moving many people and apparently made very few unhappy or mad. We should all be so fortunate.

Old Brazos bridge near Newcastle, 2009 <click image to enlarge>

In the middle of this morning a whimsical thought came to me that brought a minds-eye vision that made me chuckle.  I did not know John Graves at all other than through his writing, but being the man he obviously was, I wondered to myself if he too would not give a little bark at the preposterous vision in my mind..

What if....  Back in the late 1950's as he was getting into his canoe on the Brazos along with his little dog he...

Grabbed his MP3 player...turned it on.. tucked it into his pocket.. inserted his 'buds into his ears.. and then cast off downstream into the muddy Brazos!

Don't laugh!  Think about the probability that a lot of the Brazos canoe trippers below will do exactly the same thing this weekend ....

Old US-80 1934 Brazos Bridge Near Millsap Exit - 2009

It's cinch that the Goodbye to A River wouldn't have jelled into a mind that was consumed with music. The perceptive descriptions of the river, the wildlife and the history of the place would have had a hard time getting into a mind filled with Eddie Fischer, Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra and maybe Bob Wills..

What a loss to literature and Texas that would have been...

Abandoned Brazos Suspension Bridge Near Woodson <click image to enlarge>

Just a whimsical thought..  But I'm really glad that John Graves took the Brazos straight on, stored it in his powerful mind, turned it into simple but compelling words and then eventually wrote..

Goodbye to A River

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Battle For the Trinity Bluffs: An Historical Retrospective..

During 2007 and 2008 the controversy over the devastation that the Tarrant County College District was wreaking to both the historic Trinity Bluffs and by extension to the Trinity Bottoms at the base of the Bluffs which included the old TXU power plant buildings was under consideration.  The TXU controversy which is still in play, as well as some of the history was covered in a previous Fort Worth Gazette blog.

Early Painting Depicting the Fort On the Trinity Bluffs <Click to enlarge>
As one of the attendees at the meetings helping to represent one of the involved parties, I went through my map collection and put together an historical map booklet of the Trinity bluffs and Bottoms as they were published from the earliest Fort Worth and Tarrant County maps to the present day. These informal booklets were distributed to those at the meetings and some other interested parties and seemed to be helpful to some.

1929 FW Skyline From the North <Click to enlarge image>
 During that period I became intrigued with the history of the Fort, the old Market Square, the Bluffs and the area around it.  In the early 1900's, after a long period of neglect after the Fort was abandoned and some ill-considered commercial development took place, a group of influential Fort Worth women decided that the destruction had gone far enough.  Militant was a mild word for their efforts.  They were "Park Guerrilla's" and pretty fearsome if you were on the other side.  

To  document a little of this and to underline how important I felt it was to preserved the Bluffs, in 2008 I wrote a little article available on-line (PDF) called "The Battle For The Trinity Bluffs".

Friday, July 12, 2013

Once Again.. Tarrant County College Shows Its Contempt For The History Of Fort Worth

The sad condition of the historic old 1912 TXU/Tesco/FWPL power plant at the base of the Trinity Bluffs under the Tarrant County Courthouse is the direct result of the utter contempt that Tarrant County College District holds for most aspects of Fort Worth and Tarrant County history.

TCCD is supported by the tax dollars of Tarrant County residents and supposedly operates for their interest and benefit.

TXU Windows At Sunrise.. Courtesy Brian Luenser
The iconic old TXU plant which was originally built by the Fort Worth Light & Power Co., has been universally praised for its classic design since it first went on line in 1913. It quickly became a showplace of Fort Worth.  Thousands of postcards were printed and sent all over the world.  The juxtaposition of the TXU plant and the Paddock Viaduct were impossible for photographers and artists to ignore.

1929 North Main Power Plant <click image to enlarge>
The plant grew and added capacity & smoke stacks to a total of four. The land to the east of the Paddock Viaduct was also part of the property, all of which touched on the Trinity River or its levees. But technology changed and TXU, the final owner, mothballed the plant and then abandoned it around 2000, putting it up for sale.  The buildings ceased to be maintained and all the gear that was movable was sold or scrapped. The smoke stacks, which visually defined this part of the Trinity Bottoms area began disappearing without much notice for what were called "safety" reasons. The plant property, while historic, had serious soil contamination problems that made preservation much more difficult.  As a private corporation, this didn't bother TXU much because there was very little that the public could do about preservation or restoration in the face of private property rights.

In about 2004 the TCCD made the decision to build a downtown campus on Bluff Street east of the Courthouse on property that ran from that street all the way down to the Trinity. The grandiose plans envisioned a bridge from the main site to another set of buildings across the Trinity and to the north of the existing levee. They apparently wanted this over-the-river property enough that they let TXU, by this time in serious financial straits, blackmail them into forcing the College District to take the west side land and buildings as well.

1924 TXU & Paddock Viaduct <click image to enlarge>
While it was not widely known, the original plans for the College buildings on Bluff Street essentially called for ripping out the entire archaeologically significant Trinity Bluff area from the south front of the main building down almost to the river level. Inserted in this deep cut were to be structures that were self-described as "world class architecture".  But which later turned out to be among the most expensive classrooms ever built anywhere, encased in a dull concrete container that some have called "The Alcatraz on the Trinity".

Since all of this construction involved the Trinity River basin  and floodway, both the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) and the US Army Corps of Engineers (COE) had to be dealt with.  This involvement added a lot of regulations and guidelines that would not have been a factor in building off of the waterway. This led to extra expense and redesign. And ultimately, because of problems crossing the levee on the north side, destroyed the idea of the little bridge.

It also led to the  designation of the entire Trinity Bluffs, for the 1st time, as historically significant in the view of the federal government. 

<click image to enlarge>
Time passed. Along with the remaining smoke stacks many of the outbuildings which were deemed unusable,, unsafe, etc., just disappeared. And the main old generator building just sat, the basement filled with water, the roof leaking, masonry falling and with many of the windows knocked out.

Unlike a private business, TCCD is public institution.  It is accountable to, has a responsibility to Tarrant County and its citizens. And if nothing more than being just the owner of the power plant buildings, it has the responsibility to maintain them so that the district can sell them and so that they do not become a public nuisance. even if they have no interest in history. 

In the period when the Trinity Bluff was being desecrated, public meetings were going on, chaired by the COE & TRWD in the main construction offices which had been located just to the north of what remained of the TXU buildings.  These meetings were comprised of what are termed "stakeholders", and were to receive progress reports and to answer questions about any possible irregularities.  Eventually a number of serious violations were found by the COE and TRWD. The College District was required to "mitigate" these by performing offsetting tasks or functions since most of the violations could not be reversed in place. Negotiations began..


Since 2008 there has been no public mention from the USCOE of what "mitigation" the College District was to perform or if any ever was imposed on the District.  There certainly is no public record of the College District ever performing any mitigation of any kind. 

So again, it looks like the TCCD got away  free.

1927 <click image to enlarge>
During the meetings, the TCCD officials (most of which have since meandered on) were quite pious about their belief in the historicity of the old Power Plant buildings and that they truly wanted to find a buyer that would put them to good purpose. They implied that they knew that the only way that the buildings would ever sell would be if they were in good enough shape to restore.  But it was also clear that the TCCD would not apply for any historic designation because they felt that it would stand in the way of a sale to private ownership.

Over five years has passed....  Its 100th birthday passed unnoticed...

In that time, the TCCD has not done one thing to protect the buildings...

It's very obvious that the TCCD is using a policy of not-so-benign neglect to allow the buildings to crumble and then declare them beyond repair. Which is a common practice in Fort Worth.  This would conveniently allow the eventual demolition of this historic place and make way for an easier sale of the raw land during the TRV expansion to come.

This shows a great deal of condescension toward and contempt for Fort Worth, Tarrant County and its historical places..

What's the next piece of our history that will get in the way of the TCCD and be tossed aside without a thought?

-Thanks to Brian Luenser for his great picture of the windows in the power plant.  All other images from my personal collection.. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Early Fort Worth: The "Novelty Roller Mills" On the East Trinity Bluff

I ran across an old 1880's bill head for Mark Evans' "Novelty Rolling Mills" and had remembered reading earlier that it was in an unusual place for a flour & feed mill.  Not on the railroad. Not on a river.  Instead, right on edge of the East Trinity Bluffs...

1880's Billhead <Click to Enlarge>
From the beginning, Fort Worth had many mills.  It was essential that there be a way to produce flour and feed locally since importing from the east was expensive and difficult.  Howard Peak mentions a mill down on the Trinity just below the confluence near the old ford that existed before the earliest bridges. And later, mills & elevators of all kinds grew up around the railroads.  But Mark Evans, who later became a prominent investor and banker in Fort Worth, built his early mill on Bluff Street, just a few blocks east of the courthouse and the original jail.

1885 Novelty Roller Mills Fire Map <Click Image To Enlarge>
You can clearly see that it was built right on the bluff's edge, as were many other buildings at the time. Bluff street was blocked from further extension east past the mill until after 1912 when it was opened and paved by the city in a land swap deal with Mark Evans, Sr.

1885 Bird-eye view of the Novelty Roller Mill <Click Image to Enlarge>
The Trinity River and the bluffs were nasty in those days.  Notice how rough the slope of the bluff is. It's obvious that anything and everything from the Mill as well as all the other buildings and dwellings along the edge, were just dumped into the river. There are stories of dumping of animals, and raw night soil and other sewage over the edge and of landslides taking buildings down the side on occasion. Look at the rough drain trench to the Trinity on the east side from the mill.

This image also shows the second Courthouse and the notorious jail which was new at this time. Look closely:  There was no high bridge from north of the Courthouse across the Trinity where the Paddock Viaduct is now.  That wouldn't happen until about 1892.  The area around the Courthouse was a public or market square.

1889 Fire Map From the Courthouse East to the Roller Mill
<Click Image to Enlarge>

By 1889, the Roller Mill has increased in size with an elevator added for storage.  The land  in between the Courthouse and the Mill (which are each shown in the red blocks) has filled in as the city grows rapidly. A bridge has been designed and begun that would connect the Courthouse area to the Trinity Bottoms on the north and essentially combine the two places and make northward expansion possible.

1891 Birdseye Map Clip From the Courthouse East To the Roller Mill
<Click Image to Enlarge>

By 1891 the new "Iron Bridge" was almost finished (it didn't look much like the artist's rendering on the image).  The area east of the Courthouse was becoming congested and there wasn't much room for expansion.  Evans had tried to get permission to run a siding up Jones Street to the elevator, but that did not happen. There were a number of other local mills and elevators that did have rail siding locations which was a big advantage for them.

By 1900 the Mill and elevator was apparently abandoned and sat mostly unused for many years until parts of it burned and were torn down.

2013 Courthouse to East Bluff Street Roller Mill location
<Click Image to Enlarge>. 

Today the area along East Bluff Street is nothing but a parking lot serving the unlovely slanty gray buildings erected recently by TCC.  They add nothing to what should be a stunning overlook that was much admired by early visitors to Fort Worth..  

Monday, March 18, 2013

The First West 7th Street Bridge: Who Owned It?

Fort Worth is about ready to start on what may well be a spectacular grand entrance to the downtown and Sundance Square with the replacement of the 100 year old West 7th Street bridge or viaduct. There is considerable speculation and excitement about connecting the revitalized 7th Street and Camp Bowie areas with what may well be an architectural showpiece.

1907 Official Fort Worth Map - Clear Fork- 7th Street Clip <Click to enlarge>
Back 100+ years ago, the need to replace a rickety bridge that had been built back in the 1880's by Major K. M. Van Zandt as a way to get to his land across the Clear Fork was getting critical. Arlington Heights was growing and clamoring for a better bridge.  There were two streetcar lines using the bridge by 1903 and pieces were periodically falling off unexpectedly.  However there were some problems:

10-07-1899 FW Morning Register - City Council Meeting
As early as 1899 the question of who owned Van Zandt's original Clear Fork bridge was being considered. In spite of the recommendation that the city buy the bridge and clear its title, apparently nothing happened for a number of years.

Things dawdled along and the Van Zandt bridge became more of a bottleneck. Still, the ownership question wasn't settled.  The Star-Telegram had a long but whimsical summary of the situation in a 1907 article:

06-27-1907 Fort Worth Star Telegram

By 1911 the 7th Street bridge and the old North Main "Iron" bridge that had been built in the early 1890's were both becoming an issue.  The Fort Worth city fathers, Tarrant County and the businessmen and citizens were getting in a mood to finally spend some money.  In 1911 this rendering was floated out for consideration:

04-16-1911 Fort Worth Star Telegram <Click to enlarge>
The reaction was good. The bridge ball was in play for both a new 7th Street viaduct and a North Main replacement which was to become the Paddock Viaduct.  Bonds were voted and plans were drawn up.  In its way, the Van Zandt Viaduct would be almost as spectacular as the North Main bridge.

Draft Plan - 08-14-1912 Fort Worth Star Telegram - <Click to enlarge>

Late in 1913, construction was finished and the new West 7th Street bridge which was wider and longer and stronger and built to resist the Clear Fork floods was done.  It looked pretty much like the draft plan:

In the spirit of both parsimony and conservation, the old bridge, which does not seem to have ever had a picture or drawing published, was toted off and apparently used elsewhere on the Clear Fork.

The graceful and practical bridge aged well.  The river bed was changed under it several times and additions were made to accommodate all that, but it carried the pedestrians, the wagons, the buggy's, the streetcars, the cars, the buses, the trucks and everything else until its time was up.  A hundred+ years of good service.

We can only hope that the new bridge will do as well..

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

FW Star-Telegram Touts Portal To Texas History.. Ignores Its Own Denial Of Historic FW Preservation

FYI: This story has been updated. Please see the UPDATE at the end of this article..

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram (FWST) did a fine front-page article on Wednesday, March 13th covering the on-line Portal to Texas History (PTH).  It did a particularly good job of the work that the PTH is doing in digitizing and publishing old newspaper editions.

Sounds great doesn't it? But in spite of all the bright, trendy acceptance that the FWST put into this article, there's just one little problem...

The 1922-1972+ DIGITAL BLACK HOLE..

The fact is that the FWST is one of the largest Texas newspapers to be undigitized, unindexed and unpublished from 1922 to the present. Sure, it's all available on microfilm if you want to burn the gas, pay the parking, as well as risk your eyesight and sanity at the FW Public Library.
But a big chunk of the FWST from 1922 on is not available anywhere on the internet. It's not the FW Public Libraries fault...

Anyone that has ever worked with indexed and digitized newspapers will tell you that they can get 10 to 100 times more work done if the newspaper is on-line than by doing the heavy lifting at a library table. Library work is traditional, with the image of the hunched-back wretch staring myopically into the film reader going through a billion words to find anything close to the subject matter under consideration. While we may admire the perseverance of those willing to do this, the fact is that it is unnecessary today and the sweat expended does not in any way make the end research product any better or any more worthy.

"Newspapers are the archaeological records of a town or city," said Ana Krahmer, supervisor of the digital newspaper unit at UNT Libraries. " Loss of one day -- one issue -- is a loss of that history."

How to get the FWST 1922-to fairly recent times digitized and available?

"While most of the information comes from small-town newspapers, adding major Texas dailies to the project is an ambition that is still evolving and while include working out copyright issues and getting funding to digitize the newspapers, Krahmer said."

Copyrights or intellectual property? This isn't impossible. The Belo Corporation, including the Dallas Morning News, have been completely digitized for years. Many other large papers are digitized through several sources. It's a matter of the intellectual property owner or owners turning over the rights. The old idea that newspapers could build profit centers by selling old clips has not worked out.  Instead, thoughtful newspapers that have any regard for local history and its preservation have long been making arrangements to that their their old issues digitized by some institution like the PTH or by commercial subscription providers like GenealogyBank

Funding? There are so many local North Texas historians that want and need this digital archive that the odds are pretty good that the funding would not be an insurmountable problem.

What is really needed right now is for the owners of the FWST, or if they do not have the rights, for the current owners to offer them to PTH or some other digitizer.  Do the right thing, right now.

"We would really love to work with anyy dailies who would like to work with us" Krahmer said. "We are very interested in digital preservation of large daily newspapers because they represent such a large body of the population". 

Can we wonder if Ms. Krahmer had any thoughts about why the paper interviewing her was not itself involved in the historic preservation they were describing so glowingly?

It's hard to believe that Diane Smith who wrote the article or her editors were unaware of this glaring paradox:  An article promoting historical newspaper digitization from one of Texas' primary serial non-digitizers'... Go figure..

UPDATE   Sunday March 24, 2013:

Word was received today from Senior VP/Executive Editor Jim Witt about the status of digitizing & indexing Fort Worth Star-Telegram archives including the newspaper from 1922:

"The Star-Telegram's parent company has contracted with Newsbank to digitize all our archives"

NewsBank is the parent company of GenealogyBank, a reasonably priced subscription service, which many of us use.

We appreciate the word from the Star-Telegram about their plans to digitize their archives.  We look forward to using these new resources as they become available.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

1917: Pre-Bankhead Highway Roads in West Tarrant County

Recently I have been working on a 1917 Tarrant County map that is posted on the Portal to Texas History and is a part of the UTA Library Special Collections. On the Bankhead Highway History Group we tend to spend a lot of time on the 1919 and later period when the Bankhead began to become a reality.

Clip From A 1917 Tarrant County Map <Click to Zoom>
However, it is equally important to know what came before the Bankhead Highway. It all began with the with the advent of the automobile in the very early 1900's. A "Good Roads" movement began which was echoed in the other larger Texas counties as well. The Bankhead, the Meridian and other early interstate highways were the result.

In 1913 the Tarrant County precinct commissioners went to war with each other over which roads would be declared the main or "Cardinal" roads.  The biggest fight was over whether the old Stove Foundry/Benbrook/Weatherford road would continue to get the improvement and money or whether the shorter and dryer connection off of Arlington Heights Blvd. (Camp Bowie Blvd.) would be selected. After a lawsuit and a lot of harsh words, the Arlington Heights Blvd. connection into downtown Fort Worth was selected.  This was three or four years before World War I and the Camp Bowie base establishment.

This map was created about a year before the Great War over a standard Tarrant County landowners map by the well-known Tarrant County Surveyor John H. Darter.  On the map he overlaid many of the more important county roads including the still-new "Cardinal Roads". The map exists in blueprint form, but for clarity I have inverted it to bring out the detail so that it is more readable.

The clip above shows a part of Precinct #1 from about Benbrook north to White Settlement Road with the red box focusing on the points where Arlington Heights Blvd connects with what will later be the Kuteman Cutoff headed straight west for Weatherford with a connection at the Parker County line. Also the north-south road at the same junction that drops down toward Benbrook and intersects Stove Foundry Road and finally, the Stove Foundry Road itself that follows the T&P railroad tracks from downtown Fort Worth to Benbrook.

1917 map legend

For the past several years there has been a question as to the exact way that the Arlington Heights connection headed west across Mary's Creek and on to Parker County. It's a niggling detail in the overall picture but no definitive answer has yet appeared in a County or Highway Department map. This map offers a few more clues.

The Cardinal road which we know as Chapin Road today connected with Arlington Heights Blvd just about where the traffic circle is today, although the circle was far in the future. It headed west, jogging a little at section lines until it slanted northwest just before Mary's Creek, then turned west again, crossed the stream and continued to the county line.  Chapin Road, which does not go all the way west anymore, is still titled as the "Benbrook Cardinal Road" on current Tarrant County maps. Some of the abandoned right-of-way which became Bankhead Highway for a while is still visible on aerial maps.  We are sill looking for a picture of this early bridge across Mary's Creek.

This 1917 map adds a little more to what we know about the early roads in this part of Tarrant County.  The entire map has a number of other interesting features including some "lost" roads which will be covered in later posts...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Where Was "Stop 6" On The Fort Worth - Dallas Interurban?

Small mysteries..  This one has bugged me for several years....

1925 NTT postcard

In 1971 I moved to the Fort Worth area and immediately began absorbing the history of the city. The fact that there had been a world-class street car and interurban system based in Fort Worth grabbed my attention right away. One of the references that periodically popped up in the Star-Telegram was to the "Stop 6" community in east Fort Worth which was once a prestigious place to live in the country with quick and easy access to the city.

As I began to pick up maps and other material on the Northern Texas Traction system, I began to try to chart where the lines went in the period from 1900-1938 as compared to the present day. Most mentions referred to stop names, not numbers, but for some reason, Stop 6 always was called by number and not its official name. There were a number of old Fort Worth maps that showed these lines, but only two that actually named the stops.

Click to zoom in

This clip from the great 1919-1920 Fort Worth map by C.H. Rogers showed the named stops clear out to Stop Virginia Place past Ayers Street at Mount View around the 3700 block.  But the stops weren't numbered and I thought that Stop 6 was further east from there.

The interurban stops were initially numbered on their way to Dallas and referred to that way.  But as the system grew this became cumbersome and in 1905 the NTT published this list of official stop names:

Click to zoom in

Even if the stops weren't numbered, you would think that counting the first six names would work. But it doesn't.  Obviously in the period from 1902 to 1905 a number or new stops were added as the city grew and that fouled up the math.

No one I talked to seemed to know what the official stop name and location was, they just knew that it was somewhere around the 4000 block of East Lancaster which was originally Front Street, or further out it was called the Dallas Pike. The mentions I found in the old newspapers generally mentioned the Edgewood, Tandy Lake, Virginia Place and Sagamore Hill stops as being generally within the Stop 6 area.

Click to zoom in

Finally, I found the 1909 clip above that solves the little mystery.  In the text it reads ".. at Edgewood Stop just beyond Stop 6, or Sagamore.".  So it turns out that we can place Stop Sagamore Hill as Stop 6 with good certainty. Sagamore Hill road (It's Rand Street now) runs north-south and crosses East Lancaster at the 4400 block.

Click to zoom in

This 1925 Fort Worth map clip shows Stop Sagamore as the first on the left, followed by Stop Edgewood and then Stop Haines on the way to Handley.

An historic footnote:  Stop 6 existed in two ways.  North of the interurban, Front Street or the Dallas Pike there were a number of fine homes and sometimes luxurious living by white residents.  South of the interurban and across the T&P (Now Union Pacific) tracks were the very respectable black neighborhoods of Stop 6.

Mystery solved..