Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Day 11 - Meandering home from LA to Toronto

April 2015 - Fort Worth TX

It is Easter Sunday and damp and cool. Quite a change from what we are used to. But we have the clothes so not a problem.
There is snow in Toronto, so we are not going home until it warms up!!

Breakfast is pancakes across the street at Jake's. Kinda cool, you can call Jake's for room service.
It is very busy considering it is Easter, it seems to be a popular place with the locals.

Yesterday I wrote about our hotel, Marriott Blackstone and its history.

Here's some photos of the detail on the building.

According to Judith Singer Cohen, author of Cowtown Moderne, it is the only true "New York" style skyscraper in Fort Worth with several setbacks. From 1952 until 1962, it was a part of the Hilton Hotel chain. Hilton remodeled the interior and base of the building at that time extensively and also constructed a 5 story annex to the south.

There is very little left of the original interior; only a plaster ceiling on the second level and a stairway which goes nowhere.

There is a photo display near the stairway showing Elvis, John Wayne and Clark Gable.

Our plan was to walk to the Stockyards in the afternoon and John got our jackets from the car. But in talking to the desk clerk and Leo we took a cab. It is a long walk and not a very pretty looking one.

The cattle drive is cancelled due to Easter and most shops are closed which doesn't really matter to us.  There is a lot to see here and the history is fascinating.

The 98-acre (40 ha) district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Fort Worth Stockyards Historic District in 1976.The arrival of railroads in 1876 made the area a very important livestock center. Fort Worth Union Stockyards opened for business on January 19, 1890, covering 206 acres.

On February 7, the Fort Worth Dressed Meat and Packing Company was founded. This facility was operated without profit until purchased by G. W. Simpson of Boston. In an effort to produce revenue, they reached out to the Swift and Armour companies to establish packing houses.

By 1886, four stockyards had been built near the railroads. Boston capitalist Greenleif W. Simpson, with a half dozen Boston and Chicago associates, incorporated the Fort Worth Stock Yards Company on March 23, 1893, and purchased the Union Stock Yards and the Fort Worth Packing Company. The Stockyards experienced early success. By 1907, the Stockyards sold a million cattle per year. The stockyards was an organized place where cattle, sheep, and hogs could be bought, sold and slaughtered. Fort Worth remained an important part of the cattle industry until the 1950s. Business suffered due to livestock auctions held closer to the where the livestock were originally produced.

The sidewalks are lined with famous Texans.

No shortage of Texan stuff!

This sculpture commemorates Bill Pickett, a famous 19th century cowboy and rodeo performer.
Bill Pickett is the father of "bulldogging" and the best-known African American cowboy who created the unusual style of steer wrestling by using his teeth to subdue a steer. Pickett and his horse "Spradley" were a box-office draw in rodeos and thrilled crowds from Texas to Madison Square Garden, even England. Over the years Pickett's assistants included Will Rogers and Tom Mix, both of whom would make the big time in show business. In 1971, Bill Pickett became the first African American voted into Oklahoma City's Cowboy Hall of Fame; and in 1987, a bronze statue showing him bulldogging was unveiled at the Fort Worth Cowtown Coliseum.

We had visited the Cowboy Hall of Fame in OKC in 2013. 

More wandering around the area.

From this spot we notice we are near Billy Bob's Honky Tonk, which promotes itself as the world's largest.
Entrance is $2.

Built as a cattle barn in the early 1900s, the building was enclosed as a City of Fort Worth Centennial project in 1936. With sloped floors for easy cleaning due to the cattle pens, the building also had the perfect setting for a concert venue. That would have to wait nearly 40 years. During that gap, the building was used as an AT-10 airplane manufacturing plant and a department store. Clark’s Department Store was so large that the stock boys had to wear roller skates.

But on April 1, 1981, Billy Bob Barnett opened what is now internationally known as “The World’s Largest Honky Tonk”. With a capacity over 6,000 people, over 20 bar stations, the best in entertainment and live bullriding, it was not long before Billy Bob’s Texas won the first of its five Academy of Country Music’s “Club of the Year” awards. BBT has also been awarded the Country Music Association’s “Club of the Year” twice.

I'm glad we had a chance to visit but I would never go in again as it is too smoky. Even the items we bought in the gift shop still reek of cigarette smoke, not pleasant.

After getting our photos taken riding the bull we went on further wanderings.

Blake Shelton's guitar.

HELL'S HALF ACRE, FORT WORTH. In the later decades of the nineteenth century, Hell's Half Acre became almost a generic name for the red-light district in many frontier towns, including San Antonio, Fort Worth, and Tascosa, Texas. The exact origins of the name are unclear, but in the days of the Republic of Texas it was applied to Webberville, near Austin, because of the community's lawless and immoral reputation. The name did not come into widespread usage, however, until after the Civil War. Returning soldiers may have brought the phrase back with them from such bloody battlefields as Stones River, where it had been applied with a different but equally vivid connotation. As a name for prostitution districts, it was usually shortened to "the Acre," but everyone knew what the abbreviation stood for.

Up and down the side streets.

We step into the White Elephant Saloon, One of Esquire Magazine’s 100 Best Bars in America is owned by Tim Love.

 A taxi back to the hotel and we make reservations for dinner at Del Frisco's.

Dinner is delicious.
Veal meatloaf for me.

Steak sandwich for John.


  1. The sculptural works here in Fort Worth really stand out!

  2. What a fabulous place to explore! I really loved the pictures, they tell a wonderful story.


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