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Fort Worth Flashback: Cowtown boasts longest running stock show

Posted Jan. 27, 2013

program

The Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show, the oldest continuously running livestock show, began in 1896, when a fat stock show was organized under shade trees on Marine Creek in North Fort Worth.

That first show had no buildings, no enclosures and no admission charge, but in 1897 tents sheltered the animals and 25 cents was charged for seeing the livestock.

Eventually Fort Worth citizens raised $50,000, induced the Stock Yard Co. to build the Coliseum and guaranteed the show to run for 10 years. During the presidency of Samuel Burk Burnett from 1908-1922, the scope of the exhibits was enlarged, premiums were offered and exhibitors from several states brought cattle, sheep, horses and hogs to the annual exhibitions.

In 1944 the exposition moved to the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.

This collectible piece shows the cover and flyleaf of a coronation program for Queen XI of the Southwestern Exposition in 1925.

The Fort Worth Library has approximately 10,000 items pertaining to the history of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. These items include city and county government documents, newspapers, directories, cemetery association records, maps as well as popular and scholarly books written by local authors or about local subjects. To learn more, call 817-392-7740 or email the Genealogy, History and Archives Section.

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