News > Flashback

Fort Worth Flashback: Spring Palace showcased Texas wares, ended tragically

Posted April 26, 2013

130429_TexasSpringPalace.jpg

The Texas Spring Palace, a regional agricultural fair in Fort Worth, opened May 29, 1889. The fair was inspired by Robert A. Cameron, immigration agent for the Fort Worth and Denver Railway, and designed to attract settlers and investors to Texas.

Cameron devised a plan to advertise Texas by displaying all the natural products of the state under one roof in a building intended to rival the Sioux City Corn Palace and Toronto Ice Palace in novelty and style.

With its exterior walls painted a dark bronze green, its roof sporting both turnip-shaped cupolas and a massive center dome surpassed in size only by that of the national Capitol in Washington, D.C., and wheat, cotton and other products of Texas covering the entire structure, the Spring Palace building looked like something out of a fantasy world.

Inside the exhibit hall, settlers and investors could find neatly classified samples of most grains, grasses, fruits, vegetables and minerals produced in the state.

A second season, 1890, proved especially popular but ended in catastrophe. In spite of efforts to make the palace fireproof, a flash fire swept through the building on the night of May 30, leveling the structure in minutes. Although several thousand people were attending a dance in the palace that night, only Englishman Al Hayne died.

Hayne died as a result of his efforts to save women and children who had not yet escaped from the burning building. A 15-year-old girl named Ada Large also heroically aided those trapped by the flames and was later given a medal by the city.

This photo of Texas Spring Palace is among the items in an upcoming exhibit, “The Swartz Brothers: Fort Worth’s First Family of Photographers,” that will be displayed in the West Wing of the Central Library, May 1-31.

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.

City News

Calendar

Business Model Canvas-Your Tool for Launching A Business in 2020: 10 a.m. Jan. 21, 2020; Fort Worth Business Assistance Center, 1150 South Freeway, Fort Worth Texas 76104.
Register for this event »

Canceled Fort Worth Local Development Corporation: 2 p.m. Jan. 21, 2020; City COuncil COnference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.

Canceled Central City Local Government Corporation: 2 p.m. Jan. 21, 2020; City Council Conference Room 290, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.

Canceled AllianceAirport Authority, Inc.: 2 p.m. Jan. 21, 2020; City Council Conference Room 290, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.

Canceled Lone Star Local Government Corporation Meeting: 2 p.m. Jan. 21, 2020; City Council Conference Room 290, City Hall, 200 Texas St.

Canceled City Council Work Session: 3 p.m. Jan. 21, 2020; City Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.

Canceled City Council Meeting: 7 p.m. Jan. 21, 2020; City Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.

Fort Worth Public Improvement District No. 1 Advisory Board Meeting: 9 a.m. Jan. 22, 2020; Downtown Fort Worth Inc., Suite 100, 777 Taylor St.
View the agenda »

Metropolitan Area EMS Authority D/B/A MedStar Mobile Healthcare Board of Directors Meeting: 10 a.m. Jan. 22, 2020; MedStar Mobile Healthcare, 2900 Alta Mere Drive.
View the agenda »

City Plan Commission Work Session: noon Jan. 22, 2020; City Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
View the agenda »

City Plan Commission Public Hearing: 1:30 p.m. Jan. 22, 2020; City Council Chamber, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas St.
View the agenda »

Park & Recreation Advisory Board: 4 p.m. Jan. 22, 2020; Greenbriar Community Center, 5200 Hemphill St.
View the agenda »

City of Fort Worth Art Commission Special Called Meeting: 5 p.m. Jan. 22, 2020; Fort Worth Botanic Garden Center, Iris Room, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd.
View the agenda »

Family Game Night at Southwest Community Center: 6 p.m. Jan. 22, 2020; Southwest Community Center, 6300 Welch Ave.

Sendera Ranch Intersection Improvements Project Meeting: 7 p.m. Jan. 22, 2020; Sendera Ranch Elementary School, 1216 Diamondback Lane.

Emergency Physicians Advisory Board : 12:30 p.m. Jan. 23, 2020; TCMS Building, 3rd Floor, 555 Hemphill.
View the agenda »

Lake Arlington Lift Station Force Main Project Meeting: 6 p.m. Jan. 23, 2020; Tarrant County College Opportunity Center, 5901 Fitzhugh Ave.

Municipal Court Hearing: 8:30 a.m. Jan. 24, 2020; Municipal Court, Court No. 9, 3741 Southwest Loop 820.
View the agenda »

Federal Contracting and Certification Workshop: 9 a.m. Jan. 25, 2020; Fort Worth Business Assistance Center, 1150 South Freeway, Fort Worth Texas, 76104.
Register for this event »

Presentations and Pitches Bootcamp: 9 a.m. Jan. 25, 2020; Fort Worth Business Assistance Center, 1150 South Freeway, Fort Worth Texas, 76104.
Register for this event »

Opening Doors to Homeownership: 10 a.m. Jan. 25, 2020; Sweet Home Baptist Church, 5225 Ramey Ave.

Chinese New Year Celebration at Fire Station Community Center: 11 a.m. Jan. 25, 2020; Fire Station Community Center, 1601 Lipscomb.

View the full city calendar and current meetings.