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Fort Worth Flashback: Visitors waltzed across Texas at Spring Palace galas

Posted June 14, 2013

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Each evening during the run of the Texas Spring Palace, a fancy ball was held, with orchestras and bands brought in from surrounding cities. Excursion trains delivered visitors to the galas from across the state.

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.

The image here shows the program cover for one of the balls.

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.

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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