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Fort Worth Flashback: Panoramic map shows 1876 Cowtown

Posted Jan. 3, 2012

In April 1876, when artist D.D. Morse drew this bird’s-eye view from the northwest, Fort Worth was struggling for its very existence.

As the Civil War came to a conclusion, the population of the city had decreased by perhaps 85 percent to fewer than 1,000 and was slow to recover, especially as the effects of the Panic of 1873 played out. But the arrival of the cattle drives and the railroad heralded better times for the city.

Morse depicted the city from the northwest, showing it sitting on the bluff overlooking the Trinity River. Some of the original buildings of the old fort may still be standing among those immediately to the north and west of the courthouse.

Fort Worth Democrat editor Buckley B. Paddock — whose signature can be seen at the bottom — called this map “a perfect picture of Fort Worth and its surroundings … that should be in every office, business and private house in town.”

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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