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Local History Photos

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The following historic images have been selected from the photograph collection of the Fort Worth Library, which includes photographs of street scenes, people, parks, parades, military, schools, churches, and businesses.

Local history images may be obtained by contacting the Genealogy, Local History & Archives Unit: by mail at 500 W. 3rd Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102-7305, by email at genlhst@fortworthtexas.gov, or by calling 817-392-7740.

The Materials Request and Permission Reproduce form covers pricing, rights to reproduce, copyright permissions, and the publication or display credit line to be used. Prior to the customer signing it, library staff will complete the form. Most of the photographs in the collection may be published, broadcast or displayed online with the permission of the department. One-time publication uses are included in the photograph order fee; additional uses and broadcast licenses may incur extra fees.

Benbrook Airfield

Benbrook Airfield (1917-1919)

Also known as Taliaferro field #3, Benbrook Field served as a military airfield for the United States Army. It was one of three fields that were built by the War Department in Tarrant County during World War I. Benbrook Airfield was used by the Royal Flying Corps as a training field for Canadian pilots. More than 30 pilots died while training there. On February 13, 1918, famed dancer Vernon Blythe Castle died in a plane crash at Benbrook Airfield. The city of Benbrook erected a memorial and renamed a street in honor of Castle.

Houston St.

Houston Street

A street car line on Houston Street in the early 20th century. Mule-drawn street cars came to Fort Worth in 1876. Sometimes the cars jumped off the tracks forcing passengers to get off and lift the car back onto the tracks. In the 1880s three street car lines were operating on Houston as well as Main and Taylor Streets. Houston Street was named after General Sam Houston, who was President of the Republic of Texas, a U.S. Senator, and a co-signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

Oneal-Sells Hall

Oneal-Sells Hall (1903- )

Built in 1903 on the campus of Texas Wesleyan University, Oneal-Sells Hall was named for two people who financed its renovation. The building was enlarged in 1909. The large sign was added during the 1938-39 school year. The sign was removed in 1963 during renovation. The building became a state landmark in 1966. It currently houses administrative offices.

Lake Worth

Lake Worth (1914- )

Man fishing in the middle of Lake Worth. Lake Worth is an artificial lake formed in 1914. Located in west Tarrant County, the lake was created by the construction of a dam on the West Fork of the Trinity River. Other names that were suggested were Lake Tonkeway, Panther Lake and Lake Jarvis. Lake Worth was also the focus of a legend about a creature that was described as part goat, part fish, and part man. It has been referred to as the Lake Worth Monster.

Westbrook Hotel

Westbrook Hotel (1911-1978)

A parade on Main Street going past the Westbrook Hotel. Built in 1911 on the corner of Fourth and Main, the hotel offered stylish accommodations for visitors of the Stock Show and oilmen. It was named after the father of the hotel builder, Benjamin Johnston Tillar. Sometimes the management would remove the furniture in the lobby to make room for improvised oil trading. British flyers, who trained in Fort Worth, partied at the Westbrook. The hotel closed in 1973 and was demolished in 1978.

Congress Barbershop

Congress Barbershop

Old photo of the Congress Barbershop on 610 North Main Street. The business was started in 1905 by Samuel Rodrick and occupied the Commercial Club Building. The building was demolished in 1915 and replaced by the 6 story Fort Worth Club building. There were 58 barbershops operating in Fort Worth around the time the Congress was in business. The barbershop operated in the same spot now occupied by The Ashton Hotel.

Harris Hospital

Harris Hospital (1930- )

The hospital was named after Dr. Charles Houston Harris, a surgeon who moved his practice from the West Texas town of Moran to Fort Worth in 1904. The building opened at 1300 W. Cannon Street on March 3, 1930 with 146 beds and two floors for patients. Years later it expanded to an eight story building. Harris also had Fort Worth’s first intensive care unit. Today the hospital has more than 900 physicians and 600 beds.

Carnegie Library

Carnegie Library (1901-1937)

The Carnegie Library of Fort Worth opened in October of 1901 on the corner of Throckmorton and Ninth Streets. D.B. Keeler of the Fort Worth Public Library Association asked Andrew Carnegie, the Scottish-American industrialist, for a contribution to help fund construction of the building. Carnegie offered to donate $50,000 if the association furnished $10,000 worth of books. The library also had an art collection. The building was demolished in 1937 and replaced by another library.

Casa Mañana

Casa Mañana (1936- )

The original Casa Mañana was built by famed Broadway producer Billy Rose as part of the Texas Frontier Centennial Celebration in 1936. The venue included the world’s largest revolving stage and a lagoon. The theater was so popular that it was brought back for three more seasons. In 1958, an 1,800 seat theater with an aluminum-topped structure was built on the same spot. Its first show was “Can Can”.

John Peter Smith

John Peter Smith (1831-1901)

One of the first settlers of Fort Worth, John Peter Smith opened the first school in an abandoned army hospital. Smith would go on to become a teacher, surveyor, Texas Ranger, banker and six term mayor. He donated land for churches, parks and cemeteries. Smith also donated five acres of land for a county hospital that would later be named after him. Because of his contributions to the city he has been called “the Father of Fort Worth”. He died in St. Louis while on a promotional trip for Fort Worth. He is buried in Oakwood cemetery.

Last updated: Nov. 20, 2014