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Fort Worth: The Unexpected City (1974)
Fort Worth Library
  • Map
  • Highlights
    Pete Perez and Alann Sampson describe how Fort Worth defies expectations
    Bob Ray Sanders, a columnist with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
    More Texas than any other city
    Steve Murrin, owner of the Stockyards property
    Charles Tandy, founder of the Fort Worth-based Tandy Corporation
    Where the East begins
    Louis Daniel, commercial illustrator who still operates an art studio in Fort Worth as of January 2016
    Fort Worth Zoo
    Fort Worth Water Gardens
    Opportunity knocks
    Conductor John Giordano
    Jack Rumbley
    Do what you want to
    Fort Worth Stockyards
    "Christmas City"
    Trinity River
  • Transcript
    JS: Ya know, you look at a city this time of morning from a distance and its like your looking at the first time, and maybe you are. And you wonder what it's like, who lives here, how'd they get here, why'd they come? And what caused a city to grow up on this particular piece of ground anyhow? What made it take root and grow when lots of the others just sorta died out? Now, it happens I know some of the answers ‘bout this city, not because I live here, ‘cause I don't. But ‘cause I got lucky some years back and discovered this place and I came to think a lot of it. I made many good friends here. I still come back often and sometimes well sometimes it's just hard to pull away.
    AS: There's a feeling of warm that you don't normally feel in other parts of the country.
    PP: When I'm walking down the street with friends of mine from other places, and I say "hello" and somebody says "hello" back and they'll say "Who was that?" I say, "I don't know" "But you just spoke to him and he spoke to you!"I say "That's Fort Worth."
    JS: I guess every town has a flavor or a personality all its own, but this one seems to have more than most, at least of the ones I've been to. Its gots lots of things that you'd expect it to have and other things you'd never dreamed it had. The old and the new together, they're in an unexpected blend. That's Fort Worth, Texas: the unexpected city.
    BRS: People might heard for a long time that Fort Worth is Cowtown, it's where the West begins and that is true, uh very much so, but if people come from faraway and they expect to see horses and wagons like this downtown or anywhere around the city, they'll probably find the biggest flavor of Western town they'll find in Fort Worth is people, the friendly people they'd find here. 
    SM: I think the biggest surprise people get is the fact that it is not all dry ranchland, we got trees, lakes, beautiful museums…
    AS: Well of course the first thing they ask is "How many horses do you have?" and "Where are your oil wells?" and "I don't see you toting your gun" and when I ask them if they had ever heard of the Kimbell Art Museum or Louie Kahn, they say "Surely" and we say that "Do you realize that one of his largest monuments to his genius is in Fort Worth?"… "Oh yes, you really do have the Kimbell!" or we ask them "Do you realize that the Van Cliburn competition is here?"..."Oh, I didn't really realize…yes!"
    PP: What they don't expect the museums, they don't expect an opera company that is good, they don't expect anything like we got on Amon Carter Square, or the Kimbell, the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, the Fort Worth Art Museum, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, all within walking distance. They don't expect that. The reason that they are surprised I think is because, Fort Worth, just by it' name, and then by reputation, is probably more Texas than any other city.
    JS: Cowtown. That's what they called Fort Worth, and for darn good reason too. Before the oil men came, this town was built on cattle. Right on the Chisolm Trail, the Hellraisin', stop for rest and recreation even Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid couldn't pass up.
    SM: Fort Worth got the name Cowtown very honestly and I think we wear it pretty well. Cowtown is a very real part of our heritage not only from the kinda people that came to and came through Fort Worth, but the way Fort Worth made its money and started to grow initially. And I think Cowtown is just a fine name for Fort Worth.
    JS: Fort Worth. I don't know of another town that, uh, and I've seen, I've not seen quite a few, where you could enjoy great art on one side of the street, and taken in a cattle auction on the other. But you can do that in Fort Worth. Come to think about it, I guess you can always do that in Fort Worth. One night back in the turn of the century, Caruso sang to a packed house on the North Side Coliseum just three blocks from the Swifton Company Packin' Plant.
    CT: It's kinda nice to think that we belong to the West. It's a part of our heritage, part of the things that made the United States great, certainly Texas.
    PP: Every now and then I'll put on my boots and my western shirt and walk down North Main Street and feel just like any of those old cowboys over there.
    JS: Ya know, I've been trying to get something sorted out in my mind and here it is: If Fort Worth is where the West begins, then if you're goin' the other direction, isn't it where the East begins? Something to think about anyway. Maybe it helps explain some of the unexpected sophistication of this town, perched on the edge of the prairie, and the unique quality of life you'll find here.
    CT: The greatest place in the world to live, that's the way I'd describe Fort Worth.
    SM: I think the quality of life that you find here in Fort Worth is better now and is going to continue it be better, because we can profit from the city's grown so rapidly, that the people who live there have sorta lost their town, they, if they have a newer house, an hour from where they were, they have to get up an extra hour in the morning, and get home an extra hour later at night, and uh, I think its unfortunate.
    BRS: If you've ever been to a big town, like Los Angeles or Chicago, even Dallas, immediately, you get the feeling coming back to Fort Worth that uh, the environment and the pace of life is much more relaxed here. You don't have the tremendously big freeways, you don't have people rushing you, so it's much more relaxed.
    PP: The major changes that I have seen, particularly over the years that I've been interested, particularly with human needs: integration, social issues, housing, things that effect people the most. And I've seen the city council take an active role in alleviating some of those problems. And when I began to check around, I noticed that the mayor was actually taking to citizens on the phone, that a citizen could call and actually talk to the City Manager that they could actually call and talk to the chief of police, so I realize that people are listening. Fort Worth was able to look at itself and say: "I think we got a problem, now how do we deal with it." That's the major attribute I think that this city is capable and willing to look at itself, look at its problems, and then decide to try to do something about it. Not always succeed, but try.
     SM: When it's all said and done, I think the best way to describe it is, Fort Worth is a nice place to live in, first of all, makes it you know, pleasant to live in, and second, it's a nice place to make a living in, and maybe third, it's just marvelous to bring up a family.
    CT: Well, we've moved quite a number of families to Fort Worth, and many cases, I've offered these men and their families an opportunity to move back to Boston or New York, and without fail, they decline my invitation.
    JS: If the sun seems bigger when you're in Fort Worth, and it does, so does the opportunity. It was just amazing how Fort Worth has grown since I first started comin' here. You know, years ago, they used to call it "Panther City" that's because The Dallas Newspaper joked that they found a panther asleep on Fort Worth's main street. By golly that panther'd have to look sharp today, wouldn't he?
    CT: There seems to be consistent, continual opportunity, you always get that in a younger community than you get in an older community. As a result, this is the place that I would start again. My own personal feelings towards Fort Worth just, uh, go without saying, I owe it a lot, it gave me the type of training and background that served me well, and uh, my hope is that the things that I can do to offer the same kind of opportunity to the young people who are coming along, even better opportunities, than I had.
    SM: I think our problem is Fort Worth is to watch the way we grow, to remember, that the city belongs to the people and to make sure that the people are aware of the fact that we control to a great degree the destiny of the Fort Worth. We can pretty much do what we want to do here.
     JS: We can pretty much do what we want to here, ya know that last thing I ever anyone say this about their city, if ever. But we can pretty much do what we want to do.
    PP: I think Fort Worth's future really is a healthy one, for its economy is concerned, I also think it's a healthy one as far as its sociology is concerned, I think its people are more aware and closer than they ever have been in history and I think they're still coming together.
    AS: The cultural community shares so much with everyone. Museum Directors consciously endeavor to take the art outside of the walls of the museum, in addition to bringing people inside, There is a conscious effort to have art everywhere.
    SM: The tourists when they come here wanna see cowboys, and wanna see something about where they came from, and Fort Worth has that more than probably any other Texas city. If we capitalize on our heritage, without making it plastic, without making it anything except what it is, I think we'll have a very attractive place for people to come for a long time and I don't think it'll wear out.
    LD: The future of Fort Worth, to me, just seems extremely bright. I made that assessment a long time ago, when I set up shop here. The future of Fort Worth is just bright, there's no question about that.
    CT: The future of Fort Worth is bright. It's exciting. I think we've just started to grow, I think we've just started.
    JS: It seems to me the people of this city have found a way of live that comes closer to what most of us would like to have more than any other place I know. I guess they never found out that they were supposed to get more cold and irritated and impersonal and less in touch with each other as their city grew. So, there it sits, high on a bluff above the twin forks of the Trinity River, where it can never lose sight of its past, present, and future forever. Fort Worth, the Unexpected City.