Walking the Convention Center Neighborhood
Fort Worth Travel Blog› entry 3 of 8 › view all entries
My TRE train made two stops in downtown Fort Worth. I detrained at the last, the former Texas & Pacific station. The large Art Deco structure, built in 1931, once housed the railroad's offices as well as its Fort Worth terminal. It's been adapted as condominium apartments, but also continues to be a station for TRE. As I entered the station's restored waiting room from the platform, I knew at once this had been the proper way to make an entrance to the city! The high ceiling was decorated with chandeliers and raised tile embellishments, bespeaking a time when travel by train was the way to go.
The station was within easy walking distance of the Fort Worth Omni Hotel where I was to stay.
The area surrounding the Convention Center is a bit south of downtown Fort Worth. (I was to get there up later on in my stay.) The immediate vicinity was known in the 19th century as Hell's Half Acre, a location of saloons, gambling dens, and houses of ill repute when Fort Worth was a real Western frontier town.
Up Houston Street from the Omni was the interesting Flatiron Building. Where had I seen something like that before? Built in 1909, the wedge-shaped structure was inspired by the famous Flatiron Building in New York City. The opening of the building marked the beginning of Fort Worth's transition to a modern city of offices and businesses. It's in the process of restoration and is a center for the study of Fort Worth's architectural history. To one side is the recent Panther Fountain, celebrating Fort Worth as the "Panther City".
At Main and 9th in front of the Convention Center Arena is General Worth Square. The small park contains a historical marker telling the story of the city's namesake. William J. Worth was a soldier in the early national period and, as a Major General, military commandant in New Mexico and Texas. He died on the frontier in 1849 and a new fort established on the Trinity River was named for him. Interestingly, he is buried in New York City, another of several tie-ins Fort Worth has with New York.
At the other side of the Convention Center is the Fort Worth Water Gardens. This good-sized urban park with fountains and pools is designed as a retreat from city bustle. It is a very pleasant place and was a nice area to walk through on the way to meetings. (The peaceful setting is also built overtop the old rowdy Hell's Half Acre.)
Time came for dinner. The opening all-conference buffet was conveniently held at the Omni. I met up with my colleagues, all of whom had smooth trips from Washington.
Following dinner, I once again headed outside. I like night photography and wanted to investigate the opportunities here. Several scenes presented themselves. The Water Gardens was still an active place after dark, with lighted fountains and people to enjoy them. Nice to see people do not eschew the park after dark. The tall buildings uptown were illuminated, which made a nice scene. I'd have to find time to get up that way.