Thursday, June 1, 2017

Who Was Harry Hines? - The Forgotten Harry Hines Memorial


   I took an informal poll yesterday and asked people what was the first thing that came to mind when I mention "Harry Hines"

   Seediness,  notorious, industrial were a few of the otherwise unpleasant descriptions I received about the infamous Dallas boulevard. Fair?  Perhaps.

   Did you know that Harry Hines Boulevard ends in uptown just a block from Klyde Warren Deck Park? Did you ever stop and wonder who was Harry Hines?  Obviously, someone thought he did something noteworthy enough to name a thoroughfare after him, albeit a notorious one.

   I have to admit, I never really thought much about it until I stumbled across this small park near downtown. I use the term stumble, because when I went back with my iPone, I wandered around for 20 minutes trying to find it again.

  The park is at the corner of Harry Hines Boulevard and Ashland, is less than a half acres and has a small monument in the middle. Thousand of cars pass by everyday in this midtown maze of streets but few realize the answer to "Who Was Harry Hines?" sits under a large shade tree.










   The memorial gives us not only insight into who he was, but the high esteem he was given by city leaders. It is also a cautionary tale, be careful where you place your name. The plaque reads:

       "Harry Hines, in whose honor Harry Hines Boulevard was named, served six years as Chairman of the Texas Highway Commission 1935 -1945

      His foresight envisioned the need for a new route north and northwest out of Dallas and carried to culmination what can appropriately be considered Dallas' first step toward a divided expressway system, which will prove a lasting tribute to his vision for our city and state.

   This memorial placed by friends who held him in high esteem and affection

   1886 - 1956






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Monday, April 17, 2017

Fort Worth Finds A Waterfall


   Update:  After years of delay, the Trailhead officially opened on April 22, 2017.  You are free to explore again. 



One might wonder how this waterfall could lay undiscovered for so many years, right in the middle of Fort Worth.

   The waterfall was actually part of Carswell Air Force Base until 1998. When the Base closed, the facility was divided between the new Naval Reserve Base and the city of Westworth Village. Most of the land that went to Westworth Village has been used for housing and shopping (such as new Walmart and Lowe's on Alta Mere). About one tenth of the public parcel, coincidentally the part with the waterfall. was left in its natural state.

    Even after the land became public, few people knew of the falls, mainly due to the fact that access to it was very difficult. Basically, you had to trespass on private land, or walk thru Farmer's Branch Creek to find it. One person who did find it was George Shannon, former president of the Tarrant Regional Water District. Shannon was aware of the waterfall for years and wanted to open access to the public. The Water District spent over $250,000 extending the Trinity Trail to the waterfall. Before that the TRWD spent almost ten years on an erosion control project to preserve the falls.

 

TO FIND THE WATERFALL:
     The easiest way to access the waterfall is from Pumphrey Drive off 183 (Pumphrey Drive is more commonly know as the road to the Carswell Front Gate). Turn on to Pumphrey off White Settlement Road or Alta Mere and head toward the Carswell Front Gate. The trailhead parking lot is on the right.

     At the far edge of the lot, you will see a new footbridge and the beginning of the trail. It is about a ten minute walk to the waterfall. You'll actually approach the waterfall from the top, so you pass it before you actually see it.

 Google Map to Trailhead



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Monday, February 13, 2017

Back From The Brink: The Longhorn Ballroom Is Coming Back

   Built by Bob Wills, once operated by Jack Ruby, the Longhorn Ballroom just south of downtown Dallas has had a storied past. The list of entertainers who have graced their stage run the gamut from Willie Nelson, Ray Charles to the Sex Pistols. 

   The Ballroom has sat mostly empty over the past 10 years, except for the occasional quinceaneras and weddings. Recently the property was bought by businessman Jay LaFrance, who wants to reopen the Longhorn as a music venue in the Summer of 2017. 

   I recently stopped by and got to chat with Western Artist Stylle Read who is updating the giant longhorn and the murals. I snapped a few photos for you to enjoy, including those of the long forgotten Texas Walk of Fame. 

The Western Artist  Stylle Read has been tasked to bring the giant longhorn and the murals up to date. 


Inside the walls on the east side of the compound sits the actual Ballroom


Some of the outside murals that Read will be updating







Behind this fence at the Longhorn Ballroom is a long forgotten 'Walk of Fame'.  A number of performers have been memorialized with stars and a footprint / handprint in cement.  Unfortunately time has not been kind to the display.


In the back of the property behind this white fence, stands the Longhorn's long forgotten Texas Walk of Fame


Of all these stars that indicate a footprint, only two metal stars are still barely readable

The Rusty Wier Star on the Longhorn's Walk of Fame, one of only two that is barely readable

The Johnny Paycheck Star is one of two where the name came be read. 


An up close look at some of the deteriorating stars on the Walk


In the back of the Longhorn property, sits the top frame of the original sign


What the sign once looked like. 


At covered wagon atop the south face wall


Found on the Southwest side of the property 




Address of the Longhorn Ballroom:  216 Corinth Street Road, Dallas, TX 75207





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Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Civil Rights Monument Built to Shadow over Fort Worth's KKK Hall





   Above, the Obelisk and final resting place of William McDonald, a prominent African American banker, civic and political leader in Fort Worth for the first part of the 20th Century.  


   Legend has it, that upon his passing, he wanted his monument to be seen from the front steps of Fort Worth's Ku Klux  Klan headquarters. A lasting memory for lifelong advisories. 

  Is the story true? 

  We know a few things are true. First of all, it was reported in a Fort Worth paper at the time of his passing, that McDonald had already chosen his gravesite before his death. 



  Secondly, the old Ku Klux Klan hall still sits on 1013 N. Main Street between downtown and the Stockyards. It has been decades since it was used for a Klan hall. Most remember it as headquarters for the Ellis Pecan Company. Today it's sits abandoned. 

The old Klan Hall on 1013 N. Main Street in Fort Worth. 

   If you stand on the front steps of the old hall, and look to the west, you can see the hill on which the Old Trinity Cemetery sits.  A number of trees have filled in the horizon since McDonald's death in 1950, but it is apparent that at one time, you could see the obelisk as your exited the hall. 

  To find the obelisk and the cemetery,  Use the address 502 Grand Avenue in Fort Worth  and look across the street. 


The Old Trinity Cemetery in Fort Worth 



The historic marker at McDonald's grave



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