Fort Worth's Forgotten Park

Note: This Story was originally published in 2011. This past week, the Fort Worth announced that they are taking bids to restore and reopen the park, Hopefully by 2016.

   Can you have a city park designed by a prominent landscape architect and have nobody notice when it closes?  The answer is yes, which is easy to understand when you consider that few people have ever noticed that the park even existed. What makes this story so unbelievable is that the park is on a busy downtown corner across the street from the Tarrant County Courthouse.

   Heritage Park was opened on the corner of Belknap and Main in downtown Fort Worth to commemorate the founding of the original military post in 1849. The park, designed by noted architect Lawrence Halprin, opened in 1976. It featured numerous water features intermingled with shaded paths and a cantilevered walkway built over the bluff overlooking the Trinity River.

  But even though the park was located on a busy intersection, it was one with little foot traffic. Few people noticed Heritage Park. And even fewer noticed in 2007 when the park fell into disrepair and was closed.

   It's been three years since the park has closed. But there is little public uproar to reopen the grounds. I contacted the city of Fort Worth and received a reply from Fernando Costa, the Assistant City Manager.  He wrote that the city is working with Downtown Fort Worth Inc. to raise funds to repair and upgrade the park. But in the past three years, little has been done. Meanwhile, the park is slowly being taking over by nature.

The cantilevered walkway can still be seen on the bluff above the Trinity, even though the trees  have begun to block the view. 

The Water Wall behind chain link.

An ironic caption 'The Vision Endures" on the sign outside the park

A Water Wall that includes the map of the original settlement sits behind chain link.

An urban oasis on the other side of the fence.

A diminished view of the park from the Main Street Street Bridge.

Heritage Park on North Main Street at the top of the Trinity River Bridge
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  1. That is so sad to see things go to waste.

  2. Wow, I've driven by that dozens of times and never once knew there was a park there. I hope the city gets it fixed up soon. Looks like a really cool place.

  3. I don't ever remember going to this park growing up, but must have passed it a million times. Sad.

  4. I was sad when I heard they were closing this park. My father loved this park. Whenever we were up from Cleburne to Fort Worth during the day, we would go to this park. I even took my then-boyfriend, now-husband to this park back in '06. It was in a sad state compared to my childhood memories, but we still enjoyed our time there. As a child, I used to have nightmares of zombies welling up from the main pool (which was eerie when lit up at night).

  5. Jayme,

    Your description of the lit up Main Pool sounds like the Water Gardens on the opposite side of downtown. Perhaps you are thinking of that park (by the way, the Water Gardens have been refurbished and are open to the public)

  6. It is quite possible we used to go to both when I was a kid. But it had to have been Heritage Park that I went to in '06, as the Water Gardens were not reopened until '07. I am happy to hear that they were refurbished and reopened, though. That happened after I moved away to Minnesota.

  7. I really, really like how your photos capture the park. We are doing an article in AIA's COLUMNS magazine on the park in their Lost/Found section, and I wanted to ask if you would mind allow me to use a couple of the images in high-res form and credit you on them? If you would like to discuss this further, please email me at or call 214-821-3290 and ask for Ariel. Thank you!