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DOWNTOWN FORT WORTH: Here are a few of the panoramas I shot:   1. Chisholm Trail Mural    2. Downtown Main Street 
                                              3.   City Streets   4. Bass Performance Hall   5. Fort Worth Symphony 

Downtown Cowtown
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY

When pondering Texas cities Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin all come to mind first .  Even El Paso beats out Fort Worth in this little exercise.  But, for pure eye appeal, Fort Worth is way out front.

The morning was perfect in all respects and Sundance Square, in the heart of the city, with its red brick,  tree-lined streets is immaculate.   I felt like I was standing in the big middle of a work of art.


After the Civil War cattle were roaming loose everywhere in great numbers and rounding them up for market became the principal enterprise in Texas.  The Chisholm Trail, named after the Scot-Cherokee Indian trader Jesse Chisholm, was the Interstate of its day reaching from the Rio Grande to central Kansas.  It was during a brief period between 1867 to 1884 that over one million head of cattle were driven to the stockyards in Fort Worth. And several million more were herded to other destinations. 
       Like politicians are lured to county fairs, the romance and adventure of the cowboy life lured young men away from the farming life straight into legend.   And in those days Fort Worth was the epicenter of excitement for cowboys, card sharks, outlaws and women -- using the term loosely.  
       When the cowboys arrived on the southern edge of Fort Worth they were in Hell's Half Acre, one of the wildest spots in all the borders of Texas.  If you were looking for a fight or someone to relieve you of your bottom dollar this was the perfect place. Newspaper editor B. B. Paddock of the Fort Worth Democrat claimed
"it was a slow night which did not pan out a cutting or shooting scrape among its male denizens or a morphine experiment by some of its frisky females."
       Today, there's still plenty of excitement to be had.   And if you're looking for Texas culture you're in the right place.  The home to seven museums, the Will Rogers Auditorium, Coliseum & Pioneer Town, The National Cowgirl Museum & Hall of FameThe Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, numerous night clubs, and Billy Bob's -- the Worlds Largest Honky Tonk.
       I had to stop by the parking garage to retrieve a few items from Nigel the Land Rover who was getting a well-needed rest.  On my way out, the head man in the facility had someone get me a map of  Sundance Square so I could find the  Sid Richardson Collection of Western Art.  I  was on the look-out for culture so starting there was as good as anywhere.
       As it happened, I was so dazzled by the city I just kinda wandered around taking pictures.  The streets were nearly devoid of traffic, but judging from the number of Free parking lots I assumed things picked up after dark.
       Before long I was standing in front of the backside of the Jett Building featuring the Chisolm Trail Mural painted by Richard Haas. ( How'd you like to have that painting hanging over your fireplace?) 
        As chance would have it, after wandering aimlessly around, I found myself standing at the gallery entrance.TurnA.jpg (4971 bytes)
       (There is an excellent map  of downtown Fort Worth on the Internet you might want to preview.)


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