Monday, September 21, 2015
The EHHS Social Order – 11.2.3 – Early Cowtown Society - After the T&P
It’s difficult to find early pictures of
taken during its
formative years following the 1876 arrival of the T&P Railroad. For one thing a small, dusty village of just
a few hundred frontier stockmen was of little interest to photographers having
the requisite “modern” photo equipment…the gear was bulky and difficult to
transport over long distances. Thankfully,
there are number of miscellaneous images in circulation that do provide random
snapshots of the small town that help describe how the town was developing from
1876-1895. Taken from a Ft. Worth Penn Street home in 1885, shown
above is the earliest known photograph of what was the developing skyline.
Thankfully, the early
manage to establish one City view that has remained substantially unchanged for
over 130-years; that being, Ft. Worth Main Street either north to
the Courthouse or south to the rail yards with some occasional off-axis views
to fill-in the texture detail. Countless
photographers, both professional and amateur, have taken those pictures from
various vantage points along Main Street such that a
collection of them really does a good job of illustrating the growth and
changes over that period of time.
With the coming of the T&P railroad,
became the cattle
shipping center for all those Fort Worth free range cattle
that had been driven up the Chisolm and other trails to the Texas railheads. In addition, the rail line provided much
easier access to the country’s newest frontier lands from the much larger
population centers of Kansas and Chicago . New York
A young (27) Frederick Remington’s amusing letter home to his girl friend suggests one young man’s feel for the place, circa 1888.
My dear girl,
Here I am at last—leave in the morning by stage for Fort. Sill—spent a day in Fort Worth with Hough—had a devil of a time—the mosquitoes like to eaten me up—there is not a square inch on my body that is not bitten—and oh oh oh how hot it is here—I have sweat and sweat my clothes full—I can fairly smell myself—I am dirty and look like the devil and feel worse and there is no help for me.
Well you can bet I am going to make the dust fly and get through as soon as I can—This is a miserable little frontier town with a little hen coop of a hotel—I am nearly starved to death—This Texas grub is something frightful—and my room—I wish you could see it. You would smile—I fully agree with Phil Sheridan “If I owned
and hell, I would rent Texas and live in Hell.”— Texas
Well all this is very discouraging but it’s an artist’s life. I have no idea how long this thing will take for these Indians are scattered all over the earth but I “touch and go” and you can bet I won’t spend the evening with them—still I came to do the wild tribes and I do it.
Your Old Boy,
Now, while Remington and Russell were venturing out into the
to record what they saw and
create their artwork, a young Amon Carter about age 10, who would become
perhaps the most important influence on what Indian Territories would become, was growing up
in Crafton, about 60-miles northwest of town. Carter, together with his future friend, oilman Sid
Richardson, were too young to have known Remington and Russell
during their prime years, but would later enthusiastically embrace and collect their
art. Those collections reside in Fort Worth museums today and form
perhaps the greatest accumulation American Western Frontier Art in the world. More on them later. Fort Worth
Frontier cattlemen started building “city” homes in
during the 1890s that dwarfed
all residences that had been built during the previous 30-years of
settlement. The earliest large homes went
up a little north of the Courthouse on Fort Worth Samuels Ave. and since they were built of
wood, nearly all of them have either burned or rotted away. Only the Garvey house remains today as a reflection of what once was. Moving to made sense for the regional Cattle
Barons. Their herds had been shipped
out from there since the T&P came to town in 1876. Setting prices and making the deals was done
right there in town at the Exchange and the money flowed through Van Zandt’s
bank, among others. Fort Worth
With a rapidly growing population,
was quickly developing some
of the more refined creature comforts the large cities back East had been
enjoying for about a generation by the 1890s.
Waggoner and Burnett both had private rail cars they used
for travel. There were probably others…an
interesting research project to find some pictures might be in the oft. But, for most folks, it was the large homes
they built in Quality Hill that left the lasting impressions. Ft. Worth
...and, Van Zandt had managed to help cure the lack of any saloons in town...by 1886, there were 68 recorded in the City Directory.
...next, Quality Hill residents and details...