Fort Worth, or “Cowtown” as those who live here call it, is working hard to keep its homegrown roots – even though Forbes named it the third best metro area in the U.S. and Zillow.com named it number three hottest housing market. Yet, Fort Worth has kept its old-fashioned values, celebrating its colorful Old West heritage as it has grown to become a city full of opportunity.
Fort Worth residents take great pride in the transformation its downtown area has experienced. Planned expansion of retail and restaurant areas, the construction of two mega-movie houses and the number of festi- vals and events hosted here has breathed new life into downtown Fort Worth. Sundance Square is just one example with restaurants, live theatre and live music, with the famed
Fort Worth Stockyards just a mile away. Fort Worth arts patrons have also been responsible for creating and supporting a fantastic arts scene, including the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall – the home of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Opera, the Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet, the lauded Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, and the much-loved Casa Mañana Theatre.
All that activity has attracted more and more people to the city’s downtown, with condos popping up to support the desire for a more urban lifestyle. Named one of “America’s Most Livable Communities,” Fort Worth is also a great value because of its overall lower cost of living – which is very competitive and comparable to the cost of living with other cities in Texas.
Arlington Heights offers its residents a slice of just about everything, and is as a popular neighborhood now as it was in the 1920s, when middle class residents riding the tide of the oil boom called it home. The neighbor- hood is defined by Camp Bowie Blvd. to the north, I-30 to the south, Montgomery Street on the east side and Merrick Street to the west.
During the Roaring Twenties, Arlington Heights was only a short trolley ride down- town. Now, its close proximity to Fort Worth’s business district remains one of the appealing advantages of this community. Camp Bowie (the brick street that bisects Arlington Heights and takes you downtown) also offers a seem- ingly endless selection of retail and restaurant opportunities, and the Cultural District with its museums and the beautiful Botanical Gardens is just minutes away.
Both the grand residences bordering on the exclusive Rivercrest area and the refurbished cottages of first-time owners are comfortably at home here. Residents who live here are very involved in preserving the history of the neighborhood, and have gone to great pains to ensure that Arlington Heights retains its character.
Berkeley Place is located about two miles southwest of the Fort Worth’s Central Business District and began in 1901 as a grain and dairy farm. Residential development around the farm soon followed, and in 1922 Berkeley Place was annexed by Fort Worth (and the original farmhouse that started it all may still be seen at 2230 Warner Road). Styles here range from Antebellum to Bungalow to Tudor Revival to Modern, and are known for their very distinctive brick or stucco construction, pointed arches and multiple roofs. Larger homes here feature detached garages and even guest cottages. Residents in Berkeley Place are extremely involved in their neighborhood’s activities, and the Berkeley Place Association is one of the most active homeowner’s associations in Fort Worth.
Bounded by Kingswood to the north, Syca- more School Road to the south, Trail Lake to the west and Hulen Street to the east, Candleridge is a master-planned community of more than 1,000-acres, provides easy access to I-20, I-35W and Hulen Mall, and undeveloped lots are still available. Many of the homes here are custom-built and charac- terized by brick construction, complete with beautiful lawns and attractive landscaping.
Candleridge is home to the largest neighbor- hood park in Fort Worth, which includes French Lake and miles of hiking and bike trails that run through the 100-acred park, plus a linear greenbelt that extends along the creekbeds and behind homes. French Lake is surrounded by walkways, shade trees and a pavilion for picnics, with many varieties of ducks, both wild and domestic, together with geese, herons and other waterfowl here at various times of the year.
COLONIAL AND BELLAIRE
Similar in style and history, the Colonial and Bellaire neighborhoods are forever connected by more than just a shared boundary. Located four miles southwest of downtown Fort Worth, Colonial Hills was originally a dairy farm, until the construction of the Colonial Country Club in 1936. South of Colonial Hills and west of Texas Christian University is Bellaire. Most of the land in the Bellaire neighborhood was divided into lots and developed by Bellaire Estates. Later, in 1929, the land along Bellaire Drive North became the TCU football stadium.
Both neighborhoods feature large two-story Colonial, Spanish and Tudor-style homes, mixed in with ranch-style homes found along Simondale and Alton Road. Prairie cottage homes made of stucco or brick are found at the southern end of both neighbor- hoods, and have tile roofs and basements.
Located on the near south side of Fort Worth, the Fairmount Southside Historic District covers approximately one square mile, and contains within its boundaries some of the nation’s best prime examples of turn-of-the-century housing.
Originally, Fairmount was 20 different subdivisions platted between 1883 and 1907. After World War II, as suburbs around Fort Worth were growing, the neighborhood fell into disrepair.
During the 1970s, residents formed the Fairmount Association – a neighborhood association dedicated to restoring Fair- mount. The association was instrumental in securing the neighborhood’s historical designations, and still works closely with Fairmount residents. The neighborhood features an annual home tour that hosts thousands, as well as an annual Neighbor- hood-wide Real Estate open house.
Homes in Fairmount range in architectural style from one-story wood frame, Queen Anne, and various American Bungalows, as well as two-story American Four Squares, Victorian, and Prairie Style. Many Fair- mount homes still possess most of their original features and fixtures, or are being restored to contain them. As a result, real estate values in Fairmount have doubled in the last five years, and are still rising.
Located in southwest Fort Worth, Mira Vista is a 700-acre gated community, and considered to be one of the premier neigh- borhoods in this area, offering gated security and many custom-built homes, many of which have golf course or water views. The Mira Vista par-71 championship course has been home to many state and local tourna- ments, and is challenging to both beginning and expert golfers alike. The community also boasts a swimming pool, tennis courts and a beautiful clubhouse.
Only three miles west of the Fort Worth Central Business District, River Crest is a historic community that has been the proud home of many Fort Worth forefathers, including Amon Carter Sr. and Wesley C. Stripling. Beautiful and scenic, River Crest is built around a country club and a golf course, and its shaded, quiet streets are perfect for brisk morning walks and after- noon strolls. Many of the homes here are two-story homes and offer views of the golf course, and architectural styles range from wood-framed Prairie-style to stucco Mediterranean to Tudor Revival. The area is also home to more than 30 historic homes.
Ryan Place was originally marketed to the “elite and exclusive,” although during the Great Depression building was halted and some houses began to deteriorate. In 1969, the Ryan Place Improvement Association started beautification efforts, and the results are stunning. Ryan Place is the oldest intact residential neighborhood in Fort Worth, with tree-lined streets, sidewalks and beau- tiful ornamental streetlights.
Residences here range in style from Mediterranean to Tudor to Revival, and prices vary depending on the size and condition of the home. The first weekend of December heralds the RPIA-sponsored annual Ryan Place Candlelight Tour, which is responsible for funding many neighborhood improvements, such as the restoration of the gates at the east and west entrances of Elizabeth Boulevard. Residents also participate in the Ryan Place 4th of July Parade, Halloween’s BooFest!, and annual Croquet Tournaments.
The TCU neighborhood is derived from its famous neighbor and major landowner, Texas Christian University. The school’s presence helped encourage development to the southwest of Fort Worth during the 1920s, and soon a streetcar line was routed to the campus, and streets were paved. St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church dominates the neighborhood, and most of the homes around TCU are small cottages built during the 1920s and 1930s.
Westover Hills is an incorporated city completely surrounded by Fort Worth. An ultra-exclusive residential neighborhood, Westover Hills is secluded and quiet, with tree-shaded roads. Mansions dominate the area, and most homes were architect-designed and custom-built for the prominent families who lived here. As a result, styles vary greatly from the older Tudor and Mediterranean styles in the older section to more contemporary and modern styles to the west. Approximately thirty structures are listed in the Tarrant County Historic Resources Survey published by the Historic Preservation Council for Tarrant County.