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Trains, Streetcars, and Fort Worth's Past


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#1 gdvanc

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Posted 23 May 2004 - 11:12 PM

I ran across Cy Martin's web site recently and found a few interesting stories about Fort Worth and rail.


Fort Worth Streetcars by Vernie Barber

Historic Tower 55 by Cy Martin

Memories of the Fostepco Heights Trolley by Winston Sparks

The Rosen Heights Streetcar Line by Cy Martin

Chisholm Trail -- deja vu by Jay Cy Martin

#2 AndyN

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 05:17 PM

Some sneak previews of recently rediscovered corporate records of Northern Texas Traction, your friendly local streetcar and interurban company:

Not sure where we're headed but it must be Special because that's what the destination sign says and everyone is dudded up and getting their picture taken. This might be part of the arrival of the new cars, but the car they are riding in is one of the older models..



Here's the brand spanking new 1928 Birney Safety Car No. 266 with shiny paint and a illuminated dasher. The company put a lot of money into new equipment right up to the end. Fort Worth was no second rate transit property!



Here's the ubiquitous logo:



Two volumes of materials to look through. Not sure what to do with them, but we are digitizing them and if one of us gets around to writing the book about NTT, I'm sure it'll be in there.

AN
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#3 AndyN

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 01:29 AM

Time again to play everyone's favorite FW Architectural Forum Game: Name that Building!

Is this a real building or a figment of the artist's imagination? If it is a real building, is it one still standing or a building which has been demo'd?



The first person to correctly identify the photo will get something from Dismuke for their effort. Just kidding. First place is for a one night stay at the new Omni Hotel this Saturday on the 30th floor overlooking beautiful downtown Fort Worth. Bring a blanket. smilewink.gif
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#4 safly

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 02:40 AM

What is THE Sinclair Building for $500, Andy.

Possibly an EASTBOUND street car trip there?
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#5 AndyN

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 02:59 AM

Winner winner, chicken dinner!



You can also see a representation of the STS Tower/nee Sanger Bros. Dept Store in the background when it was still Sanger.

OK, so I suppose it wouldn't have been too hard for me to look that up on John's website.

Now, what about this streetcar. Is it the same as the one in the sketch?



And does it match this 1928 model?



The answer is a resounding yes on both accounts.

This car was recently uncovered in a lake cottage and is available. It will bulldozed if not claimed by the end of the month.

NTHT has a pot started with $1k in it so far. It will probably take $2k minimum to get it moved to safety.

NTHT Website
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#6 Fort Worthology

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 07:17 AM

Andy, would you mind if I wrote up something about the forlorn streetcar on Fort Worthology?

#7 AndyN

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 08:19 AM

Give me a few hours to make sure we are actually going to get it. When I started the post this morning I wasn't going to mention the newly found car, I was just curious about the advertisement. But, since it was the same style car I got a little carried away.
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#8 safly

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 03:26 PM

Plans to fully restore it?

If so, I'll get on the phones here.

And I'll take my chicken dinner too. huh.gif
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#9 FoUTASportscaster

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Posted 12 June 2008 - 07:54 PM

I can help with a small amount if that helps.

#10 AndyN

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 02:11 PM

We got it. I had to pay $700 to compensate for the scrap metal value, but we got it. I think we had one other organization thinking about getting it, but we went in "firstus with the mostus". If the rigging guy is on schedule we should be moving it within the next 2 weeks.

biggrin.gif
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#11 safly

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 02:25 PM

ALRIGHT!

"Haa Haaa, JESTERS DEAD!" biggrin.gif
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#12 redhead

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 02:32 PM

Andy,
where are you moving it to? (I know that's not supposed to end with a preposition for all of you English buffs.)
I'm just curious...

#13 AndyN

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 02:43 AM

Red., you know I love you and Mr. Redhead in spite of playing coy every once in a while. I am going to move the car to the old streetcar pavillion at the end of the Samuels Avenue streetcar line. I have checked code enforcement rules and I believe I will be ok since I am planning to fence it in and perhaps cover it over with vinyl siding until we are ready to restore. It will look like an outbuilding if you can even see it.

I sure hope you got my message on Friday about Alonso DeLeon.

The shipping on this car is going to cost about $2500 and as a non-profit 501©3 (that means tax-deductible), if you want to help out with the shipping costs, please feel free to use our Paypal link at our donation page or drop us a letter at NTHT, P.O. Box 861
Fort Worth, TX 76101.

This streetcar is one of the most important, if not the most important car in our collection because when you look at it, you can tell it is a Fort Worth streetcar. This is the SIGNATURE Fort Worth streetcar. It is a classic, art-deco car and was included in the logo, which we borrowed from the old Northern Texas Traction Newsletter, as seen on the right side:

The Transportation Triangle -



UNFORTUNATELY, someone decided that this streetcar was going to be bulldozed, so they salvaged/stole the original art deco light fixtures from the car in the past couple of days. I am thinking of running an ad in the local paper offering a reward for the return of the fixtures, no questions asked.

I am working with a graphic designer to put together a fundraising appeal and just today, we identified a pair of trucks (wheels) and motor controls that we could use to restore this car and the price is right. We will be approaching developers and philanthropic Fort Worth businesses with the offer of permanently fixing their company name/advertisement to the car in exchange for restoration funds.

We may not have any tracks to run on yet, but it has been a great year for streetcars in Fort Worth and it only looks to get better.


I know you can't see it through the internet, but my smile today is a mile wide. biggrin.gif

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#14 gdvanc

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 03:05 AM

That's great news, Andy. Can't wait to see it all prettied up. I'd help, but you know I'm busy that weekend. Kids and all.

QUOTE (AndyN @ Jun 14 2008, 03:43 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We will be approaching developers and philanthropic Fort Worth businesses with the offer of permanently fixing their company name/advertisement to the car in exchange for restoration funds.


Work the network, bro. If Kevin's offer still stands, that might get some attention.

QUOTE (AndyN @ Jun 14 2008, 03:43 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I know you can't see it through the internet, but my smile today is a mile wide. biggrin.gif


No, I can't see it - but I bet monee9696 can with his fancy-pants telescope camera lens. He's probably watching you right now. Unfortunately you probably look like you're in Dallas.

#15 AndyN

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 03:22 AM

Realizing that this Fort Worth Streetcar was probably renumbered when it went to Dallas in 1936, I offer the following commented excerpt from Vernie Barber's remembrances of the Fort Worth Streetcar (My added comments are in parentheses):

The 260's and 270's (numbered streetcars - this is likely the same series as the car we just acquired) served Arlington Heights and Polytechnic and were the jewels of the carbarn. They had leather upholstered seats (we have 1 of the original seats), red glass panels above the windows (ruby transom glass still intact) and had a wide off-white stripe below windows instead of being yellow like the rest of the stable. They rode like they were running on glass (EIB-64 trucks).

Of course, the cars were not air-conditioned, but with all the windows open and a cool night breeze coming thru, how good it felt rolling fast down a hill on Camp Bowie, Vickery or East Front (Lancaster) Street without stops (You haven't lived until you have done this). The motors hummed while the wheels clicked off the rail joints like castanets. It was worth a hand full of tokens.

On Sundays and Holidays, a Forest Park (streetcar) turned off the T.C.U. line on a short spur on a knoll just above the swimming pool. There was a small open wooden shelter which stood until about World War II.

The Summit and South Summit lines were different routes. Summit went west on Weatherford then south on Penn. It is pure conjecture, but I believe the South Summit line was created when the South Main line was discontinued. It had turned west on Magnolia, going to 8th Avenue. Summit ceased as an active route as the T.C.U. line served that territory with the South Summit serving Magnolia west of Hemphill to 8th Avenue. From there it proceeded south. Originally the line terminated at Elizabeth Blvd. When John Ryan developed Ryan Place, It also served the Frisco West Yard (Fort Worth and Western Yard) from that point. For a while, a car was left at the end of the line overnight.

The Sycamore Heights line went east on East Front Street sharing the tracks with the Dallas and Cleburne interurbans until it turned off on Purrington Street toward Meadowbrook.

At downtown car stops at the end of a block, safety zones were painted on the street next to the track. There were large conical cast iron pylons at the end next to oncoming traffic to protect passengers from automobiles.

Tenth and Houston was a major transfer point. The Transfer Drug Store was there and tokens and school passes could be bought inside.

During the Christmas Season, lighted green garlands were strung from the trolley support wires. Flags and banners were hung there during the annual Fat Stock Show.

There were two interurban stations on Main Street. One still stands at Third and Main (The Jett Building). Traction Company offices were in this building until they were moved to the Sinclair Building. There was a model of their crack train, "The Crimson Limited," displayed in the front window (We have one of the original models). Each year it would be taken to the Fat Stock Show and the State Fair (of Texas in Dallas) as an operating exhibit. It was powered by a motor from a vacuum cleaner. The other station was at 15th Street for the convenience of passengers from the railroad stations. I remember three car interurbans going down Main Street.

The red sandstone T&P Station at Main and Front (Lancaster) Streets was a fabulous place for watching not only trains but the electric cars. All cars going to and from the Carbarn, Main Street, East- side lines and both interurbans came by.

At night, the south side lines could be seen going over the old wooden Jennings Avenue viaduct looking like a parade of glow worms.

As the cars made the Main/Front curve, the wheels bumped over the crossover, frogs and switch points of the double tracks with the flanges making high pitched squeals. Trolley wheels made green flashes as they arced, gliding over the intersecting wires. The motormen stomped the foot pedal gongs, and the electric bells of of interurbans sounded like fire alarms. There were hoots, honks from horns from automobiles with sputtering exhausts, not to mention assorted whistles and bells from the steam trains. Oh, it was great - a symphony of city sounds.

While the T&P Roundhouse and Yard was still downtown, there was no underpass on South Main. Streetcars had to make their way across the expanse of tracks between trains and switch drags. It played havoc with schedules and would cause a stack up of cars.

On each end of the streetcars, there were posters advertising movies at the Hippodrome, Pantages or Liberty theaters or the Majestic vaudeville. In baseball season the were signs "Baseball Today at La Grave Field," for our fabulous "Fort Worth Cats" team. A block west of North Main Street there was a large storage yard for cars out of service and for the line of cars needed when the ball games were over.

Before the Paddock Viaduct on North Main was built, streetcars crossed the Trinity River on an iron bridge about even with the Texas Electric Company plant, and went south on Throckmorton Street. This bridge can be seen today just south of Randol Mill Road on the Woodbine Golf Course. (Really? I need to go scout out Woodbine).

Before Carter-Riverside High School was built, each afternoon, a few minutes before the end of my 6th period study hall, two 240 series cars would stop on College Avenue opposite Central High School for the Riverside students. I always knew then that in just a few minutes I could breathe the fresh air of freedom. But how I wished we lived in Riverside so I could ride those heavyweight Stone and Webster cars.

I rode the last street car into downtown Fort Worth - the Polytechnic. Shortly after getting off at the Courthouse, there were tremendous explosions. Weinstein's Hardware Store on Houston Street had a big fireworks stand in front of the store for the holidays. Somehow the whole thing went. I peeped down the alley behind the Union Bank and Trust. Skyrockets, Roman Candles and aerial bombs were going north, south and straight up on Houston Street, plus explosions equating with a major artillery barrage. The streetcars went out with a big bang. Maybe the Polytechnic line should have been named the "Pyrotechnic" for that last run.

But be of good cheer yet. There is always hope for sinners and ugly women. (Could be some fool will resurrect one of the old FW streetcars from down by the lake)


Vernie passed away a few years ago. But he was a gifted writer and contributed significantly to the preservation of Fort Worth's traction history.
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#16 AndyN

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 11:15 AM

Streetcar No. 123 has returned to Fort Worth. It landed at about Noon today.

The move took two hours longer than anticipated. (Best made plans of mice....)

Anybody wishing to donate to the non-profit 501©3 tax-deductible organization may please to use the PayPal link on the website http://www.northtexastransport.org

Pictures to follow soon.
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#17 djold1

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 08:24 PM

QUOTE
Before the Paddock Viaduct on North Main was built, streetcars crossed the Trinity River on an iron bridge about even with the Texas Electric Company plant, and went south on Throckmorton Street. This bridge can be seen today just south of Randol Mill Road on the Woodbine Golf Course.


Just a small correction to Vernie Barber's wonderful memories of the old Northern Texas Traction city streetcar lines. The quote above has been accepted as fact for some years before VB put in on the web. But it's not strictly accurate, I think.

While VB doesn't mention it, there is another legend that needs to be laid because it relates at least indirectly to the story. After a number of years of reading about and researching the electric transit systems of FW and their connection with the growth of Fort Worth, I can pretty reliably say that no streetcar ever used the old "wire" suspension bridge. There is a strong legend Rosen used it for his northside streetcar line, but this is not correct since the city did not give him an easment in about 1902 and he decided to build his own sturdy 12' wide girder bridge. This bridge was upstream from the Wire Bridge but still below the Trinity confluence.

The Rosen bridge which must be what VB is referring to, was not used for streetcars after the Rosen lines and NTT combined about 1906 or thereabouts and all streetcar traffic moved over the Iron Bridge and on down North Main. The early Citizens and NTT carbarns were at the base of the Iron Brige on the east and may have connected to Throckmorton, but that wasn't the main line.

About the only time that the old Rosen trolley bridge may have been used after the Rosen Heights line and the NTT combined in about 1906 was during the short period of about a year to 18 months in 1912-1914 when cars dropped off the bluffs on Franklin Street and across Bridge St. There is some mention that this might be done, but nothing else seems to show up in the old newspapers and other documention, unless I have missed it. If you look at the maps and topography, this was a steep dangerous rail path down the Bluffs and a heavy pull on the upside. It would have been very expensive to put back in operation, as well.

And if ithe Rosen bridge was used during this period, it was only until Paddock Viaduct was open and then at that point the Bridge was sold somewhat later, the wood floooring removed and it became a pipe bridge conecting the Power Plant and the waterworks. It seems unlikely that VB was alive in this early period so I think the story must be legend.

The Samuels Avenue bridge was the only other access to the North side and the packing plants while the Paddock Viaduct was being built and that bridge was rickety and the route was round-about.

The old "Iron Bridge" that was built in the early 1890's just a year or two later than the Trinity water level "Wire Bridge" carried the NTT streetcar lines as they passed behind the Courthouse headed north on Main to the Marine area and then eventually to the Stockyards. There are a number of pictures of this bridge.

The apparent reason that both the "Iron Bridge" and the "Wire Bridge" existed simultaneusly in close proximity seems to be that the Iron Bridge was so steep gong up the bluffs that wagons and stock and people found it difficult to ascend. M.C Toyer has a postcard of the Irion Bridge which calls it a "carriage bridge", which makes sense. The Wire Bridge apparently carried the pedestrian traffic and wagons. It also, before 1900, provided the only easy access to the Cotton Belt pasenger and freight station which was just to the west of where the power plant is now. It was also an easy route along the river bank to what is now Oakwood Cemetery.

The 1889 Cotton Belt yards and its wood passenger and freight stations have been completely overlooked as far as historic notice is concerned and TXU absolutely obliterated any remnants as they or TCC tore down structures after they closed the plant down. The levee work in the 1950's also probably covered over much of the yards. The old 1889 Cotton Belt mainline is still in place down to about north 5th street and the opper portiosn are used by metail salvage companies. It now connected to the Fort Worth & Western Railroad.

Both the Rosen Bridge and the Wire Bridge were apparently still in place across the Trinity until sometime after 1922. I have not lbe able to find a date for the removal of the Wire Bridge or the disposition of its parts. It still one of those little mysteries, at least to me.

I drove by the Woodbine Golf course the other day and took some pictures of a girder bridge in use there. It does look a little like the pictures of the Rosen bridge but to me it seemed too small to have ever crossed the Trinity below the confluence, the side girders seemed too short and they were not tied across the top as the Rosen girder bridge was. So, I'm not sure about that... One thing is for sure, it looks nothing like the old North Main Iron Bridge whose parts were reputed to have been used on the orignal 9-Mile bridge across the Trinity.

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The Lost Antique Maps of Fort Worth on CDROM
Website: Antique Maps of Texas
Large format reproductions of original antique and vintage Texas & southwestern maps
 


#18 AndyN

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 11:32 PM

Hmmm.... Seems like it didn't even take 24 hours before someone complained about the streetcar in my backyard. Anonymous tip to code enforcement. But, with the fence construction, I am in compliance. Sorry to rain on their anonymous parade, but the car ain't going nowhere. I researched the ordinances before I moved the car.
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#19 djold1

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 04:50 AM

How does the zoning look for a Trolley Diner plus a beer garden in that location? Seems to me there is some historical precedent on Pavilion.

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#20 AndyN

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 08:15 AM

Nah, the zoning has long been established as residential. although for some reason my property has been rezoned multi-family (before I bought it) as if someone knew the developers were coming. They probably didn't even have zoning when the Biergarten was still around.
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#21 redhead

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 12:56 PM

Way off topic here, sorry, but please allow the digression. Andy, much of your neighborhood is not in compliance with the zoning in place. There are numerous residences that could not be rebuilt in their current configuration should a fire occur. Fernando came to a neighborhood meeting once to try and get the neighborhood to rezone itself, but no one could agree on what exactly it should be...There's even some "I" and "J" if memory serves me correctly.

#22 AndyN

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 02:57 PM

You are correct. There is one lot nearby my house that is zoned commercial in the middle of a bunch of residential. I don't know if it is a grandfathered lot that dates back to a neighborhood store or what, but you are correct that the zoning is hodge-podge. Needless to say, though, that the zoning does not reflect the Pavillion and driving track since they are both long gone.
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#23 M C Toyer

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 01:05 AM

QUOTE
Both the Rosen Bridge and the Wire Bridge were apparently still in place across the Trinity until sometime after 1922. I have not been able to find a date for the removal of the Wire Bridge or the disposition of its parts. It still one of those little mysteries, at least to me.


Pete -

I note on your November 1939 Corps of Engineers Fort Worth Floodway Map both the Rosen / Pipeline Bridge and the Wire Bridge are shown. Is it possible the Wire Bridge was still in place at that late date or perhaps just some remnants of its support structure that warranted inclusion on the map?

I also note on the 1886 and 1891 Perspective Maps the bridge shown at that location is drawn as a through truss / iron girder structure rather than a wire suspension bridge. I recognize the perspective maps are not entirely accurate. Do you believe those two drawings, which are generally consistent with other maps of the era, properly reflect the location of the Wire Bridge? Are there any extant photos of it?

QUOTE
I drove by the Woodbine Golf course the other day and took some pictures of a girder bridge in use there. It does look a little like the pictures of the Rosen bridge but to me it seemed too small to have ever crossed the Trinity below the confluence, the side girders seemed too short and they were not tied across the top as the Rosen girder bridge was. So, I'm not sure about that... One thing is for sure, it looks nothing like the old North Main Iron Bridge whose parts were reputed to have been used on the orignal 9-Mile bridge across the Trinity.


If not the Rosen Bridge, do you have any thoughts on the age or other possible origin of the Woodbine Golf Course Bridge? Any indication when it was placed at the Golf Course?

M C

#24 djold1

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 10:16 AM

QUOTE
Is it possible the Wire Bridge was still in place at that late date or perhaps just some remnants of its support structure that warranted inclusion on the map?


I think that the old Rosen Streetcar/TXU pipeline bridge may have been in existance in 1939 because I think I have sen some other pictures that I don't own and can't remember its source that show it, I think. Working totally from memory here. While narrow, it was a very sturdy and useful type of bridge.

With no absolute proof, I think that the "wire" or suspension bridge was gone long before that. As you know, working Topo & Geo maps like this one of the Trinity flood plain are based on much older maps and often keep details from the past in place.


QUOTE
Do you believe those two drawings, which are generally consistent with other maps of the era, properly reflect the location of the Wire Bridge? Are there any extant photos of it


I believe that these old-style girder-looking bridge illustrationss were just stock artists representations of a "bridge" at that place. I do think that the placement of the bridge was approximately correct. I have been unable to come up with a definitive stand-alone picture. There are lots of shadows and edges, but no main picture yet.

The 1891 birdseye or perspective map of the North Main bridge behind the courthouse also shows a similar girder bridge. This does not look anything at all like the old "Iron Bridge" pictures what exist since it had no superstructure.


QUOTE
If not the Rosen Bridge, do you have any thoughts on the age or other possible origin of the Woodbine Golf Course Bridge? Any indication when it was placed at the Golf Course?


M.C. it's my opinion that once strong, rigid iron girber & truss bridges became practical that they were almost never thrown away. I can think of a number of railroad, interurban and road bridges that are laying rusting in storage to this date across the state. I think that this bridge at Woobine could be from a number of sources and as I said it looks like a truss rather than a girder bridge with an overhead superstlructure as the Rosen was. Just my opinion.






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The Fort Worth Gazette blog
The Lost Antique Maps of Fort Worth on CDROM
Website: Antique Maps of Texas
Large format reproductions of original antique and vintage Texas & southwestern maps
 


#25 djold1

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Posted 07 July 2008 - 01:17 PM

I need to make a correction...

We have been talking about all-metal bridges across the Trinity. I for one and perhaps others in this thread have been calling some of these structure "girder bridges".

They were not. They were truss bridges of various patterns with no large rigid side girders.

I apologize for the inaccuracy...

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The Lost Antique Maps of Fort Worth on CDROM
Website: Antique Maps of Texas
Large format reproductions of original antique and vintage Texas & southwestern maps
 


#26 AndyN

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 11:19 PM

Bud Kennedy Article


A relic of Fort Worth's mass-transit past
By BUD KENNEDY
bud@star-telegram.com

Finally, light rail has returned to downtown Fort Worth. Sort of.

Unfortunately, all we have is one 80-year-old trolley car that won't be rolling anywhere soon.

While Dallas commuters are packing light-rail train lines, Fort Worth and Arlington workers are mostly still driving. But we do have an antique trolley car with only one destination: a back yard in the Trinity Bluff neighborhood along Samuels Avenue.

Rail hobbyists from North Texas Historic Transportation rescued the vintage 1928 car last month from the Central Texas town of Laguna Park, where it came to rest 50 years after its last run on a Dallas trolley line.

Andy Nold of Fort Worth didn't have anywhere else to park the keepsake.

So it's in his back yard.


Nice article about the car. Only slipped on a few facts. The most glaring in that Texans DO call them streetcars, not Trolleys! blush.gif
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#27 Fort Worthology

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Posted 09 July 2008 - 09:19 AM

And here's my take on the story:

"A Vintage Fort Worth Streetcar Comes Home"
http://fortwortholog...car-comes-home/




#28 LocalYokel

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Posted 19 July 2008 - 06:27 AM

I belonged to the now-defunct Fort Worth Rifle and Pistol Club, and we had a couple of elderly members that were Fort Worth old-timers who had grown up in the streetcar era. While shooting the breeze with them one afternoon at the clubhouse (rather than shooting targets in the 110 degree heat rolleyes.gif ) they were telling us about the streetcars. According to them, in that era there was a rifle range near the banks of the Trinity near where the Courthouse / power plant are located. They would ride the streetcars to the stop nearest the range, carrying their rifles without any problem. One mentioned having a newspaper clipping that showed women in their fancy dresses on the streetcar carrying .22 rifles, apparently a trip to the rifle range was a family outing type event back then.

Fort Worth was also supposed to have had a shooting gallery (the type with the moving target ducks etc) but they couldn't remember where it was located, one thought it was at an amusement park. In the late 1980's or early 90's the "Shooters Palace" facility opened up downtown and for a while Fort Worth had an old-time shooting gallery in place, but it folded fast.

Does anyone have any pictures of the old rifle range or know about the shooting gallery?

#29 safly

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 09:46 PM

QUOTE (AndyN @ Jul 9 2008, 12:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Bud Kennedy Article


A relic of Fort Worth's mass-transit past
By BUD KENNEDY
bud@star-telegram.com

Finally, light rail has returned to downtown Fort Worth. Sort of.

Unfortunately, all we have is one 80-year-old trolley car that won't be rolling anywhere soon.

While Dallas commuters are packing light-rail train lines, Fort Worth and Arlington workers are mostly still driving. But we do have an antique trolley car with only one destination: a back yard in the Trinity Bluff neighborhood along Samuels Avenue.

Rail hobbyists from North Texas Historic Transportation rescued the vintage 1928 car last month from the Central Texas town of Laguna Park, where it came to rest 50 years after its last run on a Dallas trolley line.

Andy Nold of Fort Worth didn't have anywhere else to park the keepsake.

So it's in his back yard.


Nice article about the car. Only slipped on a few facts. The most glaring in that Texans DO call them streetcars, not Trolleys! blush.gif



Nice article for both outlets. Say ANDY, I have a wonderful idea for a place to park that sucker when it is all done and finished, possibly could get some local investor interests for your 501C3 at the same time. You know how to reach me. wink.gif
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#30 AndyN

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Posted 23 July 2009 - 11:09 PM

It has been about a year since North Texas Historic Transportation brought 123 back to Fort Worth. In the meantime, it has been in the background while we concentrate our efforts on Fort Worth streetcar No. 560 (nicknamed Jenny), a 1921 standard Birney Safety Car. For what it's worth, No. 560 is almost identical to the streetcar used in the recent Clint Eastwood movie, Changeling with Angelina Jolie although their car has rubber tires instead of railroad wheels. Here's a clip on Youtube:

We've had a busy time with the acquisition and reproduction of parts to return this little car to operating condition. We were fortunate enough to find a complete set of seats several months ago for about $1500. They were being used in a railroad car, but they are the same design as the seats used in streetcars, just wider. We will shorten the crossmembers to the correct width when we dissassemble the seat to derust it and rebuild it. We also lucked into finding an appropriate controller on eBay last month. The controller is a large mechanical switch that varies the amount of speed to the motors. Basically a big old dimmer switch, but they are very hard to find and I was astounded to see one on eBay. The asking price was $5000 or best offer. I bid $2000 and they took my offer faster than I could check whether or not we had the money for it. I was able to call around and find sponsors, so we now have our 2nd controller (one on each end of the car since it is double-ended) waiting for us to pick it up in Indiana. The one we already have is about to be loaned to the FW Museum of Science and History for their upcoming display on Fort Worth Streetcars.

Another rare/hard part to acquire is the truck, or wheelset that is underneath the streetcar body. Most trucks were cut up for scrap and the bodies would be sold for chicken coops, fishing cabins or what have you. We have been working with other railway museums from across the United States (San Francisco area, Boston area, Minneapolis, Fort Smith Arkansas, Chicago area, Fort Smith Colorado and Tucson) to create new truck parts from scratch. So far, we have created enough new stuff that hasn't been made in probably 80 years to put more than 10 streetcars back in service. The journal box bill was in about of $25,000 and the sideframes that are currently being made are going to run about $22,000. Thankfully we were able to spread the cost of the pattern out among the museums plus on both casting calls we were able to get a $5,000 matching grant from the 20th Century Electric Railway Foundation. We are pleased that the foundation recognizes the value of our work and awarded us the maximum grant amount for both projects.

The first article sideframe is in my warehouse in Azle and other than a minor, fixable flaw in one of the pedestal jaws, it looks great! It is 10 feet long and weighs about 300 lbs. We need two to hold the axles to the bottom of the streetcar.

So far, all of our work on this car has been done out of my warehouse in Azle or at supplier's facilities. Not having an indoor work area and office has slowed our efforts, but then again all of the work done on the two interurban cars we assisted the T with the restoration of No. 25 and No. 411 was done outside or under cover. As for this project, we have come to an agreement to lease a building for a 3 year term that would be ideal for the restoration work and is right downtown, convenient to all our volunteers. Unfortunately, while unoccupied for the last 3 months, the building was vandalized by thieves who gutted the electrical system and even disturbed the plumbing (copper watelines I suppose). This is a major setback since the owner probably has no plans to repair the damage and we would have spend some money to get the wiring and plumbing up to code. The city will let us put in a new electric system of just the basic barebones and I am hoping to find a licensed electrician and plumber who will let us provide labor and check and sign off on the work.

We have also worked on improving the structure of our organization. We have talked to several prominent local citizens who might be able to help us with our goals and objectives about joining our board of directors. We have gotten some affirmative responses and hope to announce our new board of directors soon. We originally founded the organization in 1997 with the minimum 3 required board members required by the State of Texas and never got around to expanding the board. After everyone is on board, we have arranged to have a planning session hosted by a consultant from Canada who was involved with a museum up there that has made exceptional progress in the last ten years. We will be working through our mission and strategic goals to devise a new plan to help us develop professionally as a museum organization.

So back to No. 123, the car we brough back from Laguna Park last year. While doing all this other work on the lease building and No. 560, we found a potential source for parts for 123. Wonderful opportunities sometimes present themselves when you are least prepared to deal with them. We recently became aware of a source of all of the parts that we would need to return this streetcar to service. The biggest obstacle in our No. 560 project has been finding parts. For the past 13 years we have been attending auctions, adapting parts, swapping with other museums and building reproductions at great cost. For No. 123, we have the opportunity to acquire everything we need to restore this remarkable streetcar to operating service at one time. This is like finding the controller on eBay, except it's more like finding the controller, the trucks, the seats, the air compressor, the motors, and everything all at once. That just doesn't happen in streetcar world much anymore.

I am amazed at what we have accomplished this year in spite of the downtown in the economy. I am very excited about the prospect of having either one or both of these original Fort Worth streetcars in operating condition in the event that the proposed streetcar circulator is built. We would sure love to provide these cars for special events and charters to demonstrate just how much transit has changed in the last 90 years. In the meantime, we've also got our eye on a couple of acres and some old railroad right-of-way that could play host to a permanent restoration and interpretation facility as well as a demonstration streetcar line even if the circulator is never built.

That's the news from NTHT, Inc.

www.northtexastransport.org


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#31 Brian Luenser

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 08:16 PM

Won this 1924 Fort Worth Record newspaper on E-Bay a year or two ago. I do love reading the old papers. I have several now. Shame is I find I can only read them once or twice before the flake off to dust.

In this November 1924 issue there is a big story on how the North Texas Traction Company won a national award for excellent service. In the same story, it tells of an audit that shows how everybody pays there proper fare to ride the train. Apparently is was just an honor system. (I speculate that the same system today would bring in about 15 cents on the dollar) Thought I would scan the article as this paper is now toast and I am guessing I am the only one in the world that has this paper.
I have 2 other scans from this paper that I will post in a more appropiate place.



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#32 history girl

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 07:39 AM

The Main Street Viaduct sometime between 1893 when the court house was completed and 1914 when the new Paddock Viaduct was built. I hope this pic will help answer some questions about the old bridge. This is my first post, so I hope I can get the image to post correctly.

[img]http://http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x466/lisajobe/History%20Stuff/viaduct.jpg[/img]

<a href="http://s1183.photobucket.com/albums/x466/lisajobe/History%20Stuff/?action=view&amp;current=viaduct.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x466/lisajobe/History%20Stuff/viaduct.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

#33 history girl

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 07:41 AM

Posted Image

Attempt number two at the Main Street Viaduct Pic.

#34 history girl

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 07:44 AM

This is the Power Plant in Handley for the Texas Traction Company. I believe it was their largest power plant and sat at Lake Erie (now Lake Arlington).

Posted Image

#35 AndyN

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:09 PM

Fortworthology has an entry today about streetcar crossties being uncovered as part of the Berry/University intersection reconstruction.

Old Streetcar Timbers Unearthed at Berry University

I have been to the site (with appropriate hard hat, steel toe boots, etc.) and confirmed that these are crossties from the last few feet of the TCU Streetcar line.

There is one crosstie still in position at the edge of the cut and it is centered on the right-of-way, as the single-track streetcar line would have been. It also has one of its tie plates and anchor bolts intact.

Posted Image

Posted Image
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#36 AndyN

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:58 PM

The only error in the article is that the tracks ran north on University (previously known as Forest Park Blvd.) and not east-west on Berry. This is consistent with the old maps show.
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#37 John T Roberts

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 03:07 PM

Some additional ties were unearthed today over in Ryan Place in the 2600/2700 blocks of Willing Avenue. I will post a photograph after work.

#38 Doohickie

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 03:09 PM

Cool.
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#39 John T Roberts

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:38 PM

Here is a photo taken by John Belknap of the road work being done on Willing Avenue in Ryan Place. This shows the ties that were beneath the street.
Posted Image

#40 Dismuke

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 11:39 PM

So how is it that the wood has managed to survive in such good condition over the years? I would have thought that termites and ground moisture would have caused it to go rotten years ago.
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#41 RD Milhollin

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 01:00 PM

So how is it that the wood has managed to survive in such good condition over the years? I would have thought that termites and ground moisture would have caused it to go rotten years ago.


If a simple test on the wood shows that the ties were treated with creosotes that would help to explain their preserved condition. These toxic compounds have been used throughout the history of railroads to preserve wooden ties, acting as an insecticide and as a waterproofing agent. The treated wood is said to have a useful life of 25 - 50 years supporting tracks, but in the situation at TCU where the ties have been buried under a concrete cap and highly compressed soil for many years moisture and oxygen would be pretty well kept away from the wood, allowing an even longer life.

#42 bryanr

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 10:20 AM

Its funny, I remember when they were re-doing Lancaster after they got the overhead down, there were streetcar ties all over the area as they were re-working the grade.


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#43 lcbrownz

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Posted 22 July 2017 - 09:52 AM

I have a photo of my maternal grandmother in front of the Fostepco Heights Trolley.

Fort Worth Streetcars by Vernie Barber

Historic Tower 55 by Cy Martin

Memories of the Fostepco Heights Trolley by Winston Sparks

The Rosen Heights Streetcar Line by Cy Martin

Chisholm Trail -- deja vu by Jay Cy Martin



#44 AndyN

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 01:51 PM

I have a photo of my maternal grandmother in front of the Fostepco Heights Trolley

 

 

 

 

If you'd like to post it let me know. I'd be happy to host the picture on my domain if you don't have a storage space.


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