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#1 walton91

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 07:55 PM

I have lived in Fort Worth for about a year and a half, in FW South. Can anyone tell me about the tunnel or underpass at Jennings and Vickery? I have Googled and have only seen a mention here and there. It is right in front of the W-D building and appears to only go from eastbound Vickery to northbound Jennings. What was is used for? What was that area like at the time. On a positive note, it looks like it is getting a new surface as part of the Lancaster reconstruction so I assume it will be open again shortly.

While I'm at it, I have a couple more questions. It appears to me that there used to be traffic circles at University/7th/Camp Bowie and Lancaster/Camp Bowie/Montgomery intersections. That is just my observation so I was wondering if that was the case and were there any other traffic circles in town (beside Bluebonnet).

Finally, I see bricks under the streets everywhere near downtown (Lancaster, Jennings, Vickery, etc) How far back were the brick roads downtown? When were those paved over?

Thanks!

#2 JBB

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 09:24 PM

You're optimistic if you think the Lancanster reconstruction will ever be completed. smile.gif

I'm not positive, but I don't ever recall hearing that those intersections were traffic circles. In 2001 or so, there was a private effort to convert the University/7th/CB/Bailey intersection into a roundabout, but it fell apart when a donation was withdrawn amongst political bickering and the economic downturn following 9/11.

#3 FWFF'r

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Posted 14 August 2007 - 10:40 PM

QUOTE(walton91 @ Aug 14 2007, 08:55 PM) View Post

I have lived in Fort Worth for about a year and a half, in FW South. Can anyone tell me about the tunnel or underpass at Jennings and Vickery? I have Googled and have only seen a mention here and there. It is right in front of the W-D building and appears to only go from eastbound Vickery to northbound Jennings. What was is used for? What was that area like at the time. On a positive note, it looks like it is getting a new surface as part of the Lancaster reconstruction so I assume it will be open again shortly.

While I'm at it, I have a couple more questions. It appears to me that there used to be traffic circles at University/7th/Camp Bowie and Lancaster/Camp Bowie/Montgomery intersections. That is just my observation so I was wondering if that was the case and were there any other traffic circles in town (beside Bluebonnet).

Finally, I see bricks under the streets everywhere near downtown (Lancaster, Jennings, Vickery, etc) How far back were the brick roads downtown? When were those paved over?

Thanks!

I don't think that there were traffic circles at the locations you mentioned as far as I can remember. There is one besides Bluebonnet, the Weatherford Traffic Circle out on the far west side.

Not sure about the other parts of your questions, although I do remember the tunnel you are talking about.... just don't know anything about it.


#4 Buck

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 09:43 AM

Actually, the one out west is the Benbrook Traffic Circle.

There was a Weatherford Traffic Circle, but it's gone.

It was just north at the intersection of Spur 580 (Camp Bowie West) and 183 (Alta Mere).

I can't think of any other circles in FW, besides the little ones in the industrial area north of White Settlement Road (Cullen, Vacek, those streets)

Wasn't there one on 183 somewhere in the Mid-Cities?



#5 cbellomy

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 10:32 AM

Buck, is there an online resource that accounts for the history of these traffic circles in Texas?

The only one I have to add would be the old circle in northwest Dallas at the intersection of what was then US 77, Texas 114 and Texas 183. That's been gone for decades, though.

#6 Dr Quest

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 12:03 PM

QUOTE(Buck @ Aug 15 2007, 10:43 AM) View Post

Actually, the one out west is the Benbrook Traffic Circle.

There was a Weatherford Traffic Circle, but it's gone.

It was just north at the intersection of Spur 580 (Camp Bowie West) and 183 (Alta Mere).




I've never heard of a Benbrook Traffic Circle, I always thought the circle in front of the cadillac place was the Weatherford Traffic Circle.


#7 TexasPacific52

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 05:54 PM

There are actually brick roads all over the place that have been paved over. I think the standard practice was always to just pave over the bricks instead of fixing a problem with the road. Unknown brick streets surface every once in awhile when the city has a big project to do. The city of Fort Worth actually has a Brick unit in the Street Department that takes care of the remaining streets.

#8 Dismuke

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 02:42 AM

QUOTE(walton91 @ Aug 14 2007, 08:55 PM) View Post

While I'm at it, I have a couple more questions. It appears to me that there used to be traffic circles at University/7th/Camp Bowie and Lancaster/Camp Bowie/Montgomery intersections. That is just my observation so I was wondering if that was the case and were there any other traffic circles in town (beside Bluebonnet).
Thanks!


There never was a traffic circle at that intersection. However, there were plans a few years back to build a traffic circle there which I believe you might find discussions about in older threads on this forum. Part of the cost of the proposed traffic circle was to be defrayed by some private organization that had property in the area. If I recall correctly, they pulled out of that and thus the traffic circle was never built. However, they did make some upgrades to that intersection including putting decorative bricks in the pavement that kind of has a traffic circle look to it - which is probably what made you wonder about it in the first place.


QUOTE

"Finally, I see bricks under the streets everywhere near downtown (Lancaster, Jennings, Vickery, etc) How far back were the brick roads downtown? When were those paved over?"


I remember reading that the original bricks on Camp Bowie were put down in the late 1920s and replaced an earlier asphalt surface. The bricks are called "Thurber Bricks" because of the fact that they were made from the brick plant at Thurber, Texas a once very important coal mining town which is now a ghost town on I-20 about half way between here and Abilene. The bricks downtown also look like they are Thurber bricks and my guess is they are of similar and perhaps somewhat earlier vintage. I have read that the brick road on Camp Bowie once extended all the way on Hwy 180 to Mineral Wells with the bricks being visible as late as the 1980s.

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#9 austlar

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 03:39 AM

I don't know exactly when the brick streets came to pass, but my father used to talk about road crews laying brick streets as part of the WPA. He especially recalled one crew of blackl men laying bricks on Houston Street, where my family had a store in the old Westbrook Hotel building, while singing some kind of work song in unison. My impression was that this was one of the crews laying down the original brick. My father was definitely referring to the period during the Depression. As a kid in 1950's FW, I remember brick streets all over town, in fact most of the major streets outside of downtown were brick until they got paved over in the 60's and 70's.

#10 Dismuke

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 03:52 AM

QUOTE(cbellomy @ Aug 15 2007, 11:32 AM) View Post

Buck, is there an online resource that accounts for the history of these traffic circles in Texas?

The only one I have to add would be the old circle in northwest Dallas at the intersection of what was then US 77, Texas 114 and Texas 183. That's been gone for decades, though.




There is still an old traffic circle in Waco just to the east of I-35 past downtown as you are heading south. If you happen to be passing through, there is the Elite Circle Grill which has been in business since 1919 and in its very attractive present building since 1941. Right next door to the Elite is a 1949 burger stand called, of all things "Health Camp."

My father used to regularly eat at restaurant that was located on the old traffic circle on Hwy 77 a.k.a. Harry Hines Blvd in Dallas. Today there is bridge that replaced the traffic circle. But for many years after it was replaced, there was a run down motel that was called the Circle Inn that survived from the old traffic circle days. Last time I was in that area I noticed that it was gone. There is also an old movie theater with a tall sign tower that was the old Circle Theatre. It now has a sign on it indicating it is used for hosting bingo games.

I have also once saw a reference somewhere to an old traffic circle which supposedly existed at what is now the present location of Buckner Blvd (Loop 12) and I-30 in East Dallas. Just east of that area the freeway splits into I-30 and Hwy 80. Until sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s, that portion of Hwy 80 was actually I-20 and I-20 and I-30 actually ran together as one road all through Dallas and Fort Worth. The old US highway predecessor to I-20 was Hwy 80 and the for I-30 it was Hwy 67. Present day Samuels Blvd is the route of old Hwy 80. What I have read about the old traffic circle is it served traffic on old Hwys. 80, 67 and Loop 12. When I was a kid, there was a restaurant my family used to go to sometimes called the Circle Grill located at the northwest corner of Buckner and I-30. It burned down in 1999 but I have been told that a year or so ago, someone rebuilt it and it is open again. Supposedly it was named after the traffic circle. If there was a circle there, it would have been taken out when the Interstate came through in the late 1950s. What makes me wonder if there was a traffic circle there is the fact that I have otherwise heard so little about it and because the historical descriptions of Loop 12 at: http://www.dot.state...y/sl/sl0012.htm make no reference at all to a traffic circle at that location though they do refer to the one where Loop 12 met with Hwy 77/Harry Hines. If anyone can offer additional confirmation as to whether or not it existed, I would be interested in knowing.
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#11 cbellomy

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 05:23 PM

Dismuke, good to see you again!

The first thing I came up with googling on that traffic circle was this. There's also a more comprehensive discussion of Dallas traffic circles here. Hopefully this will be informative for you.



#12 walton91

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 08:01 PM

Thanks everyone. I'm kinda bummed about the my intersections not being former circles. I see it in my mind's eye everytime, especially University/CB/7th.

No information on that tunnel or Jennings Underpass I think it is called.? I assume that it was built to bypass tracks for the T&P but was really curious how old it was and maybe what this area was like back then. It certainly is not needed today but they have kept it around so I figured it must have some historical significance from "back in the day".

#13 John T Roberts

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Posted 16 August 2007 - 08:48 PM

The Jennings underpass was put in to replace the Jennings Avenue Bridge which used to go over the tracks. I think all of that was done in the early 1930's. You might check some of the Jack White Photos on the main site. He has some old shots of the bridges and underpasses.

The tunnel that sits along Vickery was built to connect the terminating Hemphill Street into downtown via Jennings. You can turn right on Vickery from Hemphill, go down into the tunnel, and then connect to northbound Jennings and downtown. I'm sure it was built to relieve traffic congestion at Vickery and Jennings. This tunnel was open to traffic until all of the Lancaster work started.

#14 fwpcman

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 11:32 AM

The Jennings Avenue underpass was completed on January 14, 1931 at a cost of $221,464.

#15 FWFF'r

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 01:01 PM

QUOTE(Buck @ Aug 15 2007, 10:43 AM) View Post

Actually, the one out west is the Benbrook Traffic Circle.

There was a Weatherford Traffic Circle, but it's gone.


It was just north at the intersection of Spur 580 (Camp Bowie West) and 183 (Alta Mere).

I can't think of any other circles in FW, besides the little ones in the industrial area north of White Settlement Road (Cullen, Vacek, those streets)

Wasn't there one on 183 somewhere in the Mid-Cities?


According to google maps & the 2007 Fort Worth Mapsco it is the Weatherford Traffic Circle.


#16 FWFF'r

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 01:05 PM

QUOTE(austlar @ Aug 16 2007, 04:39 AM) View Post

I don't know exactly when the brick streets came to pass, but my father used to talk about road crews laying brick streets as part of the WPA. He especially recalled one crew of blackl men laying bricks on Houston Street, where my family had a store in the old Westbrook Hotel building, while singing some kind of work song in unison. My impression was that this was one of the crews laying down the original brick. My father was definitely referring to the period during the Depression. As a kid in 1950's FW, I remember brick streets all over town, in fact most of the major streets outside of downtown were brick until they got paved over in the 60's and 70's.

I was told by my grandmother that her father, my great-grand father, laid bricks on Camp Bowie Blvd. I don't know what year that would have been but he was born in 1902.

#17 cbellomy

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Posted 17 August 2007 - 03:08 PM

The Weatherford/Benbrook Traffic Circle a bit of an odd story. Buck is right, the original Weatherford Traffic Circle was at the intersection of 80 and 183. IIRC, the current circle didn't exist then -- the only route south from the old circle was 377, there was no Southwest Blvd. yet.

When the current circle was built (it was one of the last traffic circles built in Texas), I believe three things happened more or less concurrently:

1. The old circle was replaced with the standard red light intersection it has today;
2. Camp Bowie was extended to reach from its current intersection with 580 to the new circle;
3. Loop 217 (Southwest Blvd., now SH 183) was constructed.

I think that Buck is right, that the original proper name for the existing circle was the Benbrook traffic circle. After all, there is no highway to Weatherford that connects to it. Nevertheless, somehow the name of the old circle was transferred in the public mind to the new one, and it stuck.






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