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Old Dutch windmill.


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#1 sonny 2

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 09:31 PM

Hello guys and gals. Greetings from the newest noob. I've never been on a forum of any kind before, but I could not pass this up. If I transgress from time to time (assured), please correct/instruct me. (gently I hope) And I'm a bad speller to boot. I have a question that has been bothering me for more years than I care to admit. I grew up in the 7th and 8th avenue neigborhood just south of Thistle Hill. In about '47 or '48, the land that the Westchester House is situated on (I suppose it's still there) between '8th avenue and Summit...and bounded on the South by Pennesylvania and Petersmith on the North, was a derilict overgrown jungle. On the property was an old, rundown 2 or 3 story once grand house on the corner of 8th and Petersmith. (Could it have belonged to John Petersmith?) Anyway, in the midst of this jungle and unseen from the street was an old authenic Dutch windmill. It was green, trimmed in white. the spars were intact, but the sails were missing. Inside were wooden wheels, wooden cogs wooden shafts and all the other stuff you would expect to be there. It was a perfect playground for young kids (dangerous) and after being chased off a couple of times, we left it alone and went to grow up. There has to be a great story behind the property, the house, and the windmill. Why a functioning, non-ornamental Dutch windmill in that particular spot? Does anyone else remember this besides me? I've asked many contemporaries over the years and no one can recall it. (some think I'm nuts) Help, anybody?

#2 Birdland in Handley

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 02:01 AM

This is fascinating. Given that Thistle Hill is just opposite the location, I'm sure there was a mansion across the street at one time. And a mansion with a lot of land might have had a folly such as a Dutch windmill. (And was the old Cross Keys restaurant the carriage house or servants' quarters for that mansion? 'nother topic needed.) We need research on who owned the property.
And an administrator needs to help our n00b to not dupe topics.

#3 sonny 2

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 04:10 PM

QUOTE (sonny 2 @ Sep 20 2008, 10:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hello guys and gals. Greetings from the newest noob. I've never been on a forum of any kind before, but I could not pass this up. If I transgress from time to time (assured), please correct/instruct me. (gently I hope) And I'm a bad speller to boot. I have a question that has been bothering me for more years than I care to admit. I grew up in the 7th and 8th avenue neigborhood just south of Thistle Hill. In about '47 or '48, the land that the Westchester House is situated on (I suppose it's still there) between '8th avenue and Summit...and bounded on the South by Pennesylvania and Petersmith on the North, was a derilict overgrown jungle. On the property was an old, rundown 2 or 3 story once grand house on the corner of 8th and Petersmith. (Could it have belonged to John Petersmith?) Anyway, in the midst of this jungle and unseen from the street was an old authenic Dutch windmill. It was green, trimmed in white. the spars were intact, but the sails were missing. Inside were wooden wheels, wooden cogs wooden shafts and all the other stuff you would expect to be there. It was a perfect playground for young kids (dangerous) and after being chased off a couple of times, we left it alone and went to grow up. There has to be a great story behind the property, the house, and the windmill. Why a functioning, non-ornamental Dutch windmill in that particular spot? Does anyone else remember this besides me? I've asked many contemporaries over the years and no one can recall it. (some think I'm nuts) Help, anybody?

Ooops !, pardon the replication . I've never done this before.

#4 Owen

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 05:51 PM

According to what I can see on Google Earth, the Westchester House Apartments are no longer there. I remember them; pity they're gone.

#5 John T Roberts

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 08:48 PM

The Westchester House Apartments are still there, they are now assisted living apartments. The Cross Keys Restaurant building has been demolished.

By the way, I have deleted the duplicate threads. You only need to press the "Add Reply" button once. If the forum doesn't respond, please wait a few minutes before you exit the thread. It will usually record the post.

#6 sonny 2

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Posted 21 September 2008 - 11:11 PM

QUOTE (John T Roberts @ Sep 21 2008, 09:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Westchester House Apartments are still there, they are now assisted living apartments. The Cross Keys Restaurant building has been demolished.

By the way, I have deleted the duplicate threads. You only need to press the "Add Reply" button once. If the forum doesn't respond, please wait a few minutes before you exit the thread. It will usually record the post.


Thanks for deleting my error. Sometimes I suffer from 'impatient finger'

#7 Owen

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 12:12 AM

QUOTE (John T Roberts @ Sep 21 2008, 07:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The Westchester House Apartments are still there, they are now assisted living apartments. The Cross Keys Restaurant building has been demolished.


I went back to Google Earth and used its street cam feature to check, and yes, by golly, the Westchester House Apartments are still there. My memory gets a bit hazy at times, and I was confusing Westchester House with the Forest Park Apartments.

#8 gdvanc

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Posted 22 September 2008 - 11:49 PM

QUOTE (sonny 2 @ Sep 20 2008, 10:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
... Anyway, in the midst of this jungle and unseen from the street was an old authenic Dutch windmill. ...



Any chance one of the Van Zandt's built it to honor their Dutch roots? Was there a wealthy Van der Voort family in the area to go with the Vandervoort's Dairy?

#9 sonny 2

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 08:57 AM

QUOTE (gdvanc @ Sep 23 2008, 12:49 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (sonny 2 @ Sep 20 2008, 10:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
... Anyway, in the midst of this jungle and unseen from the street was an old authenic Dutch windmill. ...



Any chance one of the Van Zandt's built it to honor their Dutch roots? Was there a wealthy Van der Voort family in the area to go with the Vandervoort's Dairy?

HOW WOULD ONE RESEARCH SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

#10 gdvanc

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 09:45 AM

QUOTE (sonny 2 @ Sep 24 2008, 09:57 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
HOW WOULD ONE RESEARCH SOMETHING LIKE THAT?


Not sure. Here - the forum - was a good place to start and someone may eventually respond with an answer. Are you involved with any local historical groups? There are people in the North Fort Worth Historical Society, for instance, whose knowledge of Fort Worth history goes way beyond the Stockyards. If you love this stuff, get involved and you may find someone who can give you information on the windmill or at least point you in the right direction. Either way, you'll certainly be enriched by the knowledge and friendships you gain.

#11 sonny 2

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 06:32 PM

QUOTE (gdvanc @ Sep 26 2008, 10:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (sonny 2 @ Sep 24 2008, 09:57 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
HOW WOULD ONE RESEARCH SOMETHING LIKE THAT?


Not sure. Here - the forum - was a good place to start and someone may eventually respond with an answer. Are you involved with any local historical groups? There are people in the North Fort Worth Historical Society, for instance, whose knowledge of Fort Worth history goes way beyond the Stockyards. If you love this stuff, get involved and you may find someone who can give you information on the windmill or at least point you in the right direction. Either way, you'll certainly be enriched by the knowledge and friendships you gain.

OK, thats a good idea. Somebody, somewhere knows about this place besides me, and I'm sure others know the specifics. After all, it's been only 55-60 yesrs since I know this place existed, and its history should not go so far back as to be out of reach. Anyway, it's neat that I may get to correspond with someone someday who knows more about this subject than me.

#12 sonny 2

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 08:43 PM

QUOTE (gdvanc @ Sep 26 2008, 10:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (sonny 2 @ Sep 24 2008, 09:57 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
HOW WOULD ONE RESEARCH SOMETHING LIKE THAT?


Not sure. Here - the forum - was a good place to start and someone may eventually respond with an answer. Are you involved with any local historical groups? There are people in the North Fort Worth Historical Society, for instance, whose knowledge of Fort Worth history goes way beyond the Stockyards. If you love this stuff, get involved and you may find someone who can give you information on the windmill or at least point you in the right direction. Either way, you'll certainly be enriched by the knowledge and friendships you gain.

I just received an E-mail from someone who had gotten my address from a friend of a friend (?). This FOF says he also lived near this place and remembered it well, although he also said that my memory of the location is a little faulty. He claims that the location was actually adjacent to Thistle Hill to the West, which would put it at the corner of 8th. Ave., and Pennesylvania, bounded by Pruitt on the South. This may indeed be true (although I'm not 100% convinced) Being little more than a tyke at the time, and given the time that has passed, it's possible I could be mistaken. This guy reminded me of something forgotten.....there was also a large elevated water tank on the property and also a large outbuilding. (barn?). The way we entered the property was by squeezing through a large double green gate that was chained and padlocked. This person was also at a loss as to whom the property belonged and what the function of this strange object was. An asside: two or three of us kids would climb out a second or third floor opening, climb out on the latticed spar and ride it to the ground, activating the wooden machinery inside. If my mom had ever found out, my butt would still be red.

#13 gdvanc

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 11:39 PM

Well, that's interesting. I believe the corner of 8th and Pennsylvania across from Thistle Hill is the Mitchell-Schoonover Home. (It's still standing, although it's shark-infested.)

That house was completed in 1902. According to the Historical Marker on the house, in 1920 the original owner (James E. Mitchell) sold it to Dr. Charles B. Simmons who transferred it to his daughter Maurine and her husband Dr. Franks Schoonover in 1945. The Schoonovers, then, would have just moved there shortly before the time you remember. It's hard to imagine it being an overgrown jungle just two or three years later.

By the way, the name Schoonover can be a alternate form of the Dutch name Van Schoonhoven. Perhaps that's just a coincidence. Also, Schoonover is an old family name in Fort Worth. According to Julia Kathryn Garrett's book Fort Worth, A Frontier Triumph, Isaac and Pete Schoonover were among the first residents.

#14 SDiver

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 04:31 PM

Not related at all, but because I'm random...

Fred Axtell - who manufactured lots and lots of farm windmills - lived about a half-mile south of there in the 1910s-20s. Corner of 8th & Magnolia.

#15 sonny 2

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 08:01 PM

QUOTE (gdvanc @ Sep 30 2008, 12:39 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Well, that's interesting. I believe the corner of 8th and Pennsylvania across from Thistle Hill is the Mitchell-Schoonover Home. (It's still standing, although it's shark-infested.)

That house was completed in 1902. According to the Historical Marker on the house, in 1920 the original owner (James E. Mitchell) sold it to Dr. Charles B. Simmons who transferred it to his daughter Maurine and her husband Dr. Franks Schoonover in 1945. The Schoonovers, then, would have just moved there shortly before the time you remember. It's hard to imagine it being an overgrown jungle just two or three years later.

By the way, the name Schoonover can be a alternate form of the Dutch name Van Schoonhoven. Perhaps that's just a coincidence. Also, Schoonover is an old family name in Fort Worth. According to Julia Kathryn Garrett's book Fort Worth, A Frontier Triumph, Isaac and Pete Schoonover were among the first residents.

gdvanc, I should have made myself clearer. The property in question is not ACROSS from Thistle Hill, but directly adjacent to the West. I just looked it up on Google Earth and it is a very large parking lot as of now. I am now wondering if this piece of ground was originally part of the Thistle Hill Grounds. If so, it may be possible to solve this mystery, since I imagine there is abundant written history on this historic home.

#16 sonny 2

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 08:12 PM

QUOTE (SDiver @ Sep 30 2008, 05:31 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Not related at all, but because I'm random...

Fred Axtell - who manufactured lots and lots of farm windmills - lived about a half-mile south of there in the 1910s-20s. Corner of 8th & Magnolia.

Wow, I did not know that. Axtell windmills were everywhere when I was a kid....even my uncle in Vega Texas had one. I remember the corner of 8th Ave and Magnolia from the '40's. There were 2 red brick portals that led to an old upscale neighborhood. I believe the name of the addition was on those portals, but I can't remember what it was.

#17 Doug

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Posted 30 September 2008 - 09:20 PM

The continuation of Magnolia west of 8th Ave was called Westmorland. The old All Saints was where the "not too attractive" medical bldg is located on the SE corner. Had 3 friends who lived up there -- it was similar to Chase Court between Hemphill and Lipscomb S of Allen, but the houses were not as large.

#18 sonny 2

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Posted 01 October 2008 - 10:57 AM

QUOTE (Doug @ Sep 30 2008, 10:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The continuation of Magnolia west of 8th Ave was called Westmorland. The old All Saints was where the "not too attractive" medical bldg is located on the SE corner. Had 3 friends who lived up there -- it was similar to Chase Court between Hemphill and Lipscomb S of Allen, but the houses were not as large.

Thank you Doug for jogging my memory. Westmorland was indeed the name of this addition. At the time I had a first-grade 'girlfriend' named Barbara who lived in the second or third house on the right, and I would walk her home from St. Mary's parochial school sometimes.




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