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What can be done with the Swift Ruins?


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#1 Austin55

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 10:07 AM

Simple question- Can we brain storm up something positive to do with what's left of the Meatpacking plant?

 

There have been small discussions of turning into into a graffiti sanctuary, similar to Austin's Hope Gallery. This seems like an awful liability, however, with how unstable and unsafe many of the buildings are. 

 

Perhaps development could simply occur around the buildings, but this would ruin the overall feel and character, and they may be viewed as an eyesore. 

 

Perhaps they could be left in their current state and tours could be given of them, either on foot or by vehicle, highlighting the history and significance of the remains. This also fits nicely into the Stockyards touristy setting, and the owner could actually turn a profit. This would be my preferred use, and probably the most realistic. 

 

Or-Would ya'll prefer to see them torn down and redeveloped? 



#2 John T Roberts

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 07:34 PM

Austin, this is one that I have mixed emotions over and I don't actually know the answer.  First of all, I do think the ruins are interesting, so part of me would like to see them remain.   I also know that is prime real estate and the land could be redeveloped.  I do not know if what is left could be saved.  They are in poor condition, as they have been in this partial state of demolition since the 1970's when I was in high school.  Also, considering their very heavy industrial use and what occurred in those buildings, I'm not sure if they are environmentally safe to be reused.  One part that I definitely would save would be the monumental stair and at least part of the wall along NE 23rd Street.  Both are works of art.  Unfortunately, the wall is failing at an alarming rate.  This wall could be stabilized and rebuilt with spare bricks as required.



#3 Jeriat

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 11:20 PM

... I think I need to take a personal trip to the site, first.

 


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#4 Volare

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 04:28 PM

I posted this in another thread, but I will post it here as well: http://www.millcitymuseum.org/

 

You couldn't ask for a more prime location than the location of the Mill City museum. In Fort Worth it would approximately located where the new Radio Shack/TCC building is sited.

 

Those Mills and our Stockyards are contemporaries. My Great Grandfather worked at the Mills.

 

In a real city with real preservation, you get a beautiful museum.  I reckon we will get a parking lot, or maybe a Hilton. Joel Burns is right, this stinks like the Herd.



#5 BlueMound

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 05:35 PM

If and when casino gambling gets approved by our legislature (that'll be the day) then that area could make a cool western themed casino and resort.



#6 djold1

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 07:00 PM

Not the Stockyards..  But if you're talking about something like the Mill City Museum, the obvious place is the old TXU power plant ON THE RIVER that TCC is trying so hard to let fall down.  FWIW, I agree with Joel Burns words on Historic Preservation in Fort Worth.  


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#7 Zetna

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 08:16 AM

I thought at one time, before the recession, there was an idea that the area would be redeveloped as housing using the ruins as part of the plans. I thought it was a great idea. I envisioned brick courtyard or exterior brick walls that were part of the original packing facility w/ modern housing abutting those walls. It would take some thought, but I think it could be done and could be very interesting architecturally if the original meatpacking walls were showcased and not buried in some pseudo-Victorian shtick . Preservation purists may not like the idea however.



#8 Not Sure

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 12:16 PM

I thought at one time, before the recession, there was an idea that the area would be redeveloped as housing using the ruins as part of the plans. I thought it was a great idea. I envisioned brick courtyard or exterior brick walls that were part of the original packing facility w/ modern housing abutting those walls. It would take some thought, but I think it could be done and could be very interesting architecturally if the original meatpacking walls were showcased and not buried in some pseudo-Victorian shtick . Preservation purists may not like the idea however.

 

Not sure I'd be comfortable with the idea of living in a slaughterhouse...

 

I love the Mill City Museum and think something similar would be a good fit for the Swift site.



#9 cerebralshrike

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Posted 24 June 2014 - 06:09 PM

I visited there when I was in high school (around 98 or so), and at the time the disrepair didn't seem too bad. I went down to the basement area and heard some stuff that freaked me out. I didn't go back until two years ago when I worked on a film project with my friend. Man, it has really fallen apart. Not saying that it was in that great of shape to begin with, and I know it dilapidated over time, but if they want to use the facility for something they are going to have to do some major repairs. Knowing the city of Fort Worth they'd turn the place into some sort of western themed touristy area, much like they've done to the rest of the Stockyards. My grandmother worked at Swift back in the day, as did other members of my family. I'm cool with whatever they decide to do with it, but I wish it would happen soon.



#10 Austin55

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Posted 18 August 2014 - 07:22 PM

Another example that could be followed, Gas Works Park in Seattle. The historic gas structrures were simply fenced in, and the surroundings landscaped. The park has been used as a set for films and TV, and has a significant part of the cities history, much like swift. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The park itself is used for weddings, kite flying, concerts, bike race staging, and other park things. It's also popular with photographers and tourists due to it's unique style and views of the skline. Perhaps most importantly, it's a cheap option.

 

Read more here, http://en.wikipedia..../Gas_Works_Park

 

 

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#11 RD Milhollin

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 10:10 AM

I don't really think that preserving the ruins is going to be a good idea. Those buildings were in pretty bad shape before they burned and then fell down. They were very sketchy back in the 70's when a buddy and I trespassed and wandered through the buildings. I don't think what is left today gives any inkling as to what the plants were like when they were in operation, either in scale or in the amount of activity that once surrounded the operations there. 

 

I would suggest instead that when a serious proposal is put foreward to develop the site of the old slaughter plants that they be required to utilize a visual profile that is reminiscent of the old buildings, which were once a dramatic part of the skyline. Mixed use retail to support the modern activity in the stockyards area topped with residential, including below market rent for people who work in the area restaurants, etc. would be appropriate for the site, especially if the development could be somehow tied in with the TEXRail line that is (tentatively) planned to come enticingly close to the Stockyards. 



#12 John T Roberts

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Posted 19 August 2014 - 10:43 AM

The ruins of the Swift Plant are Phase 3 of the Hickman/Majestic redevelopment project.



#13 Austin55

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Posted 25 August 2015 - 09:18 PM

I don't know about you guys, but I'm a bit offended that the Majestic group has said no buildings will be torn down, but clearly the plans show the ruins being built over. Do they not consider the ruins "buildings", or are they just lying trying to make the project seem better?

 

Somewhere else, I saw a mention that the Alamo is basically a ruin to. It's had a very successful preservation. Should Swift, an important part of FW and Stockyards heritage, not be given the same respect?



#14 Jeriat

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Posted 26 August 2015 - 09:05 AM

I don't know about you guys, but I'm a bit offended that the Majestic group has said no buildings will be torn down, but clearly the plans show the ruins being built over. Do they not consider the ruins "buildings", or are they just lying trying to make the project seem better?

 

 

Honestly, I don't think they do. Obviously not since all renderings and plans show that something will replace them. 

 


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#15 Doohickie

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Posted 26 August 2015 - 09:22 AM

My guess is that as far as the city goes, they are no longer "buildings."
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#16 PeopleAreStrange

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Posted 27 August 2015 - 12:10 AM

Speaking of the Alamo, I finally visited the place every Texan should visit in their lifetime! I'm disappointed at how much of the Alamo is gone now.

 

 

Somewhere else, I saw a mention that the Alamo is basically a ruin to. It's had a very successful preservation. Should Swift, an important part of FW and Stockyards heritage, not be given the same respect?

 

As far as I'm concerned, the Swift ruins are not worth saving, and have almost no significance compared to the Alamo.


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#17 Doohickie

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Posted 27 August 2015 - 10:10 PM

and have almost no significance compared to the Alamo.

 

The Alamo has statewide significance and can draw statewide support.  The Swift ruins.... not so much.


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#18 Jeriat

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 05:01 PM


and have almost no significance compared to the Alamo.

 
The Alamo has statewide significance and can draw statewide support.  The Swift ruins.... not so much.

No, but it can certainly draw the attention of a cancelled FOX show that lasted a few seasons and not a lot of people watched...

So there's that, I guess.

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#19 renamerusk

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Posted 30 August 2015 - 11:04 AM

Simple question- Can we brain storm up something positive to do with what's left of the Meatpacking plant?

 

 Perhaps the Ruins can be given over to the Public Arts Commission.  I bet that an artist could create a  remarkable reuse of the space.



#20 Doohickie

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 09:11 AM

No, but it can certainly draw the attention of a cancelled FOX show that lasted a few seasons and not a lot of people watched...

So there's that, I guess.


Not sure what you're referring to. Apparently I wasn't one of those "lot of people."
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#21 Jeriat

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 10:25 AM

No, but it can certainly draw the attention of a cancelled FOX show that lasted a few seasons and not a lot of people watched...

So there's that, I guess.

Not sure what you're referring to. Apparently I wasn't one of those "lot of people."
Oh, I was basically agreeing when you were talking about the draw of the Alamo compared to Swift.

I was using Prison Break (a show that didn't have a lot of draw, itself) to highlight that since it only used it for a scene as an abandoned prison or warehouse, or something

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#22 pelligrini

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 11:44 AM

 

Simple question- Can we brain storm up something positive to do with what's left of the Meatpacking plant?

 

 Perhaps the Ruins can be given over to the Public Arts Commission.  I bet that an artist could create a  remarkable reuse of the space.

 

Maybe an art/history piece using holographic projections incorporating the ruins showing what all was actually going on in that space. The eateries around it might take take a bit of a hit though.


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#23 John T Roberts

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 12:20 PM

Those projections might turn a lot of people into vegetarians.



#24 pelligrini

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 02:46 PM

Possibly, probably just for a little while though. 

 

Maybe the stockyards could include an old McDonald's like sign "Over _ _ _ million animals processed" ;)


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#25 renamerusk

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Posted 19 November 2015 - 09:52 PM

The possibilities are only limited by ones imagination.  For instance it could be the back drop of for music events, plays and private events. Pour an outdoor stage/platform and let there be performances.  Remember Shakespeare in Trinity Park?

 

 Its done. :smwink:



#26 renamerusk

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Posted 20 November 2015 - 11:45 AM

I'm no expert, but it would take a lot of money to make them safe, no matter what the intended use.  Then whatever they are turned into would have to make money...

I wouldn't be in favor of tax money use for the project.  Wasn't that market/bazaar/whatever rehab on N. Main a tax money-pit?

 

 I think most would agree that any project using the Swift Ruins ought to be tax revenue neutral; I would not be oppose to using some of the incentives given to Majestic/Hickman for developing the ruins.  However, as one can see, the re-purposing of the Mill City Museum (Minnesota) ask admission fees, rental fees, etc. to not necessarily make a profit, but to sustain its existence.

 

http://www.millcitymuseum.org/



#27 Dismuke

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Posted 29 November 2015 - 01:47 PM

Back in the late '80s, before I lived in Fort Worth, in one of my early jobs I made a sales call to some sort of wholesale meat company and went into a large refrigerated room where there were sides of beef hanging from a rail on the ceiling.  What caught me by surprise was the strong and very distinct smell that I had never experienced before when handling ordinary grocery store cuts of meat.  It wasn't necessarily an unpleasant smell - but I did not like it.  I was glad to leave that building - and for a number of minutes afterwards I continued to smell it.

 

Sometime a year or two after that I visited Fort Worth and drove by the ruins.  Despite the fact that something about their appearance creeped me out, I parked my car and got out to try and get a closer look at them from the sidewalk.  Then, all of a sudden, the wind must have shifted and I caught a whiff coming from one of the buildings of that exact same smell I had experienced at the meat company.  My only guess is that, after all those years of use, the smell had permeated itself into the walls or perhaps into the grime on the walls.

 

I don't know if that smell still exists - that was, by now, a good many years ago and I have not gotten out of my car since then when driving by.   But let's just say that smell only added to the feeling of being creeped out by the place.

 

Are the ruins worth saving?   I can't see how they are - and I am one of those who usually wants to save as many old buildings as possible.  It is not like the structures had any architectural significance - it might be a different story if they were built of stone and exhibited great craftsmanship.  I do agree that the wall and staircase are nice and they would be an asset to anything else that the site might be used for in the future.

 

I do think that it is important that the actual history of the stockyards and the area be documented and incorporated as an optional part of the tourist experience.  All of the "old west" tourist stuff is not really historically accurate for the Stockyards district which did not exist until a couple of decades later.  I don't really have a problem with the "old west" stuff if it is what keeps the area viable, especially given that almost all of the buildings from Fort Worth's wild west days are long gone.  But the actual history of the Stockyards area for most of its existence was a hard-core blue collar industrial type world that one does not typically associate with Texas.  And a lot of the people who worked in the stockyards were immigrants - there were a lot of Greeks and other Eastern Europeans who worked there and who had vibrant communities in the Northside.

 

Of course, that is not the sort of thing that most tourists want to see when they visit Texas - especially if they come from parts of the country that are still dealing with the effects of the decline of their own industrial past.  But it would be nice if, somewhere among the tourist traps, there could be, for those who are interested, an exhibit that provides a more complete view of the Stockyards' history.  And, along with it, I do think it would be interesting to have some sort of exhibit that provides a glimpse of what day to day operations in an early 20th century packing plant were like.


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