Welcome back to our five-minute Fort Worth history series. This month, we’re diving into the major construction and growth that took place between the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II.
Catch up quickly with an overview of the major businesses and industries that brought Panther City into the 20th century.
Like many US cities, Fort Worth’s interwar period was a time of growth + the expanding city needed resources to sustain it and infrastructure to protect it.
In 1916, a dam was completed on the Trinity River’s West Fork, creating Lake Worth. The $1 million reservoir served as both a water supply and recreation area for residents. The project included Casino Park, complete with a boardwalk, bathhouse, rides, and ballroom.
The success of Lake Worth and the need for further flood control prompted a $6.5 million bond program in 1927 to build Bridgeport and Eagle Mountain Lakes + the eventual construction of Benbrook, Grapevine, and Arlington Lakes.
Despite the economic downturn of the Great Depression, some of the city’s most notable landmarks were constructed in the 1930s.
Construction ranged from civic projects — like the US Courthouse (1934) and City Hall (1938) — to transportation headquarters like the T&P Station and Warehouse (1931).
There was also a rise in cultural icons meant to be enjoyed by the public like the Fort Worth Botanic Garden (1934) and Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum and Auditorium (1937).
100 years in the making
Texas’ 100th birthday was celebrated in oversize Lone Star fashion with both the Central Centennial Exposition at Dallas’ Fair Park and the Texas Frontier Centennial in the Cultural District in 1936.
For the festival, Amon G. Carter commissioned the original Casa Mañana, which was the world’s largest rotating stage surrounded by a moat for water displays. The “House of Tomorrow” produced Broadway and Wild West shows before it was deconstructed so scraps could be used for the impending war.