Plus, downtown business closures due to explosion at Sandman Hotel.
January 9, 2024 6AM-Top banner logo-small.png


Today’s Forecast

50º | Windy | 0% chance of rain
Sunrise 7:32 a.m. | Sunset 5:40 p.m.

Travel back in time
Crowds gathered for the opening of the Greater Fort Worth International Airport on April 16, 1953. | Photo courtesy of UTA Libraries
While “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” may have premiered in 1987, they marked the headlines of Fort Worth in the 1950s and 1960s. We’re diving back into our five-minute history series with an overview of Fort Worth’s mid-century transportation milestones.

✈️ Look to the skies

The west side of town has produced aircraft since World War II, when the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation factory, or Bomber Plant, opened in 1942. In 1954, General Dynamics assumed operations of the plant, kicking off private aviation manufacturing in Cowtown, a legacy that led to the sale to Lockheed in 1992.

In the early 1950s, Meacham Field was serviced by major airlines like Braniff Airways and American Airlines before the opening of the Greater Fort Worth International Airport in 1953. Later renamed Amon G. Carter Field, the airport brought fanfare and luxury to air travel in advance of DFW Airport.


The Forest Park Miniature Railroad has graced Trinity Park since the 1950s.


Photo courtesy of Forest Park Miniature Railroad

🚂 All aboard

While the railroad reached Panther City eight decades earlier, a new locomotive hit the tracks in the 1950s: the Forest Park Miniature Railroad. After a brief hiatus, the family-friendly train started chugging once again in September of 2023.


The state’s first four-way interchange, known as the “Mixmaster,” was completed in 1958.


Photo courtesy of UTA Libraries

🚗 Eyes on the road

Loop 820 began to surround the city in the late 1950s + I-35 West — previously known as US Highway 81 — reached Panther City in the early 1960s.

In 1958, the state’s first four-level interchange opened southeast of downtown on old US Highway 80 — which later became I-30. Known as “The Pretzel” or the “Mixmaster,” it cost $1,220,000 and has since been upgraded to a five-level stack exchange.

Transportation wasn’t the only automotive goal of the era — car racing was rising in popularity at Riverside Drive Speedway from 1949 to 1955. The Lancaster Avenue dirt track was a quarter-mile long and belonged to the Texas Stock Car Racing Association.
Tuesday, Jan. 9
  • City Council Public Comment Meeting | Tuesday, Jan. 9 | 6 p.m. | City Hall, 200 Texas St., Fort Worth | Free | Register at least two hours in advance to share your opinion on agenda items like the Echo Park development.
Wednesday, Jan. 10
  • Dream Outside the Box | Wednesday, Jan. 10 | 6-7:30 p.m. | Como Community Center, 4660 Horne St., Fort Worth | Free | Kids ages 5-12 can explore what they want to be when they grow up with this career opportunity activity course.
Thursday, Jan. 11
  • Family Arts and Crafts | Thursday, Jan. 11 | 6:30-7:30 p.m. | Fort Worth Public Library - Meadowbrook, 2800 Stark St., Fort Worth | Free | You bring the creativity, and the library will provide the materials and step-by-step instructions.
Friday, Jan. 12
  • Best of the West Ranch Rodeo | Friday, Jan. 12-Saturday, Jan. 13 | 7:30 p.m. | Dickies Arena, 1911 Montgomery St., Fort Worth | $46-$187 | Get in on the action with the first round of the 2024 Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.
Saturday, Jan. 13
  • TCU Men’s Basketball | Saturday, Jan. 13 | 6-8 p.m. | Schollmaier Arena, 3000 Stadium Dr., Fort Worth | $42-$593 | Watch the Horned Frogs tip-off against the undefeated University of Houston Cougars.
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News Notes
  • Some downtown businesses are closed temporarily after an explosion at the Sandman Signature Hotel at 810 Houston St. yesterday afternoon. The fire department believes the explosion was caused by a gas leak, but it is still under investigation. Closures include Musume — located in the hotel’s basement — and the neighboring Thompson’s Bookstore.
  • A new food truck in the Near Southside is now open in the South Main Micro Park. Café x José serves a Mexican twist on coffee and southern brunch out of an Airstream. Stop by on weekends for an iced horchata latte and a plate of chicken and waffles.
  • The city has renamed Energy Way downtown to Fort Worth Trail to recognize the new location of City Hall. City Hall’s new address will be 100 Fort Worth Trail + offices will continue to relocate there throughout the year.
Real Estate
  • Arizona-based real estate firm Walton Global purchased 140 acres in Rhome, ~25 miles northwest of downtown. Located in the North Star community, the land will be deeded to D.R. Horton for a new residential subdivision as part of the Builder Land Financing program. (The Dallas Morning News)
  • Keep an eye out for a new survey about city services. This month, 8,000 random households will receive a six-page survey on the quality of city services, current topics, and projects. Residents can respond by mail or online using a provided code.
  • Fort Worth-based food and beverage company Ben E. Keith has been repositioned under a new parent name, Keith Valley Packing Company. The change comes with new branding and packaging for all Ben E. Keith Food products.
  • In his first visit since taking office, President Biden stopped by Dallas yesterday to honor the late Eddie Bernice Johnson, the first Black woman elected to Congress, who died on December 31 at 89 years old. Her funeral will be held at 10 a.m. today at Concord Church. Watch the livestream. (The Dallas Morning News)
Fun Fact
  • Did you know 54,000 of you welcome us into your inbox every morning? We’re asking you to take two minutes to tell us more about yourself so we can continue to write about things you find interesting. One lucky FTW survey participant will win $500. Take the survey.
Seize everything
The teams last met in November 2022 with the Packers winning 31-28 in overtime. | Photo by Jim Biever,
The 2024 NFL Playoffs are upon us and the Dallas Cowboys have clinched a playoff berth for the third season in a row. “America’s Team” will take on the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Jan. 14 in Arlington.

The Cowboys (12-5) are ranked No. 2 in the NFC East after a 38-10 win over the Washington Commanders on Sunday night, when they clinched the NFC East Division Championship. They face the Packers (9-8) in the Wild Card Round at 3:30 p.m. at AT&T Stadium — grab tickets + don’t forget to wear white.

According to ESPN, the Cowboys have a 25% chance to make it to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas on Sunday, Feb. 11. The team’s last Super Bowl win and appearance was in 1996 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Can’t make it to Arlington? Catch the game on FOX or head to one of these local spots to cheer on the team.
  • Texas Live!
  • Birdie’s Social Club
  • Buffalo Bros
  • Fred’s Texas Cafe
  • HopFushion
The Buy
A ring light you can clip right on your laptop or monitor — great for virtual meetings, live streaming, and video calls with family.
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The Wrap
Kate Mazade Today’s edition by:
From the editor
Imagine getting paid in barbecue — the Texas Rangers are working to re-sign free agent Jordan Montgomery with the help of Hurtado Barbecue. Arlington restaurant co-owner Brandon Hurtado offered the pitcher free barbecue for life if he returns to the World Series champion team next season.
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