Where the West Begins : Fort Worth and Tarrant County – Janet L. Schmelzer
The deadline was the hour of adjournment of the 1876 Texas legislative session. The Texas and Pacific Railroad was on the edge of losing a fifteen-million-dollar land grant if it failed to complete the track to Fort Worth on time. For the struggling frontier town, the stakes were higher – its very future was on the line.
Known as a prairie oasis, Fort Worth had grown into a bustling town during the time when cowboys movieng their herds north to market stopped for supplies and a little entertainment and refreshment in the saloons and dance halls before heading out into the hot sun and dusty plains. Business was brisk in these times, but the days of the long trail drive were numbered. « Cowtown » needed a railroad to survive.
Construction of the Texas and Pacific line proved difficult and slow. Confidence sagged under debts brought on by a nationwide banking crisis. During the lowest point, a letter to the editor of the Dallas Herald compared Fort Worth to a cemetary. But Fort Worth refused to die.
Where the West Begins chronicles this railroad race to Fort Worth and the subsequent rise of « Cowtown » as a livestock center. Completion of the railroad link to Fort Worth also proved a decided asset for Tarrant County, attracting links from more railroads ans new industries. The new county would soon be on its way to becoming the successful and prosperous region it is today.
Written by Janet L. Schmelzer, Where the West Begins traces Fort Worth’s energetic advance from the days of a cattle town trough the era of oil and aviation, and today’s high technology and finance – while showcasing Tarrant County’s pride in its Western heritage and culture.
This is the exciting story of a vibrant county and its primary city that unfolds in a dramatic visual adventure. Hundreds of rare photographs, including sixteen pages of spectacular color, ar brought together here to make a beautiful book to treasure for years to come.
A special section, titled « Partners in Progress » gives an ample account of the business and organizations that have contributed to Fort Worth and Tarrant County’s growth and development.
Truly, here is the story of where the West begins .