A Search for the Texas Vernacular: Episode 2

Fort Worth, Texas: The Stockyards

This afternoon I ventured to Fort Worth to check out the Stockyards. I had been there before, but never with a good camera. I visited this time with the intention of capturing some late afternoon/night shots of the stockyards and the surrounding area. Unfortunately, it was still too hot for me to spend anymore than a couple of hours there. The following is some of what I saw:

I didn’t remember it this way, but it was full of bars and young people. Girls seemed to dress up in western wear for the novelty of the experience. Men all had cowboy hats and cigarettes. It was like a movie really.

More than anything, the streets were lined with bars and pubs. Each boasted live music and free parking, though they were all rather similar in nature. Country music and beer. Old western swinging doors and a wooden, covered front porch.

There were dozens of Cowboy/Western/Texas themed wall murals on most corner lot buildings. I do not recollect a single one that did not at least portray a horse.

There were also many large structures that housed small shops for western wear and cowboy memorabilia. Some were fully enclosed and air-conditioned. Others were open at the end of every axis and filled with water misters, around which people gathered.

Among these cowboy themed buildings, I found a lost modern bank. The shear scale of itself and its parking lot dwarfed it’s surroundings.

Hidden within this busy, historic bar scene was a bike path that followed a creek. The water was close to stagnant and full of garbage like old wrappers and tires, but it was still full of wildlife (turtles, herons, fish, stray cats, TONS of mosquitos, etc.)

It would seem as though the designers of this bike path may have been inspired by San Antonio’s Riverwalk. The major difference being that this was so far removed from the Stockyards that I was the only person down there. In fact, the only bike remotely near the creek was floating in it…

Over all, I liked it. It has good bones. Brick streets, wooden walkways, rustic finishes. All are very appealing. The one criticism I have (if I am in a position to criticize) is that the traffic seemed to be a bit over powering. There was four lanes of traffic cutting through this potentially beautiful portion of the city, and even the side streets had bumper to bumper traffic for the majority of the time I was there.

I wonder if anyone has ever proposed to make the Stockyards a more pedestrian friendly place. Perhaps closing a few of the streets from cars permanently (perhaps Pearl Street in Boulder, CO could be a precedence or Strøget in Copenhagen, Denmark).

texas vernacular


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