Known as Cowtown to some and Panther City to others, Fort Worth got its start as Camp Worth, an army outpost located in northern Texas. The original purpose was to protect Texas settlers from Native American raids.
Later, Fort Worth became stop over for cowboys who drove great cattle herds north to the railroads in Oklahoma. It was a typical Old West town, with hotels, stores, and stockyards where people bought and sold livestock.
Where is Fort Worth Located on the Map?
Fort Worth is a city in northern Texas, located about 30 miles west of Dallas. Its sprawling borders don’t seem to have any rhyme or reason, but its growth is undeniable. Since its founding in 1849, Fort Worth has grown to an impressive 922,592 residents as of the 2020 census.
Interesting Activities and Locations in Fort Worth
Fort Worth offers a lot for both locals and visitors. With everything from a zoo to museums, hiking, and parks, Fort Worth has something for nearly everyone — there’s even a haunted hotel you can stay in while you visit.
Fort Worth Zoo
Rated one of the top zoos in the country, the Fort Worth Zoo made history in 2023 with the hatching of four gharial crocs. Located in the heart of Fort Worth, the zoo’s beautiful enclosures and wonderful staff make it a must-see item on your list.
The zoo recently finished renovations on its big cats and predator habitats and reopened the area in the summer of 2023. It’s easy to get a close look at lions, African painted dogs, and more stunning creatures.
The Fort Worth Herd
Texas longhorn cattle are a sight to behold. Their horns can grow over five feet from tip to tip, and they’re extremely protective of their young. Longhorns are the descendants of cattle that the Spaniards left behind. Over time, they became hardy and resilient — a Texas special. Longhorns can survive extreme weather conditions that kill other cattle breeds.
The Fort Worth Herd travels through historic downtown twice a day, weather permitting. Everything from the cowhands’ clothing to the horses’ saddles is historically accurate — it’s living history!
Miss Molly’s Haunted Hotel
This historic bed and breakfast is located in Fort Worth’s Stockyards District. Its history dates back to the early 1900s and local legends say it’s haunted by the ghost of Miss Molly, the original owner and operator.
Ghost hunters believe Miss Molly’s Hotel is one of the most haunted places in Texas. Guests regularly report doors opening and closing by themselves, lights turning on and off, and items being moved. If you’re into haunted locations, check out Miss Molly’s.
Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge
Bison roam at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge, located in northwest Fort Worth. The herd has roamed the area since 1973 and has an average of 10 bison, not including calves. Three bison, which the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge donated, established the original herd.
The area boasts hiking trails where you can enjoy a gorgeous afternoon and get a peek into the daily life of this magnificent species.
Where the West Begins
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, there was a lot of discussion about where the West began. Was it the Mississippi or in the middle of Ohio?
While the geographical location of where the “west” begins differs according to the source, others believed it was a state of mind. Samuel Crothers had this to say about it:
“The West’ is not merely a geographical expression, it is a state of mind which is most distinctive of the national consciousness. It is a feeling, an irresistible impulse. It is the sense of undeveloped resources and limitless opportunities.”Samuel Crothers, The Pardoner’s Wallet, 1905
Poet Arthur Chapman also weighed in on the idea and his poem, “Out Where the West Begins,” says the West is “Out where the smile dwells a little longer. Out where the friendship’s a little truer. That’s where the West begins.”
After Amon Carter added it to the Star Telegram’s front page in 1923, the idea solidified. However, the concept had been accepted at least two years prior. Fort Worth hosted a mayor’s banquet in 1921 where Joe Davis, the mayor of Munday, said West Texans considered Fort Worth “where the west begins.”
Interestingly, as you travel west from Fort Worth, the landscape changes from hardwood oak and green beauty to desert scrub. The transition doesn’t take long and the treeline is obvious on Google Earth.
In the end, Amon Carter, Joe Davis, and prevailing public opinion won the day. They believed that Fort Worth’s welcoming, friendly culture epitomized the concepts in Chapman’s poem.
According to Gaby Kienitz at the Fort Worth Historical Center, after an extensive search couldn’t find anything in the database of the historic editions of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She was unable to find any results that “would indicate when the city officially started using the slogan. It’s like it just happened by osmosis.”
Fort Worth’s Topography and Climate
Most of Fort Worth is relatively flat and the elevation at the city’s center is 620 feet above sea level. As you travel further north the city’s topography shifts to rolling hills with small canyons formed by the Trinity and other rivers. And, if you like waterfalls, there are several along its course.
The humid subtropical climate in Fort Worth gives the city hot, humid summers and cold winters. Fort Worth only gets about an inch of snow per year, but the average rainfall is 37 inches. Temperature swings in Cowtown can go from 30ºF on a December morning to a comfortable 65ºF on the same day, while summer days can exceed 100ºF with 80 percent humidity.
How Far is Fort Worth from Other Major Cities in Texas?
|Distance from Fort Worth
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Barbara Smyers/Shutterstock.com
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