Fort Worth: Then and Now


Fort Worth evokes fond memories of its places, people, and events. Residents and sojourners alike have favorites that help define what makes the city special for them. Perhaps the favorite site was a downtown intersection where the “people-watching” was grand, or some remember a school playground with its impressive array of jungle gyms and slides. Although the details fade with time, memories of a location don't change substantially—the way the place looked, a sense of how people used it, or the feelings it evoked. In reality, though, things do change, whether the alterations involve only minor details or major changes to the landscape, movement patterns, and buildings.

Fort Worth Then and Now explores the changes that have taken place in the city by comparing a historic photograph with a contemporary image taken at the same place or in the same setting. Over time, some scenes have changed so substantially that they are scarcely recognizable, yet others retain many of the elements that would have made them familiar to current residents and to past generations. This approach allows the reader to compare memories with a view made generations ago and evaluate the two.

Take down the overhead freeway, and most people familiar with Fort Worth would recall a Lancaster Avenue that was more human in scale and flanked with buildings that are local architectural landmarks. Yet, the historic photographs of this gateway boulevard show an odd mix of pleasing urban design and gritty commercial practicality. The pictures lead to speculation: will the Lancaster Avenue of memory be-come a reality once the proposed landscaped boulevard is substituted for the concrete hulk that has defined the corridor for the past forty-four years?

  • Hardcover
  • 158 pages
  • TCU Press

Carol Roark is the manager of the Special Collections Division at the Dallas Public Library and the author of Fort Worth's Legendary Landmarks (TCU Press, 1997) and the Catalogue of the Amon Carter Museum Photography Collection. She has a special interest in both historic preservation and photography and the ways in which historic photography enriches our understanding of the built environment. She lives in Fort Worth.

RODGER MALLISON is a photographer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He, too, has a passion for historic images, and his personal work centers on architectural photography. Mallison took the photographs for Angels on High (TCU Press, 1999). Mallison also lives in Fort Worth.

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