From Sunday, July 21 through Friday, July 26,
Sweetums and I drove 2,150 miles from Huntsville, Alabama, to Fort Worth,
Texas, and back again. I am posting the stops in order of the trip. The map is below.
Most sites will be included in my upcoming Guide to Southern Oddities.
Road-TripStop No. 13: Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District
Fort Worth is the closest we’ve been, so far to the Wild West. It was so much fun to stay in a real Western hotel (click here to read about it) and watch a cattle drive like those that have been held in the stockyards for more than 100 years.
Worth Stockyards National Historic District is filled with shops, restaurants,
bars, lodging and family entertainment, all on the site where cattle and other
livestock have been bought and sold for decades.
visitors can have photos made sitting on a longhorn steer (don’t worry, the
steer are only on duty for two hours a day and then go back to their pens,
where they are thoroughly spoiled), ride a mechanical bull, find their way
through a maze, take in a real rodeo, and visit the Rodeo Hall of Fame.
The Stockyards website says, “Fort Worth is where the West begins, and nothing embodies Western heritage better than the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District. From the original brick walkways to the wooden corrals, every inch of the Stockyards tells the true history of Texas’s famous livestock industry.”
new venues were being added at the stockyards in some of the original historic
buildings, so it looks as if more entertainment will be available there in
coming months. The stockyards, located a few miles from downtown Fort Worth,
were located at the beginning of the Chisholm Trail; Fort Worth was the last
stio “for rest and supplies” before heading into Indian territory.
online history says, “Between 1866 and 1890, drovers trailed more than four
million head of cattle through Fort Worth. The city soon became known as ‘Cowtown.’
When the railroad arrived in 1876, Fort Worth became a major shipping point for
livestock, so the city built the Union Stockyards, two and a half miles north
of the Tarrant County Courthouse, in 1887.
1893, investor Greenleif Simpson “bought the Union Stockyards for $133,333.33
and changed the name to the Fort Worth Stockyards Company.”
stockyards remained busy until after World War II when paved highways and
trucks changed the cattle industry.
online history says, “It was a whole new way to market livestock, as auctions
at the Stockyards shrank and all the major packers in the United States
struggled to adapt. … By 1986, Stockyards sales reached an all-time low of
1989, the North Fort Worth Historical Society opened the Stockyards Museum in
the Exchange Building, helping to transition the stockyards into a tourist
attraction, although cattle is still sold there.
We loved the vibe at the Stockyards and hope to go back at some point. In the meantime, check out our photos.