Established in 1969 and admitted as a Local Partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2001, Historic Fort Worth, Inc. is dedicated to preserving Fort Worth’s unique historic identity through stewardship, education and leadership. Administrative offices, a museum, and the Preservation Resource Center & Library are located at the 1899 Ball-Eddleman-McFarland House, 1110 Penn Street. HFW also owns the 1904 Wharton-Scott House known as Thistle Hill, at 1509 Pennsylvania Avenue. Both cattle baron mansions are designated local, state and national landmarks and HFW operates, maintains and restores them as centers of heritage education for the benefit of the public. Additionally, HFW owns and leases Fort Worth’s first locally-landmarked, mid-century modern, office building, the Yates-Ottmann Building (1953) at 1020 Summit Avenue.
Programs for the public include membership tours through private and public buildings, restoration and property management, historic property research, endangered properties program, gifts-of-property, economic incentives courses for developers and Realtors, awards program, tours of the city for special conferences, public appeals for threatened properties, and a façade easement program. The organization owns, expands and digitizes the information and photographs on historic buildings that was published in the Tarrant County Historic Resources Survey books© in the 1980’s and 1990’s. HFW also leverages unique opportunities to further the mission. Examples follow:
- Organized and led the tours and sessions for the 6th Art Deco World Pre-Congress in 1999.
- Worked with Mistletoe Heights on the establishment of their local historic district (2001-2002).
- Served as the lead manager of the National Town Meeting on Main Street (2002)
- Opened the Preservation Resource Center & Library (2002) and established a gifts-of-property program with the donation of a landmarked house at 2404 S. Adams.
- Collaborated with the Texas Society of Architects (2003) on tours for their Fort Worth conference.
- Accepted the gift of Thistle Hill, Fort Worth’s first landmark (2006).
- Organized and managed the Your Town: Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (2007) through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, SUNY University and the Carl Small Town Center.
- Partnered to designate the Near Southeast Neighborhood to establish their local historic district (2007).
- Launched Fort Worth’s first electronic survey of historic resources (2008) with over 500 properties.
- Received of the Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation (2009).
- Funded the nomination (2009) for Heritage Park Plaza to be included in the National Register of Historic Places, which occurred at the national level of significance on May 10, 2010.
- Held the 2010 showhouse in a mid-century modern masterpiece, the estate of Fran & Eddie Chiles.
- Leveraged opportunities for the Ridglea Theater and offices to be designated a local landmark, which transpired in January 2011, and to be listed in the National Register, which transpired in January 2012.
The importance of Fort Worth’s historic resources:
Fort Worth has enviable historic resources that include modest neighborhoods of charming bungalows, grand mansions, cherished public schools, iconic civic buildings, magnificent religious institutions and elegant bridges. Many of these resources are over 50 years old and have no designation protection from demolition or insensitive additions. Collectively, these historic resources are the unique historic identity of Fort Worth, Texas.
HFW connects to others:
In 2012 over 80,000 friends, members and constituents engaged in preservation through community programs, in the Preservation Resource Center, at Thistle Hill and McFarland House, and at fundraising events like Preservation is the Art of the City®, The Hidden Gardens Tour of Fort Worth, designer show-houses, and a Storybook Christmas.