Have you ever wondered what was here before Sundance Square? I remember going to school in Dallas in the early 1980s. I would have to drive straight through Fort Worth from my hometown of Odessa to get there. My parents always reminded me to fill up with gas in Weatherford so I wouldn’t get accidentally stranded near downtown Fort Worth on my way back to Dallas. I can recall thinking that downtown Fort Worth must really be a pretty scary place!
I marvel at what it has become in the past years and can’t help but wonder what buildings filled these streets that were either too fargone to save or just not recognized as historically significant to the next growth spurt. The other day, as a construction crew was digging up the Chisholm Trail Parking Lot, my assistant manager, Mona Howell, was talking with a Sundance Square maintenance engineer about his interest in what that construction crew might find as they dug up the ground for the new building being slated for that site.
The engineer went on to say there was once an old hotel there that was imploded and basically just buried over in order to lay the parking lot. As you can imagine, Mona and I set to nosing around on the internet. Of course, the more we unearthed so to speak, the more fascinated and curious we became.
We came across historical pictures and explanations of regional and cultural developments and what spurred them. Eventually we ran across the information regarding what was actually located on the lot known as the Chisholm Trail Parking Lot. It was the Westbrook Hotel. It was built in 1910. Rooms were advertised as being $1 per day and up. The building was eventually imploded in 1979. According to what we found that particular lot has been a host site for hotels since 1877. There is a wonderful website to visit if you would like to learn more about the history of this very interesting area. Be sure to investigate and browse through the Jack White Collection. It’s not only impressive but very informative, http://www.fortwortharchitecture.com/
I can’t imagine that construction crew won’t run into some interesting things. Hopefully, they’ll find a way to put them on display and fuel our imaginations with pictures of our pioneering ambitions. Downtown was really pretty in the early 1900s. It seems so very fitting that this new building will be called “The Westbrook Building” in remeberance of the former occupant of the site. I bet it won’t be selling space for a $1 per day!