Fort Worth in 1937
What was Fort Worth Like in 1937?
The City of Fort Worth
With the entry of the first Texas & Pacific Railway train in 1876, the frontier town of Fort Worth, little more than a trading post, began to assume commercial importance. Its rise as an industrial center began with the construction in 1902 of the Swift, Armour, and Libby, McNeil & Libby packing houses. Immediately a number of allied industries sprang up around them, and the group became and has remained, the most important industrial group in the Southwest.
Fort Worth’s increase in population between 1900 and 1910 was 175%. In 1917, with the entrance of the United States into the World War, the establishment of Camp Bowie and a number of aviation training fields near the city, Fort Worth gathered impetus in its industrial and commercial growth. Hardly had the troops departed when news of the discovery of oil at Ranger was received. It was followed shortly by discoveries at other points in the vicinity. Scores of oil companies and oil field supply houses moved to Fort Worth and scores of new ones were organized. Oil at once became the dominant topic of discussion and has done much to promote the industrial development of Fort Worth during the past fifteen years.
In 1925, a new City Charter was adopted, providing for the Council-Manager form of government, and since that time Fort Worth has enjoyed an exceptionally business-like administration of its public affairs which has contributed greatly to the industrial growth of the city.
Fort Worth’s principal industries are meat packing, petroleum refining, railroad shops, metal working plants, flour and feed mills, cottonseed oil mills, printing and publishing, furniture manufacturing and garment plants, creameries, and miscellaneous food manufacturing and canning plants. Fort Worth is the largest grain and livestock market in the South, and is a great oil center. More pipe lines converge at Fort Worth than at any other point in the country and its six refineries contribute heavily to the industrial prosperity of the city.
Entirely aside from products manufactured in the city of Fort Worth, wholesalers and jobbers normally distribute merchandise valued at more than $2 57,000,000 annually. Principal items include livestock, grain, cotton, petroleum products, oil field supplies, hardware and plumbing supplies, well and water supplies, machinery, building materials, furniture, paper, dry goods, drugs, flour and feed, hay, meats, groceries, fruits and produce, poultry and eggs, confectionery, garments, and cottonseed products. Normal retail sales are over a hundred million dollars annually.
Fort Worth is an important transportation center. It has nine railroad trunk lines with eighteen rail Outlets, twenty-five motor freight lines, sixteen motor bus lines, four aviation companies with eleven passenger, mail and express routes, and an interurban line.
More than 450 manufacturing establishments are located in Fort Worth, normally producing in excess of $200,000,000 worth of products annually. They employ upwards of 19,000 persons. Fort Worth’s favorable position from a transportation standpoint has been, of course, one of the main reasons behind its industrial growth and development.
The enormous growth in population in West Texas since the turn of the century has created a great consuming market for Fort Worth at her very doors, and in this vast empire she is dominant. West Texas is rich in the production of those raw materials which constitute the principal factors with the exception of iron ore, entering into American manufactures, namely: meat animals, petroleum, grain, and cotton. All of these are produced in almost unlimited quantities in that vast area of which Fort Worth is generally considered the most logical market.
Live stock production was for many years practically the sole industry in West Texas and it was natural that the first great industrial development in Fort Worth should be the establishment of stockyards and packing houses. Packer’s purchases on the Fort Worth Yards amounting to approximately $35,000,000 annually, cover less than half of the receipts at this market. Its seven packing plants furnish employment for more than 5,000 persons and the annual value of packing house products is approximately $60,000,000. There are more than 50 livestock commission houses and order buyers.
Fort Worth is located near the geographical center of the world’s greatest petroleum producing region, producing more than 70% of the total for the United. States. Here are located approximately 700 oil companies, independent operators, drilling contractors, geologists, and manufacturers and jobbers of oil field supplies. Its six giant refineries have a combined capacity of 45,000 barrels of crude daily, with an annual value of products in excess of $20,000,000.
Here is the largest grain terminal in the South, with an elevator capacity of more than 15,000,000 bushels. It is likewise one of the largest flour and feed milling centers in the southwest, its mills producing more than 5,000 barrels of flour and 3,000 tons of food daily.
Visitors are impressed with the cleanliness of the city and its freedom from the usual smoke and grime of a manufacturing center, which is brought about by the use of natural gas in its industries. The elevation is 670 feet and the annual rainfall 33.13 inches. The mean annual temperature is 65.2 degrees. Mild winters, cool summer nights, its dry climate and long sunny days are conducive to its standing in second place in the United States among major cities, in low death rate.
Here flowers bloom from February to December where the west begins, in a city where life is pleasant to live.
The State of Texasbook : one hundred years of progress, 1937, page 486