As you drive through downtown Fort Worth on I-30 you actually drive directly over (and through) the space where this imposing building once stood for less than one month in 1889. The Texas Spring Palace Fire destroyed the pride and joy of early Fort Worth residents, but only one life was claimed by the fire, that of Al Hayne, a British national working in Fort Worth who returned into the blaze several times to guide and carry people to safety. The building which was made entirely of wood and covered with various native grains and textile products inside and out burned to the ground in less than 15 minutes. 7,000 people inside all made it out alive. Later, the hero, Al Hayne died of his injuries.
On June 20, 1898 as people were crowding onto the 16,000 square foot dance floor beneath the wooden dome, approximate in size to the U.S. Capitol dome the historic fire broke out. The dome stood as the tallest structure in the area. As you drive on I-30 between the T&P Passenger Terminal (TRE station) and the Broadway Baptist church you pass through the space occupied by this massive wooden building over 100 years ago before either the T&P Station or the Broadway Baptist building were constructed.
Today a monument to Al Hayne stands in the grassy park at the corner of West Lancaster Avenue and Houston Street commemorating the hero of that day.
Fort Worth has a rich and interesting history of everything from elegant Cattle Baron balls to notorious train robberies. These interesting tales will be shared during a free walking tour of downtown Fort Worth on September 15th, 2012.
As a Fort Worth native I enjoy learning and telling people everything there is to know about our beautiful and interesting city. I am a Realtor with the FindFortWorthHome Buyer Services Group at Keller Williams Realty. This job offers many opportunities to learn and share Fort Worth history. Recently, a business associate Anthony Gulley and I decided to sponsor a free tour for our clients, their friends and anyone else who is interested in joining us to learn more about the history of downtown Fort Worth, Texas U.S.A.
Contact me for more details. It's free to all and I'd love to see you there!
We will meet at 9:30 am in the T&P Owner's Lounge inside the T&P Lofts at 221 W. Lancaster Avenue for coffee, juice and home-made breakfast burritos. At 10:00 am we will head out on a 2-mile walk through downtown Fort Worth, guided by Fort Worth Historian Dr. Richard Selcer.