I spent 30 hours in Fort Worth and loved it. Visited my dear friend Eric Prokesh, saw his house, toured some Fort Worth neighborhoods and drooled, just drooled over the housing stock there. Had lunch and dinner on West Magnolia and cannot wait to return. Fairmount is becoming a huge real estate success story: it was a little like Olmos Park Terrace in San Antonio and Dallas’ Hollywood Heights & Winnetka Heights but on a much larger scale. In fact —
Located on the near south side of Fort Worth, Texas and covering about one square mile, the Fairmount Southside Historic District contains one of the nation’s richest collections of turn of the century housing. Fairmount is comprised of about 20 subdivisions platted between 1883 and 1907. At the time, Fairmount was a fashionable neighborhood.
About one third of the houses were occupied by business executives who managed their own firms. Professions were represented by many doctors, lawyers, and educators. It was a diverse neighborhood, where craftsmen, inclucing brick and stone masons lived next door to railroad workers. As Fort Worth’s suburbs grew following World War II, the neighborhood fell into disrepair.
Today, through the efforts of of many property owners, residents are working to revitalize the area to restore its past glory.
But Ryan Place captured my heart, and not just for the homes. (We will talk about these and more FW neighborhoods in future posts.)
It’s the ROUNDABOUTS!
At first blush, I thought they were part of the old neighborhood charm. After all, Ryan Place was developed in 1926. But no, Eric told me, the roundabouts are new — just three years old in fact. They were built in place of speed bumps to slow down traffic on connector streets. Obstructions, yes, but what attractive obstructions!
So if speed bumps detract from a home’s value, as some have claimed, a roundabout could only ADD to a home or entire neighborhood’s value. Ryan Place seems to be doing just fine!
Ryan Place has them on Elizabeth Boulevard at every intersection. And they really do make you slow down. They are also kind of fun.
I-345 teardown and anti Trinity Tollway fanatics, listen up: this is the neighborhood that successfully fought to oppose the city’s plan to widen Fifth and Sixth avenues to provide arterial access to downtown. In 1969. They won the battle, and the neighborhood began the return to founder John Ryan’s early vision of grand homes (a la Swiss Avenue) of Mediterranean stucco and stone to Georgian bricks.
Roundabouts are an old-fashioned way to slow down traffic that is gaining popularity across the nation. And Fort Worth wants MORE. Here’s what one expert, Dan Burden, had to say about slowing FW traffic last May: narrow streets and more roundabouts:
The city should pursue more roundabouts, consider narrow roads and slow down traffic to encourage pedestrian activity, a walkable-environments expert said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Dan Burden, co-founder of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute based in Washington state and a consultant to the Blue Zones Project-Fort Worth, presented the results of eight walking audits conducted throughout Fort Worth and called for changes in how the city is designed.
“Unfortunately, during much of the last 40, 50 and even 60 years, our built environment has lost the qualities that we seek. We have essentially built endless miles of roads people have to travel, because it has so far been the only real mode invested in heavily,” Burden said.
“The roundabouts are more of a hazard than anything else,” said a woman who lives a block away and also asked that her name not be used. “Nobody knows what to do, who’s got the right of way. It’s just somebody’s idea to spend money on something we don’t need.”