Elizabeth Boulevard

To write about 1315 Elizabeth Boulevard in Ryan Place is a daunting proposition. There is just so much deserving of comment to give this venerable Fort Worth grande dame her due. On a personal level, its owner hosted a party here to welcome me and other newcomers when I moved to Elizabeth Blvd. six years ago. The sale of this property is somewhat bittersweet because the current owner was one of the community leaders responsible for the Ryan Place Renaissance — often an indispensable force in the neighborhood. Her departure is difficult to imagine.

This architectural gem sits in the prime middle block of the half-mile long Elizabeth Blvd., which is the main axis of the historic neighborhood. Just across the street is the impressive house built by Ryan Place developer John C. Ryan as his own home, which was the subject of my first Fort Worth Friday.

The structure, one of the finest residential commissions of legendary architect Wylie G. Clarkson, possesses a dignified grandeur expressed in the classical tradition.  Perched on a deep-set lot above street level, the house is reached by two flights of steps and a lovely wide walkway of red brick. The stucco exterior is a warm biscuit color that reminds me of Bath, England. Architecturally, the nearly 90-foot-long, symmetrical façade reads ABCBA from left to right. There are two Palladian motifs on the ground floor — the one at the right has a sophisticated blind opening to preserve the symmetry. The portico is supported by paired Doric columns. Above a smaller Palladian framed window just peeks through the broken pediment crown.

Elizabeth Boulevard

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Before I am accused of being lazy, allow me to note that when the first house in the first planned development in Fort Worth — Ryan Place — comes on the market, I can’t not write about it even if it is just down the street from me, on Elizabeth Blvd.

When 1112 Elizabeth Blvd. was built, in 1911, the world was a very different place. My grandfather was living in his city of birth, Vienna, under the rule of  Franz Joseph, the Austro-Hungarian Emperor. It was still the Belle Epoque, with the upheavals of World War I three years in the future. In the photograph above, taken about 1912, the boulevard was already handling motor car traffic but the original hitching post remains in front, just in case. A short 20 minute buggy ride would have taken you into town. Like all of the original dwellings on Elizabeth Boulevard built between 1911 to 1928, 1112 Elizabeth Boulevard was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

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The Ryan Place gates were funded by proceeds from previous Candlelight Christmas home tours (photos: ryan-place.squarespace.com)

Every city in America has one. You know it when you see it.  Whether it’s the architecture, location, or landscape, there is always a street in the city that is simply magical.  In Fort Worth the most magical and inspiring street is Elizabeth Boulevard.

See unique and historic pieces of furniture at the Candlelight Tour of Homes in Ryan Place

The main artery of the Ryan Place neighborhood, “in 1979 Elizabeth Boulevard joined the National Register of Historic Places, making Ryan Place the only residential historic district in Fort Worth.”  Located off Eighth Avenue and a few blocks from the Near Southside, Ryan Place and Elizabeth Boulevard epitomize all that was great about classic neighborhoods when they were built in the early 1920’s and 1930’s.

This boulevard, and the classic homes of character that comprise Ryan Place, will be showcased during December 3 and 4 as part of the 33rd annual Candlelight Tour of Homes which promotes the annual historic preservation fundraiser of Ryan Place.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $15 each  During the tour, tickets can be purchased at the Ticket Booth at St. John’s Church for $20. St. John’s Church is located at 2401 College Avenue in Fort Worth. You may use the same wristband for both days if you wish.  Tickets are non-refundable.

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1521 Elizabeth Blvd.Since houses on one of Fort Worth’s premiere historic streets infrequently come on the market, it isn’t surprising that 1521 Elizabeth Boulevard, is garnering a lot of agent and buyer interest.

“We’ve only officially been on the market since Monday and we’ve already had dozens of showings,” observes Briggs Freeman agent Lisa Logan. Many of the prospective buyers are relocating from other markets and are amazed at the value Fort Worth offers.  (more…)