By Andy Taft
When we relocated to Fort Worth in 2003, we asked our Realtor to find us a home near downtown. We added our preferences for a unique, historic neighborhood with character and a house that our young children could grow into. A spacious yard, big trees, other young families, parks, and nearby shopping.
We looked in all directions around downtown and found our 1928 home in Ryan Place, and we’ve lived there ever since.
While our search was child-focused, the appeal of Ryan Place quickly extended beyond all of the wonderful ways it served our growing family.
Holidays and seasons are celebrated with flair in Ryan Place. A Fourth of July parade winds its way through the streets with neighbors on home-built floats and our newly restored neighborhood fire engine. A neighborhood chili cook-off celebrates the fall.
Halloween is a regional event, requiring the closure of beautiful Elizabeth Boulevard to accommodate the crowds. The famous Ryan Place Candle Light Christmas Tour of Homes is a Fort Worth tradition. Block parties, croquet matches, Easter egg hunts, crawfish boils and a softball tournament with neighboring Fairmount add to the fun throughout the year.
When the west wind blows, Ryan Place is serenaded by Paschal High School’s morning marching band rehearsals. We can even hear when TCU scores a touchdown on game day.
Ryan Place Census breakdown
Census Tract 1044
Total population: 5,461
Male: 2,638 (48%)
Female: 2,823 (52%)
Hispanic: 3,139 (58%)
Black: 101 (2%)
White: 2,118 (39%)
Under 18: 1,527 (28%)
18 – 64: 3,248 (60%)
65+: 337: (%)
No degree: 921 (27%)
High School: 495(15%)
Some college: 869(26%)
Median Income: $60,588
John C. Ryan’s ambitious neighborhood plan, the first of its kind in the city and started in 1911, was inspired by the nation’s City Beautiful Movement. Yes, it has beautiful tree canopies over the streets and gracious homes set back on terraced lawns. But more than the buildings, boulevards, avenues, historic street light fixtures and formal entrances, Ryan Place has evolved a culture of active resident participation. It has an award-winning neighborhood association with a history of outstanding planning, advocacy and leadership. Association committees spend countless hours identifying ways to make the neighborhood better, how to communicate what is happening and how to welcome and bring neighbors together.
Ryan Place is a neighborhood where people feel comfortable walking at all hours of the day and night. New sidewalks, built in partnership with the city, recently completed another layer of neighborhood stitch work, making neighbors more accessible as we meet each other on our walks and chat with them on their front porches. These casual interactions create stronger bonds and better neighbors, regardless of whose political sign is in the front lawn.
Ryan Place is uniquely triangulated with TCU, downtown and the Near Southside. These areas offer the city’s densest concentrations of jobs, restaurants and entertainment options. They are also home to an eclectic blend of civic amenities and personalities. This combination of charming neighborhood, intensive commerce and varied culture makes Ryan Place popular for those who want all that Fort Worth has to offer. Interstate 35, I-30, I-20 and the Chisholm Trail Parkway are just a few minutes away, making all compass points easily accessible from home.
John Ryan’s vision came true for us. We live in a beautiful place, in the heart of the city, where families thrive.
Andy Taft is the author of this column about his home and neighborhood. Taft is the president of Downtown Fort Worth Inc., an advocacy organization that manages the downtown planning process, two public improvement districts, the downtown tax increment finance district, two city parks, the MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival and Parade of Lights. He has previously lived in Florida and Louisiana. To tell the story of where you live, please send your essay to firstname.lastname@example.org and Managing Editor Thomas Martinez at email@example.com.