By Linda Fulmer
I have been proud to call east Fort Worth my home for over 40 years and have loved everywhere I have lived.
My first home was in Southeast Meadowbrook (1980–1986), then Handley (1986–2013). In early 2013 we moved to White Lake Hills. I’d had my eye on White Lake Hills for several years in part because it reminded me of where I grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Like there, White Lake Hills has steep hills, lots of trees, magnificent views, and architectural diversity. No “cookie cutter” floor plans here!
White Lake Hills is literally built atop and on the sides of several steep hills, so the streets are curvy and hilly. The neighborhood developed over a few decades starting in the 1960s, with many lots being selected by a buyer who then selected a builder and plan. Consequently, the home styles are varied and visually interesting. Located in the historic Cross Timbers region, we have many trees. We are surrounded by Gateway Park on the west, a utility easement on the east, and Randol Mill Road/Trinity River on the north, so we are surrounded by greenspace and host many interesting and fun wildlife visitors. Our neighborhood has just three entrances, so it is also a bit hidden.
Have you ever noticed or wondered why everything north of I-30 in east Fort Worth was built after 1960? From 1918 to 1960, this entire region was part of the White Lake Dairy! The dairy stretched across 2,500 acres, from where today’s East 1st Street Bridge is located east to Loop 820, and from the Trinity River and Randol Mill Road on the north to Brentwood Stair on the south. In 1962, the first homes were built, and after that the neighborhood was developed mainly a few lots to one lot at a time.
White Lake Hills Census Breakdown
Census tract 1065.07
Total population: 2,114
80 and older: 19%
No degree: 7%
High school: 22%
Some college: 30%
Bachelor’s degree: 26%
More so than anywhere else I have lived, this neighborhood provides opportunities for neighbors to get to know neighbors. Before the pandemic, we had over 30 regularly scheduled events, activities, and meetings to give interested neighbors a chance to meet and engage with one another. From our New Year’s 5K that runs up and down our steep hills to our Christmas yard decorating contest, there are many opportunities for neighbors to be as involved as they wish.
The east side of Fort Worth is challenged by a perception that our schools are undesirable, and for that reason, too many families with young children avoid our neighborhoods. This is unfair. It is disingenuous to distill a school’s ability to educate students down to a single numeric or alphabetic score. At every school with an unattractive score, there are many students who are thriving. For example, please review Fort Worth Report’s recent story on this year’s Eastern Hills High School’s valedictorian. This is a great story, and not unique. Many of our FWISD students succeed. East Fort Worth also offers a number of charter and private school options for families who prefer those. Bottom line, we offer an array of excellent educational opportunities for families with children! Plus, we have a great university – Texas Wesleyan University!
In the 2010 Census, the population of White Lake Hills was 11% age 85+ and 35% age 65+. The past decade has seen quite a bit of change, as cherished original homeowners have left, and wonderful new and younger homeowners have moved in. I can’t wait to see what the 2020 Census shows!
Linda Fulmer is a nonprofit contractor who gratefully serves as the Executive Director for Healthy Tarrant County Collaboration, Fund Manager for Fort Worth Promotion & Development Fund, Finance Contractor for Challenge of Tarrant County and Housing Opportunities of Fort Worth, CHNA Administrator for the Center for Children’s Health at Cook Children’s, Title III Monitor for the Area Agencies on Aging for Tarrant County and Southeast Texas, and NIH-CEAL Project Manager for the United Way of Tarrant County.
On the volunteer side, she serves as the President of the White Lake Hills Neighborhood Association and Neighborhoods of East Fort Worth Alliance, and as a board member to The Greatest Gift Catalog Ever, East Fort Worth Business Association, and East Fort Worth Inc.