By Grace Rhoden

Judy Taylor in front of her home in Handley, near Meadowbrook. Taylor lived in the city for 80 years excluding two years. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

Census tract 1013.01 breakdown: 

Total population: 5,011
Male: 50%
Female: 50%

Race
White: 35%
Asian: 1%
Hispanic: 26%
Black: 33%
Two or more: 4%
Native: 1%

Age
0-9: 10%
10-19: 17%
20-29: 13%
30-39: 11%
40-49: 15%
50-59: 15%
60-69: 10%
70-79: 7%
80 and older: 3%

Education
No degree: 19%
High school: 31%
Some college: 28%
Bachelor’s degree: 16%
Post-graduate: 4%

Public schools within 2 miles

For the 2019 TEA rating of each neighborhood school, click on the name.
Jean McClung Middle
East Handley Elementary
Newman International Academy at FO
West Handley Elementary
Atwood McDonald Elementary
Eastern Hills Elementary
Eastern Hills High School
Maudrie Walton Elementary
Handley Middle
Dunbar High School
J. Martin Jacquet Middle
Young Men’s Leadership Academy
Bill J. Elliott Elementary
IL Texas East Fort Worth Elementary
IL Texas East Fort Worth Middle
John T. White Elementary
Maude I. Logan Elementary

Handley appealed to me as a single mother of two young girls. I think the big trees, family atmosphere, and houses appealed because of their differences, as well as similarities. 

I was looking for a home I could buy and afford for my family. This one filled that need very well. Good neighbors provided a wonderful community. Great access to north, east, south and west. The history below shows how Handley became the tree-lined community I love.

Handley was founded by Major James Madison Handley, a traveling salesman who saw the place he wanted to settle and make his home while on a rest stop during a cross-country stage coach trip. Handley is rich in the history of hard-working pioneers. The small farming community flourished once the railroad established a Dallas-to-Fort Worth line with a station in Handley. 

During the early years people from east and west rode the train to Lake Erie, where the casino and pavilion served as a gathering place on the weekend. Years later Lake Erie became Arlington Lake, which was to fill in three years. Heavy rains hit Handley, and the lake filled in three days, burying massive earth moving equipment. Handley benefitted from the Texas and Pacific Railroad boom in 1872. Other transportation aspects of Handley lie in the Interurban serving Fort Worth to Handley in the 1920s. The Bankhead Highway from Washington, D.C., to California also passes through Handley. 

 A big catastrophe for the railroad came when massive Steam Engine 642 traveling to the West was submerged in Village Creek between Arlington and Fort Worth because heavy rains washed out the bridge out in March of 1885. At the time, every possible effort was made, but the weight of the engine was more than could be moved.

In the early 1900s a resident looking for a house could pay $10 down and $5 monthly until the balance was paid for a home. There are  still a few of the historic homes along Handley Drive.

Handley was privileged to host President Theodore Roosevelt when his train made a stop on April 8, 1905. Massive crowds heard the president speak.

These days, Handley can boast of several authors living in the area. We have the Weiler House Gallery, West Handley Elementary, East Handley Elementary and Jean McClung Middle School. Handley has been home of the Historic Handley Street Festival for 24 years. A state-of-the-art recording studio is available, people interested in the technical side of showmanship can join TAMI Institute for training. There is also a miniature railroad display at the 100-year-old Masonic Lodge Building and a railroad museum at caboose near Handley and East Lancaster. Handley offers many opportunities for all people.

A street sign welcomes travelers to the Handley neighborhood in Fort Worth. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

In 1999, Handley Neighborhood Association was established to preserve, protect, improve, revitalize, beautify and inform area residents. Our boundaries are the west side of Cooks Lane, east side of Weiler Boulevard, south side of Meadowbrook Drive and north side of Rosedale Street.  The association meets every second Monday of  the month in Handley-Meadowbrook Community Center at 5:30 pm for food and fellowship, followed by a program at 6 p.m. The $15 membership fee provides access to a monthly newsletter. Some of the association activities are “Feed the Fireman” and “Treat the Police,” as well as participating in city cleanups.

Grace Rhoden, a Handley neighborhood resident in her 90s, wrote this essay with the help of 80-year-old Judy Taylor. Taylor and her husband bought their home in the Handley neighborhood in 1964.

To tell the story of where you live, please send your essay to hello@fortworthreport.org and Managing Editor Thomas Martinez at thomas.martinez@fortwortheport.org.

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