If you grew up in Fort Worth from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s, the neighborhood of Wedgwood loomed large. If friends weren’t moving there, it seemed like the neighborhood would never stop adding street names that started with the letter “W” — and building more homes. But it didn’t feel like it was history in the making.
Now, nearly 70 years after the first home was built, many Wedgwood residents are looking back at the subdivision’s history, hoping to preserve some of the original character and style of the neighborhoods.
In March 2021, the nonprofit Wedgwood Historical Association was formed, and neighborhood residents — including some of the original homeowners — began work to preserve the history of the area and its homes. Two years ago, the association held its first Parade of Homes and the third is scheduled to take place on Sept. 16.
“We’ve learned so much since our first year,” said Heather Todd, president of the Wedgwood Historical Association. “We’re really excited to welcome people on the home tour this year and we’ve got some great homes to display.”
Wedgwood is a neighborhood in the southwest part of Fort Worth developed from 1950 to 1970 by E. L. Baker, Irwin Krauss and S. G. Payte. It is bounded by Granbury Road on the northwest, Altamesa Boulevard on the south, McCart Avenue and Westcreek Drive on the east, and Interstate 20 on the north.
The addition was planned around access to schools, Benbrook Lake, and the new highway, as well as nearby public areas such as the Wedgwood Country Club, Wedgwood Shopping Village, and Wedgwood Bowl, Todd said. If you’re wondering about the country club and the bowling alley, they are no longer there.
Most of the public areas were or are midcentury modern buildings designed by the local architectural firm Kneer & Hamm, which closed in the ‘70s.. The houses in Wedgwood were designed and built using a variety of builders, Todd said. He notes that, as far as he knows, all the homes in the neighborhood have central air conditioning, which was a relatively new amenity for mid-priced homes in the mid-1950s.
One of the sponsors of the Parade of Homes is realtor Amanda Pittman, who is also one of the founders of the Wedgwood Historical Association.
“I’ve since moved from the area, but I loved it there,” she said. “I just thought that, like me, so many people moved (there) and didn’t know the history, which I kind of learned because of my job.”
The area still has some of those same attributes that the original designers envisioned for the area, Pittman said.
“It still has shopping, small businesses in the area, it still has schools in the area. Kids can walk to school in many cases,” she said. “It has a neighborhood feel that you don’t have in many newer areas. There’s so much positive there.”
The organization has partnered with students and professors from the UTA College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs to nominate most sections of Wedgwood to the National Register of Historic Places.
Architectural history aside, another distinguishing feature of the neighborhood is that the majority of the street names in the older part begin with a “W,” a fact that can be confusing to new residents.
“The original idea, from what I heard, is that the ‘W’ names was a way for all the homes to be connected to Wedgwood,” said Todd.
However, as the area grew, the “W” idea, along with the curving streets, proved confusing for newcomers and — perhaps more importantly — for emergency services. “I’ve heard it just became too big a burden for police, fire and ambulance (services) and they were asked to stop,” she said.
While the area has plenty of ranch-style homes, there are other architectural styles in the area, Todd said. On this year’s tour, there will be four homes, one ranch style, one Asian-inspired, one rustic contemporary and one pristine contemporary.
The Third Annual Wedgwood Parade of Homes is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 16. Tickets can be purchased in advance ($20) on the website https://wedgwoodhistoricalassociation.org/parade-of-homes-2023 or in person ($25) the day of at 3525 Wharton Avenue. Todd encourages attendees to wear vintage clothing.
Crystal Springs Hideaway taking shape
A recent filing with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation shows plans for a new restaurant and bar called the Crystal Springs Hideaway at 113 Roberts Cut Off Road, near Heim Barbecue and Salsa Limon locations in the Riverbend district.
According to the filing, the owners plan to make about $500,000 worth of renovation to a 2,700-square-foot home and garage to create a restaurant at the location. The estimated completion date for the project is March 2024.
The owner of the site is J.D. Granger, former executive director of the Trinity River Vision Authority, who resigned from the organization last year after leading the project for 16 years.
The Crystal Springs area was once home to the Crystal Springs Dance Pavilion, a dance hall at 5653 White Settlement Road, a popular spot from 1916 until it burned in 1966. Many credit the dance hall with being the birthplace of Western Swing, as progenerators of that style, Milton Brown and Bob Wills, frequently played at the site.
Wallet-friendly weekend getaway right here
Visitors to Fort Worth get some bang for their bucks — 693 bucks, to be exact.
Travel information site Scott and Yanling analyzed the 50 most-populated American cities to determine the average getaway cost for two people. After collecting data for hotels, public transport, taxi rides, theater tickets, cinema tickets, alcoholic beverages, and lunchtime and dinnertime menus, the data combined costs to reveal the cheapest weekend getaways in the country. Wichita, Kansas, was No. 1 with a cost of $519, while Fort Worth came in No. 6 at $693, just below Oklahoma City.
Those are good numbers to hear, according to Bob Jameson, president and CEO of Visit Fort Worth.
“Fort Worth’s inclusion in the top ten of America’s Most Wallet-Friendly Cities for Weekend Getaways highlights our city’s commitment to offering an enriching yet affordable travel experience,” he said. “From world-class museums and distinct Western heritage to a vibrant food scene, Fort Worth provides a diverse array of activities without breaking the bank.”
Do you have something for the Bob on Business column? Email Bob Francis as email@example.com
Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.