BY ANN ZADEH
Bluebonnet Hills … our home since 1993. Neither my husband nor I are native Fort Worthians or Texans. He’s originally from Michigan, and I’m originally from California. He came to Texas with intention and a plan mainly to escape all those long cold winters! I came for love (him) and, if I’m being honest, plans to take him back to California as soon as possible … 33 years later we are still in Fort Worth and in the first and only home we have owned — here in Bluebonnet Hills just a few blocks away from TCU and walking distance to Bluebonnet Circle, Westcliff Shopping Center, and the hub of activity at Berry Street and University Drive. And while we thought this might be a “starter home,” from which we would move into something bigger as our family grew, it is much more: The place we brought both our children home to after their births at Harris (now known as Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital) and now our empty nest home.
Our first home as newlyweds in 1990 was on Fort Worth’s Eastside off Eastchase Parkway. The plan (always the planner) was to rent while we scoped out the various areas and neighborhoods of Fort Worth. It was always Fort Worth. Never did we consider not living in this city even though Jim had gone to law school in Dallas, and I was going to graduate school in Arlington. Being in Fort Worth was always the plan.
I had a realtor’s map with one-mile circles indicating distances from downtown and identifying, by name, all the neighborhoods. I spent numerous hours exploring the various neighborhoods and getting a sense of them. My preference has always been older neighborhoods with an interesting variety of homes, mature trees, and nearby destinations within walking distance. No cookie-cutter suburbs for me. Thankfully, I had a lot of areas to choose from. We settled on the TCU area quickly and, for those house shopping now, it will be a shock to hear that in the early 90s the majority of three-bedroom/two-bath homes for which we were searching were on the market for $139,900!
What drew us to our home was the proximity (just across the street) to a neighborhood park, the energy of being near a university, and the availability of nearby shopping for groceries and other amenities. While there are a lot of amenities within walking distance, the lack of sidewalks makes those walks less comfortable. While most of the amenities within walking distance have been here since the beginning for us, it’s only gotten better.
Recently my husband started teaching at TCU and he walks to his twice-weekly class there. And my longtime Pilates class (I have followed it to 3 or 4 locations around the city over the last 12 years) just last month moved into the Cowtown Marathon’s new headquarters, two blocks from our home — adding to the things we do that are walkable from our home. In my new job as the executive director of Community Design Fort Worth, I work both from my office in the Connex Building at Evans and Rosedale and from home, so I get to observe the rhythms of the neighborhood many days from my street-facing home office window.
My husband and I have both been involved in our community by serving on our neighborhood association board and working alongside fellow residents to reactivate the association after a period of inactivity.
Community has always been important to me. When we first moved to Bluebonnet Hills, we were by far some of the youngest residents. We had the pleasure of living alongside some of the original homeowners in the neighborhood, some of whom were like surrogate grandparents to our kids when they were born in 1997 and 2001.
Now the neighborhood is full of kids, and we are the oldsters. We experience kids walking by our house on their way to school at McLean 6th Grade and McLean Middle School. During COVID-19, we decorated our front window with the stuffed animals our kids have outgrown (but still insist we keep for them) for the neighborhood kids to discover. As I look out the window while I am writing this, two middle schoolers walk by on their way home from school, a mom with a stroller passes on her way to the park, and one of the twins who lives around the corner has just run down our sidewalk — a portion of the sidewalk that is limited to just in front of four houses on our block. It’s a sidewalk where our kids first attempted to ride bikes and where neighborhood kids continue to do the same.
The neighborhood is a combination of families of all ages plus college students. Just recently, a young married couple moved into the home that — when we first arrived — was Rosemary’s home, an original homeowner. When I knocked on their door to introduce myself and offer space in our trash bin (as theirs was overflowing from the recent move-in), I discovered that the young man had been a classmate of our oldest child.
We have lived here long enough to witness this full circle moment and know that there will be many more for so many of us who call Bluebonnet Hills home.
Ann Zadeh is the executive director of Community Design Fort Worth, a nonprofit organization that focuses on equitable city planning and design. She is also a former City Council member.
Total population: 1,033
Female: 41% | Male: 59%
80 and older: 2%
No degree: 14%
High school: 7%
Some college: 29%
Bachelor’s degree: 35%
White: 51% | Hispanic: 43% | Black: 1% | Two or more: 3%
Click on the link to view the schools’ Texas Education Agency ratings: