Mark Presswood’s Letter to Star Telegram Editor

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The Stockyards

The pitcher Satchel Paige once said, “Don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.”

In the case of the Stockyards, what’s “gaining” is years of deterioration, rot and some neglect.

Someone will have to spend money to shore up and support the infrastructure of the Stockyards buildings or they will collapse. It will either be the taxpayers of Fort Worth or (if we can be open to a middle ground) a private developer who then must see a return on his or her investment.

I have all the respect in the world for Doug Harman’s collection of Fort Worth antiquities and J’Nell Pate’s historical record of north Fort Worth and other books, but the extreme position they have taken is not how history is preserved.

The Stockyards are in need of a facelift, one that respects the heritage of the area, but which will also provide a safe and economically viable return to the person investing in the facelift.

Middle ground is the key here. There’s absolutely nothing redeeming in the broken shards of the old Swift plant on the hill except for use as an easel for graffiti. But the grand entry to the plant on Northeast 23rd Street with the big “S” is worth saving.

Those who are more hysterical, as a pun on historical, have to start realizing that abandonment is not preservation. Repurposing older buildings, houses and other edifices is the best preservation of our proud history.

MARK R. PRESSWOOD,

FORT WORTH

Frequently Asked Questions

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Have questions about Fort Worth Stockyards preservation? We’re here to help. We want to ensure you have accurate information about what’s happening in this historic district. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions. If your question isn’t below, reach out to us here. We’d love to hear from you!

FAQ:

“Do you own all of the Fort Worth Stockyards?”

No. In fact, we own less than 10% of the approximate 90 buildings in the Stockyards. Staples like the historic Stockyards sign and the Stockyards Coliseum and the Livestock Exchange Building are not included in our plans.

“Did you really obtain 23 demolition permits to destroy historic structures?”

The 23 demolition permits granted are not to destroy historic structures. The permits are for small structures, deemed unsafe and unsalvageable. Many were constructed in recent years with non-period materials, have no or diminished historical significance. Not a single historic salvageable structure is being demolished.

“Does Majestic Realty have any roots in Fort Worth?”

There’s been a relationship between Majestic owner, Ed Roski and the Hickman family since 1997. Holt Hickman personally enlisted the support of Majestic Realty to help fund his vision for the Stockyards. Our team is 100% committed to honoring his legacy. Our main office is in California, but we’ve had roots in Texas for decades now, with offices in both North Texas and Fort Worth. Our Fort Worth office is led by a native Texan and TCU grad and employs many exceptional professionals from Texas. Our lead architect is also a Fort Worth local.

“Are you planning on building chain stores in the Stockyards?”

Big box stores and drive-thru restaurants are not included in our plans. We have two perfect partners that have already expressed signed letters of interest for coming to the Stockyards – American Paint Horse Association and Saddleback Leather Company. We think you’ll agree that each of these western businesses would make great new neighbors.

“Are you planning to make the Fort Worth Stockyards ‘Disney-like’”?

No. This was unfortunately taken out of context. One of our team members compared the memories you have after visiting the Stockyards to the memories you have after visiting special places like Disneyland. It was meant as a compliment to the Stockyards. We think you’ll agree, no place does a better job to immerse you into an experience that creates lasting memories.

“Are you tearing down the Horse and Mule Barns?”

No. In fact our first action when we began our preservation efforts was to request designation of the Horse and Mule Barns as historically significant endangered (HSE). This was accomplished in October of 2015. After digitally scanning every square inch and commissioning detailed engineering reports, it’s obvious both barns need significant attention to be preserved. We are committed to doing just that.

“How much planning has gone into this project?”

Years in the making, this project first began when Holt Hickman personally enlisted help from our owner, Ed Roski. We’ve spent several million dollars on infrastructure, financial analysis and projections over the course of 18 months before development was even approved. We have already begun work restoring the Horse and Mule Barns and are excited for what’s to come. For news and updates regarding the Fort Worth Stockyards, be sure to follow us on Facebook and visit us on the web www.stockyardsheritage.com

Where to Watch the Big Game in the Fort Worth Stockyards

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Whether you’re a Panthers or Broncos fan, you’ll find the perfect spot to watch the Big Game in the Fort Worth Stockyards. No need to host a party! Invite your family and friends to any of our recommended bars or restaurants for festive food, fun and football

#1 Cattlemen’s Steakhouse

A Fort Worth favorite, Cattlemen’s Steakhouse is a great spot to watch this year’s Big Game. Dare to try their secret menu item: the famous “Balls to the Wall” pizza, complete with Calf Fries, alfredo sauce and Parmesan cheese. It’s a touchdown-worthy snack!

#2 Riscky’s BBQ

With its award-winning brisket, Riscky’s is THE place to be this Sunday. Barbecue and the Big Game go together like pie and ice cream. Speaking of pie, Riscky’s offers a tasty dessert menu for when it’s time to celebrate the big win, or console yourself after a loss.

#3 Stockyards Saloon

This Sunday, score big at Stockyards Saloon. With a tailgate-style buffet, door prizes, drink specials and games, it’s an event you cannot miss.

#4 Booger Red’s

Located right next door to H3 Ranch, Booger Red’s will make you feel like you’ve traveled back to the Old West. Grab a saddle seat at the bar to watch the game, while sipping on their famous “Anita-Rita” margarita, or their popular Buffalo Butt Beer!

#5 Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

Planning to bring the whole team to Cooper’s for the Big Game? No problem. With family-style menu items like a whole chicken, ribeye or prime rib with your choice of sides, Cooper’s can tackle any size of appetite.

Will you be celebrating the Big Game in the Fort Worth Stockyards? Do you have any game day traditions or favorite snacks? Share them with us on our Facebook page!

10 Valentine’s Day Ideas from the Fort Worth Stockyards

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Want to make Valentine’s Day extra special for the cowboy or cowgirl in your life? We’re here to help! Here are 10 Texas-style gift and date ideas you won’t find anywhere else.

 

1. A Longhorn for Your Love

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Donate to the Fort Worth Herd to help feed and care for these special steers in 2016. You and your sweetheart will receive your very own certificate, Longhorn Trading Cards with facts about each steer, a color photo of the Herd and more! For more information or to donate, visit www.friendsoftheherd.com

2. Boots For Your Babe

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Sassy Pantz, located in Stockyards Station, is a country-chic cowgirl boutique for women. From jewelry and handbags to Western apparel and cowboy boots, Sassy Pantz will have the woman in your life looking like a country queen!

3. Lyrics to Love By

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For the country music fan in your life, head to Chief Records. With Fort Worth’s largest collection of country music on vinyl, you’re sure to find the record that reminds you of that special someone.

4. Boot Scootin’ at Billy Bob’sbb

Give the gift of music: Invite your loved one to a special night at the World’s Largest Honky Tonk. Enjoy the nation’s best country, blues and rock music, ride a bucking bronco, and indulge in delicious BBQ or burgers. Buy your tickets here!

5. Rockin’ at the Fort Worth Rodeo

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Give the gift of an action packed show at the historic Cowtown Coliseum! With events for the kids like the calf and mutton scramble, it’s Fort Worth’s idea of a perfect date! Purchase tickets here!

6. Dinner for Two at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse

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Enjoy a delicious steak dinner at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse in the Fort Worth Stockyards. For an even bigger surprise, make a night of it: Enjoy dinner at Cattlemen’s, followed by a concert at Billy Bob’s, right around the corner!  

7. A Choo Choo — For Two

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How about a romantic trip for two by train? Travel along the Trinity River with your Valentine or take the train to the Fort Worth Stockyards. Ride in “Puffy”, a 1896 steam locomotive or “Vinny”, a 1953 diesel locomotive. Plan your trip today.

8. Gunning For Love

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For a action packed date, take your special someone to the Stockyards Gunfighter. Team up to take on the Wild West and face virtual outlaws in a quick draw shootout or aim at stationary targets. Find more information on their site or call 682-841-0266 for reservations.

9. Saddle Up With Your Partner

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Take a relaxing ride down the historic Chisholm Trail and along the Trinity River towards the beautiful Fort Worth skyline. Brownie points if you give your Valentine a new pair of boots from Sassy Pantz before your special trail ride. For hours and pricing click here.

10. Go Back In Time Together at the Stockyards Hotel

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Stay the night at a legendary hotel full of Western history. Located in the heart of the Fort Worth Stockyards, there’s plenty of attractions and restaurants to enjoy nearby. Book your stay today.

Do you have other Texas style gift or date ideas? Share them with us on our Facebook

We take pride in the Fort Worth Stockyards for all the unique and special qualities they bring to the city of Fort Worth. We’re honored to be a part of the protection and preservation of the Stockyards and want everyone to enjoy the “center of the universe” for years to come.  Happy Valentine’s Day Y’all!

The History of Billy Bob’s Texas

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Since 1981, more than 17 million people have entered the doors at Billy Bob’s Texas – the world’s largest honky tonk. With headliners like George Strait, Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks and Johnny Cash, Billy Bob’s is an iconic venue for country music. It’s a focal point for the Fort Worth Stockyards – drawing locals and out-of-town visitors in to experience the entirety of the Stockyards’ colorful history, western-themed attractions and overall charm.

In 1980, Billy Bob Barnett and Spencer Taylor purchased an abandoned 100,000-square-foot department store. With the help of investment partners and some serious renovation, Barnett and Taylor opened the doors to Billy Bob’s Texas on April 1, 1981. The venue was an instant hit, drawing in major stars like Ernest Tubb and Marty Robbins. Unfortunately, financial mismanagement and poor tickets sales resulting
from a major ice storm led to the closing of Billy Bob’s in early 1988.

Barnett was committed to reopening as soon as he could find the money to do so. Thankfully, our dear friend, Holt Hickman (who sought to revive the Stockyards) and Steve Murrin invested in and helped reopen Billy Bob’s in November of 1988. The next year, Billy Minick became a partner, (and eventual CEO) and his wife, Pam Minick, was hired as the director of marketing.

Billy Bob’s hit the ground running. Their New Year’s Eve show featured Merle Haggard and Jo-El Sonnier. A fresh start called for new traditions. Billy Bob’s began capturing the handprints of its entertainers and displaying them on the “Wall of Fame.” Today, over two decades worth of handprints are displayed at the club.

Though Billy Bob’s is known for its incredible shows and major headliners, fans stick around for more than the music. With tasty cowboy cuisine, line dancing and two-step classes most  Thursday nights, and bull riding on Friday and Saturday, Billy Bob’s has a lot to offer.

Billy Bob’s is a big part of what makes the Fort Worth Stockyards so special. We’re thankful for Holt Hickman’s generosity and commitment to revive the Stockyards. We’re glad to be a part of it and hope to provide even more attractions and events through our work to preserve, protect, enhance and engage the “center of the universe.”

Share your Billy Bob’s experiences with us on our Facebook page!

 

Stockyards Heritage Store Spotlight: The Candy Barrel

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The Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District is a special place this time of year. With family friendly events like Christmas in the Stockyards, trips along the Trinity River in a vintage train and Christmas shopping in Stockyards Station, it’s the perfect place to be this holiday season.

One of our favorite shops in the Stockyards is The Candy Barrel on East Exchange Ave. – located in Stockyards Station for more than 20 years. When you walk into The Candy Barrel, it’s like traveling back in time. With candies from all over the world, The Candy Barrel offers a truly special experience, giving people a little “taste of yesterday” when they discover their favorite childhood candies. You’ll find taffy, chocolate gold coins, candy necklaces, whirly pops, jaw breakers and pixie sticks – just to name a few!

The store has locations around the U.S., so we asked Al Shameklis of The Candy Barrel why he chose to open a store in the Fort Worth Stockyards.

“We chose to open a store here because of the history in Fort Worth and Stockyards Station,” said Shameklis. “The Stockyards are an amazingly authentic Texas experience where customers and guests can truly feel the history around them. Few places in the U.S. today have remained so authentic.”

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Unlike other candy stores, Shameklis says that The Candy Barrel is unique  because of the historic Texas feel that permeates the store and its surroundings. “There’s a ‘Texas twist’ on everything – from the size of the store, to the twice-daily longhorn cattle drive that goes past us, to the local rodeo every Friday and Saturday night – you know you can’t go to the rodeo without some candy,” said Shameklis.

With customers from all over the world, The Candy Barrel predicts they will sell more than three tons of treats this holiday season. That’s a lot of candy! If you’re looking for a gift anyone will enjoy or a great stocking stuffer this Christmas, Shameklis recommends their authentic salt water taffy or any of their “nostalgic candies” for a trip down memory lane.

With stores like The Candy Barrel, it’s easy to see just how important the Fort Worth Stockyards are to visitors and business owners alike. That’s why we’re committed to preserving the special character and feel of this historic area. We are especially proud to be a part of this initiative and want the Stockyards to remain a place everyone can enjoy for years to come.

CB5You can visit The Candy Barrel at 140 East Exchange Ave. in Fort Worth from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, or 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Why We’re Thankful for the Fort Worth Stockyards

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There is much to be thankful for this year! Exciting things have been happening in the Fort Worth Stockyards recently, all while you’ve shared with us just how much each one of you cares about its history, its heritage and its preservation.

We each have our own reasons for loving the Stockyards. For some, it’s about personal history.

Many of you have relatives who worked at Armour & Company, laid the bricks on Exchange Avenue or were inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. Others will forever remember the Stockyards as the place where they first fell in love, were married, and now visit with their children.

Some of the memories you’ve shared with us involve famous events and venues, such as bringing the kids to Treat Street for Halloween at Stockyards Station, seeing Cowboy Santa ride down Exchange Avenue during Christmas in the Stockyards, or catching a show at Billy Bob’s Texas.

The Stockyards represents decades of rich Texas history. Fort Worth was the last stop for weary cattle drivers along the Chisholm Trail, is home to the first indoor rodeo, and is one of the greatest livestock and meatpacking hubs in the country.

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And we can’t forget the people who have made the Fort Worth Stockyards so great, like our dear friend Holt Hickman and his family. His never-ending commitment to the place he called “the center of the universe” is a big reason the Fort Worth Stockyards have become such a popular tourist destination.

We’re also grateful for Billy and Pam Minick for the hard work and resources they put into Billy Bob’s Texas over the years, branding it as a legendary venue for thousands of entertainers.

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In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’d like to say thank you. We’re honored to be a part of the Fort Worth Stockyards. We understand its special character – and, like you, we cherish it.

Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless Texas.

 

Thank you to Lola Lavender for the gorgeous image of the Texas Longhorn!

5 Places to Watch the TCU Game in the Stockyards on Saturday

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Fall in Texas can only mean one thing – FOOTBALL!

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Can’t travel all the way to Oklahoma to catch the TCU game this weekend? We’ve got the next best thing. Spend your Saturday in the Stockyards and watch the TCU game. Enjoy Fort Worth’s famous barbecue, a tasty steak or burgers – a tailgate classic!

Here are five Stockyards hot spots that are perfect for game day:

  1. Cattlemen’s Steakhouse

Cattlemen’s famous calf fries coupled with the exciting environment makes it the most popular spot in the Stockyards to watch the Frogs play!

  1. Riscky’s BBQ

Riscky’s can tackle any appetite. Come out and try their tasty barbecue or warm up with chili or stew!

  1. Trailboss Burgers

How does a buffalo burger sound with side of stuffed jalapenos? Can’t get more Texas than that!

  1. Coopers Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que

Ribs, chicken, sausage, sirloin or the “Big Chop” – a juicy, thick-cut boneless pork chop. You decide. Then, celebrate post-game with blackberry or peach cobbler!

  1. Habanero’s Grill and Cantina

Try the brisket tacos and a refreshing margarita while you enjoy the game! Don’t forget the chips and salsa!

 

Do you spend game day in the Stockyards? What are your game day traditions? Which tailgate treat is your favorite? Share with us on our Facebook page and don’t forget to root for the Frogs on Saturday! #FearTheFrogs

 

This Halloween, Enjoy ‘Treat Street’ at Fort Worth Stockyards Station

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Ghosts and goblins, spooks galore. It’s time for Treat Street!

Gather up your ghouls and head over to Stockyards Station on October 31st. Dress your best for the costume contest, put your creative skills to the test with pumpkin decorating, and trick-or-treat at the Stockyards Station shops. It’s sure to be a frightful night!

after 018The witching hour begins at 6 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. All activities will occur at Stockyards Station at 140 East Exchange Avenue in the Fort Worth Stockyards.

We know Holt Hickman would be proud to see such a fun, family-friendly event being hosted at a place he so loved and nurtured. We’re proud to honor his legacy through our commitment to preserving and protecting the Fort Worth Stockyards.

Treat Street is free and open to the public. Find more information and plan your visit at http://stockyardstation.com/events/treat-street/.

Stockyards Station and The Revival of the Fort Worth Stockyards

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In 1992, Fort Worth community leaders began brainstorming ways to revive the city’s declining economy. Visionaries Holt Hickman and Lyda Hill had an idea.

Through investment and hard work, Holt and Lyda spearheaded the development of Stockyards Station Market, known today simply as Stockyards Station. Nestled in the heart of the Fort Worth Stockyards on East Exchange Avenue, the 85,000 square-foot development opened to the public on December 11, 1992.

BPLocated in renovated hog and sheep pens once home to more than 83 million animals,  Stockyards Station was made up of 20 stores featuring antiques, leather goods, furniture, restaurants and galleries.

Through a great friendship with Bill Davis, owner of the Fort Worth & Western Railroad, visitors were able to catch the Tarantula Steam Train-named after the map which depicted spider-like tracks-and ride along the Chisholm Trail following the Trinity River. Today, you can still enjoy a trip along the Trinity or take the train along the historic Cotton Belt Route to Grapevine in newly renovated coaches pulled by antique engines.

“Wild West Image Revived to Attract Tourism, Rescue Economy” and “Fort Worth Leaders Return City to Cowtown Roots” were just two of many newspaper headlines that attracted visitors to the restored area.

“Cowboys and the Wild West became Fort Worth’s favorite image to attract tourist dollars to rescue its faltering economy. The image seems only natural, after all Fort Worth always has been proud of its western heritage and has been touted since the turn of the 20th century as ‘Where the West Begins.’ ” – Bill May, Journal Record Staff Reporter (1992)

Today, the Fort Worth Stockyards hold that same western heritage and charm, with even more attractions. The Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, Cowtown Cattlepen Maze, or watching cattle being sold in the Livestock Exchange are just a few of the attractions you can explore at Stockyards Station today.

Hungry? The Station can cure any craving. From barbeque to Mexican, there’s something for everyone. Try the beef brisket at Riscky’s or sip a refreshing margarita at Habanero’s. And don’t leave without stopping by Barbara’s Custom Hats for the perfect cowboy hat or The Candy Barrel to satisfy your sweet tooth.

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“The dedication of the Hickman / Hill ownership to have a long term vision has moved the Stockyards from an unsafe, unkept, disrespected part of town to the thriving tourism destination that celebrates Fort Worth’s history of the cattle industry. Had it not been for their foresight and fortitude to wait out the early years, we could not celebrate the 3 million visitors we enjoy today.”-Gary Brinkley, General Manager of Stockyards Station

Thanks to Holt’s and Lyda’s vision, Stockyards Station has become a lively entertainment center. Plan your trip to the Old West today at www.StockyardsStation.com.