New historical marker celebrates TCU's 100-year partnership with Fort Worth

FORT WORTH -- To mark its 100th year in Fort Worth, Texas Christian University now has a plaque that commemorates its early days here.

The historical marker was unveiled Monday at the east lawn of the Tarrant County Courthouse at the corner of Commerce and Weatherford Streets, near the site TCU originally leased in 1910. The plaque, sponsored by the university, becomes part of the city's Heritage Trail series.

"This is a great day in the history of Fort Worth and a great day in the history of TCU," TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. said.

The plaque details how the city and TCU began a "thriving" 100-year partnership, Boschini said. It is one of 23 bronze markers downtown, concentrated on Main Street from Heritage Park to the Water Gardens, detailing various aspects of Fort Worth history.

In about six months, the TCU marker will be remounted on granite and placed again in the same location.

Fort Worth lured the university to the city after TCU's Waco campus was destroyed by fire in 1910, according to the plaque. The Fort Worth Board of Trade (which preceded the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce), the Fairmount Land Co. and the city's Christian churches offered 50 acres, $200,000, and promises of utilities and a streetcar line.

Fort Worth's pitch outbid Dallas and Waco, the plaque states. Before moving to "the Hill," the current campus on University Drive, TCU leased space in Ingram Flats, a series of two-story brick buildings at Weatherford and Commerce streets.

Chamber President Bill Thornton said TCU and Fort Worth have become synonymous with one another through the years. He touted the city's bid, which led to one of its early relocations.

"It's one of the most creative things we've done as a community," Thornton said.

The connection between Fort Worth and TCU began even earlier, in 1869, when Ida, Addison and Randolph Clark established TCU's forerunner academy near Hell's Half Acre, a portion of downtown known for its bars and bordellos.

Thornton said TCU's success has helped attract businesses and people to Fort Worth. And triumphs in football and baseball also build buzz for the city.

"It's one more window into our community," said Thornton, who was an assistant football coach at TCU before he began work at the chamber.

Diane Smith, 817-390-7675