Fort Worth

Fort Worth tour details skyscrapers’ history

The view from a high floor in the Fort Worth Tower downtown includes the tallest building in the city, the Burnett Plaza.
The view from a high floor in the Fort Worth Tower downtown includes the tallest building in the city, the Burnett Plaza. Star-Telegram

The downtown skyline is a lesson of local history, if you know the right people.

A walking tour through downtown Saturday gave focus to the skyscrapers new and old, detailing century-old information and much more recent changes to the skyline.

“I’ve been real interested in Fort Worth’s architecture,” said David Lanford of Fort Worth afterward. “I found out details I wouldn’t have known otherwise.”

The free monthly Downtown Fort Worth Walking Tours, led by local historian Richard Selzer, take anyone interested through different parts of Fort Worth as Selcer relays some of his research about points of interest such as Sundance Square, historic churches or unique architecture.

Several dozen participants gathered at the Texas & Pacific Lofts for the 2-mile tour, despite temperatures in the mid-30s. Selcer stopped at the first “skyscraper,” the seven-story Flatiron Building built in 1907 at 1000 Houston St. Selcer told the legend that nearby residents were concerned they would always be “in the shadows” living near the tallest building in North Texas at the time.

The tour wound through downtown, gazing up at the older, detailed architecture of the W.T. Waggoner Building and the Blackstone Hotel and comparing it with the modern glass styles, such as 777 Main Street and the Fort Worth Tower.

“The changeover from the classical art-deco style of skyscraper to the modern glass tower” stood out the most to Selcer as he prepared for the tour.

The highlight for many was the visit to a room on one of the top floors of The Tower, 500 Throckmorton St., a view stretching far and wide that many in the area don’t see often.

“I love taking pictures, and [the visit] gave me an inside look in one of the towers,” Lanford said.

From the 29th-floor windows, tourists had a good shot of the 567-foot-tall, 40-floor Burnett Plaza, the tallest tower in town by 20 feet.

Several of Selcer’s stories got back to the 2000 Fort Worth tornado, which damaged many of the high-rises. From The Tower, he pointed the tornado’s path as it “bounced” from building to building.

“It’s amazing that it didn’t hit other buildings or wipe out street-level people,” he said.

Down on the ground, Selcer pointed to the parking lot where Landmark Tower, once the city’s tallest building, stood before it was demolished

The two-hour tour didn’t get to all the buildings in Fort Worth’s skyline.

“Today, there were two or three other buildings I wanted to stop at but ran out of time,” Selcer said. “Next time I do a skyscraper tour we’ll cover some other buildings.”

The tours are scheduled for the second Saturday of each month and the routes, destinations and information differ each time. For more information, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/walkFW.

Mark David Smith, 817-390-7808

Twitter: @MarkSmith_FWST

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