In Texas, here’s a lightbulb that’s burned 110 years
Now they’re staying in Fort Worth three more days. What’s next?
Allow me to introduce you to some of the more offbeat attractions in Fort Worth, beginning with our beloved stubborn lightbulb:
1. The Palace Light
Sept. 21 marks the 110th birthday of the Palace Light, a low-tech phenomenon of a lightbulb that has never burned out since it was installed in 1908 in the old Palace Theater downtown.
At 11 a.m., the Stockyards Museum, 131 E. Exchange Ave., is throwing the bulb another birthday party.
“I would have thought theirs would have gotten hit by an earthquake by now,” museum director Teresa Burleson joked.
(It has. Several, in fact.)
The lightbulb is now a keepsake. All the museum docents who saw it in the theater, demolished in 1977, are gone.
Now and then it goes dark with the museum lights. It went out Sept. 11 when a car hit a nearby utility pole.
“The lights went dim and the other display lights went out,” Burleson said — “but this little bulb came right back on.”
2. Top O’ Hill Terrace
Yes, there’s a Benny Binion casino in town.
But it closed about 70 years ago, and now its Baptist college owners give tours of the underground rooms, escape tunnels and even a roulette wheel.
Visitors hear about wild parties, gambling raids and the casino’s colorful history of sin and redemption.
3. The ‘Logan’s Run’ Water Gardens
For contrast, walk five blocks to the life-size Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch wall bronze of their 1900 portrait here. It’s at 1006 Houston St.
4. Peter Pan is J.R. Ewing’s mom
For the child in the family — or the adults who never grew up — Weatherford has a near-lifesize bronze of stage’s Mary Martin, a native, as TV’s “Peter Pan.”
It’s at the public library, 1014 Charles St. Across town at 1400 Texas Drive, there’s a statue of TV’s villainous J.R. Ewing of “Dallas” — because late actor Larry Hagman was Martin’s son.
5. ‘The Last Supper’ — lifesize
Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” becomes a lifesize wax sculpture at the Christian Arts Museum, 3221 Hamilton Ave.
One of several wax ‘Last Suppers’ by a California wax artist, it was installed in 1957 in west Fort Worth, then moved around before finding a home in the Cultural District.
The museum also has a holiday display of Nativity scenes.
6. Iggy the Iguana
OK, maybe you’ve seen the new giraffe feeding area and hippopotamus pool.
But you haven’t seen the entire Fort Worth Zoo, 1989 Colonial Parkway, if you haven’t seen Iggy.
Don’t laugh at Iggy, the 40-foot-long wire mesh creation at the zoo entrance. He’s tough. After all, he’s been to New York.
For 10 years in the 1980s when Texas songwriters gained popularity, Iggy reigned atop the Lone Star Cafe at 61 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan.
Now, he dresses for special occasions and suits up for TCU football or pro golf at Colonial Country Club.
Yes, the north side has Billy Bob’s Texas, the World’s Largest Honky-Tonk.
But the south side has the World’s Largest Lizard.