Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Trails with Tales!


~ Chisholm Trail Mural * Sundance Square * Fort Worth, Texas
photo by Suzanne, April 22, 2017

Isn't this a fantastic wall mural!  I think it stands about 3 stories high, boasting a 3-dimensional effect on a flat surface.   Each time I visit downtown Fort Worth, I come to this spot and gaze fondly at it.   Oh, not because I'm a trailblazer or a real Cowgirl, but it is such an awesome scene, begging to be talked about!  And, here is 'yours truly', with a bit of a tale!



Paying homage to the legendary cattle drives of the late 19th century, this jaw-dropping mural was painted by Richard Haas in 1985.  It is located on the south façade of the Jett Building in the heart of Sundance Square in Fort Worth, Texas.

*** By the way, it is said that Sundance Square was originally dubbed as "Hell's Half Acre".  Well then, it seems as tho the Sundance Kid himself was known to frequent the establishments for spirits and entertainment, later deeming it to be renamed to "Sundance Square".

* Below is a picture of the Jett Building prior to the Chisholm Trail painting.
* Yahoo Images


The Jett Building, constructed in 1902, had housed the Northern Texas Traction Company years ago, as the Interurban Railway with service to Dallas and Cleburne.  Ticketing was on the first floor, with offices on the second floor.  If the conductors needed to spend the night, the building offered a bunk house on the top floor.  Coping with the competition of the up and coming busing service, the NTTC moved to the Sinclair building in 1930, running its last route on Christmas Eve of 1934.  After the move, the Jett building was host to a candy factory, and, is rumored to have had a brothel up on the top floor...hmmm!  It seems also around that time, and during the late 1940's, there was a title company and the U. S. Sandwich Shop in the building.  After that, the building was vacant for a long time during the late 1970's.

There were some partial restorations to the building in the late 1980's, and, eventually, in 2013, it was fully restored, becoming a welcome site to Sundance Square!  To the south of the building, the area was opened up in order to add a plaza and an office building to its west.  Consequently, the mural was also restored at this time, and the building was renamed The Mural Building.

But WAIT...is that all there is to this story?  Just a building that got old and decrepit looking?  Someone cleaned it up? And a wonderful artist just happened by and painted a beautiful mural on it?  NO WAY ARE WE GOING TO GET OFF THAT EASY!!!

***
Legend has it that the Jett building may be haunted!  (I had to brew myself a small pot of coffee at this point)!  ☕

Within a six year period, several restaurants had opened up and then left the building.  A former owner exclaimed, "It was the ghosts!"  There were drafts reported in areas where there were no open windows, phantom sounds of someone coming up the stairs, and flickering lights.


~ from Yahoo Images

Quite a few employees have quit after seeing apparitions or experiencing odd events such as 'a feeling of being watched', machines turning on by themselves, the sounds of high heels walking across unoccupied upstairs floors, and cries of someone possibly needing help.

* A bartender, closing up on a Halloween night, saw a phantom woman in the mirror.

~from Yahoo Images

There are strange chills in the basement, and, the spirit of a cowboy dressed in black has also been reported as a presence in the basement.


~from Yahoo Images

I would say that it is 'safe to say', that this is quite an historic site!  What do you think?  And, by the way, I must give a commendation for the incredible vision of the Chisholm Trail cattle drive in the late 1800's, transformed by Richard Haas onto the architecture of this once forlorn, and now renowned building!

* Richard Haas is from Spring Green, WI., and, his public work spans throughout the US for at least  35 years.  The only European mural by Mr. Haas has been in Munich and he is ranked among the world-best artists by the Artists Trade Union of Russia!  To Richard, buildings are not just a backdrop.  In his art he finds a way to bring an exterior façade to life by transforming an historical 'eyesore' into a captivating storytelling arena!

I do have one other example of Richard Haas' work to show you.  It is so remarkable!  Below is the Boston Architectural Center, 1977.  It is the first to be 'carved' into a wall with intentions of simulating an 18th century architectural painting.



***
Well, my dearest readers, it is time for me to sashay on out of here, and tend to the hamburger stew I've got brewing on the stove!  I hope you enjoyed our short study of one of the miracles of downtown Fort Worth!  When I first moved to Texas in 1971, this downtown was in a steady decline.  I love old decrepit buildings, but, I am proud to report that during my years in the area, Cowtown is doing a fantastic job of restoring the city, and keeping its history alive!

And, this little guy will vouch for it!
  Oh, he's okay, just basking in the 'ambience' of the city!

* Scootie *
~photo by Suzanne * May 1, 2017 * Downtown Fort Worth,Texas 

Gotta give thanks to:
Fort Worth, Texas/Sundance Square
Yahoo Images
Blogger
Google
Wikipedia
fortwortharchitecture.com
waymarking.com
hometownbyhandlebar.com
ssqmgmt.com
flickr.com
dfwcbslocal.com
richardhaas.com

***  Many thanks to all of you who have come by for a visit.  Please step inside and say hello if you get the chance...don't be shy!  You are welcome to visit anytime!

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!  Have a joyful and safe celebration!
See you all next time!

I love you Mom!


8 comments:

  1. Hi, Suzanne!

    First of all, I am still basking in the afterglow of your marvelous comment on SDMM. It's simply wonderful to have a friend like you. :)

    Second, I have had several Texas friends over the years, but none of them ever posted about the Jett Building, Sundance Square or that amazing mural depicting the post-Civil War Chisholm Trail used to drive cattle overland from ranches in the Lone Star State to railheads in Kansas. What Fort Worth did there should serve as an example to other cities suffering from urban blight with aging buildings in their downtown districts. A giant work of art strategically placed on the side of a building can work magic and revitalize the area, especially if a courtyard and seating area are provided as is the case in Sundance Square.

    I enjoyed reading the rich and colorful history of the Jett Building and its myriad occupants and uses over the years. It reminds me of the Shady Dell which supposedly operated as a speakeasy at one point. It seems like most of the ghostly encounters in the Jett Building are linked to the women who worked in the upstairs brothel way back when. :) I can understand why Sundance Square is a magnet for visitors, locals and new businesses, and I can tell by the look on Scootie's face that he had a great time with you there.

    Thank you very much for a delightfully interesting post, dear friend Suzanne. Enjoy the rest of your week and have a happy Mother's Day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Shady. I don't know what got into me on your blog, lol! I usually keep some thoughts to myself. Some of those ladies really deserved more recognition than they have gotten! I know the competition out there is rough even today. I'm betting, though, that over the years, the disappointments have transitioned into feelings of self satisfaction for their efforts, and, I am sure there are no regrets for these ladies. I am honored that you enjoyed my comment. Thank you so much!

      One of the best things about not working downtown anymore, is that I get to spend more time enjoying the colorful hustle and bustle there. I live only six miles from downtown, so I'm planning on more frequent visits. The building I worked in is the silver looking skyscraper directly behind and to the right of the Jett building. And, Scootie is now getting good about remembering some of the shops and the Plaza with the fountains. I love the Chisholm Trail mural! To the left of the building west of the Plaza is a tremendous stage where musical guests perform on many occasions, and, during the summer there have been jazz concerts on Sunday afternoons. I am hoping to attend a few of them this summer.

      I am glad I did some research into this building...I love a mystery, and, was so surprised to find a bit of dark history here! Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp are also said to have spent some time in Sundance Square also.

      Well, Shady, I'm so glad you enjoyed this post! I just had to share some of the beauty and fun an old downtown can offer. I am hoping to dive into another old eyesore again. I happen to know of a couple of old "Main Street type Grills" that used to exist downtown with gigantic, greasy hamburgers and fries! I got to eat there once in the late 1980's, and alas, it's gone now! Another time, eh?

      Thank you again, dear friend for your kind comments! Take care, see you soon! ♫

      Delete
    2. Thanks for showing me the skyscraper in which your Kard Korner shop was located, Suzanne. Enjoy the rest of your week! :)

      Delete
    3. Thank you Shady...you do the same!

      Delete
  2. Hello Suzanne, oh I'm so sorry in my late comment. I'd read your post when I was tired and intended to pop back the next day ... well, here we are, a few days on!
    Thank you too for showing the magnificent work of Richard Haas on the Boston
    First of all, I think that mural is fantastic. It must be the subject of so many photographs - what a great work of art, and for all to see. That's what I love about public art, it gives joy to many.
    So interesting to read about the history of the Jett Building and, as always, your research does you proud. I always admire municipalities (or communities) who preserve the older buildings through the years.
    Thank you too for sharing the work of Richard Haas on the Boston Architectural Center - just brilliant and so inspiring!
    Scootie is such a cutie pie, that's a gorgeous photo.

    Cheerio for now and have a lovely weekend, and a wonderful Mother's Day. Hugs xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sue. I'm so glad you enjoyed my post. I have always had an interest in some of the history in many downtown areas, and especially my downtown area. I didn't live in this town in the early 1970's, but friends would bring me here to walk around. Shops were boarded up, but there were still some bars open for night life. So there have been quite a lot of changes made over the years. Now I am more able to spend a bit of time browsing and looking at all the changes. There are some great places to eat also!

      My little grandson has enjoyed spending some time downtown with me, we went to an art fair last month and he had a corny dog! It was so cold that day, we didn't stay very long. I'm afraid he is starting to grow out of his "Scootie" nickname, and I will have to be careful not to say it in front of other people. He's growing up!

      I really love the Chisholm Trail mural, and there are more art pieces to enjoy downtown. Thank you very much for stopping by, I hope you are getting some rest and feeling better. I appreciate your wonderful comments, and your friendship these past years. I'm sending hugs your way and wishes for a joyful Mother's Day! xxoo

      Delete
  3. It's lovely when changes are for the good, sad when shops (or homes)are boarded up.
    So nice your dear grandson can enjoy time with you like that. Ah yes, the growing up takes over, then again it can be so lovely seeing them develop into young people with their own opinions etc. We have such interesting chats with our own dear granddaughters as they work their way through life.
    Cheerio for now, have a good week. Hugs 💖🐨

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sue. Karo's son has three daughters, and I am still in touch with them, even though they don't live close by. One of them will be graduating from High School this month. I remember when she was just born...time does fly! Their mother sends photos of them across frequently, and they have really grown. I enjoy seeing how they are growing up. Have a great week! ♥

      Delete

Stop by and say Hello!