The city of Fort Worth, Texas is located in the north central part of the state, near Dallas. Fort Worth is a large city, covering some 300 square miles. Fort Worth's population is 703,000 residents, making it the fifth largest city in Texas.
Fort Worth's history is steeped in the American West. Founded in 1849 as a military outpost, Fort Worth quickly grew into a bustling town when it became a stop along the famous Chisholm Trail during the great western migration of the early 1850s. Millions of heads of cattle were driven thorough Fort Worth by ranchers from all across the West. Fort Worth was nicknamed "Cowtown" as a result. Fort Worth also amassed some other colorful monikers during its rough and tumble days as a thriving cow town. Parts of the city were called “Hell’s Half Acre”, due to the number of bars and brothels located within close proximity of each other. Other people preferred to call it the “Paris of The Plains”.
The Civil War Era was not kind to Fort Worth, whose population had dwindled to a mere 175 residents by the late 1860s. The arrival of the railroad in 1876 re-established Fort Worth as a major staging area in the cattle industry and the city experienced a rebirth. The Fort Worth Stockyards, which were the center of the cattle operations in Fort Worth, were world famous in the cattle industry. The Stockyards continued to be an important part of the Fort Worth cattle industry until the 1960s. In 1976, the Stockyards were listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Today, the Stockyards, located in the Cultural District of the city, are a living history museum and entertainment district where cowboys and cattle still entertain visitors along the sprawling complex of bars, restaurants, rodeo arenas, and shopping venues. The Stockyards Historic District is also home to the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Billy Bob’s, which is the largest country and western music venue in the world. Other points of interest in Fort Worth’s Cultural District are The Will Rogers Memorial Center and The Amon Carter Museum.
Fort Worth also has an attractive Parks District that includes several outdoor attractions. The Fort Worth Zoo is located in this district and was listed among the ten best zoos in the country by Family Fun Magazine. Other Parks District points of interest are the Fort Worth Japanese Garden, the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, Fort Worth Water Gardens, Trinity Park, and Log Cabin Village.
Remaining true to is “Cowtown” roots, Fort Worth hosts several western themed festivals and events each year. The Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering and Swing Festival is a three day weekend where cowboys gather to promote their way of life. The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is another annual event. This show is the oldest stock show and carnival in the country. Aside from the annual festivities, Fort Worth also has a rodeo every weekend as well as two cattle drives through the heart of the city each day.