Being a Texas gal, I love Texas history, and the history between the rival cities of Dallas and Fort Worth is fascinating. Each city is unique in character and history.
The population of Dallas exceeds 1 million, while the population of Fort Worth is approximately 874,000. Dallas looks more modern and life moves faster. John Neely Bryan established a permanent settlement on the banks of the Trinity River where Dallas stands today. The city became a fast growing business center when the railroad reached Dallas. It is well known as the city where John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Even though the team plays in nearby Arlington, the football team, the Dallas Cowboys is named after the city. From 1978-1991, a popular TV show named Dallas, aired on CBS. Dallas is known around the world.
Thirty-two miles to the west, and also on the banks of the Trinity River, a fort was established. This fort was named Fort Worth and a settlement grew up around the fort and continued to grow even after the fort was abandoned. Fort Worth is the smaller sibling to Dallas, but has had a much more colorful past. The population of Fort Worth swelled to nearly 4,000 in anticipation of the railroad reaching Fort Worth. However, the failure of the railroad to reach Fort Worth caused the population to dwindle to a mere thousand. However, the citizens were determined to save their town of Fort Worth and the railroad reached Fort Worth in 1876. Before the arrival of the railroad, Fort Worth was a jumping off point on the Chisholm Trail which cattle raisers used to drive their cattle north to the railroad in Dodge City, Kansas. The area around the present day Fort Worth Convention Center became known as Hell’s Half Acre because of the saloons, dance halls, and brothels clustered there to entice the cowboys to part with their money. After the railroad reached Fort Worth, the Stockyards was built. Fort Worth today still keeps its western heritage alive. Where else would you find a cattle drive down the streets of a city?
The rivalry between Dallas and Fort Worth has been around a long time. In 1875, a lawyer name Cowart, who had moved from Fort Worth to Dallas, intended to insult the “village” of Fort Worth by claiming that Fort Worth was so quiet that a panther slept near the courthouse undisturbed. The editor of the Fort Worth Democrat, B. B. Paddock, gleefully reported this claim in the newspaper and dubbed Fort Worth as “Pantherville.” The panther is still a symbol of Fort Worth. The rivalry continues today. The most recent example of this rivalry is found during the 2011 Super Bowl which was played at AT&T Stadium.
It is important to remember that a hyphenated Dallas-Fort Worth is fine. But you should NEVER, NEVER insult a Fort Worthian by shortening the name of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to just Dallas. I still have family living near Houston who still call the entire metroplex, Dallas. I have tried educating them to no avail. Fort Worth has a proud history, and it should be recognized and not swallowed up by Dallas’s shadow.