Saturday, August 9, 2014

Who Was Harry Hines? - The Forgotten Harry Hines Memorial


   I took an informal poll yesterday and asked people what was the first thing that came to mind when I mention "Harry Hines"

   Seediness,  streetwalkers, industrial were a few of the otherwise unpleasant descriptions I received about the infamous Dallas boulevard. Fair?  Perhaps.

   Did you know that Harry Hines Boulevard ends in uptown just a block from the new deck park? Did you ever stop and wonder who was Harry Hines?  Obviously, someone thought he did something noteworthy enough to name a thoroughfare after him, albeit a notorious one.

   I have to admit, I never really thought much about it until I stumbled across this small park near downtown. I use the term stumble, because when I went back with my camera, I wandered around for 20 minutes trying to find it again.

  The park is at the corner of Harry Hines Boulevard and Ashland, is less than a half acres and has a small monument in the middle. Thousand of cars pass by everyday in this midtown maze of streets but few realize the answer to "Who Was Harry Hines?" sits under a large shade tree.










   The memorial gives us not only insight into who he was, but the high esteem he was given by city leaders. It is also a cautionary tale, be careful where you place your name. The plaque reads:

       "Harry Hines, in whose honor Harry Hines Boulevard was named, served six years as Chairman of the Texas Highway Commission 1935 -1945

      His foresight envisioned the need for a new route north and northwest out of Dallas and carried to culmination what can appropriately be considered Dallas' first step toward a divided expressway system, which will prove a lasting tribute to his vision for our city and state.

   This memorial placed by friends who held him in high esteem and affection

   1886 - 1956






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Monday, August 4, 2014

Dallas' Bridge Park


   First there was the wildly successful Klyde Warren Deck Park between Uptown and Downtown. Now comes Dallas' newest attraction, the Bridge Park.

   Opened with relatively minor fanfare, the bridge park was built on the old Continental Avenue Bridge which was replaced by the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.  Today it connects pedestrians to the two areas which are predicted to have immense changes in the next 20 years, Riverside Boulevard (formerly Industrial Boulevard) and West Dallas.

    Below are a few photos of Dallas most unusual park.
The Continental Bridge in the shade of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

Looking east, toward downtown


A climbing . . . blob


Chess Tables, Umbrellas and Vines that will eventually add shade


Misters and loungers give a place to cool off and get sun.


Underneath the bridges, running trails



One of many chairs, benches and tables on the bridge park

One of many chairs, benches and tables on the bridge park

Looking west toward Trinity Groves


A small playground with the climbing blob

Great views of the parallel Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge


A short distance away is the new Sylvan Avenue Bridge which has an offramp that will connect you to the new running trails and other park features in the Trinity River Project.





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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Update: The Katy Trail Extension


NOTE: The original post is followed by a further update



   Dallas has one of the most extensive bike and jogging trail systems in the U.S. One of the most exciting developments in recent years have been plans to extend the popular Katy Trail to White Rock Lake.


   The plan is to build a bridge over Mockingbird Lane and then have the trail mostly follow the Dart line from Mockingbird Station to White Rock Station on the north side of the lake.
Rendering of the Katy trail Bridge over Mockingbird Ave.

      There has only been a small bit of work done at Mockingbird Lane. It will be the last piece of the trails extention to be completed.  Most people, including myself, would probably be surprised how much work has already been done.

      I noticed a few days ago that a portion of the trail that follows Northwest Highway towards the White Rock Dart Station had already been finished and striped.

This final portion of the Katy Trail Extension runs parallel to Northwest Highway.  It follows the path of an old alley which some homes still use to access their garages.  I wonder how this is going to work.
   I decided to walk the new portion of the trail and follow to where it disappeared from view of Northwest Highway motorist. I discovered that a significant portion of the extension is already finished.

The Katy extension headed north toward Northwest Highway
Standing in the same spot, looking south


   What's interesting is that the trail will follow the Dart Green line from Mockingbird Station until it reaches the as of now undeveloped Union Pacific Trail. A tall ramp will be built to bring the trail down to the rail line. It appears that for now the trail will go north to Northwest Highway, then east to the Dart Station. From there, you take another trail south to the lake. 
   

Pylons being built for a ramp that will lower the trail to the Union Pacific Trail, which is owned by DART

Sadly,  I'm not the only person to discover this portion of the Katy Trail Extension. A tagger has already ruined a portion of the trial. 


   Unlike the original portion of the Katy Trail, this section of the Extension is very secluded. Even though the trail bisects two neighborhoods, it's set considerably lower and gives you a feeling of being out in the country.   
    We are still a few years away from the Extension being completed. The bridge over Mockingbird will be the final piece. In the meantime, joggers and cyclist will still have a considerable amount of trails to discover.


UPDATE:   July  2014

   More sections have been completed, but you'd really have to search to find them.  The bridge that connects the trail from the Dart Line to the Union Pacific Trail toward Northwest Highway has been completed, although it is not open yet.



FACING EAST AT RIDGEWOOD REC CENTER

An unfinished path of the Katy Trail Extension just north of Mockingbird at Fisher Ave and Ridgewood Park.  This is a view facing east.  The trail parallels the Dart line and will turn north toward Northwest Highway via the old Union Pacific Rail Line

A couple of views of the bridge that lowers the trail from street level to the old rail line



FACING WEST AT  RIDGEWOOD REC CENTER

Facing west at Fisher Avenue, the trail travels behind the Ridgewood Rec Center.  A trailhead parking lot is being used as a  construction site

The trail passes buy a new splash park


Headed west, the trail near the Dart Line headed toward Mockingbird Station

    





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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Update: Fort Worth's Forgotten Park to Reopen


Note: This Story was originally published in 2011. This past week, the city of Fort Worth announced that they are taking bids to restore and reopen the park, hopefully by 2016. 


   Can you have a city park designed by a prominent landscape architect and have nobody notice when it closes?  The answer is yes, which is easy to understand when you consider that few people have ever noticed that the park even existed. What makes this story so unbelievable is that the park is on a busy downtown corner across the street from the Tarrant County Courthouse.



   Heritage Park was opened on the corner of Belknap and Main in downtown Fort Worth to commemorate the founding of the original military post in 1849. The park, designed by noted architect Lawrence Halprin, opened in 1976. It featured numerous water features intermingled with shaded paths and a cantilevered walkway built over the bluff overlooking the Trinity River.

  But even though the park was located on a busy intersection, it was one with little foot traffic. Few people noticed Heritage Park. And even fewer noticed in 2007 when the park fell into disrepair and was closed.


   It's been three years since the park has closed. But there is little public uproar to reopen the grounds. I contacted the city of Fort Worth and received a reply from Fernando Costa, the Assistant City Manager.  He wrote that the city is working with Downtown Fort Worth Inc. to raise funds to repair and upgrade the park. But in the past three years, little has been done. Meanwhile, the park is slowly being taking over by nature.

The cantilevered walkway can still be seen on the bluff above the Trinity, even though the trees  have begun to block the view. 

The Water Wall behind chain link.

An ironic caption 'The Vision Endures" on the sign outside the park

A Water Wall that includes the map of the original settlement sits behind chain link.

An urban oasis on the other side of the fence.

A diminished view of the park from the Main Street Street Bridge.


Heritage Park on North Main Street at the top of the Trinity River Bridge



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Monday, December 23, 2013

NEW Country 96.3 KSCS' Christmas Gift that keeps on giving



   A few years ago, along with Southwest Airlines, we at 96.3 KSCS started something called "Bring a Lone Star Home."  Each Christmas season, we ask families to tell us about a loved one that can't make it home for the holidays, usually due to lack of finances.

   I love calling the families and surprising them, telling them we are going to bring home their son, daughter, parent, soldier or long lost relative. It is by far the best thing we do each year.

   Today, I received this lovely letter passed, on by Mariah, whose father had a tough year but is coming home for Christmas.  I wanted to share it with you.

Merry Christmas,

Hawkeye


I wanted to share a letter from my paw! Thank you, Hawkeye and Terry!

"GOD is so good. All of us have had the joy of his grace at one time or another.
Today I experienced his grace and blessings again.
When I moved to Ft. Worth years ago , I found a country station that was just awesome.

The station was KSCS RADIO FM in Dallas. My favorite show was the Terry Dorsey show which featured Terry and his sidekick "Hawkeye". Together they were the funniest guys I had ever heard on radio. They played off one another so well!
Several years after my experience with prostate cancer, they announced that Terry was going to be away for a time-he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. I sent an email to him to offer some encouragement and shared some of my experience with him. He responded back and after his treatment, he returned to our delight!
Any time we've been back, I start looking for reception a hundred miles out.
This morning I was getting ready to leave for my radiation treatment when my phone rang. No name was listed...just an area code 214 number. I didn't recognize the number and was hesitant to answer the phone. Naturally , curiosity got the best of me and I said "hello".
The voice on the other end said "Jon" and I said "yes!" The voice then Identified himself as "Hawkeye" with KSCS Radio. It didn't sound like the guy I remembered and began wondering if this was a prank call. He said he and Terry were calling on behalf of someone named "Mariah" and did I know her. I said she was my daughter. Then Terry ( whose voice I recognized immediately) said that Mariah was on the phone with them and they wanted to wish me a "Merry Christmas". My head was just spinning wondering what was going on!

Hawkeye said that he understood that I had been going through some difficult times and they just wanted to help out at Christmas. At this point I'm wondering where this whole thing was going! Then he told Mariah to say hello which she did and we just said "I love you!" By this time, my emotions were rolling along at warp speed....my eyes were full with tears....not "sad"' tear drops but "I miss you" drops ! Terry spoke up and said that each year at Christmas they try and help someone come home who possibly might not be able to do it. They had a contest on that topic and Mariah had WON!!! Then Hawkeye said they were so impressed with Mariah's letter as to why her dad should come home that "Jon we are going to fly you home to Ft Worth for Christmas.!! I was just sputtering at all this! Believe me, it took everything I had to keep from bawling like a baby!!! Finally they just said that they hoped this would be a Christmas we would remember forever. No problem there son!!
So, I just wanted to share this blessing with you. Thank you Sis for thinking of me and making the trip home to Ft Worth possible...and now I'm thinkin, there really must be a Santa Clause too!!"

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

An End To Fort Worth's Most Beautiful Building?

The massive columns of the downtown Fort Worth Post Office, located at Lancaster and Commerce


 This afternoon, I went to the downtown Fort Worth Post Office to mail my Christmas packages. For me, it is a yearly tradition to use the old Main Office, even though there is a Post Office just a few blocks from my house.
   Why do I bother? Mainly it's an excuse to visit one of the city's architectural gems, and I have made it part of my annual yuletide tradition. Sadly, the Post Service is thinking of moving the downtown branch  to smaller quarters. It no longer needs the massive building, which once served as the main postal center for Fort Worth when it was built in 1931.
    The city of Fort Worth has expressed an interest in buying the building and making into a new City Hall, but the economics of the purchase may not be in its favor.
   I realize that this may be the last year I'll be able to stop there during the Christmas season and I wanted to take a few pictures, for those who've never thought to mail a letter in this palace like structure

One of two main entrances, the art deco touches reflect the style of 1931


Massive marble columns great visitor in the entry portal


Notice the details ceiling


The rows of PO Boxes and continuation of the green marble


The strange detail on a lamp inside the lobby 


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