Hindsight 20/20

The first issue we cracked open in our quest to find our favorite stories from each year of the magazine’s existence was a spineless book from 2002 with a child in an oversized suit on the cover. The main feature was titled “Growth Potential” — it was an apt beginning to what would be a monumental undertaking.

With magazines strewn across desks from our two-decade existence, our maturation as a magazine was on full display. There was our birth, infancy, adolescence and adulthood, which has hopefully led to a pinch of wisdom.

These 20 articles, we feel, perfectly display our magazine’s life stages. And, while we’ve successfully pushed into adulthood, we’re far from retirement.


To Hell and Back

By Linda Blackwell Simmons

Taking a shift from the obvious, holiday-laden themes typical of any magazine’s December edition, we took a darker route in 2017 with The Crime Issue, telling stories of killers and cold cases — and those wrongfully accused, like Anna Vasquez. Vasquez was one of “The San Antonio Four” charged with the sexual assault of two young girls in the 1990s. But with the help of criminal defense attorney Mike Ware and nonprofit Innocence Project of Texas (ITX), the four were exonerated on Nov. 23, 2016.

Now, Vasquez works for ITX as its director of outreach and education, in charge of spreading awareness for wrongful convictions throughout Texas. Since ITX was founded in 2006, 18 Texas citizens have been fully exonerated.


History in the Making

By Scott Nishimura

One of the hottest button issues in Fort Worth two years ago was the $175 redevelopment of about 70 acres of the Stockyards. The partnership between California-based developer Majestic Realty and the prominent Hickman family, who owns the property, sparked passionate emotion as stakeholders and local residents alike argued that renovations could cause the Stockyards to lose its historic character. After months of debate, the City of Fort Worth worked to establish rules that would guide development, and the project moved forward. 

Two years later, emotions have died down but not gone out. Nonetheless, the project continues to press on. In August, Majestic-Hickman (now called Stockyards Heritage Development Company) announced the details of their renovation plan — among them, a four-star hotel called Hotel Drover, a brewpub-meets-music-hall Second Rodeo Brewing Co. and a Shake Shack. The announcement drew equal parts excitement and skepticism. But there's one thing both sides can agree on: Fort Worth loves its Stockyards. 


Coming Home

By Holland Sanders

Three years ago, some kid named Leon Bridges came to the Fort Worth Magazine office to talk about his 1950s-inspired style and sound, as well as his first major album with Columbia Records. That album was Coming Home, and after releasing a month after our May 2015 issue, the record sold more than 38,000 copies in its first week and became Billboard’s No. 1 Top R&B/Hip Hop Album, passing artists like Meek Mill and Janet Jackson.

Since then, he’s toured the world, starred in a Gap commercial, appeared on “Sesame Street” and released his sophomore record, “Good Thing,” which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. In 2019, he’ll be coming home — literally — returning to Fort Worth as the headliner of the third annual Fortress Festival, taking place April 27-28.


Soldier, Civilian, in Transition

By Allana Wooley

A veteran’s reintegration into civilian society isn’t easy, as told by the four we interviewed in our November 2014 issue. Some struggled with PTSD, some with workplace stereotypes, and others — like Air Force veteran Austin Denny — grappled with uncertain opinions about his experience and the institution he served. Bottom line, as the story reads: “Every veteran, no matter what stage of transition they are in, has a unique experience.”

At the time, Denny and his wife, Tiffany, were opening their own yoga studio, 3Tree Yoga, in the Near Southside, which Tiffany eventually sold in 2017. Thanks to the GI Bill and TCU’s Yellow Ribbon Program, Austin was able to earn his bachelor’s degree in anthropology and MBA. He currently leads product strategy and security at local digital agency, PMG, and is also working with his wife to build an app that promotes wellness. He’s doing well, as he writes in an email to Fort Worth Magazine: “We're very excited for what the next few years in Fort Worth hold for us.”


Rough Waters

By Jennifer Casseday-Blair

Originally published without a byline due to feared repercussions by gang members, if we ever wrote a story that could serve as a treatment for a Hollywood screenplay, this is it. One of the country’s most notorious gangs, the Crips, once did business in an area of southeast Fort Worth known as the “Fish Bowl” — named so, as it had one entrance and one exit so that anyone who entered would be seen. Here, the local kingpin was known for buying and reselling $250,000 worth of cocaine each week. But one Fort Worth police officer, Tegan Broadwater, spent 18 months undercover in what was referred to as “Operation Fish Bowl,” posing as a drug dealer named “Tee.” In 2005, an end-all deal took down the kingpin; and in 2006, 41 Crips were federally indicted.

Broadwater left the police department in 2008 and has since written a book detailing his experience, Life in the Fish Bowl. Proceeds from the book go toward H.O.P.E. Farm, an organization that mentors at-risk boys. Broadwater also founded Tactical Systems Network, a security and private investigation firm based in Fort Worth and continues to serve as founder and president.


Ride to the Top

By Celestina Blok

Since 1993, the world has known Jewel Kilcher as a successful singer-songwriter, poet and author whose piercing, talented voice has found the spotlight through record deals and many American music award stages. Our December 2012 article, however, worked to uncover the backstage details about Jewel’s life before her albums hit record-high ratings. Playing gigs on the streets and battling a kidney ailment were how Jewel spent the early part of her career. Eventually, her perseverance landed her a record deal, and she released her first album titled “Pieces of You” in 1995. Since America discovered Jewel, this artist has released many other albums like “Spirit,” “Goodbye Alice in Wonderland” and “Picking Up the Pieces.” She has also published a book of poetry, A Night Without Armor. Her brand, Jewel Inc., encourages mindfulness and emotional fitness programs for youth.

Jewel lived in Stephenville during the time of the article, eventually selling her home for an affordable $335,000. She now lives in Nashville.


Hungry for Love

By Jennifer Casseday-Blair

In 2011, Fort Worth Magazine got together with big-time local chef Tim Love for a Q&A. Back then, we asked Love what his next move was after opening two restaurants and making numerous TV appearances. His response? Focusing on “The Woodshed” — little did he know the success that would soon come from yet another one of his restaurants.

Love now has six concepts: Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Woodshed Smokehouse, Love Shack, Queenies Steakhouse, White Elephant Saloon, Tim Love Catering and Love Bodega. Back in 2011, Love had a vision of expanding his restaurants to different locations, and in 2015, he finally found the perfect spot in Austin to open the second location of Lonesome Dove. Soon after that, he continued expanding by opening a third location of Lonesome Dove in Knoxville. He also plans to open a second Woodshed in Houston.

A self-proclaimed risk-taker, Love is undertaking perhaps his most ambitious move yet — partnering with the Pilot Flying J travel center chain to revamp its food offerings.


Tornado 2000

By Paul K. Harral

The March 2010 feature covered the 10th anniversary of Fort Worth’s most devastating tornado in history, recounting the stories of survivors like Mike Moore, owner of 7th Street Barber Shop. On March 28, 2000, a tornado ripped through 3.5 miles of Fort Worth from River Oaks to Sundance Square. Moore said he was convinced he was going to die, the tornado winds briefly pinning him against a wall outside his barber shop before the wind stopped and allowed him to make an escape. He’d watch his shop’s roof cave in, and the tornado would continue to bring severe damage to buildings like the Bank One Tower, the Cash America building and the Mallick Tower.

Of course, Fort Worth has repaired itself remarkably well since the 2000 twister. Buildings that suffered considerable damage after the event have since been repaired or remodeled altogether. Bank One, for example, has transformed into the swanky condos of The Tower. Moore, on the other hand, continues to cut hair, still kicking at 7th Street Barber Shop.


A Mile in His Shoes

By Jennifer Casseday-Blair

The man behind TOMS is a local guy — Arlington native Blake Mycoskie. The Southern Methodist University alum embarked down a path of turning his entrepreneurial visions into actual businesses. He came up with several business ideas, from dry-cleaning service EZ Laundry to advertising company Mycoskie Media, but couldn’t find the right fit until he took a trip to Argentina in 2006. Seeing the immense poverty, health-related issues and children without shoes sparked the idea of creating a company that could change that. Mycoskie decided to create a for-profit business, which would allow half of its inventory to be given to children in need. That same year, TOMS debuted its first collection of shoes. Mycoskie hoped that TOMS would one day be more than just shoes, bringing things like clean drinking water and more to third world countries.

TOMS has since achieved everything Mycoskie hoped for and more. The company has sent over 86 million pairs of new shoes to children in need, helped restore sight to over 600,000 people, provided over 600,000 weeks of safe water, supported safe birth services to over 175,000 mothers, and is working on programs to prevent bullying. TOMS has also expanded the number of countries it gives to, from four in 2009 to now over 70.


Our Changing Skyline

By Celestina Blok

Ten years ago, developments like West 7th and the Omni Fort Worth Hotel were merely “much-anticipated” projects, with an October 2008 Fort Worth Magazine article calling these and other construction around downtown a “developmental renaissance.” Projects that had people talking included Museum Place, The Carnegie and Trinity Bluff, along with the increasing draw of the Trinity River as restaurants, dog parks and outdoor patios that began to pop up along the waterfront and winding bike paths.

Ten years later, it’s hard to imagine Fort Worth without these. Some things have changed — West 7th rebranded to become Crockett Row at West 7th, set to open a multi-restaurant food hall in December. Central Downtown also welcomed Sundance Square Plaza, which celebrated its fifth anniversary this year. And even with the completion of these projects, the cranes still haven’t gone away, as the city continues to find more ways to build upon its residential, retail and restaurant offerings.


Fort Worth's Good Nature

By Amy Hallford

“Climate change, and any other environmental issue, is about community — not politics,” Hailey Summerford, then a public education specialist for the Fort Worth Environmental Management Department, stressed in our 2007 feature. At the time, Fort Worth was hit with some unfortunate news: The American Lung Association ranked Tarrant County the ninth most ozone polluted county in the nation. While ambitious and high-minded, we took Summerford’s advice and tried to educate our audience on some eco-friendly alternatives that could have a positive effect on the state of Fort Worth’s environment while highlighting local businesses that minimize their carbon footprints.

Two years after this article surfaced, the Fort Worth City Council appointed a Sustainability Task Force to ensure the city’s infrastructure would continue to move forward in the effort to go green. As a way to promote sustainable travel techniques, the city of Fort Worth has created a transportation plan that includes programs like Bike Fort Worth and Walk Fort Worth, as well as developing a new Trails Master Plan. Today, the American Lung Association ranks the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex as the cleanest metropolitan area in the country for 24-hour particle pollution.


How the Barnett Shale Enriches Us All

By Melinda Kaitcer

If only we could take back a headline. While the Barnett Shale is temporarily in “hibernation,” in 2006, the Barnett Shale, a giant oil and natural gas reserve spanning 2,400 acres, was a booming oil and gas reserve making millionaires. Matt Ott, Fort Worth’s city manager, estimated in 2006 that one successful well could bring as much as $15 to $20 million over the well’s productive life — usually 10 to 20 years. While the piece reported on those who reaped the benefits of this oil and gas jackpot, it also noted the voices of those who considered the shale loud, intrusive and dangerous to the environment.

Nick Steinsberger, drilling and fracking expert and previous completion manager at the Barnett Shale site, says that the reserve at one time used all 20,000 drilled wells. Today, only a fraction of those wells are in use. While the reserve continues to pump out oil and gas, not until gas prices go up does Steinsberger foresee an increase in well use. He expects a lot of re-fracking over the coming years, especially at Barnett, and is confident the large percentage of oil not obtained in the shale now will become accessible, thanks to improved technology, re-frack operations and a change in gas prices. While Fort Worth is still very much affected by one of America’s largest oil and gas fracturing operations, things are very much in a state of flux today — almost 30 years after the reserve’s discovery.


Joe's Family

By FW Staff

If Fort Worth has a staple, it’s Joe T. Garcia’s, and our July 2005 issue featured an in-depth retrospective of this restaurant that, 13 years later, remains a dining experience worth the 45-minute wait that twists outside the door.

Originally named Joe’s Place, the restaurant started as a small café that seated only 16 and served a combination of barbeque and Mexican dishes. Each member of the family was dedicated to the restaurant, the children cleaning up before and after school, and the parents often spending a good portion of the night getting ready for the next day of business. One of Joe’s children, Hope, and her husband, Paul, would take over Joe’s Place in 1953 and change the name to the now-iconic Joe T. Garcia’s.

Hope passed away in 2014, but her legacy and work ethic carry on through her children and grandchildren, and Joe T’s continues to stand out from the crowd in this taco-crazy town.


The Women Who Run This Town

By Robin L. Butler and Alexis Wilson

In 2004, we profiled 40 women dedicated to improving Fort Worth and serving as a force of change. Among those mentioned were Donna Arp Weitzman (previous mayor of Colleyville, owner of Realty Capital Partners, president of Arp Lotter Investments and volunteer at many local charities), Jane McGarry (previous news anchor at NBC in Dallas, award-winning newswoman multiple years in a row, and an avid activist for efforts like the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Salvation Army)  and Rosa Navejar (then president and CEO of the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Spanish teacher and president of the Hispanic Women’s Network).

Fourteen years later, these women continue to affect local and national change. In 2016, Donna Arp Weitzman published a satirical book on dating titled Sex and Siren: Tales of a Later Dater that recounts comical stories of her experience dating as an older woman.

Jane McGarry remains a reputable newswoman and currently works as a co-host at “Good Morning Texas” in Dallas. She continues service work, namely with the Black Academy of Arts & Letters — a program that works to encourage and inspire youth to pursue artistic dreams.

Rosa Navejar is founder and president of The Rios Group, an engineering and utility group established in 2012 that works on projects involving transportation and water. Navejar is also a member of the National Freight Advisory Committee, American Public Transportation Association and North Texas LEAD and the Safe City Commission.  


Redefining Residential Fort Worth

By Dan McGraw

We don’t like to think of ourselves as fortune tellers, but as we covered Fort Worth’s downtown revitalization, much of what was once just an idea on paper has become physical buildings, streets, trails and causeways. This piece from 2003 covered the city’s wish for urban growth. The ultimate goal was to turn Fort Worth into a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week downtown environment. A few of the projects on the drawing board: Trinity River plan, Montgomery Ward Building renovations and a new rodeo arena.

After years of planning, many of these visions have come to life. The Trinity River Vision project is expected to generate over $950 million from sales. The Montgomery Ward Building now offers luxury condominiums, fine dining and shopping. And, to top it off, Dickies Arena will open its doors in 2019.


No Business Like Stock Show Business

By Lucile Davis

Our magazine is full of dreamers — people who think big, talk big and have visions bordering on the impossible. Perhaps the most gratifying thing about revisiting articles is checking in on whether someone’s grandiose ideas came to fruition. In 2001, Ed Bass became chairman of the Fort Worth Stock Show, and our January feature showed a man who had vision and foresight and was ready for change.

Bass stated some of his goals involved adjusting the Will Rogers Coliseum for larger spectator crowds and renovating the overall space. At the time of the article, Bass told us, “We’re trying to present a 21st century rodeo in a 1936 facility. Fort Worth has done a good job of maintaining the Will Rodgers Coliseum, but it is time for an upgrade.”

Seventeen years later, Bass’ dream is becoming a reality. The Fort Worth Stock Show will have its last hurrah at the Will Rodgers Coliseum in January 2019, as the Dickies Arena, which will seat 14,000 and include extensive parking, will become the new host of the city’s biggest rodeo production. The arena is expected to open in November 2019 adjacent to Will Rodgers, which will continue to function as an equestrian venue.


Creating an Urban Jewel

By Joan Scott

It’s jarring to see a photo of the intersection at Magnolia Avenue and Hemphill Street void of cars, passersby or any sign of the activity that now dominates the Near Southside. But that’s exactly what the fourth page of our feature on the renovation of the two-story brick building that previously housed La Cava Cleaners and The Modern Drug — which ostensibly kicked off the revitalization of the Near Southside — showed.

When the article was published, mixed-use spaces were prohibited, and the building that now houses Panther City Salon and Sundancer Holistic Living Essentials could only have one tenant. The article traces the painstaking process developers Fran McCarthy and Ray Boothe went through to file a planned development site to allow for the mixed uses they envisioned. This allowed the upstairs space to become loft-style apartments. Seven years later, the Fort Worth City Council passed the Near Southside zoning overlay, which permitted mixed-use space, and what followed was the Near Southside boom. It’s nice to know we were there from the beginning.


Whatever Happened to Cullen Davis?

By Forrest Truitt

Over 40 years since his first murder trial (he was later accused of attempted murder), and at the age of 85, Cullen Davis remains one of Fort Worth’s most intriguing and divisive personalities. Just this year, CBS ran a special on its program “Forty-Eight Hours” about the murders of Stan Farr and Davis’ 12-year-old stepdaughter, Andrea Wilborn — for which Davis was accused and acquitted.

So, it was a big deal to get a sit-down interview with and feature such a personality on the cover of a magazine that was experiencing some growing pains. In one of the magazine’s more bizarre photoshoots, the once-accused murderer showed up with his now wife, Karen, wearing a tie adorned with Looney Tunes characters. The piece paints the picture of a man who has lost his fortune but gained his faith — devoting his life to his local church in Grapevine after declaring bankruptcy. He maintained, and still maintains, his innocence and proclaimed an upswell of support from locals. In the article, Davis claimed he had received 10,000 letters about the case, and only one was negative.


Have You Herd?

By Judy Hill Nelson

A full year removed from our first issue, and in midst of the Y2K racket, we grabbed our footing and showed glimmers of the publication we would become. Sure, obvious photoshop trickery dominated the spread, but remember, this was pretty cool for 1999. The feature was part history lesson and part timely news, as it covered Fort Worth’s now-famous cattle drive — known colloquially as The Herd — down Main Street, which debuted six months prior in front of over 15,000 onlookers.

The Herd successfully recreated the story of the Texas Cowboy and the cattle drive for which the city of Fort Worth is known. Tom Saunders IV, a descendent of five generations of Texas ranchers, helped curate The Herd, which features real Texas cowhands who drive a herd of longhorns through the Stockyards National Historic District twice daily. “The cattle drive is not just for the tourist who flock to our city to see a part of history,” the article says. “It is for every man, woman and child who lives here so that they may more fully understand what sets their town apart.”

Tom Saunders IV passed away in February of this year, but his vision for The Herd continues; tourists and locals alike can view the cattle drive every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.


The Folks at Old Home Supply

By Margaret Allyson

Like all firsts, our premiere issue is something we’re both proud of and see as a very public learning curve. Warts and all, it was obvious we were a magazine trying to find our place on the newsstands, but we still managed to showcase two things in a single feature that would be the magazine’s bread and butter for years to come: Fort Worthians who might otherwise go unnoticed and interior design.

The subject of the 1998 piece was Fort Worth’s Old Home Supply, which collects and refurbishes antique home items. It was a high-minded feature that hit home the point of one person’s trash being another’s treasure. Yet, the article went beyond Old Home Supply’s business model and vividly portrayed the employee atmosphere as being one of community, historical reverence and gratefulness.

Now, 20 years after Fort Worth Magazine opened up shop, Old Home Supply remains at its Fairmont location and continues to thrive. Its shop is home to a number of unique and unexpected items including doors, plumbing decor and garden pieces. After 30 years of business, Old Home Supply shows no signs of closing its doors.


By Fort Worth Magazine Staff with special contributions from Amanda Smiley and Sunday Nester