Heritage Plaza, Fort Worth, Texas

July 15, 2009

Courtesy John Roberts and Preservation Texas, Inc.

Courtesy John Roberts and Historic Fort Worth Inc.

Heritage Plaza, the developed portion of Heritage Park in Fort Worth, Texas, was designed by landscape architect Lawrence Halprin.   In the late 1960s Fort Worth’s Streams and Valleys, together with the philanthropic Amon G. Carter Foundation and Sid Richardson Foundation, Charles D. Tandy, and Ruth Carter Stevenson, commissioned Lawrence Halprin and Associates to design a public park that would commemorate the establishment of the original military post of Fort Worth in 1849 as well as the upcoming United States Bicentennial celebration in 1976. The result was Heritage Park Plaza.
The Plaza featured a series of terraced walkways that were accompanied by a stream of water. The water started at the high point of the site and flowed over two walls of water. The wall on the south side of the plaza is a sheer concrete wall with water that flowed over an inscription on the inside of the park. The west wall had water flowing over a diagram on the layout of the original fort, which occupied land to the west of the Plaza. Water used to flow through a series of troughs along side the walkways, with some troughs at eye level and others at foot level. The lowest part of the Plaza the water culminated in two waterfalls over the concrete.  When the walkways reached the steepest part of the Trinity Bluff, there is an overlook, cantilevered over the bluff. The overlook offered an excellent view of the convergence of the Clear and West Forks of the Trinity River, the Paddock Viaduct (North Main Street Bridge) and the historic power plant situated across the river.
View of Heritage Plaza, Fort Worth, Image Courtesy of Preservation Texas, Inc.

View of Heritage Plaza, Fort Worth, Image Courtesy of Preservation Texas, Inc.

Under-maintained for years, in 2007 the Plaza’s pump stations were turned off and the park was fenced off from the public.
On December 8, 2008 the Texas Historical Commission determined that Heritage Park Plaza was eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places even though the Plaza was not yet 50 years old. It was eligible under Criterion C in the area of Landscape Architecture and Criterion G as a property that has achieved significance in the last 50 years because it is widely recognized as a work of exceptional significance in a modernist landscape design.
Many thanks to John Roberts of Historic Fort Worth, Inc. for the written information and photograph.

Preservation Texas is the advocate for preserving the historic resources of Texas. www.preservationtexas.org


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