Looking for photos of the Fort Worth freight house

Discussion in 'General' started by friscomike, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. friscomike

    friscomike Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Howdy folks,

    The Texas Western Model RR Club is building a new layout at a new location. We are in the concept phase now and several folks have expressed interest in having the Frisco freight station which was across from the T&P station. A search of this site revealed the Sanborn map sheet for it, but I can't seem to find a photo or reference to an external site. Does anyone have references or photos of the Ft Worth station?

    Best regards,
    MIke Corley

    SAFN SAAP Member

    Go here, Uncovered tab, Trains and Depots, and see if what you are looking for might be there. Searching still in other places...

    All Across Texas
  3. friscomike

    friscomike Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Thanks Manny, I found several Frisco structures, but not the Fort Worth Frisco depot. I'll keep searching. ~mike
  4. slsfrr (Jerome Lutzenberger RIP 9/1/2018)

    slsfrr (Jerome Lutzenberger RIP 9/1/2018) Engineer Staff Member Frisco.org Supporter


    Are you looking for the original freight house or the one constructed in the late 40's early 50's. The last time I was in Ft. Worth (3 or 4 years ago) the one constructed in the early 50's was still standing, although not in its original use.

    Sorry to hear about Texas Western losing its home. You guys (and gals) had a fantastic layout.

  5. friscomike

    friscomike Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Thanks Jerome. The photos I am searching for are of the one still standing today. Yellow/tan brick trimmed in stainless steel. Somewhere I saw a photo of the words Frisco on the front, but not sure where. It was/is a classic 1950's structure.

    The Texas Western will rise again, far better than before (it may have a lot more Frisco on it).

  6. friscomike

    friscomike Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Bump! Any new folks help here?
  7. r c h

    r c h Ft Worth - Tulsa Engineer

    I'm sorry I can't provide any help, Mike, but I'm curious where you guys are building the new layout.
  8. friscomike

    friscomike Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Howdy Ryan,

    We moved (started over) at 6808 Forest Hill Drive, the old Forest Hill City Hall and later Community Center. We are open most Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday afternoons. Do drop in!

    Happy rails,
    Mike C
  9. r c h

    r c h Ft Worth - Tulsa Engineer

    Thanks, Mike. I'll come by soon.
  10. Friscoot

    Friscoot Member

    Hope this will help, Mike. It's among a batch on loan from Norbert Shacklette; just finished scanning it. I remember going by this a lot when our office was in downtown Fort Worth; less often after we moved out t

    Pat Hiatte

    Fort Worth Freight House.jpeg
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2016
  11. r c h

    r c h Ft Worth - Tulsa Engineer

    That's a great photo, Pat. Thanks for sharing.
  12. r c h

    r c h Ft Worth - Tulsa Engineer

    Based on this photo, I did some looking around and found the location of the building at the northwest corner of Vickery and Jennings. It underwent some expansion between 1968 and 1970, where the adjoining building to the north - which had been separated by tracks - was joined with a roof covering the tracks. The building was still there as of April 2012 (according to Google Earth aerial photos), but it seems soon after it was demolished and the site remains vacant today. If Google Street View has historical imagery, it should be possible to go back to 2012 to see the building in its final state.
  13. friscomike

    friscomike Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter


    Pat, thank you so very much for posting the photo of the FTW Depot. It appears that we are moving to represent the Frisco more and more on the new Texas Western layout (along with the other six railroads that operated during the 1945-1962 era. We need all the research info we can get.

    Thanks again,
    Mike C
  14. r c h

    r c h Ft Worth - Tulsa Engineer

    I took a screenshot from the North Central Texas Council of Governments map website, dfwmaps.com. This site is pretty good because you can select the year the aerial was flown and display the image with a scalebar for reference. The attached image is from the 2005 aerial and shows the building pretty clearly, enough so that you could create a scale drawing of the building footprint. You can use the photo Pat posted to create some elevation drawings. I'll keep looking for more info now that I know where to look.

    Frisco Freight House 2005 Aerial.png
    friscomike likes this.
  15. r c h

    r c h Ft Worth - Tulsa Engineer

    I have spent the last few hours browsing the University of Texas Arlington's digital collection online, which can be found here:


    I searched for aerial photos mostly and came up with several photos that show the Freight house, along with some other interesting stuff.

    First of all, let me point out what I'm linking to here. Each link below points to the page for each individual item I'm linking in the digital collection. This page contains the information about the photo, such as the date, whose collection it's from, etc. The information isn't always correct, but I'd suspect that if a particular date is given it is accurate. I say this because I've found location information to be inaccurate in the past. Anyway, at the top left of each page is a thumbnail photo you can click on to bring up a large image. I am able to zoom into each image and look around in great detail on my computer.

    Back to the freight house....

    We've established that the freight house was located at the northwest corner of Jennings and Vickery, which is a very distinctive intersection because of the tunnel that permits traffic eastbound on Vickery to merge directly northbound onto Jennings and under the Frisco overpass and the larger Texas & Pacific overpass. Once you know the tunnel it's very easy to spot.

    Here's an overall view of the area looking due east:


    In the center of the photo you can see the T&P passenger depot. Just below (west) of it is the US Post Office, Jennings St. then the large T&P freight house west of Jennings. To the right (south) of the T&P freight house, yard and main tracks is the Frisco freight house, which sits at the top of a tee intersection of Vickery and Hemphill. You can see a pair of tracks behind (north of) the freight house with four boxcars spotted. From this point the unique Jennings St. tunnel is visible up and to the right (southeasterly) from the building. Due west of the Frisco freight house are five tracks, two of which have a gantry crane overhead. These tracks converge out of the picture and continue on toward 8th Avenue Yard.

    At the upper right corner of this photo:


    ...you can see the US Post Office adjoining the T&P passenger platforms and to the left (west) of it is the large, squat T&P freight house. Due south of the T&P freight house and on the blurred right margin of the photo is the Frisco freight house, which appears again to have a couple boxcars spotted behind it. This photo is interesting because it provides a view of the west wall of the freight house, which appears to be covered but otherwise open to the elements. The other interesting thing I see doesn't really have to do with the freight house but with the EMD E A unit and passenger cars occupying the southernmost track parallel to Vickery. This next photo also shows what appears to be the same locomotive in the blurred right margin of the photo, just above the middle of the photo:


    You can clearly see the gantry crane in front of the locomotive along with a handful of boxcars and a gondola on a parallel track. If you follow these tracks toward the center of the photo, they curve to the left southwesterly and parallel to the two T&P main tracks. Vickery follows the Frisco track southwesterly, then crosses west over it and the T&P tracks to its intersection with Ballinger and Summit, the next two roads that bridge the Frisco and T&P tracks. Between Vickery and Ballinger, you can see some boxcars spotted on a spur that follows Daggett Avenue to the east. It looks like the Frisco had plenty of work to keep them busy in this area. The Frisco track continues parallel to the T&P track southwesterly out of the photo for some distance before curving south toward 8th Avenue Yard.

    This photo threw me off at first:


    If you look at the lower right corner you can clearly see the Jennings St. tunnel, but it is a one-way street and it doesn't curve that direction. The T&P passenger depot and platforms are clearly visible in the background, so this is definitely the south side of the tracks. Look at the sign on the building with cars on the roof: it's mirrored. This image was scanned upside down, backwards, whatever you want to call it. The view is actually pointed northeasterly. The building with the ramp and parking lot on the roof is the Service Life Insurance Company and it is located due east of the Frisco freight house across Jennings Street. You can see some tracks crossing Jennings St. apparently serving this customer, judging by the doors on the wall parallel to the tracks. These tracks connect to the coach yard behind the Frisco freight house. I'm not sure if they were T&P or Frisco tracks.

    This photo does a better job showing the coach yard and the tracks just north of the Frisco freight house:


    It also shows the east wall of the Frisco freight house pretty well, enough that you can see large letters spelling "FRISCO" along the roofline facing the Service Life Insurance Company building. Additionally, you get a good lay of the land and you can see how Frisco's presence figures into a part of Fort Worth dominated by Texas & Pacific.

    Speaking of overviews, here's a great high altitude view of the area west of Tower 55 taken shortly after World War II:


    By now it should be pretty easy to spot the T&P passenger depot and US Post Office, which are bordered by Main Street on the east and Jennings Street on the west. In place of the Frisco freight house we've seen in the preceding photos is a larger structure farther to the east and maybe a bit closer to the road. Pat's photo is dated 1952 and this one 1945, so somewhere in between is when the modern freight house was originally constructed.

    Though not Frisco related, I found the next detail to be interesting. In the large block to the east bounded by Main, Vickery and Jennings, a vacant lot will soon be home to the Service Life building. In the block to the east of that one, just on the other side of Main Street, you can see what appears to be the remains of a roundhouse foundation. I believe this was the old MKT roundhouse, which I've seen referred to on City of Fort Worth utility maps, but I haven't found much actual evidence of. I originally thought the maps mistakenly referred to Texas & New Orleans/Southern Pacific's Broadway Yard just to the east of this location, but this foundation suggests the city utility maps were correct (and these particular maps were quite old).

    I have mentioned 8th Avenue Yard several times so I thought it would be worthwhile to show a few aerials illustrating its place in Fort Worth. For those who don't know, Frisco didn't have its own tracks between Carrollton, Texas (north of Dallas) and Fort Worth. The way I understand it (and please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here), 8th Avenue Yard was originally the northern terminus of the Fort Worth & Rio Grande, a visionary attempt at a southern transcon that would someday reach the Pacific Ocean at Topolobampo, Mexico. In reality it wasn't much more than a branchline that met the Santa Fe at Brownwood, Texas and primarily served the ranching industry. Other than the yard and a short stretch of track between it and Belt Junction, the Fort Worth & Rio Grande eventually became a Santa Fe property and is today operated by the Fort Worth & Western. So that covers 8th Avenue Yard and points south.

    The main from the north end of 8th Avenue Yard split just north of the yard and connected both to the Frisco freight house that is the subject of this discussion and to Tower 60, a busy interlocking of the Santa Fe, Fort Worth & Denver, Cotton Belt, Rock Island and the Fort Worth Belt and situated just to the east of the large stockyards north of town. It was from this point to the rest of the Frisco system that Frisco relied on other railroads to provide the connection to Fort Worth. At one time Frisco used the Cotton Belt between Carrollton and Tower 60 until an agreement was reached with the Rock Island to use tracks between Carrollton and Irving, Texas. This was the route used until merger day. Although this isn't the place to detail Frisco operations in this area, suffice it to say the area between 8th Avenue Yard and Tower 60 was far more than a footnote and provided a great detail of customers to the railroad, including Tandy Leather, Bain Peanut, an industrial park and numerous businesses associated with the stockyards.

    Here's an overview of 8th Avenue Yard looking south:


    At the top of the photo you can see the turntable and roundhouse.

    Here's another looking northeasterly:


    Looking from the big curve at the south end of 8th Avenue Yard, to the right (east) is the siding Birds on the Santa Fe. Follow the Santa Fe to the northeast and it begins to run parallel to the Southern Pacific around the west side of the grain elevator complex near the upper right of the photo. East of the elevators is MKT's Ney Yard.

    Here's a lower altitude shot that shows the yard and roundhouse in a little better detail:


    Here's a couple more showing one of the switchers used in the late 40s/early 50s:

    qaprr, mike_newton and tmfrisco like this.
  16. tmfrisco

    tmfrisco Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Wow, Ryan, I believe you when you say you spent a few hours looking up this inf0. Great work. Thanks for your time and the post.
    Joe Lovett likes this.
  17. r c h

    r c h Ft Worth - Tulsa Engineer

    It was a lot of fun, Terry. I would encourage others to use the UTA library to pursue topics related to the north Texas area. It's a rich resource.
  18. friscomike

    friscomike Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Holy cow...those are terrific. Perfect, yeehaw!

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