Hilton Fort Worth

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Discover Hilton Fort Worth, as President John F. Kennedy gave his last address in the hotel's Crystal Ballroom on November 22, 1963.

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Hilton Fort Worth, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2016, dates back to 1921.

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Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the Hilton Fort Worth has been among Texas’ most stunning holiday destinations for over a century. This brilliant historic hotel originally debuted as the “Hotel Texas,” which was designed by a team of talented architects from the firms Sanguinet & Staats and Mauran, Russell, & Crowell. A group of local business leaders had hired both firms as part of their greater strategy to open a wonderful upscale hotel in the heart of Fort Worth’s rapidly growing downtown core. (The men had specifically organized a management business called the “Citizens’ Hotel Company” to oversee the whole project.) Working alongside general contractor Westlake Construction Company, the team of architects subsequently crafted a gorgeous 15-story structure that quickly dominated the local skyline. Stunning Beaux-Arts-inspired architecture defined its ornate exterior façade, while spectacular Federalist architectural motifs influenced the original interior layout. The firms installed nearly 600 fantastic guestrooms that had access to some of the most cutting-edge amenities to date. The lobby was equally magnificent, filled with hues of ivory, blue, and dark brown. A wide corridor then transported guests further inside the building, which contained additional facilities like the South Room, the Fountain Lounge, and the Hall of Longhorns. Perhaps the most outstanding element of the newly created Hotel Texas was the social center located within the last two floors. Inside, guests could expect to find variety of conference venues that featured such amazing architectural elements like Tennessee marble and lavish woodworking. One of the spaces—the Court of the Bluebonnets—even had a sprawling dance floor capable of hosting large soirees.

The Hotel Texas immediately became the most luxurious holiday destination in all of Forth Worth once construction on it concluded in 1921. Popularity with the hotel remained strong for many years thereafter, prompting its owners to continuously expand the building to accommodate the ever-rising demand. One of the greatest expansions transpired at the start of the 1960s, when a new team of architects created the spacious Crystal Ballroom on the second level. The hotel’s tremendous acclaim eventually attracted many illustrious guests, with the most prominent being President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy. The two stayed in Room 850 when they visited the greater Dallas area in late 1963. President Kennedy even addressed dozens of media personalities in the new Crystal Ballroom. Unfortunately, this speech would prove to be President Kennedy’s last, as he was assassinated hours later at Dealey Plaza.

The hotel has since undergone a series of extensive renovations that have sought to preserve its historical integrity. It underwent the first of several major renovations in 1968, which involved splitting the original two-story lobby into two floors. The architects working on the project also added an annex that crossed Commerce Street. Its owners at the time—Sheraton Hotels and Resorts—initiated the construction in the hope that the hotel would appeal to the travelers visiting the nearby Fort Worth Convention Center. The hotel then underwent another major renovation after it was sold to the Hyatt Hotels Corporation nearly a decade later. Led by architects from the firm Jarvis, Putty, & Jarvis, the building received an marvelous atrium in between the wings of its original “U” shaped tower. A member of Historic Hotels of America since 2016, this amazing historic hotel is now operated by Hilton Hotels & Resorts as the “Hilton Fort Worth.”

  • About the Location +

    In the aftermath of Mexican-American War, the U.S. War Department decided to establish a series of ten forts in the vicinity of Texas’ Trinity River. The government had specifically hoped the military outposts would protect the hundreds of settlers that were then passing through the area to settle territories further west. The main sponsor for the whole assignment was General William Jenkins Worth, a war hero who had also commanded all the local army units in the region. Construction on the forts began in 1848, although General Worth died just a few months into the project. The loss of his influence greatly undermined its overall progress, resulting in the creation of just seven bases. One such station was developed at the confluence of West and Clear Forks of the Trinity River. But life at the newly created fort would prove to be difficult, as it was constantly beset by frequent flood waters. To remedy the problem, General William S. Harney—General Worth’s replacement—subsequently instructed Major Ripley A. Arnold to find a suitable location for the garrison. Major Arnold eventually rebuilt the facility atop a nearby bluff in 1849, which he named as “Fort Worth” in honor of the late General Worth. Fort Worth nonetheless remained relatively small, despite its strategic importance to the federal government. U.S. Army officials eventually concluded that the costs to operate the fort were too great, and it was abandoned by the military just a few years later.

    But a vibrant village had sprung up around the now-defunct Fort Worth. Adopting the same name as the deserted outpost, it had specifically emerged due to the development of a prosperous livestock trade. Countless cowboys had started to drive their cattle through the area along a route that would become the legendary “Chisholm Trail.” Trinity River was as an important pitstop along the trail, as its water was used regularly to refresh the ranchers’ animals. A few industrious entrepreneurs subsequently decided to open their own business in the vicinity of Fort Worth, in order to support the countless cattle drives that passed through the area. The ranching industry, thus, became thoroughly ingrained with the local community by the eve of the American Civil War, with many throughout Texas referring it as “Cowtown.” The new town of Fort Worth grew rapidly throughout the latter half of the 19th century, turning into city in just a matter of decades. Railroads soon supplanted the Chisholm Trail as the preferred method of transportation among cattle ranchers, which gave rise to a massive depot known as the “Fort Worth Stockyards.” Many new auxiliary businesses also opened around the same time that continued to provide services to the visiting cowboys. Among the most prominent were recreational in nature, such as saloons and gambling parlors. Most of those venues debuted within a specific section of Fort Worth that was notoriously called “Hell’s Half Acre.” The neighborhood quickly attracted all kinds of infamous gamblers and outlaws, including Doc Holliday and the Earp brothers.

    Indeed, Fort Worth had grown to resemble a typical metropolis in the old American West. Yet, the city’s rambunctious character eventually inspired several of its leading citizens to initiate a social reform movement. As such, areas like Hell’s Half Acre were nothing more than a distant memory by the dawn of the Roaring Twenties. Fort Worth’s economy nonetheless remained strong for generations thereafter, especially once land surveyors discovered oil reserves nearby. Many prolific petroleum companies debuted in downtown Fort Worth, including the Sinclair Refining Company, Texaco, and the Humble Oil and Refining Company—a precursor to the formidable Exxon Mobil Corporation. Today, Fort Worth continues to be one of Texas’ most celebrated cities. It still possesses an incredibly prosperous economy and it is home to such renowned corporations like American Airlines, Pier 1 Imports, and GM Financial. Fort Worth is a major cultural capital in Texas as well, hosting such respected cultural institutions like Texas Christian University (TCU), Texas Wesleyan, and the Texas A&M University School of Law. Tourism is also a significant part of the current city’s identity, with thousands of visitors arriving each year. Cultural heritage travelers in particular have thoroughly enjoyed experiencing Fort Worth and its many fascinating attractions like the Kimbrell Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Those people have also adored learning about the Fort Worth’s past firsthand, which the city has painstakingly preserved at places like the iconic Fort Worth Stockyards. Few places are truly better for a memorable vacation than the city of Fort Worth, Texas.


  • About the Architecture +

    The Hilton Forth Worth stands today as a marvelous engineering masterpiece thanks to the efforts of architects affiliated with the Sanguinet & Staats and Mauran, Russell, & Crowell firms. While those architects relied upon a variety of different architectural aesthetics to design the building, they mainly used a wonderful blend of Beaux-Arts-style architecture as the source of their inspiration. While Beaux-Arts was immensely popular throughout the world at around the dawn of the 20th century, this beautiful architectural form originally began at an art school in Paris known as the École des Beaux-Arts during the 1830s. There was much resistance to the Neoclassism of the day among French artists, who yearned for the intellectual freedom to pursue less rigid design aesthetics. Four instructors in particular were responsible for establishing the movement: Joseph-Louis Duc, Félix Duban, Henri Labrouste, and Léon Vaudoyer. The training that these instructors created involved fusing architectural elements from several earlier styles, including Imperial Roman, Italian Renaissance, ad Baroque. As such, a typical building created with Beaux-Arts-inspired designs would feature a rusticated first story, followed by several more simplistic ones. A flat roof would then top the structure. Symmetry became the defining character, with every building’s layout featuring such elements like balustrades, pilasters, and cartouches. Sculptures and other carvings were commonplace throughout the design, too. Beaux-Arts only found a receptive audience in France and the United States though, as most other Western architects at the time gravitated toward British design principles.

    But the architects also relied upon elements of Federal-style architecture to craft the hotel’s interior—or at least a recreation of it. Historically speaking, Federal architecture dominated American cities and towns during the nation’s formative years, which historians best identify as lasting from 1780 to 1840. The name itself is a tribute to that period, in which America’s first political leaders sought to establish the foundations of the current federal government. Fundamentally, the architectural form had evolved from the earlier Georgian design principles that had greatly influenced both British and American culture throughout most of the 18th century.  The similarities between the two art forms have even inspired some scholars to refer to Federalist architecture as a mere refinement of the earlier Georgian aesthetic. Oddly enough, though, the architect deemed responsible for popularizing Federal style in the United States, was in fact, not an American. Robert Adams was the United Kingdom’s most popular architect at the time, with his work largely involved providing his own spin on the infusion of neoclassical design principles with Georgian architecture. (This is also the reason why some refer to Federal architecture as “Adam-style architecture.”) As such, his new variation spread quickly across England, defining its civic landscape for much of the Napoleonic Era. Despite the bitter resentments that most Americans harbored toward Great Britain at the time, their cultural perceptions of the world were still largely influenced by the old mother country. Thus, Adams’ new take on Georgian architecture rapidly spread throughout the United States as it had previously across the Atlantic. 


  • Famous Historic Guests +

    Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, First Lady to former U.S. President John F. Kennedy (1961 – 1963)

    John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States (1961 – 1963) 


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