That’s what Susan Kline realized, while researching and writing the book Fort Worth Parks.
“We drive by them every day, we use them to celebrate special occasions or we just go there and sit and think,” she said. “They are really a part of our everyday life and we don’t always realize that.”
Kline hopes that anyone who picks up Fort Worth Parks will see a connection too. As part of the Images of America series published by Arcadia Publishing and released in January of this year, the book celebrates and commemorates the city’s parks and the Parks and Community Services Department, which celebrated its centennial in 2009.
As an overview of the history of Fort Worth’s parks, the book goes from the earliest parks to today.
Kline went through many different sources, such as libraries, newspapers and scholarly works, to locate those photos, some of which date back to the turn-of-the-century. But people also provided a lot of images for the book.
“The parks department put out a call for photographs. So we got some great ones from the public,” she said. One surprising source: the city’s fire department.
“I found this great collection at the fire department on a Thursday and my draft was due to the publisher that following Tuesday. So I incorporated some of the best photos within that last week. They had file cabinets full of photos,” she said.
Not every park is covered, as the city has almost 250 parks today. But the book features well-known ones like Trinity Park, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Forest Park and Fort Worth Water Gardens and some that no longer exist, like Rotary Park.
“It was a beautiful little park at Seventh and Summit and now there is a 7-Eleven there,” she said.
Kline, a historian, enjoyed discovering not-so-well-known facts about Fort Worth’s parks such as how highly regarded designers like George Kessler, S. Herbert Hare and Lawrence Halprin helped develop them.
“The parks are just examples of the work of great designers. Heritage Park, as the name implies, actually celebrates the history of Fort Worth in a very abstract way. That was Halprin’s intention – to celebrate the river and the birth of Fort Worth.”