Elizabeth Boulevard was the first restricted residential development in Fort Worth and one of the earliest residential areas that is today intact and free from demolition or commercial development. John C. Ryan, Sr., the developer, envisioned Fort Worth as "the oil center of the southwest" and sought to make Elizabeth Boulevard "the residence section of oil men located here". Several oil men did build residences beside those of important Fort Worth businessmen, lawyers, and physicians. The homes on Elizabeth comprise a concentration of impressive examples of eclectic and revival architectural styles and are among the best homes built in these styles in the city. Revival styles represented are Classical, Spanish Colonial, Mission, and Georgian. Localized versions of the Prairie School are also found. The area was the first development in Fort Worth to employ landscape architects, place utilities in the alleys, and include plantings, entrance gates, and fašade lines in the master plan.
The land Elizabeth Boulevard occupies was once a part of the McCoy Trail, a branch of the Chisholm Trail. There are remains of a marker noting that fact at the east end of Elizabeth. The field upon which the Boulevard was built was also the site where the first airplane to visit Fort Worth landed. Cal Rogers, a barnstorming pilot, landed on the field during the summer of 1909.
Construction on the first house, the W. T. Fry home at 1112 Elizabeth, began during May, 1911. The entrance gates were erected at this time and the street paved by Texas Building Co. By July 1912, two houses were completed and a third was under construction. A majority of the homes were built between 1911 and 1929 but construction reached a peak about 1919-1920, shortly after oil was discovered in West Texas. Fine homes costing more than $40,000 continued to be built until the stock market crash in 1929, when all construction stopped. The vacant lots were not developed until after 1950, when the area was no longer fashionable and construction costs discouraged large homes. Although the one story homes are different from the remainder of the neighborhood, they do not detract from it. They reflect the economic conditions that affected both Fort Worth and the nation during the Depression.
Many of the early residents of Elizabeth Boulevard were business partners or close friends as well as neighbors. Zeno C. Ross served as John C. Ryan's lawyer. Bankers Sparks and Connell were close friends. Brothers Bert and Jules Smith worked together in the grain business and knew well Will Harrison, who ran Star Refining and Producing. Both A.J. Long and C.H. Steele were vice-presidents of American National Bank. E.P. Geyser and W.A. Moncrief of Marland Oil lived for a time on Elizabeth. Summit Ave.nue was Fort Worth's "silk stocking row" at the turn of the century when the cattle industry was the city's prominent industry. Elizabeth Boulevard served much the same purpose for the leading oilmen, bankers, and businessmen as these concerns brought prosperity to Fort Worth during the teens and twenties. The people who lived there had a great effect on Fort Worth's business and political activities, and dominated the social scene.
Although several of the homes have been renovated, the majority have not been altered and appear today much as they did when they were first constructed. Elizabeth Boulevard remains a popular residential section and has recently become the focus of active preservation efforts.
Please click on the above picture to stroll down the boulevard and view the homes with a brief description or additional information is also provided with pictures of the homes in a pdf file.
Today the historic district is preserved by the Elizabeth Boulevard Historic District Standards and Design Guidelines which were revised and adopted by the City of Fort
Worth on August 9, 2007.