Discovering time-honored traditions in Texas

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Traditions

Exploring Timeless Traditions in Texas: Unveiling the Spirit of Fort Worth

Dina Litovsky, an inquisitive National Geographic Photographer with a penchant for unraveling the tapestry of humanity and culture, embarked on her latest assignment in Fort Worth, Texas. Describing her work as “visual sociology,” Litovsky’s curiosity led her to experience the enduring traditions of the Old West that have shaped the city’s identity.

Upon arriving in unfamiliar territory, Litovsky allowed her intuition to guide her path, ultimately leading her to the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District. It was here that she met the members of the Fort Worth Herd—an organization established in 1999 responsible for the city’s iconic longhorn cattle drive along East Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards. Commemorating the drovers who herded cattle through Fort Worth in the mid-to-late 1800s along the Chisholm Trail, this daily drive at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. stands as one of the oldest and most cherished traditions in the city. According to Kristin Jaworski, the Trail Boss of the Herd, it serves as a means to preserve the Western heritage, honor the American cowboy, and celebrate the majestic Texas longhorn.

Intrigued by the Texas longhorns, with their diverse array of colors, shapes, and sizes, Litovsky was captivated by their most distinguishing feature—their magnificent horns. These horns develop uniquely over the longhorns’ lifetime, exhibiting various growth directions and shapes, ranging from long and straight to upward and twisted.

For those seeking a deeper understanding of the longhorns’ care and a glimpse into life on the Chisholm Trail, the Fort Worth Stockyards offers the Fort Worth Herd Experience. Held between drives from 1 to 2 p.m., this free and interactive program provides visitors with an inside look at everything from cattle roping techniques to saddling a horse.

Litovsky soon discovered that the Fort Worth Stockyards was a haven where history thrived. M.L. Leddy’s, a family-owned business that has been crafting exquisite leather boots, saddles, and Western wear since 1922, proudly upholds the tradition of masterful craftsmanship. They warmly invite visitors to witness their production process firsthand.

At the recommendation of local residents, Litovsky made a stop at the White Elephant Saloon, founded in 1884. This saloon, adorned with a collection of memorabilia and cowboy hats lining its ceiling and walls, effortlessly transports visitors back in time with its charming decor, wooden dance floor, vintage brass-rail bar, and traditional shoe-shine service.

Litovsky then ventured to Sundance Square, a vibrant destination spanning 37 blocks in downtown Fort Worth, offering a delightful fusion of shopping, dining, and entertainment. Whether one seeks retail therapy, a delectable meal, or the opportunity to admire the seamless blend of historic architecture and modern design, this bustling square is an essential stop.

For those desiring a memorable performance, Bass Performance Hall beckons. Completed in 1998, this grandiose performing arts venue resembles a European opera house and serves as the home for four esteemed companies: the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Opera, Texas Ballet Theater, and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and Cliburn Concerts. Notable features include an awe-inspiring, hand-painted 80-foot dome and two towering 48-foot angel reliefs.

Venturing west of downtown, Litovsky explored Fort Worth’s cultural district—a haven for art enthusiasts. Here, museums abound, such as the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, which houses a comprehensive collection of American art spanning from the 18th century to the present, and the Modern

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Traditions

What is the Fort Worth Herd?

The Fort Worth Herd is an organization established in 1999 that is responsible for the twice-daily longhorn cattle drive in the Fort Worth Stockyards. It commemorates the drovers who herded cattle through Fort Worth along the Chisholm Trail in the 1800s. The Herd’s mission is to preserve Western heritage, honor the American cowboy, and celebrate the Texas longhorn.

What can I experience at the Fort Worth Stockyards?

At the Fort Worth Stockyards, you can witness the iconic longhorn cattle drive that takes place twice daily. Additionally, you can attend the Fort Worth Herd Experience, an interactive program that offers insights into the care of longhorns and life on the Chisholm Trail. The Stockyards is also home to M.L. Leddy’s, where you can observe the craftsmanship of leather goods, and the White Elephant Saloon, a historic establishment with a vibrant atmosphere.

What can I explore in downtown Fort Worth?

In downtown Fort Worth, you can visit Sundance Square, a bustling destination offering shopping, dining, and entertainment. You can also experience performances at Bass Performance Hall, an architectural marvel resembling a European opera house. The city’s cultural district is nearby, featuring museums such as the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and the Kimbell Art Museum.

Are there outdoor attractions in Fort Worth?

Yes, Fort Worth offers outdoor attractions as well. Trinity Park provides a serene green space where you can walk or bike along the scenic Trinity River or admire the duck pond. The Fort Worth Botanic Garden is a beautiful destination with 23 specialty gardens to explore. Additionally, the Fort Worth Water Gardens, designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee, offers captivating water features surrounded by cypress trees.

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3 comments

Sam123 June 28, 2023 - 3:18 am

dis is gr8! i never knew Fort Worth had so much to offer. i wanna see a show at Bass Performance Hall n check out all da amazin’ art in da cultural district. the outdoor spaces sound relaxin’ too. def puttin’ Fort Worth on my travel list!

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John Doe June 28, 2023 - 7:46 am

wow dis text is so gud! i luv how it takes u on a jurnee thru Fort Worth, Texas. the pics r amazin’ n i wanna see dose longhorns in real lyf. def gonna visit Sundance Square, seems like a happnin’ place!

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Jane Smith June 28, 2023 - 9:17 am

i’ve always been fascinated by tradishuns n old west stuff. dis article really captures the spirit of Fort Worth. i’m dyin’ to see the Fort Worth Herd n the Stockyards. gotta get me sum cowboy hats from M.L. Leddy’s too! yeehaw!

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