Why is this set of images on the about page?
These images portray the location of the Central branch of the Fort Worth Public Library, built in 1939 at the corner of 9th and Throckmorton. The first image was taken in 1941 and a second photo was taken 14 years later in 1955 from the same perspective. A modern photo shows the location but not the building as it was demolished after the library moved to its present address.
WD Smith took both of the early images, foreshadowing what we are trying to do with this project …
We were inspired by photos that were taken or acquired by WD Smith, a commercial photographer based in Fort Worth. The bulk of the WD Smith collection was donated to the University of Texas at Arlington Library Special Collections Department. A small percentage of these thousands of negatives have been converted into digital images and are available online in the WD Smith Commercial Photography collection at the UT Arlington Library.
During the course of scanning these negatives, it became apparent that some images depict Fort Worth landmarks that have survived to the present day. Our initial photo session took place on a Sunday afternoon at four well known locations in Fort Worth. When we compared the new images to the old ones and showed them to our colleagues -- to a very positive response -- we decided to expand our scope and began researching other locations. Over the next eighteen months, we criss-crossed Fort Worth, shooting sites and scouting future locations. This project will continue as we add more images, photograph more modern-day Fort Worth locations, and add information about the WD Smith photographs and the locations they depict.
It was our intention to photograph these locations from the same perspective as the originals, and in many cases we succeeded. Because Fort Worth has continued to grow (it is currently the 16th largest city in the United States with a population of over half a million people), this has not always been possible.
In the intervening years, trees have grown, buildings have been erected and sometimes torn down as the city has evolved. In light of this, in cases where an exact reproduction was not possible we have tried to capture the “spirit” of the original photograph.
Would you like to help with this project? We need your expertise! Take a look at our Help the Evolution page and help us identify locations and learn more about the photographs. Share your knowledge and memories of Fort Worth!