I ran across some old photos of Fort Worth over the weekend and in them I found some of Dalworthington Gardens in Arlington, Tx. This won’t mean much to you people who “aren’t from around here”. I thought it was pretty interesting so I wanted to share the history of Dalworthington Gardens with you.
The name is an amalgam of the cities Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington, Texas.
The story begins during the Great Depression and was part of the National Industrial Recovery Act which authorized the building of experimental housing while incorporating agriculture into the lives of the residents. It was sort of a suburb with communal gardens and a homeowners association. The Department of the Interior was the overseer of the project with the objective to blend city life with country life. People working in Fort Worth or Dallas could work in town and have a garden and small animals as a food supplement. Originally there were five projects planned but Dalworthington gardens was the only one to succeed.
Nearly 600 acres was purchased in 1934 for the project then it was broken down into 79 smaller tracts. The largest was 32 acres and the smallest was 3 acres with 43 acres set aside for a community center and park. The project was a grid of three roads leading North and South and three others running East and West. These were dirt roads but plans were made when the economy got better the roads would be paved.
Applicants applied for a Federal loan and put 10% down. Even in the depression you had to have some skin in the property, unlike the past few years we’ve just come out of. Ok, I’m getting off track, sorry. The mortgage payment was roughly $25 per month which included utilities and a “maintenance fee”.
The town was nearly completed in May of 1935 and in early 1937 every tract was occupied. After the Depression and the WWII ended the residents decided to incorporate. In 1950 the population of Dalworthington Gardens was 267 and now has grown to 2186 with 765 homes.
Due to the location in the metroplex, the city has become a very desirable place to live. As time pasted, the original homes have mostly been replace with upscale modern homes. However there are a few of the originall homes that have been restored and the local historic commission has placed markers which identify them as part of our past and the original plan.
Today, Dalworthington gardens is the only subsistence homestead project existing as an autonomous community in the State of Texas. DWG still maintains a rural feel with residents gardening, horses and stables and FFA kids tending their projects.