Fort Worth Horror: The Great South Side Fire of 1909
Carol Roark, Archivist/Historian/Author
Many of the great cities of the world, including Rome, London, Lisbon, Chicago, and San Francisco, have endured devastating peacetime fires. Fort Worth joined that tragic company on April 3, 1909, when two boys experimenting with cigarettes on a windy spring day led to a barn catching fire. By the time the conflagration was under control with the help of companies from Dallas, Weatherford and elsewhere, more than twenty blocks of businesses, homes, and churches just south of downtown were destroyed. Join us as historian Carol Roark explains how the fire not only changed the landscape of Fort Worth, but also how it prepared for disasters.
Carol Roark has spent many years researching and writing about historic buildings. After twenty years as the Archivist and Manager of the Special Collections Division at the Dallas Public Library, she is now working on a number of freelance history and historic preservation projects. She has published four books related to those topics, served as editor for the Tarrant County Historic Resources Survey volumes, and contributed to works on African American and women’s history. She and her husband live in a 1919 Arts & Crafts bungalow in Fort Worth’s Fairmount/South Side National Register Historic District.