- Basketball court
- Bike rack
- Drinking fountain
- Electrical box
- Observation deck
- Park lighting
- Parking lot
- Stand alone swing
- Water feature
Trinity Park dates back to 1892! The 'epicenter' of an emerging Fort Worth, City leaders of the time had the foresight to acquire land along the Clear Fork of the Trinity River as the first parkland property. Trinity Park, located in the Fort Worth Cultural District is a complimentary destination to other popular sites such as the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, the museums and many other nearby attractions.
The park has benefited from the construction of walking/bike paths along the Trinity River that connect it to other parks and public spaces along the river. The Trinity River Trails is a network of over 100 miles of paved trail connecting Fort Worth to many other surrounding cities. In fact, one can walk or ride a bike to Dallas along this trail network, with few interludes onto roadways! Within the Trinity Park, a dreamy playground offers exploration, excitement, and fun. Dream Park is a playground designed to accommodate children of all needs, mobility, and abilities. Families and friends alike enjoy the duck pond at the park. During the winter, many species of waterfowl use the pond including American wigeon, lesser scaup, northern shoveler, and wood duck. (Note: Please do not feed waterfowl as they eat a variety of nutritious foods including aquatic plants, grains, and invertebrates. By feeding waterfowl bread and processed human foods, waterfowl may become malnourished, develop wing deformities, and eventually starve.)
Currently, Trinity Park encompasses approximately 252 acres, retains the WPA shelter, playground, duck pond, grills, and trails, as well as a station to board the Forest Park Miniature Railroad.
Trinity Park has the distinction of being the first park purchased by the City of Fort Worth. In 1892, the city purchased approximately fifty acres that straddled both sides of the Clear Fork of the Trinity River. The portion on the east side of the river became the site of the city’s water works plant. Approximately thirty-one acres was on the west side of the river and became the genesis of “City Park.” As the city had no official park department and limited funds, the development of the park was mostly left to others. Civic-minded women’s groups raised money for the park and financed early improvements. In the early twentieth century, the city commission appointed a seasonal park keeper. A fireman, Will McCart, designed and planted gardens in the park. A zoo of sorts was briefly located in the park and in 1908, the City Federation of Women’s Clubs sponsored the construction of a stone gate. On July 4, 1908, the gate was dedicated and accepted by Mayor Harris. With the gate came an additional twenty-five-foot strip of land located between the park and Arlington Heights Boulevard. It was donated by Major K. M. Van Zandt, who years before at owned the land encompassed by the rest of the park. In 1910, the park’s name was changed to Forest Park and the women’s clubs provided for the construction of another gate after the widening of West Seventh Street called for the demolition of the previous gate. That same year, a dam was built across the south end of a slew on the west side of the park and a small lake was formed. Major improvements were not made in the park because of it was prone to flooding. To remedy the situation, work began on the construction of a levee in the park in 1910. The project resulted in the removal of numerous trees which alarmed members of the park board and other citizens. As compensation, the levee board gave the park board an additional forty-two acres from the Van Zandt tract adjacent to the park. Around that same time, work began on a levee along the river that the necessitated the removal of many trees.
More acreage was added to the park in 1913 and 1927. As the automobile became the dominant mode of transportation, a “Tourist Camp” was constructed on the park’s west side near West Seventh Street. The camp was short-lived after campers began to demand amenities best provided by commercial establishments.
In late 1935, the City of Fort Worth purchased 138 acres from the Van Zandt Land Company as a venue for the Texas (Fort Worth) Frontier Centennial. A portion of this property contained a pre-railroad-era cabin that had once served as the home of Major K.M. Van Zandt (1836-1930). It is believed that the Van Zandt Cottage is the oldest home in Fort Worth at its original location. The Women’s Division of the Frontier Centennial, in conjunction with the Julia Jackson Chapter #141 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Frances Cooke Van Zandt Chapter, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, restored the home so that it could be operated as a frontier-style house museum during the centennial celebration. Prominent local architect Joseph R. Pelich designed the restoration which converted the dilapidated house to a romanticized rustic cabin. For a number of years following the centennial celebration, the Julia Jackson Chapter #141 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy assumed a custodial relationship with the cabin although the park department maintained the grounds. The Van Zandt Cottage is considered a feature of Trinity Park and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 4, 2012.
Trinity Park benefited from several New Deal-era projects. In 1937, the park department received approval for the construction of a brick shelter house/bandstand on the north end of the park facing West Seventh Street. The project included space for an outdoor theater as well as other landscaping improvements. The total cost of the project was estimated to be $53,268 of which $26,634 came from a grant from the WPA. The work retained the park’s informal design (with the exception of the fountain/reflecting pool north of the shelter and close to West Seventh Street).
In the late 1930s, and against the wishes of some park board members, the Texas Highway Department constructed a 3,000-foot long bridge that carried Lancaster Avenue over the Trinity River and through a portion of Trinity Park. Following the Great Flood of 1949, modifications were made to the levee along the Trinity River, including the levees in Trinity Park. The work necessitated the removal of large trees, including some behind the shelter house.
In January 1955, members of the Fort Worth Anglers Club funded the enlargement of the pond in the park, converting it from a “casting pool . . . into a fishing lake” that had a depth of was three and one-half feet and covered approximately two acres. It was stocked with fish from the Eagle Mountain hatchery. Club members believed that the improved lake would be a good influence on the city’s boys and girls by providing them with a place they could learn to fish. On June 12, 1959, the Forest Park Miniature train was opened to the public. A five mile-long loop connected Forest Park with Trinity Park.
In 1978, the Trinity Park shelter was renovated after which the city council approved the presentation of two Shakespearean plays on the shelter’s stage, inaugurating the first season of “Shakespeare in the Park.” This summer tradition continued through the 2001 season. A community event that has outlived Shakespeare in the park is Mayfest. It was started in 1973 at a time when Fort Worth was rediscovering the Trinity River. Sponsoring organizations were the Junior League of Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Park and Recreation Department, Streams and Valleys, and the Tarrant County Regional Water District. Mayfest has grown to a four-day event and attracts 200,000 visitors to the park annually.
Trinity Park's geology is varied between ancient stream alluvium and terrace deposits from the Holocene. These depositions occurred on the lagoon side of barrier islands and wind-deposited tidal flat sands and clays. Modern geology-in-the-making include alluvium deposits from flood events on the Trinity River, as well as general deposition of sand bars and gravel beds along the base of the river flow. The remainder of Forest Park comprises the Fort Worth Limestone and Duck Creek Formation of the early Cretaceous. This formation exhibits ancient marine burrows and Pecten, oyster, echinoid, and ammonite fossils.
The park, not surprisingly due to the alluvium geology, is comprised mostly of Frio Series soils. These soils are calcareous loamy and clayey soils found in floodplain alluvium. The upland soils are of the Aledo-Bolar complex; which consist of shallow, well drained calcareous soils formed in interbedded limestones and marls of the Cretaceous Age.
Unmanicured woodlands with mature trees can be found in the southwestern portion of the park. This bottomland habitat is influenced by the presence of the Trinity River. Take a moment to explore off-trail and you’ll quickly forget you’re in the city. Armadillos, gray foxes, cottontail rabbits, coyotes, raccoons, and several bird species can be found in the area. There are a number of waterfowl that spend the winter frequenting the duck pond in Trinity Park. (Note: Please do not feed waterfowl as they eat a variety of nutritious foods including aquatic plants, grains, and invertebrates. By feeding waterfowl bread and processed human foods, waterfowl may become malnourished, develop wing deformities, and eventually starve.)
View animal, plant and insect species observed at Trinity Park and make some of your own observations through iNaturalist. See link under the "Related information" Section.
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2401 University Drive, Fort Worth 76107 View Map