Fort Worth in 1891
The fact that Henry Wellge was back in Fort Worth in 1891 to revise his 1886 view demonstrates the concern the city fathers had in promoting the city, as they tried to recover from the difficult economic conditions. Again depicting the city from the northeast, Wellge showed the same basic area as in the 1886 print, suggesting that he might have used the earlier print as a pattern for this one. The two views are not identical. Changes include more smokestacks, especially along the T&P line, more downtown buildings, the third bridge over the Trinity River (north of the courthouse), and the expansion of Texas Wesleyan College, to mention only a few.
Perhaps the most significant addition, however, is that of the Texas Spring Palace south of the T&P tracks. In an era when different kinds of “palaces” and trade fairs, patterned after the Crystal Palace and the Philadelphia Centennial, were established to promote communities—Ice Palaces in various northern cities, the Corn Palace in Sioux City, Iowa, and Cotton Palaces in Atlanta, New Orleans, and Waco in 1894—Fort Worth leaders, assisted by Robert A. Cameron, immigration agent for the Fort Worth and Denver Railway, established an exhibition of the products of the field, forest, orchard and garden to attract settlers, investors, and tourists to Fort Worth. The Spring Palace opened for its second season in 1890, and is prominently featured south of the T&P tracks between Main and Jennings streets. The problem with the depiction is that the Spring Palace burned on May 30, 1890, before Wellge completed this update of the Fort Worth view. He probably included the structure because it had become a well-known feature of the city, and the palace’s directors had high hopes of rebuilding it.