Dalworthington Gardens, TX

By: Herbert N. Antley

Type: General Entry

Published: August 13, 2002

Updated: September 30, 2020

Dalworthington Gardens, one of the most unusual communities in Texas, is located in east central Tarrant County between Interstate 30 to the north and Interstate 20 to the south, about twelve miles southeast of Fort Worth. The community was established as a subsistence homestead project during the Great Depression under the authority of the National Industrial Recovery Act. The homestead program was administered by the Department of the Interior. Its original purpose was to help families attain a better standard of living through a combination of part-time industrial employment and subsistence agriculture. The idea was to locate homestead projects near large industrial centers where city workers could live, grow gardens, and raise farm animals to supplement their regular food supplies. Dalworthington Gardens was one of five such projects located in Texas and the only one still in existence today.

In early 1934 the federal government approved the Dalworthington Gardens charter and allotted $250,000 to buy 593 acres of land. Earlier it had been suggested that the name of the community be an admixture of the names of the three interested cities, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington. The land was divided into seventy-nine sites that varied in size from three to thirty-two acres. Forty-three acres was reserved for a community house and park. Three unpaved gravel roads ran north and south, and three ran east and west. The project was not a relief program; applicants for homesteads were required to pay 10 percent down on a homestead and show proof that they could repay their loans. A typical monthly payment was less than $25, including mortgage and management payments and all utilities.

By May 1935 about 85 percent of the construction work on Dalworthington Gardens was completed. By spring 1937 every homestead was either filled or being processed for occupancy. Early residents formed a cooperative known as Texas Industries and built furniture, stepladders, and butter churns. On June 29, 1949, residents voted to submit a petition to have their community incorporated as a town. The population of the community grew from 267 in 1950 to 757 in 1970. By 2000, Dalworthington Gardens had grown to a population of 2,186, mainly because of the town's proximity to Dallas and Fort Worth. Modern and expensive homes were interspersed with the original homesteads built in the 1930s. Many of the old homesteads are designated with historical markers, tangible proof of the work of the Dalworthington Gardens Historical Commission.

Herbert N. Antley, Dalworthington Gardens: A New Deal Experiment in Planned Utopia (M.A. thesis, University of Texas at Arlington, 1980). Herbert N. Antley, "Dalworthington Gardens: A New Deal Experiment in Tarrant County," Tarrant County Historical Review 1 (March 3, 1984).

Time Periods:
  • Great Depression
  • Communities
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Herbert N. Antley, “Dalworthington Gardens, TX,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 30, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/dalworthington-gardens-tx.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 13, 2002
September 30, 2020

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects:

Dalworthington Gardens
Currently Exists
Place Type
Town Fields
  • Has post office: No
  • Is Incorporated: Yes
Belongs to
  • Tarrant County
  • Latitude: 32.69366110°
  • Longitude: -97.15654000°
Population Counts
People Year
1,758 1990
2,186 2000
2,259 2010
2,354 2019