Texas Frontier Centennial

By: Wesley E. Sparling

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: May 14, 2019

The Texas Frontier Centennial, Fort Worth's special observance of the Texas Centennial, was planned to portray the culture and atmosphere of the old frontier. It was sponsored by Amon G. Carter and a board of control and financed by a local bond drive. Billy Rose of New York was employed to stage the entertainment. The spectacle covered 162 acres and cost $5 million. The Old West lived again in Frontier Village, in which Sunset Trail was lined with livery stables, general stores, an old church, and other buildings typical of the 1870s to 1890s. A railroad train with wood-burning locomotive and wooden coaches demonstrated transportation of the same period. Exhibits included Sally Rand's Nude Ranch, Jumbo (a musical circus), the Pioneer Palace (a restaurant and dance hall for presentation of burlesque shows and square dances), and a replica of Will Rogers's den on his Santa Monica, California, ranch. The West Texas Chamber of Commerce exhibit presented modern West Texas. The most publicized part of the celebration was Casa MaƱana, "the House of Tomorrow," in which seats and tables to accommodate 3,500 spectators faced a revolving stage on which Billy Rose presented his musical show. The musical show's theme was the historical development shown in four world's fairs: the St. Louis Fair of 1904, the Paris Fair of 1925, the Chicago Fair of 1934, and the Texas Centennial of 1936. So popular was the celebration that it was presented again in 1937.

P. J. R. MacIntosh, "Fort Worth's Centennial," Texas Weekly, August 15, 1936. P. J. R. MacIntosh, "Presenting the Last Frontier," Texas Weekly, August 22, 1936. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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

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

Wesley E. Sparling, “Texas Frontier Centennial,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 09, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/texas-frontier-centennial.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 14, 2019

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