Heritage Trails

Hell's Half Acre
East side of Water Garden Plaza – Commerce Street

This area was the edge of Cowtown’s notorious Hell’s Half Acre where a district of saloons, dance halls, gambling parlors, and bordellos thrived in the late 1800s. Lawmen, gamblers, cowboys, trainmen, buffalo hunters, teamsters, madams and prostitutes frequented the Acre’s dance halls, gambling parlors and brothels. On November 29, 1878, the Fort Worth Democrat described the range of patrons at the dance halls as “…lewd women of all ages 16 to 40… the most respectable of citizens, the experienced thief… the ordinary murderer, the average cowboy and the ordinary young man of the town.” The scandalous activities of Hell’s Half Acre and the businesses that supported them, continued to ebb and flow throughout the early 1900’s. Fort Worth’s Hell’s Half Acre finally ceased to exist when the area was cleared to build the Tarrant County Convention Center in the 1960s.