Dalworthington Gardens City
Dalworthington Gardens City Hall is located at 2600 Roosevelt Drive, Dalworthington Gardens, TX 76016; phone: 817-724-7368.
The City of Dalworthington Gardens has a truly unique history. The City began in the spring of 1933, when Carl G. Mosig bought a 15-acre homestead in the unincorporated area of Tarrant County on Arkansas Lane.
About the same time, Elliott Roosevelt, son of President Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt, married a woman who lived near the Mosig homestead. While visiting the area with her son in the early 1930's, Eleanor Roosevelt recognized the value of this area for inclusion in the National Industrial Recovery Act.
This Act was enacted by Congress on June 16, 1933 as part of President Roosevelt's "New Deal", a program developed to improve conditions during the Great Depression of the 1930's. The purpose of the Act was to "provide for aiding in the redistribution of the overbalance of population in industrial centers" by funding the purchase of subsistence homesteads in rural areas." These homesteads were to be developed by the federal government into "model colonies" consisting of affordable homes and infrastructure such as roads, utilities and livestock fencing. The homes were to be sold to applicants who earned no more than $200 a month, and who proved to be "earnest people of good reputation" and who "desire to better their condition by making a part of their living during unemployed hours."
The Dalworthington Gardens area was chosen for inclusion in the program and on December 2, 1933, the "project" was formally approved by the federal government. The project name was developed from the names of the cities that were nearest to it, which included Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington. Thus, Dal-worth-ington Gardens was named.
Because the program was slow in getting started, the first settlers to the "The Gardens" were faced with numerous hardships including no paved roads, no utilities, no clean water and no fences. Fuel for cooking and heating was either wood or coal until butane gas was provided sometime later. Animals roamed the City due to the lack of fencing, which created some controversy when the animals ruined others' gardens. Of the first 52 families who settled in the City, just 26 remained only a few months later.
Due to these and other administrative problems with Dalworthington Gardens and other homestead projects, in 1936 President Roosevelt approved a restructuring plan that authorized homestead projects to be transferred to local homestead associations, while remaining under federal jurisdiction. As a result, on June 1, 1936, the Dalworthington Homestead Association purchased the Dalworthington Gardens project for a total of $143,000 to be paid over a 40-year period.
Each homestead within the homestead area was represented in the Association by one voting member and a six-member board was selected from local residents to examine applications for admission into the Association and to address project problems. Local resident Guy Estill was appointed project manager in 1936 and served as general manager and liaison with the federal government.
Under this new system and Mr. Estill's management, Dalworthington Gardens began to thrive. By early 1937, only nine of the original 79 homesteads were vacant and a community house, located on the site of the present City Hall, was the center of community activity. Dalworthington Gardens continued to function as a homestead project under the jurisdiction of the federal government until 1949 when local residents voted to petition for incorporation.
Today, although the old community house has been replaced with the current City Hall and many of the remaining original housing has been altered, the general concept of the original homestead project remains in tact, coexisting with new areas of the City including commercial and neighborhood development.