History

Over the years, the Trinity River has meant many things to the citizens of Fort Worth – prosperity, beauty, recreation, and at times, even tragedy. Below is a timeline of major events leading up to the grand vision we have for our river today.

1849  

1849


United States Army Major Ripley Arnold establishes Fort Worth, an army garrison, on the bluffs overlooking the Trinity River.
1914  

1914


The Paddock Viaduct, the first reinforced concrete arch bridge in the United States to use self supporting reinforcing steel, was constructed across the Trinity River just north of the courthouse.
 

1922


The Trinity River flooded over 3,000 acres, killing 37 people and destroying many more businesses and homes. The existing levees, which were constructed after the 1908 flood, did not prevent damage, so they were increased in height following this event.
1949  

1949


North Central Texas was inundated with torrents of rain in the upper Trinity River basin. In spite of the levees in place after the 1922 flood, whole sections of neighborhoods surrounding downtown were beneath 10 feet of water. Thousands were left homeless, 10 people died and property damages reached $15 million.
1949  

1949


United States Army Corps of Engineers opened a Fort Worth office and began building a flood protection system on the Trinity River that included the present levee system.
1957  

1957


Federally funded improvements were completed, including the construction and strengthening of the levees. The plan also straightened the Clear Fork and West Fork channels of the river, which removed the natural meander of the river in favor of a channel system. Thousands of trees along the banks were bulldozed and levees became barriers that kept people away from the river.
1969  

1969


As a result of the levee project, the Trinity River was left a dry, littered ditch for most of the 50s, 60s and early 70s, but one that served as a level of flood defense designed to protect the 1960s population.
1971  

1971

A group of local citizens formalized as Streams and Valleys, an organization charged with the beautification and recreational development of the Trinity River and its tributaries. Their earliest efforts included constructing low water dams to return water to the dry beds.
1971  

1971

Streams and Valleys commissioned Halprin and Associates to study the Trinity River in Fort Worth. The resulting “Halprin Plan” recommended low-level dams to regulate water level, extensive multi-user trail systems, lighting, planting thousands of trees and vastly improving public areas.
1988  

1988


EDAW, a noted urban planning firm from Alexandria, Virginia, was commissioned to develop a new plan that focused on expanding public access to the river.
2002  

2002

The Trinity River Master Plan was designed to provide flood protection, recreation, scenic beauty and accessibility to the public. It also is a prevention plan – unlike preceding plans which were drawn up in response to disasters, this plan is designed to avert foreseeable damage and destruction and provide continuing safety.
2006  

2006


The TRVA was formed to manage and coordinate the project based on local partnerships with the City of Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Streams and Valleys and the Tarrant Regional Water District, working closely with the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas Department of Transportation.