Letters: Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Friction over Fresco’s

To the editor: I read your “review” of Fresco’s Mexicana Restaurant (“Mexicali Blues,” Oct. 1, 2003) and must say, I was shocked and confused. I recently ate at the restaurant. I had the chicken fajitas with rice and beans, and it was delicious! I am not sure how fair it is for one person to judge a restaurant by eating there only one time. How do you know if maybe your “taste buds” weren’t somewhat off that evening? I feel you should rewrite some of what you said because apparently it wasn’t accurate. At least that seems to be the case since, as you stated, the residents of Watauga pack Fresco’s.

Chelsea Craig

Fort Worth

Editor’s note: Our reviewers frequently make more than one visit to a restaurant and always have a guest along as well. Reviews, by definition, are opinion, and that was ours.

The Poor Need Not Apply

To the editor: Fort Worth’s Short South Side is supposed to become a “New Urban Village.” When people in this country first started talking about “New Urbanism” and urban renewal (“A New Era for Near South,” Oct. 8, 2003), it sounded like a great thing. Suburban sprawl has chewed up huge amounts of North America’s remaining landscapes, creating a heartbreaking devastation that may not be repaired for a thousand years or more, if ever, not to mention the legions of wild animals that were killed in the process. To refocus development back into areas already paved long ago, where people can travel less, use less resources, enjoy mass transit, and maybe even discover a sense of community beyond the plasticity of suburbia, seemed like a win-win.

It still could be. But for the most part, what’s transpired has had a very ugly side effect. Po’ people — the low-income communities of color, people who stuck with the inner cities, who made it through the decades of decay, neglect, pollution, lack of jobs, violence, drug inflow, etc. etc. — the people who maintained culture and community and self-pride in a veritable war zone — are being pushed out by this urban renewal. A sudden influx of wealthy new monoculture residents and outrageously priced residences forces all rental prices and property taxes sky-high. Just when an inner-city neighborhood is getting some attention to its problems, low-income people have to move out to suburban hell, much of which is now decaying and becoming the new ghettos. Single mothers with no cars working minimum-wage jobs now face even more burdens, far flung out there.

At the same time, bulldozers continue to push ever outward, constructing new McMansion developments, attacking green areas where wild native animals still live in swooning quiet under skies where stars and galaxies are still visible. Witness the impending attack on the 7,000-acre Walsh Ranch west of Fort Worth.

I’m glad that some of the people who disdained porches and corner stores and walkable communities are now discovering what “ghetto children” have known all along — that there’s something rich and sustaining about an interactive community life. But if Fort Worth South becomes like Denver’s Five Points, or any of dozens of other examples, it will be just another bulldozing, just another version of an elite few not giving a crap about the effects they have upon those “beneath” them.

Jarid Nidal Manos

Executive Director

Great Plains Restoration Council

Fort Worth

South Side History

To the editor: This was a great article. Had my friends Betty Brink, Dan Scott, and Fran McCarthy known, I could have provided some priceless documentation and insights. My great-grandfather James Gregg Henderson was a master stonemason. He built Parker Commons and took what I am sure was the first photo of it. He would have professional photos made of his work for a portfolio. I have that photo and others.

He also photographed the Broadway Presbyterian when it was under construction. It sat at the corner of St. Louis and Broadway; the location is now a parking lot for Broadway Baptist Church. The cornerstones of Broadway Presbyterian can be found in the foyer of the fellowship hall of St. Stephen Presbyterian. I donated a photo of the second Broadway Presbyterian to St. Stephen. It is from 1910. The first church burned, and J.G rebuilt it.

J.G. lived on Grainger Street (the site is now a bar parking lot). His wife, my great-grandmother Annie, died suddenly at age 30 in 1897, leaving him to raise my grandfather and great-aunt and great-uncle.

He also worked on Thistle Hill. Our Aunt Elsie, now in her 80s, still lives on Fairmont and had many stories to tell of his buildings. Elsie tells of being amused that Thistle Hill claims its marble came from Italy — J. G. got it in the Midwestern U.S .

J.G. and his partner Alexander Eadie came to Fort Worth from Scotland around 1880. They built St. Patrick’s Church. We have old photos of that building as well during and right after construction 1888-92. They worked with the great Fort Worth architect Sanguinet. Among documents our family has are contracts signed by J.G, Eadie, and Sanguinet. We have many photos and documents about Fort Worth from the 1880s through 1920s, including ones of the South Side.

What a nice piece of journalism.

Richard Henderson

Fort Worth

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