2008 ACE Awards: Award of Excellence
The Texas Historical Commission asserts that “Heritage Tourism” is the fastest-growing segment of the $40.4 billion tourism industry in Texas. Sophisticated historical and directional signage -- along with monuments, memorials, buildings and open spaces -- contribute to memorable destination cities.
Research from the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) shows that most visitors to Fort Worth are drawn by its western heritage, such as the Chisholm Trail, Hell’s Half Acre, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Yet no thematic historical or informational markers existed in the revitalized downtown area known as Sundance Square. Major themes of our city heritage were missing and there were gaps in the areas where heritage information was presented.
In 1991, a task force of the Fort Worth Chamber’s West Area Council that included representatives from the historic preservation community began to research the possibilities. Eventually the partners included the Fort Worth CVB, the City of Fort Worth, and Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. The group wanted to “put history on the street, not just in textbooks or visitor guides.”
The overarching goals were to link an attractive downtown urban environment to a sense of history, and to make Fort Worth the most memorable city in the U.S. by educating and entertaining Fort Worth residents, visitors and the 36,000 employees who work downtown.
The Chamber took the lead as the project served its mission of “making Fort Worth an excellent place in which to live, work and do business.”