Downtown Arlington is one of my favorite places in the city to explore, especially on and near Abram Street, where there’s a nice mixture of past and present. There’s also plenty of free parking, lots to see and do, and the area it’s highly walkable.
Check out a photo tour and some highlights from a recent walk downtown.
Founders Plaza has a local history site paying tribute to Andrew Hayter and six founding families of Arlington. Mr. Hayter, pronounced “high-ter,” is often considered the Father of Arlington. He’s honored with a Texas Historical Marker and bronze bust. Each family — Collins, Cooper, Ditto, Rankin, Rogers, and Rose — has a plaque telling their story. For more photos and to read the marker texts, check out my Founders Plaza page.
Star of Texas – public art project
There are 20 of these six-foot stars throughout the city, each with a different design. This one is titled “Kaleidoscope of Dreams.” The artist is Canvas by Canvas.
J.R. Bentley’s — an English pub
An Arlington icon since 1979, J.R. Bentley’s has a classic menu centered around burgers, pub fare, fish and chips, and cottage pie. They serve up tasty food in a no-frills setting; they also do the best pint of Guinness in the city! One gets to a certain age, like 38, and you begin to appreciate a cozy pub.
Old School Pizza Tavern
I haven’t been here yet, but a trip must be taken soon. Few things go together better than pizza and beer.
UTA School of Social Work / former Arlington High School
This building is now the UTA School of Social Work. But in 1922, 100 years ago, it was Arlington’s first high school. There is a plaque behind the building telling more about its history and the growth of AISD.
UTA Gateway Tower
Located at UTA Blvd and Cooper Street is the UTA Gateway Tower. I imagine that many students have had photos taken here. (It also looks cool at night!)
Fire Station #1
Construction has begun on renovating Arlington Fire Station #1. The building, built in 1954, has had some remodeling work done over the years. This renovation will be a substantial upgrade, making the facility a larger, more modern-day fire station. It will also have a public place and a museum area, where folks can learn about the history of our fire department.
Morgan Woodward – The Man With No Eyes
While Morgan Woodward has 128 acting credits on IMDb, he’s probably best known for his role in the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke. Depicted here is his character from the film — Boss Godfrey, also known as The Man With No Eyes. This public art needs some TLC, so I helped it with editing. Although born in Fort Worth, Mr. Woodward grew up in Arlington.
Arlington Post Office / Worthington National Bank
This 1939 building is the former Arlington Post Office. Today, it’s Worthington National Bank. The building is an Arlington Local Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places.
There is also a “Fallout Shelter” sign on the rear of the building. I’ve only found a few of these signs in my exploring, so it’s always jarring to see one.
I love photographing this building — it’s also fun to go wild with the editing. If the architecture isn’t a part of Brutalism, it’s at least inspired by it. Brutalism is an architectural term from the French “béton brut,” which means raw concrete. Some of the style’s characteristics include an abundance of bricks, steel, concrete, glass, drab colors, and blocky shapes. It’s a polarizing style, and many people dislike it, but I think it’s fascinating and deserves a revival.
The Interurban existed in Arlington from 1902 to 1938, with the route going along Abram Street. The line connected Dallas and Fort Worth, a distance of 35 miles. These electrically-powered trolley cars initially crawled along at 8 MPH. But, by 1923, riders could zip along at 65 MPH. The Interurban was popular with commuters and weekenders. I’d like to see it return.
Downtown Arlington lions
It wouldn’t be downtown without the lions—several of these sculptures are downtown. The lion heads pay tribute to Arlington’s Mineral Well, which featured the same design.
Legendz Classic Barber Shop
Lastly, when driving down Center Street, you might see this old ’55 Chevy truck parked in front of Legendz Classic Barber Shop. Old cars are cool, but I’ll take an old truck any day. Plus, Legendz has a large mural and neon in the window. The advertising is working, too. I might go there next time I need a haircut and a shave.
From local history to city icons, and a few fun things in-between, that was an afternoon walking in Downtown Arlington.
Blog post and photos by Jason S. Sullivan, 01-29-22