Fort Worth Water Gardens

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Coordinates: 32°44′52″N 97°19′36″W / 32.74778°N 97.32667°W / 32.74778; -97.32667

Fort Worth Water Gardens
Fort Worth Water Gardens
Video of the Water Gardens. View from the center of the main waterfall area.

The Fort Worth Water Gardens, built in 1974, is located on the south end of downtown Fort Worth between Houston and Commerce Streets next to the Fort Worth Convention Center. The 4.3-acre (1.7 hectare) Water Gardens were designed by noted New York architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee and were dedicated to the City of Fort Worth by the Amon G. Carter Foundation.

The urban park is frequently billed as a "cooling oasis in the concrete jungle" of downtown. Its focal points are three pools of water and a terraced knoll, which helps to shield the park from the rest of the City. Interstate 30 was relocated from its former site immediately adjacent to the Water Gardens, making the south end of the park quieter. The park is now situated adjacent to Lancaster Avenue, recently landscaped and prepared for redevelopment.

The quiet, blue meditation pool is encircled with cypress trees and towering walls that are covered in thin plane of water that cascades almost 90 degrees down to the sunken blue water feature. The sound of the water on the walls evokes thoughts of a gentle rain shower. The aerating pool features multiple illuminated spray fountains under a canopy of large oak trees.

The main attraction of the Water Gardens is the active pool, which has water cascading 38 feet (11 m) down terraces and steps into a small pool at the bottom. The active pool experience was built for people to be able to walk down the terraced steps to be surrounded by and experience the power, sounds and motion of water crashing around them.

Accidents[edit]

On March 21, 1991, Larry James Watkins, 43, of Greensboro, North Carolina, was one of two people killed when the light pole toppled at about 6 p.m. in gusty winds. Two other people — one from Mississippi, the other from California — were injured.

Mr. Watkins, an Alamance County native and a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, worked for the IRS.[1] Libby Watson, an assistant Fort Worth city manager, said the following day that investigators had not determined what caused the metal pole to snap at the base and fall. She said, though, that the wind may have contributed. "I'm afraid it's too early to speculate on the cause", she said. A South Carolina man also was killed by the falling pole.

The pole was one of six at Fort Worth Water Garden. The park was closed following the accident and the other five light poles will be taken down, Watson said.

The park was temporarily closed to the public after four people died there on June 16, 2004. Juantrice Deadmon, 11, Myron Dukes, 35; his daughter Lauren, 8; and his son Christopher, 13, were drowned after being pulled down by the pumps at the center of the Active Pool. Witnesses saw Lauren fall into the water, with Juantrice falling after her while trying to rescue Lauren. Christopher and Myron jumped into the water after the girls in an attempted rescue.[2] The four were members of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago,[3] and were visiting Fort Worth for the National Baptist Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress.[4] Bicycle police and firemen arrived at the scene within two minutes of receiving a call at 6:45 p.m. Attempts at rescue were unsuccessful due to the sheer strength of the suction of the whirlpool.[5] Later reports revealed that the water depth had been increased to 9 feet to keep the pumps working properly in spite of litter and tree debris that had created a 50 percent blockage of the screens covering the pool's drain. The recommended depth of the pool was 3 feet. Memos dating back to 1974 noted that escape would be practically impossible without adequate help should one fall into the pool.[6]

On Thursday, June 17, conference attendees and church members held a vigil for the victims near the Water Gardens.[7] Funeral services for the three members of the Dukes family were held on Thursday, June 24.[8] Representatives from Chicago and Fort Worth were part of the 2,000 people in attendance, including Mayor Mike Moncrief.[4] Services for Juanitrice were held the following day.[9]

The park was reopened on March 4, 2007 after being made safer by reducing the depth of the main pool from 9 ft (2.7 m) to 2 ft (0.61 m).

In popular culture[edit]

  • Scenes in the 1976 film Logan's Run were filmed in the active pool at the Water Gardens in July 1975.[10][11]
  • The pool is also featured briefly at the end of the 1979 television adaptation of The Lathe of Heaven.
  • The pool is featured in several music videos by popular artists, including singer-songwriter Solange's music video for her 2019 song "Almeda", and rapper Kendrick Lamar's music video for his 2022 song "N95".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Greensboro IRS Agent Killed by Falling Pole". Greensboro News & Record. 1991-03-21. Retrieved 2021-01-09.
  2. ^ The Associated Press (17 June 2004). "Four drown in large fountain at Fort Worth park". NBC News. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  3. ^ CBS (15 July 2004). "Four Drown At Texas Water Park". CBS News.
  4. ^ a b McCANN, HERBERT G. (23 June 2004). "Thousands gather to mourn father, children who drowned in Texas". MyPlainview.
  5. ^ KOROSEC, THOMAS (24 July 2011). "Fort Worth seeks answers after four drown". Houston Chronicle.
  6. ^ DARDICK, HAL (28 July 2004). "Pool level blamed in Ft. Worth drownings". The Chicago Tribune.
  7. ^ "Drowning victims mourned at vigil". Lawrence Journal-World. 18 June 2004.
  8. ^ Deering, Tara; Dardick, Hal (25 June 2004). "A last farewell to her family". The Chicago Tribune.
  9. ^ "Last Texas drowning victim mourned at heartfelt service". My Plainview. 25 June 2004.
  10. ^ Archived Logan's Run shooting schedule, p. 6, retrieved from Logan's Run Script Page 2-07-2010.
  11. ^ Logan's Run at the American Film Institute Catalog

External links[edit]