Led by tireless booster Amon G. Carter, Fort Worth put on the extravagant Frontier Exposition that rivaled the official Texas centennial celebration in Dallas. Jewel Brannon Parker’s “nude-y cowgirls” promised fair goers a “wild and whoopee” romp in Fort Worth “where the fun begins.” Billy Rose Presents the Last Frontier (1936). Digital Archives, Fort Worth Public Library
Where the East Peters Out: Dallas, Fort Worth, and Regional Branding in the Great Southwest
Between the 1870s and the 1970s, Dallas and Fort Worth leaders battled over a symbolic and economic hinterland. Situated upon the Texas regional crossroads, they co-opted the Great Southwest to funnel profits to their cities, and to achieve that goal, they employed similar tactics of railroad development, partnering with coordinated media, and promoting regional branding. Both groups experimented with the New South trademark, but by the 1910s, they chose to repress the memories of slavery and Confederate defeat, yet they succeeded in re-configuring white supremacy and white prosperity within their Western fantasies. To distinguish themselves from Dallas, Fort Worth boosters adopted their Cowtown persona, and both cities fought their battles over regional airfields with Western imagery. By 1965 compelled by the US Civil Aeronautics Board, Dallas and Fort Worth formed a partnership to build an international airport, and together they used the established toolkit of region invention when they promoted their joint brand of the “Southwestern Metroplex.”
Alexander Finkelstein and Anne F. Hyde, editors, Reconsidering Regions in an Era of New Nationalism (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2023), 224-248.