Hells Half Acre

Hells Half Acre

South Downtown

The TRUE story of the Wild West...Fort Worth style!

Nothing in Fort Worth's history is quite as wild as "Hell's Half Acre," a rough and rowdy district filled with saloons, dance halls, gambling parlors, and bordellos. This area thrived in the late 1800s, when cowboys on the Chisholm Trail would stop by, kick up their heels, and patronize the "lonesome doves." Some of the most famous folks in the Old West also visited the Acre: Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Sam Bass, Etta Place, Longhair Jim Courtright, Luke Short, and, of course, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

On November 29, 1878, the Fort Worth Democrat described the range of patrons at the dance halls as “...lewd women of all ages 16 to 40... the most respectable of citizens, the experienced thief... the ordinary murderer, the average cowboy and the ordinary young man of the town.”

Hell's Half Acre was located on the south end of downtown along Commerce and Calhoun Streets. The scandalous activities of Hell’s Half Acre ebbed and flowed throughout the early 1900s. The era of Hell’s Half Acre finally ended when the land was cleared to build the Tarrant County Convention Center in the 1960s. 

Find more information about the famous book Hell's Half Acre, Fort Worth written by Richard F. Selcer here: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hph01