PHOTOS: 1972 destruction of 18-story Worth Hotel & theater in downtown Fort Worth

On a misty Sunday morning in October 1972, a “spectacular” rumble brought down a 45-year-old Fort Worth landmark. When a mighty dust cloud cleared away, the 18-story Worth Hotel was gone.

“It looked like slow motion,” said one of the 4,500 people who watched the demolition, as reported in the Star-Telegram.

The 300-room hotel opened Sept. 24, 1927, on the corner of West Seventh and Taylor streets, the block that’s home to the Fort Worth Club. The tower was developed by Houston businessman Jesse Jones, designed by Wyatt C. Hedrick and Alfred C. Finn, and built by Fort Worth Properties Co. for $2.5 million.

Dec. 20, 1944: The Worth Hotel. On the side of the building, there is a 100-pound of reinforced concrete cornice that fell from the top floor.
Dec. 20, 1944: The Worth Hotel. On the side of the building, there is a 100-pound of reinforced concrete cornice that fell from the top floor.
Nov. 1, 1949: The entrance to the Worth Hotel, 7th and Taylor streets in Fort Worth
Nov. 1, 1949: The entrance to the Worth Hotel, 7th and Taylor streets in Fort Worth

The hotel was pet-friendly and even had a kennel on the roof.

March 27, 1947: The pet poodle “Fifi” of Mrs. Pierre Monteux, wife of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra’s conductor, at the Worth Hotel. “Fifi Monteux’s canine pride was vindicated when a room clerk handed her a fountain pen Thursday morning and invited her to register as a guest. Fifi had gained nationwide fame and sympathy last week when the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles refused her accommodations and Fifi wrote the manager a huffy letter about it.
March 27, 1947: The pet poodle “Fifi” of Mrs. Pierre Monteux, wife of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra’s conductor, at the Worth Hotel. “Fifi Monteux’s canine pride was vindicated when a room clerk handed her a fountain pen Thursday morning and invited her to register as a guest. Fifi had gained nationwide fame and sympathy last week when the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles refused her accommodations and Fifi wrote the manager a huffy letter about it.
Feb. 9, 1947: The Worth Hotel provides a kennel for dogs belonging to guests in a fenced area on the roof. Jack Farrell, manager of the Worth, is shown visiting the dogs. The two pointers belong to Mr. Farrell while the setter is a guest.
Feb. 9, 1947: The Worth Hotel provides a kennel for dogs belonging to guests in a fenced area on the roof. Jack Farrell, manager of the Worth, is shown visiting the dogs. The two pointers belong to Mr. Farrell while the setter is a guest.

The Worth, which was considered modern with private bathrooms and circulating ice water, also had the Worth Theater. The movie and live performance venue had an elegant Egyptian interior motif and 2,800 seats, the Star-Telegram has reported.

Aug. 8, 1954: A crowd waiting to see “Gone with the Wind” at Worth Theater.
Aug. 8, 1954: A crowd waiting to see “Gone with the Wind” at Worth Theater.

The hotel and theater closed in 1971 and was demolished a year later to make way for a parking garage and expansion of the Fort Worth Club.

On the day of the implosion, some in the crowd were nostalgic. The Star-Telegram reported: “One oldster in the group recalled a time when the Worth Hotel site was an open field used by crowds to hear the play-by-play of the Fort Worth Cats baseball games as announced from a window in the neighboring Star-Telegram building.”

These photos from the Star-Telegram show the implosion on Oct. 29, 1972.

Oct. 29, 1972: Demolition of Worth Hotel, 7th and Taylor streets, Fort Worth
Oct. 29, 1972: Demolition of Worth Hotel, 7th and Taylor streets, Fort Worth
Oct. 29, 1972: Demolition of Worth Hotel, 7th and Taylor streets, Fort Worth
Oct. 29, 1972: Demolition of Worth Hotel, 7th and Taylor streets, Fort Worth
Oct. 29, 1972: Demolition of Worth Hotel, 7th and Taylor streets, Fort Worth
Oct. 29, 1972: Demolition of Worth Hotel, 7th and Taylor streets, Fort Worth
Oct. 29, 1972: Demolition of Worth Hotel, 7th and Taylor streets, Fort Worth
Oct. 29, 1972: Demolition of Worth Hotel, 7th and Taylor streets, Fort Worth
Oct. 29, 1972: Demolition of Worth Hotel, 7th and Taylor streets, Fort Worth
Oct. 29, 1972: Demolition of Worth Hotel, 7th and Taylor streets, Fort Worth
Implosion of the Worth Hotel seen by crowd from 7th Street at Burnett Park, Oct. 29, 1972. On the left there is a electric sign that reads “Texas Electric Service Co.” On the far right is an ad for “Mc Beef.”
Implosion of the Worth Hotel seen by crowd from 7th Street at Burnett Park, Oct. 29, 1972. On the left there is a electric sign that reads “Texas Electric Service Co.” On the far right is an ad for “Mc Beef.”

MORE: Check out other historic photo galleries from the Star-Telegram archives here, including these: