October 22-25, 1997: Our Fall Trip to New Mexico
October 4, 1997: Dallas' Gay Pride Parade
Return to the Index for 1997


October 11-13, 1997
My Nephew Ted Visits Dallas

 

On Friday, October 10th, my nephew Ted, a police officer in Charlotte, decided to drive out to Dallas to see how his grandmother was doing after her move, visit his sister, Jeffie, who works here in the music industry, and to see me as well. He arrived on Friday afternoon, and we immediately went over to visit with Mom. Jeffie joined us after work, and Fred came down after he got off work at Crump's greenhouses. The five of us had a good visit with Mom and we all went out to dinner at a very good Oriental restaurant in the shopping center that Mom can walk to.

Ted stayed into Monday, leaving after lunch to begin his drive back to Charlotte. While he was here, he and Jeffie got a chance to visit with each other separately, and again, the five of us had dinner together each evening. Ted, of course, stayed with me (although Mom has a guest room, we thought it would be a bit easier for her not to have to entertain).

Fred, Jeffie, Ted and I did go on one outing ourselves where Mom didn't accompany us, and that was a visit to Fort Worth- specifically the Water Garden near downtown.


We headed over to Fort Worth about ten in the morning, after Jeffie had finished her morning routine with her horse, Logan. Getting to Fort Worth is a route we know well. Although there are many ways to get there, the easiest is to head down Inwood to Stemmons Freeway and head northwest, turning west onto the Airport Freeway (Texas Highway 183). After we'd passed through the Mid-Cities, we angled off down to the center of Fort Worth on Texas Highway 121. (That highway actually winds all the way around north of Dallas all the way to McKinney, south of where Fred lives.)

Coming down into town from the northeast on Highway 121, we get on Interstate 35 south briefly and then turn off onto what is in effect an expressway ramp that dumps you into the north side of downtown Fort Worth; that's Texas Highway 280.


From there, we just drive a couple of blocks and then turn south on one of the city streets. The Water Gardens are eight or ten blocks to the south- easy to get to and relatively easy to find a place to park as well. Here is an aerial view of the Fort Worth Water Gardens:


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 (although I might point out that the current Convention Center was not built when we visited in 1997). The 4.3 acre 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.


Before we take a look at our pictures from the Water Gardens today, I'd like you to watch a movie clip. Only a year after the Gardens opened, the "active pool" was used as a filming location for the 1975 film Logan's Run. In the film, as the actors explain, it is part of some tidal energy generation scheme. The Gardens also appeared in the 1979 TV adaptation of The Lathe of Heaven, but only very briefly.

You don't have to run to your video library to see the Logan's Run clip; I have extracted it from my own copy of the movie, and all you have to do is use the player at left to watch it.

Having just watched that clip, we should probably take a look at the pictures we took in the "active pool."


Jeffie on the Stairs in the Active Pool

The active pool is the main attraction of the Water Gardens is the "active pool", which has water cascading 38 feet down terraces and steps into a small pool at the bottom.

The active pool experience was built for people to walk down the terraced steps and experience the power, sounds and motion of water crashing around them. The steps seemed perfectly safe and a lot of fun to walk up and down, but, sadly, there are always people who can find a way to make anything dangerous. From my vantage point in 2015, I can report that it didn't take too long for someone to prove me right.

The Active Pool was temporarily closed to the public after four people died there on June 16, 2004. Three children and one adult drowned after one of the children fell in the pool. The parents, attending a Baptist Church convention across the street, actually told their kids to go across and play in the Water Gardens because the hotel pool was closed! And they did this after heavy rains had obviously increased the water flow and depth at the gardens! They did not, however, know about a malfunction in the recirculating pump that was causing it to pump more rapidly than usual.

When the first child fell in (actually jumped in, reported many bystanders) she was instantly in trouble, and a second child (not the adult, mind you, reached out to help her but was pulled in as well. Then the adult jumped in (although it was later discovered that the adult could not swim) and, finally and for some unknown reason, the third child actually jumped in as well- perhaps thinking this was some bizarre baptism ritual.


Much of this was brought out in the controversy that followed the incident, and during the lawsuit (naturally) brought by the family of the children that drowned. Most people had the same view of the lawsuit as they did of the one brought against McDonalds by the woman who drove away from the drive-thru with a cup of scalding hot coffee in her lap, between her legs; they thought the parents were at fault for actually telling their kids to go play in the water feature.

A year later, the City of Fort Worth settled the lawsuit by paying the family $750,000. That wasn't the end of it, though. Apparently not satisfied with the depth of the pockets of the City of Fort Worth, the Chicago family's attorney turned right around and sued the architects of the Water Gardens, the two construction firms involved in building it and, for good measure, the manufacturer of the pump equipment. I do not know how those lawsuits turned out, but I know how I would have voted if on that jury.

At left, in a scrollable window, is the neat vertical panoramic shot that Fred took of me down here in the Water Gardens.

The park was reopened on March 4, 2007 after being made safer by reducing the depth of the main pool from 9 ft to 2 ft. But all that was years in the future when we were wandering around. Here are the other two good pictures I took at the active pool today:

        

We really enjoyed going up and down the steps of the active pool; they are in a winding, spiral relationship from the street level down into the pool, and if you watched the movie clip above, you can see the actors walking from the top to the bottom. From the active pool, we walked across the small park to the Meditation Pool.


Jeffie and Ted at the Meditation Pool

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.

Here at the Meditation Pool, we waited out a little rain shower under the overhang of the cypress trees. Ted brought his camera and tripod, and so three of us were taking pictures. I never got copies of the ones Ted took, but below are clickable thumbnails for a selection of the ones that Fred and I took:


We enjoyed wandering one of Fort Worth's attractions- this 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. Before the park was built, a reconstruction of Interstate 30 moved it further from the park and more to the edge of downtown Fort Worth, and thus the park is a much quieter place than it might otherwise have been.

Fred also took another nice panoramic shot of Jeffie and I in the Water Garden:

Before we left Fort Worth, Fred and I wanted to show Ted and Jeffie a bit more of downtown; Fred grew up in Fort Worth (actually a suburb of it) and knew more about the downtown area than I did.


We took the car to the north end of downtown and parked near the courthouse. Right at the edge of downtown, the land slopes quickly down to the Trinity River, and there are overlooks with good views of the stockyards. The weather was not so good today, so the views were not what we wanted to show Ted and Jeffie. Here's an aerial view of where we were:

By this time the weather had deteriorated a lot, and so we bypassed a visit to the stockyards and headed back to Dallas.

Ted's visit was enjoyable for all of us, and his grandmother, sister and uncle all hope he can come back again soon!

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.


October 22-25, 1997: Our Fall Trip to New Mexico
October 4, 1997: Dallas' Gay Pride Parade
Return to the Index for 1997