Cattle Exhibit Building/BIlly Bob’s Texas – Commerce

Covered exhibit spaces for livestock seem to have existed since c. 1910 in this location, served by two spur railroad lines from the Fort Worth Belt Railway to the northeast. In 1936, the City of Fort Worth spent $183,500 to build the reinforced concrete, three-acre Cattle Exhibit Building for the 1936 Centennial Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show. Contractor Thomas S. Byrne was responsible. The huge structure, 571 feet long, contained a 1200-seat auction arena and 1257 animal stalls. A monitor roof provided light and ventilation for livestock inside. A prominent feature of the one-story elevation is the flat-roofed, stepped tower on the north; an inset arched panel contains an entrance below and an arched second-story window above. Apparently the south end of the structure was demolished at a later time, as photographs from c. 1940 show that the existing tower was balanced by an identical one on the south. The paneled, arched entry, now closed, originally would have been the central entrance of three primary entrances. Later functioning as a horse barn and a department store sales center, the structure was renovated for use as Billy Bob’s Texas nightclub in 1981. The present window treatment, gutters and billboard sign intrude on the structure, which is within the Fort Worth Stockyards National Register Historic District.

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