John Peter Smith Memorial – Jennings Ave and Throckmorton

John Peter Smith (1831-‘901) was one of Fort Worth’s early civic leaders. He migrated to Fort Worth from Kentucky in 1853 in the first wave of settlers who arrived after the U.S. Army left, and opened the town’s first school in 1854. Smith was elected mayor of Fort Worth in 1882, a period when Fort Worth & experiencing rapid growth and many civic improvements. Smith was also involved in a number of Fort Worth enterprises, including the establishment of Fort Worth National Bank, a gas light company, and a street railway. Among his many civic contributions, Smith donated land for parks, cemeteries, and a hospital which was renamed to honor him in 1954. He died in 1901 while on a trip to St. Louis to interest the Frisco Railway in opening a line between Fort Worth and St. Louis. Returning to his hotel one night, Smith was mugged. The attacker broke one of Smith’s teeth, and his tongue was cut. Blood poisoning set in, causing Smith’s death. The John Peter Smith monument was erected in 1906 with funds raised by public subscription. Lloyd Bowman, a jocal sculptor, carved the portrait bust in gray marble, using a death mask made in St. Louis as a guide. It is mounted on a shaft and base of Texas granite and stands in a small triangle park adjacent to city hall.

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