When the Great Depression hit the United States in the 1930s, Fort Worth was not immune to the effects of the economic downturn. Many Fort Worth businesses suffered and some never recovered. And the now abandoned Fort Worth Public Market located on Henderson street was no different.

Story By Nisie


Developer John J. Harden, of Oklahoma, had intended for the unique building to be a Fort Worth staple as a massive farmers market. With 145 vendor stalls and 30 permanent retail shops, the beautifully designed building had the potential to bring in plenty of traffic from surrounding rural areas. Sadly, Mr. Harden’s great idea came at the worst time as farmers began to experience a devastating drought at the same time the Great Depression began to take hold of Fort Worth and Dallas Texas. With no vendors or customers, the building was eventually sold to Bowen Properties in 1944.

In 1980 it was named a Texas Historical Landmark and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. But the abandoned building now stood as a ghostly reminder of the many hopes and dreams that were demolished during the great depression. Then in 2010, a fire ripped through the shed behind the main building where the damage remains. The building has changed hands a few times and was even put up for sale again in 2019 but there are currently no solid plans to restore the building.

Strangely, there is also an abandoned walkway that leads under the roads directly to the public market, after some research, there is no information on the purpose of these underground walkways. Currently, the now blossoming neighborhood surrounding the Fort Worth Public Market kept the same Avant Garde theme as the abandoned market.

Even though the building has been standing abandoned since the 1940s, the terracotta tile and multi-colored tile roof are almost completely intact, and the columns and banisters look untouched by time. I couldn’t resist getting a closer look, so I took the abandoned underground tunnel and ventured to the old Fort Worth Public Market, and even got a peek inside! You can look inside too- just watch my video.

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