Photo by Alyson Peyton Perkins
Last week was a busy one in Fort Worth. Businesses were sold, re-financed and bought. One announced an IPO, another set up an IPO. The mayor and other members of the city’s leadership took a trip to South America, helping cement Fort Worth’s international ties. And we held a blessing ceremony. We did. As a sign of just how vibrant, diverse and inclusive our community can be, the Trinity River Vision Authority (TRVA) hosted a Native American ground blessing at the future site of the John V. McMillan Plaza and the Major Ripley Allen Arnold Monument. Eddie Sandoval, an Apache spiritual leader, performed the ceremony, along with students from Charles Nash Elementary School and Alice Carlson Applied Learning Center. Imagination Celebration of Fort Worth (ICFW), a local educational organization, partnered with local historians Jack Edmondson, Doug Harman, Bob Holmes and Clara Ruddell to provide students with an in-school program focused on the history of Ripley Arnold and the founding of the fort. Soon, you’ll see a video we produced of the event. Our intern, Alyson Peyton Perkins, took the video and pronounced the event “very cool.” Scheduled to open in 2014, John V. McMillan Plaza honors two important figures in the city’s history with the civic version of immortality – a statue. The centerpiece of the plaza is a 12-foot-tall bronze statue of Fort Worth’s founder, Major Ripley Arnold (1817-1853), who established a post on the Trinity River in 1849 and constructed a fort named after Gen. William J. Worth. We’ll gloss over the fact that he established the fort to protect local citizens from the very Native Americans conducting the blessing ceremony. The phrase, “Time heals all wounds” comes to mind. The statue was created by sculptor Archie St. Clair and was made possible by a donation from the Anfin family in honor of the late John V. McMillan, who is less well-known than Arnold. Larry Anfin, for those who don’t know, is the current CEO of Coors Distributing Co. and his ties to John V. McMillan (1913-2001), are pretty obvious. McMillan was a successful businessman who founded Coors Distributing Co. and was very active in civic affairs (so is Larry by the way). McMillian served as the president of the North Fort Worth Business Association and the Mexican American Chamber of Commerce (now the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce). In addition, McMillan served on the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee and was also a chairman of the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau. The plaza will be located near the original site of the fort, directly behind TCC Trinity River campus at the confluence of the Clear Fork and the West Fork of the Trinity River. The plaza will be a Tarrant Regional Water District facility, managed by the TRVA as a part of Trinity Uptown project. Book corner If you haven’t read S.C. Gwynne’s mesmerizing and sometimes horrifying Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History, do yourself a favor and read it or listen to an audio version before it’s required to call yourself a Texan. The book will make you proud of some of the settlers and the Native Americans. It may also make you a bit disgusted with the actions and attitudes of many. But you may also find some heroes amid the bloody conflict. One of mine was Rachel Plummer, a captive among the Comanches who lived to tell about it and wrote clearly, concisely and with great imagination about her experience. And then there’s Quannah Parker, who I’ve written about before. Unlike most role models from my youth, my admiration for Parker only increased after reading the book.
In Market is a column written from the perspective of a plugged-in business journalist about business happenings in and around Tarrant County. Got an idea for In Market? Robert Francis can be reached at email@example.com.