Centennial of Burnett Park on June 11
The original design of Burnett Park included fountains and open lawn. The now-razed Medical Arts Building is at far right, and the U.S. Courthouse is shown in the center of the photo.
Burnett Park in downtown Fort Worth is turning 100.
The City celebrated the milestone from 6-8 p.m. June 11 at the park, located at 501 W. Seventh St.
Pack a picnic meal and enjoy live music by the East Fort Worth Community Jazz Band, games and treats from Steel City Pops.
About Burnett Park
Originally designed by George Kessler on land donated to the City of Fort Worth by oilman Samuel Burk Burnett, this three-acre public park provides important green space in an otherwise densely-urbanized downtown district. A key component of Kessler’s City Beautiful plan for Fort Worth, the park offered a centralized fountain surrounded by open lawns.
In 1982, Peter Walker with SWA Group was commissioned to redesign the aging park. Walker removed the fountain and lawn and replaced them with a Modernist geometric grid of raised granite walkways lined by a narrow, rectilinear series of pools accented with spray fountains lit by fiber optics. The walkways, which intersected at angles in the park, created triangular segments of lawn. During this time, four bronze sculptures by Henri Matisse, titled “The Backs” were installed, a gift of the Burnett Foundation. In 2000, the sculptures were moved to the Kimbell Museum and replaced two years later by Jonathon Borofsky’s 50-foot-tall brushed aluminum piece “Man With a Briefcase.”
In 2010 Walker, now with PWP Landscape Architecture, was again retained to redesign the park. Pools were removed and play equipment installed while retaining the existing pedestrian circulation patterns. The park, shaded by groves of oak, magnolia and crape myrtle on its periphery and open at the center, is a rare example where an original designer was retained again 25 years later to refresh the design.