Where the West Begins

Written By Timothy Fish

Published 8/10/2005


Acording to Fort Worth Star-Telegram staff writer Bud Kennedy, in an article posted on their website August 9, 2005, to origin of the Fort Worth slogan “Where the West Begins” was Amon G. Carter Sr. who borrowed it from a poem by Arthur Chapman. The full text of the poem has been included below:

     Out Where the West Begins

Out where the handclasp's a little stronger,
Out where the smile dwells a little longer,
          That's where the West begins;
Out where the sun is a little brighter,
Where the snows that fall are a trifle whiter;
Where the bonds of home are a wee bit tighter;
          That's where the West begins.
Out where the skies are a trifle bluer,
Out where the friendship's a little truer,
          That's where the West begins
Out where a fresher breeze is blowing,
Where there's laughter in every streamlet flowing,
Where there's more of reaping and less of sowing,
          That's where the West begins.
Out where the world is in the making,
Where fewer hearts with despair are aching;
          That's where the West begins;
Where there's more of singing and less of sighing,
Where's there's more of giving and less of buying,
And where a man makes friends without half trying,
          That's where the West begins.

The poem was written in reaction to the debate over whether the West began at the Mississippi River or the Rocky Mountains. Fort Worth is neither the “Gateway to the West” that St. Louis is, nor is it located on a mountain like Denver. The point of the slogan is not that city is located where the West begins but that the attitude of the people is like the attitude that is outlined in the poem.

The poem has a very rosy view of the West. Some of it may even be uncharacteristic, but there are certain phrases in the poem that reflect more than what a community is, but what every good church tries to be. “Out where the handclasp’s a little stronger…the smile dwells a little longer…the bonds of home are a wee bit tighter…where the friendship’s a little truer…there’s laughter in every streamlet flowing…there’s more reaping and less of sowing…where fewer hearts with despair are aching…there’s more singing and less of sighing…there’s more of giving and less of buying…where a man makes friends without half trying, that’s where the West begins.”

Many people love to debate where in Fort Worth the West actually begins. Some say it begins West of Loop 820. Some say it begins as far East as Dallas. Some say it begins somewhere in between. Though somewhat biased, it is the opinion of this writer that “Where the West Begins” in Fort Worth is at 7201 Crowley Road.