The Handley neighborhood, located approximately seven miles east of the Fort Worth Central Business District, was settled in 1884 and named after Confederate Major James Madison Handley, a Georgia native who owned a plantation just east of the community. Most of the land in Handley is included in the 1856 Sara Gray Jennings Survey. The neighborhood is bordered on the north by Meadowbrook Dr., on the east by Hitson Lane, the south by Lancaster Ave. and the west by Loop 820.

Handley was known for having the "finest fox hunt in the county" according to an account in an 1888 edition of the Fort Worth Gazette. In the paper it was reported that the fox "started one and a half miles south and ran through town, being caught two miles north."

The southern part of Handley was the location of the original Northern Texas Traction Company's power plant. At that time the Traction Company operated a popular resort near its power plant at Lake Erie. The Lake Erie Resort claimed to be the most picturesque and popular in the state, and featured a roller skating rink built over the water, a magnificent dancing pavilion, restaurant, rides and other amusements. School classes even rode the interurban from Dallas, with their mothers as chaperones, to enjoy a day at Lake Erie. Lake Erie today is a part of the northern tip of Lake Arlington, and is cut off from present day Handley by Spur 303 and Highway 180. The power plant is now owned and operated by Texas Utilities.

Beginning in 1902, the Traction Company owned and operated the interurban electric line from Fort Worth to Dallas. The average speed of the line in 1905 was 8 mph and each ride cost 5 cents. By 1923 though, the speed of the line had increased to 65 mph. Until the interurban was built, Handley had only 12 houses and contained 80 people.

Fort Worth invited Handley to join the city in 1921 and completed annexation in 1922. The Fort Worth Independent School District also absorbed the Handley Schools' 510 students. The population of Handley in 1915 was 904, and Fort Worth's was 106,874. Some of the early landowners in the area included Florus Routt in 1911 and Thomas Kell in 1902. Both of these families have streets named after them in the neighborhood of Handley.


Handley is an established neighborhood dominated by one and two story frame, traditional and rural-style homes surrounded by large trees. All of the streets in the area are paved, even though the presence of curbs is spotty. Almost all of Handley is residential except along Handley Drive, where several commercial strips have been built, some with historic designations.


East Handley Elementary School, 2617 Mims, 817-496-7460

Handley Middle School, 2801 Patino Rd., 817-496-7450

High School
Eastern Hills High School, 5701 Shelton St., 817-496-7600

This information was conceived, researched and written by Wini Klein, REALTOR®, for the Greater Fort Worth Association of REALTORS®, with assistance from the City of Fort Worth Planning Department, Historic Preservation Council for Tarrant County, Historic Fort Worth, Inc., Texas Christian University, Junior League, Fort Worth Independent School District, Tarrant County Tax Office, League of Neighborhoods and encouragement from the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.

© 1999, 2007, Wini Klein

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