Friday, February 12, 2021

Amon Giles Carter by Bea Tifton


Last month I blogged about the Amon Carter Museum. This month I would like to focus on the man himself.

Amon Giles Carter was born on December 11, 1879 in Crafton, Texas. After his mother’s death in 1802, Carter moved to Bowie, Texas, and became a traveling salesman.  Carter moved to Fort Worth, Texas, and took a job selling advertising space in 1905. He helped finance and run the Fort Worth Star, a new newspaper. When the Star was almost bankrupt, Carter purchased its competitor, The Fort Worth Telegram, and combined the two papers in 1909. The Fort Worth Star Telegram enjoyed the best circulation of any paper in the South from 1923 until just after WW II.

In 1922, the newspaper created WBAP, the oldest radio station in Fort Worth. In 1948, it created the first television station in Texas, WBAP-TV. Carter refused to let the stations include Dallas as part of their station identification.

Amon Carter is credited with coining the phrase, “Where the West Begins” to describe Fort Worth. He was a fervent advocate for Fort Worth and he hated its rival, Dallas.  Carter is reputed to have taken a sack lunch to Dallas whenever he had to visit on business so he would not need to spend any money there. 

Carter was incensed when Dallas was selected as the site for the Texas Centennial Celebration in 1936. He was determined to best Dallas, and he hired legendary Broadway producer Billy Rose to produce what was billed as “The Show of Shows” for Fort Worth. Casa Manana was built in a cow pasture.  The theater included the world’s largest revolving stage and could house 4, 0000 guests. A moat surrounded the stage, and the stage curtain was a wall of fountains. 

The showgirls were dressed in skimpy costumes that were quite controversial for their time. The show was a rousing success until the entire theater had to be dismantled for WW II materials. 

Carter died of a heart attack in 1955. He was a larger than life figure, gambler, businessman, drinker, cigar smoker, and Fort Worth supporter who is still revered and remembered in Fort Worth today.



  1. I hope he knew how much people revered him. He did a LOT for Fort Worth. I love the museum.

    1. Yes, he really did. And I love the museum that is part of his legacy. Thanks for your comment.

  2. I laughed at his dislike for Dallas and appreciate that he wanted Fort Worth to be recognized as its own city and not lumped in with Dallas.

    1. Yes, and the lengths to which he would refuse to acknowledge Dallas or even contribute to their profits by buying lunch there. Thanks for your comment.


Thank you for visiting Sweethearts of the West! We are very sad to require comment moderation now due to the actions of a few spam comments. Thank you for your patience.