Historic photographs found dumped under FW bridge

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by DARLA MILES / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on November 23, 2009 at 12:15 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 25 at 8:36 PM

FORT WORTH - A treasure trove of priceless photographs were recently found dumped under a bridge in South Fort Worth. 

Among the found photographs were images of President John F. Kennedy's motorcade just moments before his assassination, a young President George H. W. Bush and Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize.

The photographs were found underneath Interstate 20 and Oak Grove in South Fort Worth by the Code Compliance illegal dumping team.  The location is a well-known dumping ground monitored by the department. 

Whoever tossed the pictures away apparently had no idea they were throwing away history.

"Here's a picture of a much younger President George Bush presenting a football trophy," said Brandon Bennett, director of Fort Worth Code Compliance, while browsing through the images.

The photographs were found in City Council District 8, which is represented by Kathleen Hicks.

"This isn't just Fort Worth history, this is American history," she said.

The Kennedy motorcade photograph was taken 46 years ago. The original photograph of Dealey Plaza on November 22nd, 1963 captured onlookers turning in an attempt to get a glimpse of the motorcade.

There were also photographs of former Texas Gov. John Connally and founder of the Fort Worth NAACP Chapter Dr. George Flemming.

Then there were the images of Gwendolyn Brooks, who won the Pulitzer in 1950, and Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals in the 1936 Olympics.

"I've got goose bumps," said Sarah Walker, President of the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society. "When Mr. Brandon Bennett, our code enforcement director called me and said we need to look at these photographs, I almost didn't eat lunch today."

Surprisingly, the pictures aren't weathered at all. They were found in file folders, cataloged with typed labels on the front or back.

"I truly believe that they belong to the Genealogical Society because they're so well kept," Walker said. "They've just recently been dumped and I really believe that they would probably be the ones that were stolen from the building before we started the renovation."

That was almost five years ago. Where those photographs have been during that time is the mystery behind the treasure.

The photographs are now being stored in a secure location by the city of Fort Worth. Code Compliance will hold onto them until it can complete the legal process of finding out who may have dumped the pictures before possibly turning them over to a museum.

E-mail dmiles@wfaa.com

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