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'The magnet is here': '1883' fans are flocking to the Fort Worth Stockyards, giving the city an economic boost

Visit Fort Worth reported that one in five visitors heard about Fort Worth in a show or a movie. "That wasn’t happening before," said Visit Fort Worth's COO.

FORT WORTH, Texas — For years, businesses on the west side of the Fort Worth Stockyards have felt ignored. 

That’s changing.  

Ruth Hooker, the owner of Hooker’s Grill along West Exchange Avenue told WFAA she has witnessed a boom ever since the Yellowstone prequel "1883" was filmed along the road where her restaurant sits.  

“The magnet is here,” Hooker said. “This set has created that magnet that I needed to draw people that were unfamiliar to West Exchange in the Stockyards.”  

When the filming ended, Hooker decided that her building would keep the façade from the show. 

RELATED: This Stockyards restaurant got a Hollywood makeover for Yellowstone prequel 1883, and it's here to stay

These days, the dirt road has been cleared away, the Hollywood actors are gone and season one's finale has been widely viewed. 

Now, fans who watched the entire season of the show have begun flocking to the Stockyards in droves. 

Even on a Wednesday afternoon, families posed in front of Hooker’s Grill, where an old sign from the show still stands. Visitors flashed smiles and posed for selfies. As their eyes lit up, some pointed at familiar sights from the show.  

“It is very surprising that a TV show can create such a buzz,” Hooker said.  

Hooker said last weekend, a line of people curved around her restaurant. She has never seen that many guests at her restaurant in the past.  

Barbie Daly, a resident of Flower Mound, was one of many people who visited the location where the first two episodes of the series were filmed on Wednesday.  

“It’s really neat, because you think of Hollywood and all of that,” Daly said.   

Layla Kimmick, a new resident of Fort Worth, visited the film site for the first time. She told WFAA "1883" is is her favorite show.  

“We have dinner and a watch party for each new episode,” Kimmick said.  

RELATED: No season 2 of '1883'? Deciphering what's next for the 'Yellowstone' prequel 

The Stockyards aren’t just attracting local fans of the show, it’s attracting people from across the world.  

“'1883' is worldwide,” Hooker said.  

In a guestbook-like journal, Hooker has kept track of where her restaurant guests visit from. There are pages upon pages in which her visitors have signed their names and where they traveled from. It’s something she began long before "1883", but she said these days, more people have told her they’re visiting just because of the show.  

“We have people from China, Indonesia, Poland Australia, Russia, Japan, Paris, the Netherlands,” Hooker said.   

Mitch Whitten, the chief operating officer of Visit Fort Worth said a recent survey of Texas travelers found that one in five visitors heard about Fort Worth in a show or a movie.   

“That’s a really big deal, that wasn’t happening before,” Whitten said. “'1883' has put a new spotlight on the Stockyards.”   

RELATED: Hot Hollywood commodity Taylor Sheridan takes break from writing season 5 of 'Yellowstone' to kick off new '1883' exhibit in Fort Worth museum 

The show is giving the city an economic boost. 

According to Visit Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Film Commission has poured $300 million into the city's economy and created 17,000 jobs between 2015-2021.  

Whitten said he’s thankful for what “Yellowstone” creator Taylor Sheridan has done for the Fort Worth community. 

In an interview with Deadline, Sheridan confirmed that more Yellowstone content is on the way. Sheridan said there won’t be a second season of "1883", but confirmed plans for “1932,” which will aim to “peek through a different window into a different era.”   

“We don’t think the Yellowstone story and the Dutton family story has finished with Fort Worth yet,” Whitten told WFAA.  

Whitten could not confirm whether future content from the Yellowstone universe will be filmed in Fort Worth, but like many fans of the show, he’s keeping his fingers crossed. 

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