Heritage Trails

Gamblers & Gunfights
West side of Main between 2nd & 3rd Streets

In the 1880s, Fort Worth, "the queen city of the prairies,” was home to good hotels, restaurants, theaters, banks, 60 saloons and nine churches. Patrons dined at the elegant White Elephant Saloon with its 40-foot mahogany bar and climbed the broad carpeted stairs for a game of keno at Luke Short’s casino. Famous men of the West, including Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, “Doc” Holliday and “Longhair Jim” Courtright often frequented the casino. On the evening of February 8, 1887, Courtright, unsteadied by alcohol, was feuding with Short over protection money. A sharpshooter and former lawman, Courtright challenged Short to a gunfight. But his legendary draw failed him, and Courtright was buried with a procession of carriages six blocks long. A few years later, the mild-mannered 39-year-old Short was shot. He was buried near Courtright at Oakwood Cemetery on the city’s north side.