Like Fort Worth, Weatherford became the county seat through election, beating out two other sites for the honor. It’s named for the state senator who coauthored the bill that established Parker County — Jefferson Weatherford.
It’s an old city by local standards, being incorporated in 1859. The Handbook of Texas Online says that during its first decade of existence, it was the principal frontier settlement in North Texas.
As with most rural communities in the area, transportation played an important role in its development. It was a midway point on the stage run between Fort Worth and Fort Belknap. The first railroad came in 1880, and a local line went into operation the next year.
It’s the Peach Capital of Texas by order of the Texas Legislature, and the city celebrates that annually with a festival. It is also a center of the cutting horse industry in North Texas.
Michael Brinkley, a Weatherford native whose law office is in North Richland Hills, points to the combination of big-city amenities with historical charm and quiet neighborhoods.
“Weatherford offers the benefits of the large cities of DFW, with good schools, a lot less crime and the good effects of steady growth without the choking stagnation of Metroplex traffic,” Brinkley says. “As you drive west in the evening, you move to a higher elevation and a lower temperature — and in most of the year, that’s a wonderful thing.”
Weatherford’s about 1,000 feet above sea level, while the heart of the Metroplex is slightly above 300 feet.
“The Weatherford I grew up in had less than 10,000 people, just like it did when my dad, my grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather — an early Methodist circuit-rider — showed up in Parker County,” Brinkley said.
“Since the recent turn of the century, it’s hardly the same town with the once-tiny Weatherford College reaching well over 5,000 students, the Weatherford Regional Medical Center’s new facility, four true gourmet restaurants. The ‘Cuttin’ Capital’ is a booming place where you no longer have to plan everything in terms of delivery time from Fort Worth.”
The city is dotted with more than 60 Queen Ann, Victorian and other architecturally significant turn-of-the-century homes. They include that of former Speaker of the U.S. House Jim Wright, Broadway star Mary Martin, famed for her portrayal of Peter Pan, and S.W.T. Lanham, the last Confederate soldier to serve as governor of Texas.
Internationally known portrait artist Douglas Chandor moved to Weatherford and married Weatherford native Ina Kuteman. Among his portraits are paintings of Queen Elizabeth, Winston Churchill and Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt. He designed and built a beautiful botanical garden now owned by the City of Weatherford.