Friday, March 31, 2023 Post
Have you seen these vibrant banners hanging up around the city? In April, the City of North Richland Hills will celebrate its 70th Anniversary! During the coming weeks, we will take a historical look back on these 70 years and some of the changes that have taken place. We would love to know your favorite memories of NRH through the decades! We invite you to share your photos and stories with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Check back weekly to learn more about the 70th Anniversary of NRH.
Wednesday, April 5, 2023 Post
Of all those responsible for the founding of North Richland Hills, no one looms quite as large as Clarence Jones (1895-1966). Mr. Jones owned a lumber company in Fort Worth, was the President of a local bank and operated a 268-acre dairy farm. In 1952, he began to subdivide his farm into a suburban addition in the area that is Cummings Drive and Blaney Avenue. The streets were named mostly for his family members. Cummings and Turner were his daughters’ married names. Daley, Blaney and Briley were other family names. In 1953, the new homeowners who moved here formed the North Richland Hills Civic League and sought to have the area annexed to Richland Hills, then voted to form their own city when annexation was denied. Although turnout for the election was light, in a vote of 24-23, North Richland Hills was incorporated by just one vote! The Jones Farm, with 182 homes, became the City of North Richland Hills. To learn more about Clarence Jones visit: http://nrhtxhistory.com/exhibits/show/clarence-jones/jones-family.
Friday, April 7, 2023 Post
This fine gentleman made quite a name for himself over the course of his life (1867- 1957). He may not look like a farmer, but he owned a livestock farm for decades! He had a great impact on the community as both a school board trustee and a county commissioner. In fact, an orphan’s home, city-county hospital and county criminal court building were all built during his time as commissioner. His farm included much of the current Skyline Homes Addition in North Richland Hills. Can you guess his name and the street named after him? Check back after 4 p.m. today for the answer! ANSWER: Name - Rufus Snow; Street - Rufe Snow
Wednesday, April 12, 2023 Post
This is the first Mayor of North Richland Hills, elected in 1953. Since he traveled extensively for an industrial painting firm, he stepped down after a one-year term. He is pictured here in 1957 with his wife Evelyn, daughter Linda, and son Jim. Can you guess his name? Check back after 4 p.m. today for the answer! ANSWER: (A) Jack Watson
A. Jack Watson
B. Bill Perry
C. Donald Denney
Friday, April 14, 2023 Post
During its 70-year history, North Richland Hills has had 15 Mayors. Pictured are seven of them. You’ll notice they represent all of the decades since NRH began-- from the 1950’s to the 2020’s. Tommy Brown was the longest-serving mayor until current Mayor Oscar Trevino. If you would like to see more photos of NRH Mayors, we encourage you to check out the book, “The History of North Richland Hills” by George N. Green. It can be found at the North Richland Hills Library.
1st photo (pictured top to bottom): Kenneth Nace (1957), Clyde Zellers (1960), Marian Massey (1970-1974), Dick Faram (1974-76 and 1978-84) and Tommy Brown (1988-1998)
2nd photo (pictured left to right): Current Mayor Oscar Trevino (2002-present), Tommy Brown, Charles Scoma (1998- 2002) and Marion Massey
Tuesday, April 18, 2023 Post
Join us on Tuesday, April 25 the city’s incorporation date, to celebrate the City of North Richland Hills' 70th Anniversary with a 1950s style celebration! Visit the NRH Library from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. to enjoy 1950s themed snacks, activities, a photo booth, a fun craft for teens and adults, and browse a display of popular books from the 1950s. A special storytime featuring classic children's books from the 1950s will take place at 4:30 p.m. then at 6:30 p.m., enjoy a 1950s themed dance party for the young (and the young at heart)! Library staff will be dressed in 1950s themed attire throughout the day and visitors are welcome to dress up too! Grab a friend or two and join the celebration. Admission is free and no registration is required.
Thursday, April 20, 2023 Post
Did you know the Smithfield area of North Richland Hills used to be its own town? First settled in the mid-1800’s Smithfield was largely a farming community producing cotton, wheat, oats, berries, grapes, plums, peaches, corn and cattle. A significant event in Smithfield’s history was the arrival of the Cotton Belt Railroad in 1887. The tracks bypassed the Smithfield business district by about a quarter mile. Undaunted, storekeepers and others moved their buildings southward, and a new business district was established near the train depot. The rail line still exists today and operates as TEXRail’s Smithfield Station providing daily commuter rail service. Although Smithfield was formally incorporated in 1951, the residents of Smithfield voted 201 to 193 to disincorporate on May 24, 1958. Then in 1960, Smithfield became part of North Richland Hills, adding around 1,500 people to the NRH population. Several historical markers exist in the historic Smithfield area today, where some of the early settlers had a personal connection. They include the Smithfield United Methodist Church, the Masonic Lodge and the Smithfield Cemetery. Do you have memories of living in Smithfield? Please share in the comments! If you would like to learn more about Smithfield’s history, be sure to check out the book, “The History of North Richland Hills” by George N. Green. It can be found at the North Richland Hills Library.
Tuesday, April 25, 2023 Post
Do you remember what today is? Don’t forget to visit the NRH Library from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. today to celebrate NRH’s 70th Anniversary with a 1950s style celebration!
70th Anniversary Video
Friday, April 28, 2023 Post
Wow…have we come a long way! What year did YOU put down roots in NRH?
Wednesday, May 3, 2023 Post
Pictured is the very first stop light in North Richland Hills. Can you guess the location of this intersection today? The shopping center in the background was part of Clarence Jones’ original development that started the City of North Richland Hills. If this photo was taken when the stop light was installed it would have been after 1955, as the shopping center in the background didn’t open until December 1955. Check back after 4 p.m. today for the answer! ANSWER: Boulevard 26, Glenview and Blaney
Friday, May 5, 2023 Post
Did you know that NRH was once home to an airport? Owned by James Harold “Stormy” Mangham (1906-1974), it operated from 1954 to 1986 near where Walker Creek Elementary and the NYTEX Sports Centre are today. During his teenage years Mangham raced motorcycles, so the locals called him “Stormy” due to the clouds of dust that seemed to follow him everywhere. He eventually became an aviation enthusiast, learned to fly and flew for several companies including American Airlines.
In 1932, Stormy bought 60 acres of land to pasture his horses and then several years later built his home in the shape of an airplane and moved in with his family. In 1946, he purchased an additional 100 acres of land just south of the original tract. In 1954 he opened a private airfield on his land. A commercial operation, Mangham Field included three sod runways, airplane hangars, a flight school, maintenance shops, airplane rental companies and a fuel depot. Mangham’s airfield produced local activity that was instrumental in helping to spark the growth and development of North Richland Hills.
In 2010, the City dedicated Stormy Plaza in Mangham’s honor. Learn more about Stormy Plaza and the sculpture on display honoring this historic site here https://www.nrhtx.com/Facilities/Facility/Details/32
Wednesday, May 10, 2023 Post
In case you didn’t know, NRH was home to a racetrack called, “Green Valley Race Way.” In 1960, Bill and Dorothy McClure, owners of a 400-acre dairy farm north of downtown Smithfield, decided to develop 250 acres of their property into a drag strip. The Race Way would host a variety of motorsport events including drag races, road races, karting and more. In its first full season, the racetrack drew 125,000 total spectators.
On February 17, 1974, legendary daredevil Evel Knievel jumped 11 Mack trucks with his motorcycle at the NRH venue, while Howard Cosell and "Dandy" Don Meredith announced for ABC's “Wide World of Sports.” Not only did over 35,000 spectators attend the NRH event, ABC set a record for the largest television audience for any “Wide World of Sports” program. After 26 years of operating, the Green Valley Race Way eventually closed down in 1986.
The Race Way was located immediately south of North Tarrant Parkway and east of Smithfield Rd. The city’s Green Valley Raceway Historic Plaza Project is a future trailhead site off North Tarrant Parkway dedicated to the stories and culture of motorsports in NRH. Learn more about Green Valley Race Way and the plans for the project by visiting NRHGreenValleyRaceway.com.
Friday, May 12, 2023 Post
Where was your favorite place to shop in NRH back in the day?
A) Buddies in the Greater Richland Shopping Center
B) Montgomery Ward in Richland Plaza
C) J. Brannam in the Outlet Malls of America/Richland Pointe
D) Sanger-Harris in North Hills Mall
Greater Richland Shopping Center on the corner of Boulevard 26, Glenview and Blaney was the first retail center in North Richland Hills. It was developed by NRH pioneer Clarence Jones. In fact, Jones’ home originally sat on the 12 acres that became the shopping center. Buddies Supermarket anchored the 15 shops and offices. It was considered one of the most modern shopping centers in the Southwest when it opened in 1955.
Richland Plaza opened August 2, 1962 and was touted as the area's first regional shopping center, with parking for more than 3,000 cars. Located on what is now Boulevard 26 at Richland Plaza Drive, it featured over 30 stores, including J.C. Penney, Montgomery Ward, S.S. Kresge, Lerner Shops, Zales Jewelers, Bond’s Clothier and Pancho’s Mexican Buffet. A heavy rain on opening day caused Fossil Creek to flood some of the stores, which were forced to hold “flood sales,” but the rains did not slow down the crowds. A movie theater and the nearby Richland Bowl thrived along Richland Plaza; however, by the early 1980s many of the stores moved to newer locations. The former Richland Plaza property is now owned by Birdville ISD.
In the early-1980s through the late 1990s, Outlet Malls of America/Richland Pointe Mall was located on Rufe Snow Dr. north of Loop 820 and featured 50 stores. It was a thriving shopping mall that hosted community events and was frequented by nearby office workers for lunch. The anchor was discount department store J. Brannam that remained for only 3 years. Other stores included County Seat, Famous Footwear, Cato, and L’eggs Outlet. Then, in 2000 it converted to call center space. The property is now occupied by Santander.
When it opened in 1979, North Hills Mall featured 55 specialty shops including department stores Mervyn’s, Stripling Cox, and Sanger-Harris. The mall featured a 10-ft. high bronze sculpture called “Kids in a Tree,” by G. Pat Foley, which is now located at Tipps Canine Hollow Dog Park. The mall closed in 2004, except for Mervyn’s, which closed in 2006. The City purchased a portion of the property for the new City Hall, which opened in 2016. The remainder of the property is currently being redeveloped by Centurion Development. Learn more at www.nrhed.com/citypoint.
Wednesday, May 17, 2023 Post
In 1961, 10-acres of land that would become NRH’s first park, Fossil Creek, was purchased for just $10. For nearly three decades after that, the park system would include just four parks: Fossil Creek Park, Northfield Park, Richfield Park, and Norich Park. Then, in 1991, the City’s Comprehensive Park and Recreation System Master Plan got an update for the first time in nearly a decade. Citizen feedback had identified many needs and as a result, projects began to be prioritized. In the summer of 1992, the voters of NRH approved a one-half cent sales tax to help finance the development of the park system. The dedicated sales tax began in January 1993 and still continues today, allowing for more growth and development in our parks and trails system. As a result, NRH now boasts more than 800 acres of parkland with 38 parks, 30 miles of trails and world-class facilities including the NRH2O Family Water Park, Iron Horse Golf Course, Richland Tennis Center, the NRH Centre, Grand Hall and Senior Center. How do you like to spend time in some of your favorite parks or trails in NRH?
Friday, May 19, 2023 Post
In 1981, a decision was made to construct a public golf course near NRH’s Meadow Lakes subdivision on land that was located in the floodplain and donated to the city. Golf Course Architect Dick Phelps was hired to design the 18-hole course that would complement the rolling terrain, a hardwood forest, two creeks and the historic “Cotton Belt” railroad, which runs through the property. The result was Iron Horse Golf Course, which opened in 1988 as a 6,700-yard, par-70 championship course complete with a practice facility, golf shop and restaurant. In 2004, a banquet pavilion with seating for 200 was added to attract larger tournaments, weddings, and other special events. An extensive $3 million renovation of the course by architect Jeff Brauer was completed in September 2020, which included improved irrigation, widening playing corridors and more.
Through the years, Iron Horse has been rated as a Favorite Public Golf Course by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Dallas Morning News and has also received high ratings from Texas Golfer Magazine, Avid Golfer Magazine and Golf Digest. While owned by the City of North Richland Hills, Iron Horse Golf Course is not subsidized by tax dollars. All expenses are covered by the revenue it generates from green fees, cart fee rentals, and food and beverage service. The course’s name “Iron Horse” came about in direct relation to the railroad line running through the property. To learn more about the golf course, visit https://www.ironhorsetx.com/iron-horse-history/
Wednesday, May 24, 2023 Post
How many of your family members have worked at NRH2O Family Water Park through the years? Tell us in the comments! A summer job at NRH2O is a rite of passage for many high school and college students from North Richland Hills and surrounding communities. Frank Perez, NRH2O General Manager has been with the park since it opened in 1995 and has personally trained more than 9,200 seasonal team members. The park’s focus on customer service and providing a fun, friendly, safe and clean environment has not only made NRH2O the destination for summer fun, it has given many young people in our community a strong foundation for future success in their chosen careers. For some, it’s even become a family tradition, with multiple generations having worked at NRH2O over the years.
NRH2O was the first municipal water park in Texas and one of the first in the nation. Since its inception, the park has had a significant positive impact on our community welcoming over 6 million visitors and distributing $39 million in wages to support seasonal team members. NRH2O's success has led the way for more water parks throughout the DFW area. The park began with three body slides, a lazy river, wading pool and children’s area and has since grown to include 23 attractions across 17 acres today. Throughout the years, NRH2O has maintained a reputation as one of the best water parks in the nation. It has been ranked numerous times in the Top 10 Water Parks by Trip Advisor and has received numerous awards from national and international aquatic organizations. Even with the competition, NRH2O takes pride in keeping some things the same since the beginning – FREE parking, FREE coolers, and most importantly a safe and clean atmosphere for families. Even better, NRH residents receive a discount on admission! Like Iron Horse Golf Course, NRH2O is not subsidized by tax dollars. All expenses are covered by the revenue it generates from admissions, concessions and merchandise sales. To learn more about NRH2O, visit https://www.nrh2o.com/
Wednesday, May 31, 2023 Post
What do you love most about the NRH Centre? Show us with a GIF! The history of the city’s recreation center goes back to 1985 when voters approved the purchase of the former Richland Hills Church of Christ at the corner of Rufe Snow and 820 for a municipal library and recreation center. After a two-year renovation, the first North Richland Hills Recreation Center opened in September 1987. The 38,000-square-foot facility housed a variety of classrooms, fitness and dance studios, a gymnasium, and offices. For 25 years, this facility welcomed the community with a wide variety of recreation, fitness and athletic programs and services. With an average of over 800 youth and adult classes offered per year, multiple generations of NRH residents learned to dance, play, read, draw, and pursue health, fitness, and sports activities. In fact, 4 current Parks & Recreation Department and NRH Centre full-time staff members began their careers at the first North Richland Hills Recreation Center.
As the community continued to grow and change, public input indicated the need for an expanded and new recreation facility. The NRH Centre, which opened in April 2012, is an 86,000-square-foot facility located at 6000 Hawk Ave. This state-of-the-art, multigenerational recreation, wellness and aquatic center offers an indoor pool, water slide and rock climbing wall, along with lap lanes and a spa. There’s a double gymnasium for pickleball, basketball and volleyball leagues and pickup games. There’s also strength and cardio equipment and an indoor track, along with numerous fitness and wellness programs, plus youth classes and camps. The Grand Hall meeting and event space is available for corporate events, weddings and social occasions; and the NRH Senior Center offers programming for seniors 55 and older. For more information about the NRH Centre and to learn about resident rates, visit https://www.nrhcentre.com/.
Wednesday, June 7, 2023 Post
Do you have a favorite memory of the NRH Library over the years? Please share it in the comments! The North Richland Hills Library first opened in 1971 in the Richland Plaza Shopping Center, which provided a vacant storefront rent-free. Five years later, the Library relocated to the City Hall complex at 7301 NE Loop 820. The rapid growth of the city soon brought a need for more space and the former Richland Hills Church of Christ at Loop 820 and Rufe Snow Drive was purchased and renovated for the Library and a Recreation Center. The NRH Library remained at this location from 1987 until 2008, when we celebrated the opening of the current 54,000-square-foot facility at 9015 Grand Ave.
Today’s North Richland Hills Library is a fourteen-time recipient of the Achievement of Library Excellence Award from the Texas Municipal Library Director's Association, placing it in the top 10% of libraries in the State. The Library features a collection of eBooks and digital magazines available 24/7, New York Times best-selling authors events, craft, gardening and cultural events for all ages, reading with therapy dogs, educational classes, study/meeting rooms and more. Additionally, the Library offers the Maker Spot, a 4,500-square-foot community workspace where Library cardholders can utilize equipment such as a cricut cutting machine, long arm quilting machine, a soldering station and more. Also, for over 35 years, the Mayor’s Summer Reading Club has been inspiring all ages to continue reading throughout the summer with an online tracker, virtual badges and prizes. In 2022, the Library had over 212,000 visitors and over 16,000 people in attendance for classes and events. To learn more about the NRH Library visit https://library.nrhtx.com/.
Wednesday, June 14, 2023 Post
When the City of NRH incorporated in 1953, it relied on volunteer firefighters, as well as surrounding cities’ Fire Departments. In 1965, there were two fire stations and two full-time firefighters who were hired to work from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with volunteers on call during the other hours. The department hired its first full-time chief in 1968 and in 1969, began providing 24-hour fire protection to the citizens with a shift schedule of 24 hours on and 48 hours off. By the mid-1970s, the department took over providing emergency medical services to residents and grew to over 70 firefighters assigned to four fire stations. Later, two fire stations relocated as a result of growth on the north end of the city and fire prevention staff was added. The department added a fifth fire station in 2016.
Today’s NRH Fire Rescue Department led by Fire Chief Stan Tinney consists of 98 firefighters and 3 civilian employees. The department responded to 10,000 calls for service in 2022. All firefighters are certified paramedics or EMTs. Equipped with cutting-edge training and technology, the department was among the first trained in Cardiac Cath Lab Field Activation Protocol, a ground-breaking program that decreases the incidence of death or complications suffered by persons having a heart attack and increase a patient’s chances of a full recovery. Additionally, they were among the first in the nation to start a Sepsis Protocol Treatment Plan allowing paramedics to administer lifesaving sepsis medication via IV while en route to the hospital.
The department has maintained “Recognized” status from the Texas Fire Chiefs Association (TFCA) Best Practices Recognition Program since 2018 and a Class 1 Public Protection Classification Rating, the highest score a department can receive, from the Insurance Services Office since 2019. To earn these rankings the department has to undergo periodic reviews and meet high standards related to preparedness, training, operations, management and more.
NRH Fire is a proud member of the Northeast Fire Department Association (NEFDA). Through this partnership, departments from 14 area cities consolidate strengths and resources to provide technical rescue, hazardous materials response, swift water rescue and explosives response to all of the NEFDA communities. The department also partners with the community through programs like the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) preparing volunteers to assist with disaster response, Citizens Fire Academy, CPR/First Aid/AED training classes and the Birdville ISD Fire Academy, which prepares high school students for a career in the fire service.
To learn more about the NRH Fire Dept., visit https://www.nrhtx.com/1206/Fire-EMS.
Wednesday, June 21, 2023 Post
Do you have a fur baby in your family? We would love to meet them. Share a photo in the comments!
The Animal Services Division in NRH began in 1978 with one employee, a Ford pickup truck and some basic dog-catching equipment. At the time, lost and stray animals were taken to a neighboring city’s animal shelter. Then in 1980, the city entered into an agreement to house animals at the Tarrant County Humane Society’s shelter. In 1987, North Richland Hills opened its first animal shelter with a staff of three. Located at 7200 B Dick Fisher Dr. South, the 4,447-square-foot facility housed strays and offered programs such as “Warm Hugs on Wheels” where trained shelter animals and volunteers visit local senior citizen communities and cancer treatment centers for children, as well as the “Bear Hugs” stuffed animal program for children who were victims of animal bites. These programs still continue today. In 1992, the shelter was expanded with an additional 2,300 square feet.
Today’s NRH Animal Adoption & Rescue Center (AARC) opened in 2015 at the corner of Iron Horse Boulevard and Dick Fisher Drive North, one block south of Mid-Cities Blvd. Accommodating up to 145 animals, the 10,300-square-foot facility replaced the previous antiquated and overcrowded shelter. Its construction was funded in part by $1,075,000 in donations from the community. The AARC was designed with a focus on adopting pets, providing a healthy shelter environment, and serving the community as effectively as possible. It features meet-and-greet rooms where citizens can spend time getting to know the animals they might like to adopt, an outdoor play yard and runs where dogs can get fresh air and exercise, and natural lighting to increase comfort for the animals and the public.
The AARC took in over 1,700 animals last year and welcomed more than 8,000 visitors. A team of 11 employees care for the animals at the shelter and a contract veterinarian provides their spay/neuter and health services. Volunteers also help Animal Services staff with daily shelter activities like walking dogs and assisting at special events like the annual Doggie Beach Bash. Others help stock the shelter pantry by donating dog and cat food, cat litter and other pet items. This support from our community is an important part of the shelter’s success and is greatly appreciated!
A common misperception is that the animal shelter has a high euthanasia rate. In reality, our Animal Services staff work very hard to make sure no adoptable pets are put down. In fact, the AARC has a live release rate of 98% for all dogs and cats, well above the 90% rate needed to be considered a “no-kill shelter.” The average time before an animal leaves the AARC is 9 days for dogs and 21 days for cats.
City ordinance and state law require pets in NRH to be registered with the city and vaccinated for rabies. Making sure your pets wear their city license tag on their collar will help them be reunited with you quickly should they ever become lost. For many years, the AARC has partnered with the Texas Coalition for Animal Protection in hosting quarterly, low-cost pet vaccination clinics, with $5 rabies shots and $30 microchips. The next clinic is scheduled for July 1.
If you’ve been thinking about adding a new fur baby to your family, now is a great time to do it! Adoption fees are currently being waived at the AARC, which means you can bring home a dog or cat for free! To learn more about the NRH Animal Adoption & Rescue Center, visit www.nrhtx.com/AARC.
Wednesday, June 27, 2023 Post
Public safety has always been among the city’s top priorities. When North Richland Hills was first incorporated in 1953, a town marshal and a night watchman were hired to provide protection during the hours of darkness. A few years later, an all-volunteer auxiliary police force was approved to assist the town marshal. In 1960, the first police chief was hired along with five police officers. Over the coming decades, as NRH’s population grew, the police force would grow right along with it. Today’s NRH Police Department includes 118 sworn officers and 89 professional staff members.
In 1974, the Police Department’s first computer was delivered to the dispatch office, paving the way for today's computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and records management systems (RMS). Later, the introduction of electronic ticket writers, video cameras and computers in patrol vehicles and body-worn cameras would continue to equip the department for efficiency and transparency. Over the years, specialized units were also added, such as the K-9 Unit, SWAT team and drone team, along with programs focusing on forensics, mental health, crime victim services and the School Resource Officer Program.
For police patrol purposes, the City of North Richland Hills is divided into six geographical districts. Patrol officers are assigned to a district and work in it every day. A sergeant and lieutenant are also assigned to each district. This furthers the commitment of our police officers to best serve our community while forming a partnership with our citizens. To see which district your neighborhood is in, visit https://www.nrhtx.com/284/Beat-Officers.
In 2011, the North Richland Hills Police Department earned “Recognized Status” from the Texas Police Chiefs Foundation’s Best Practices Recognition Program and maintains this status year over year. Also, in 2011, a shared services agreement was implemented with the cities of Haltom City, Richland Hills, and Watauga for dispatching and jail services, both of which are located in NRH. As a result, each city saves hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in operational costs. The partnership has also resulted in improved communication and cooperation between the agencies. A half-cent sales tax for crime control and prevention helps the city fund law enforcement services and programs. The sales tax was first approved by voters in 1996 and most recently renewed in 2010 for a 20-year period.
The NRH Police Department sponsors a wide variety of community programs such as the Citizens Police Academy, National Night Out, Hangin’ with the Heat summer camp, Heroes and Helpers, and Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS). To learn more about the Police Department, visit https://www.nrhtx.com/Police