First Flight Park
Backstory and Context
The 1st powered flight in Fort Worth, Texas took place on a very windy Thursday, January 12, 1911. With a crowd of about 17,000 spectators, Frenchman Roland G. Garros of the Moisant International Aviators flew his Bleriot XI monoplane on a 7-mile cross-country jaunt at 1200’, circled the take-off area a few times, and then made a beautiful landing in high, buffeting winds.
The take-off area was the old Fort Worth Driving Park, a race track that was located near where the current day Montgomery Plaza is now. Roland Garros was also the famous tennis player, whose name is on the Stade Roland-Garros tennis complex in Paris, France where the French Open is played in May of every year. The area is now a city park that was dedicated 103 years to the day after Garros braved those high winds. Featured in the park is a full-size replica of Garros’ Bleroit XI and a Texas historic marker was dedicated at the site in 2014.