What do you get when you combine a 1904 Georgian Revival mansion in the Medical District of Fort Worth with the 2013 food truck scene? In my mind, a food truck park that in many ways takes the grounds of the Thistle Hill Mansion back to its heyday of garden parties and social gathering hot spot of the Fort Worth leaders.
Thistle Hill was built by Electra Waggoner and A.B. Wharton upon their marriage, and served as a center point of Fort Worth opulence and entertainment. In 1912, the Mansion was sold to the Scott family, who also used the home for entertainment, while expanding the grounds and gardens.
Today, the mansion is owned by Historic Fort Worth Inc., charged with preserving its heritage. As any viewer of Downton Abbey knows, in the early 1900s, maintaining an estate-size home was not inexpensive and the upkeep of Thistle Hill continues to be very costly today. As a way to showcase the mansion and build the necessary funding to maintain the home, Historic Fort Worth is inviting food trucks to rent space each day during the lunch hours to sell their foods. The plan is to feature three to five trucks at the mansion each weekday, providing a variety of food to those who work in the offices and medical centers around the food park.
This food truck park, set to open May 1, will offer more shade and green space than any other truck park around. The gardens are magnificent and the staff at Thistle Hill tells me that master gardeners are on site regularly. How nice would it be to have lunch and talk to an expert about which plants would help your yard look as beautiful as Thistle Hill's? And if a quiet lunch is more to your liking, there will be plenty of tables and chairs set up around the property for you to get away from the stress of the office and enjoy the fresh air.
Click here for more background on the Thistle Hill food park.
There are also some special features to Thistle Hill that I think will benefit the truck visitors. The mansion has a carriage house steps away from the designated truck area. During inclement weather, the doors of the carriage house will be opened and tables will be placed inside so diners can still enjoy their lunch and the grounds, on rainy days. With the full trees and heavily shaded yard, I don't expect the sun to cause too much discomfort to the diners.
You will be able to find me dining in this cute tea house, on the outer edge of the yard. It looks like the perfect escape for a few minutes!
There is a small parking lot adjacent to the mansion, and the pay lot of Cook Children's Hospital is directly across the street, which charges a nominal parking fee. It also looked like there was street parking on the side streets, so for those who drive over, parking should not be a problem.
I look forward to the May 1 opening day of the historic food truck park. I think it is a great use of the property that will revisit the lavish lawn parties of the early 1900s while introducing Thistle Hill to an entire new generation of Fort Worth residents and visitors. You can follow Historic Fort Worth on Facebook and Twitter to get more information on the opening day truck schedule.