"I have come to realize that they who acquire wealth are more or less stewards in the application of that wealth to others of the human family who are less fortunate than themselves." -Amon G. Carter
Amon G. Carter
Fort Worth was a sleepy little town, so quiet that its downtown was said to have once been home to a slumbering panther, destined to be little more than a sidekick to the bigger Dallas to the east. Then Amon G. Carter came to town.
He was barely a man in 1906, but young Mr. Carter had already impressed executives in San Francisco and Chicago as an advertising whiz kid, capable of recognizing a great product and knowing how to sell it. Boy, were they right.
Mr. Carter took a job with the Fort Worth Star and, within three years, orchestrated its merger with the cross-town competition, The Telegram, to build one of the most prominent and powerful newspapers in the Southwest, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He continued on, buying and building up WBAP radio and its NBC television affiliate, the first TV station in Texas, now known as NBC5 (KXAS)-TV.
His communications empire in place, Mr. Carter set out across the country, befriending U.S. presidents, crashing the halls of Congress, enticing industry leaders and shaking any hand that was offered to him. His mission: to tell the world about the greatness of Fort Worth and its people, and that there was every reason for everyone to be there.
Mr. Carter was an early believer in the importance of investing in oil and gas. Although his first 90 wells were dry holes, he persevered and eventually discovered several significant reservoirs in New Mexico and West Texas. His working interests in the Wasson field in Gaines and Yoakum Counties were sold to Shell Oil in 1947 for $16.5 million, creating the nucleus on which the Amon G. Carter Foundation was based.
Mr. Carter’s promotional zeal brought to Fort Worth and its surrounding communities such industries now known as American Airlines, Lockheed-Martin, the General Motors assembly plant in Arlington and Bell Helicopter. Thousands of North Texans have jobs today because Mr. Carter put on a Shady Oaks Stetson, wore cowboy boots, and hung a cigar from his mouth to drive home the point that Fort Worth was truly Where the West Begins ... and big dreams are realized.
The son of a chicken breeder, Mr. Carter was born Dec. 11, 1879 in the small Wise County town of Crafton, 65 miles from Fort Worth. As a teen he waited on tables and washed dishes at a boarding house in nearby Bowie, and sold "chicken and bread" sandwiches at the train depot.
Mr. Carter loved western art and assembled an acclaimed collection of paintings and sculptures by Frederic Remington and Charles Russell. Later, as Mr. Carter attained wealth and national notoriety, he never lost sight of his humble beginnings, always staying close to the people who worked for him, needed him and adored him. That compassion endured until the day of his death, on June 23, 1955, when, among others, he bequeathed $1,000 to a woman he barely knew – other than she was elderly, blind and had sold his cherished Star-Telegram on the streets of Fort Worth for years. This legacy of philanthropy continues through the work of Amon G. Carter Foundation.
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