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Fort Worth’s old Klan hall set to become a hub for the arts 11

The decrepit former Klan hall just north of downtown Fort Worth has come a step closer to becoming a performing arts center.

Transform 1012 N. Main Street announced on Tuesday that the group had purchased the building. The plan is to turn it into a performance space with resources for those the Klan worked to oppress. The group envisions arts training, services for LGBTQ+ youth, civil rights exhibits and affordable workspaces for artists. 

Today, the Klan hall sits empty and dilapidated on N. Main Street, with a clear view of the Tarrant County Courthouse. It was built in the 1920s as an auditorium for Fort Worth Klavern 101. But for much of its history,  the hall was known as the Ellis Pecan Building.

DNAWORKS, a local arts group, is one of the organizations that makes up Transform 1012 N. Main Street. DNAWORKS’ co-founder Daniel Banks said in a press release that this purchase is a step toward making a space for racial reconciliation in Fort Worth.

“I envision a crossroads where all of Fort Worth can gather; where every cultural group feels a sense of belonging, of being seen, represented, and listened to; where we celebrate the richness of our individual cultures freely and openly; and where repairing past harm and damage leads to greater respect and appreciation, creativity, and love—of self and one another,” Banks said.

The building will be renamed The Fred Rouse Center for Arts and Community Healing. Fred Rouse was a Black packinghouse butcher lynched in Fort Worth in 1921.

Funding for the building purchase came from the Rainwater Charitable Foundation. Other project funders include Atmos Energy, the Ford Foundation, MASS Design Group, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Tecovas Foundation, according to a press release.

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