A Candlelight Christmas in Ryan Place:
Home Tour and Trip into the Past
A Candlelight Christmas in Ryan Place (CCRP), an annual fundraiser of Ryan Place, began as an expression of pride in the neighborhood by a generation of new homeowners moving back into the inner city. Historic preservation was a new, exciting idea in Fort Worth in the early 1980s, and the first Candlelight Tour roughly coincided with the first Designers Showhouse and other preservation efforts in the Stockyards and at Thistle Hill.
The time was right in 1984 to offer a tour to the public, and the annual Christmas tour became the chief vehicle for promoting the neighborhood with realtors and prospective home buyers who were unaware of the potential of older neighborhoods. It caught many people by surprise. Throughout the '60's and '70's Ryan Place had been a neighborhood in decline with run-down "white elephants" that were considered impractical for modern living. But suddenly here were those "white elephants" dressed up in holiday finery and presented as grand old houses at their best. There was always the goal of raising funds for neighborhood projects, but resuscitating the public image was also significant.
To date, the Christmas home tour has raised -- literally-- hundreds of thousands of dollars for neighborhood projects. The two largest projects have been the reconstruction of the huge stone entrance portals at the 8th Avenue end of Elizabeth Boulevard and the placing of historically styled streetlights throughout the neighborhood. A number of smaller projects have also been funded throughout the years, always with the goal of emphasizing the historic look and feel of a neighborhood that possesses unique architecture and landscaping.
The Candlelight Tour takes place every year the first weekend in December and offers a mix of homes from mansions to bungalows that represent the architectural range within Ryan Place.