Fort Worth was still a trail town, longing to achieve respectability but proud of its frontier heritage.‘The Fort,’ as it was sometimes called, was only a little more than 30 years old, dating back to its beginnings as an Army outpost from 1849-1853.
It was scarcely the kind of place calculated to appeal to the’sporting fraternity’ of professional gamblers, nor did it draw the deep-pocketed amateurs.
By the 1870s it had grown up to become a stopover on the Chisholm Trail, going up to the Kansas railheads.
A decade later, it was still wrestling with respectability, reflected most clearly in its public entertainments.
It also won a different type of fame as the site of the famous shootout between Luke Short and Timothy I. The Fort Worth establishment began as a simple eatery, opened by F. Within a year, the White Elephant reopened as a ‘Saloon and Billiard Parlor’ with a small restaurant attached.
The new ownership consisted of Jewish businessmen Gabriel Burgower, Nathaniel Bornstein and Samuel Berliner, who were not accepted by the local business fraternity.