| Top O' Hill Terrace Beulah Adams Marshall bought land here along the Bankhead Highway in the early 1920s and opened a tea room, hosting teas and serving dinners to Dallas and Fort Worth patrons. In 1926, Fred and Mary Browning purchased the property and shortly began converting the facilities into a casino, adding an escape tunnel and secret room for hiding the gambling paraphernalia during raids. Known as Top O' Hill Terrace, the popular spot attracted gamblers as well as visitors who were often unaware of the gaming activities. The restaurant, along with the tea garden that exists today, was a legitimate business, operating alongside a brothel as well as the casino, which benefited from the nearby Arlington Downs racetrack. Top O' Hill Terrace facilities included a horse barn and a private stable for Browning's prized stud, Royal Ford, purchased from oilman and Arlington Downs owner W.T. Waggoner. Contemporary to the Top O' Hill heyday was the outspoken Dr. J. Frank Norris (d. 1952), longtime pastor of First Baptist Church of Fort Worth. The conservative Norris, co-founder of fundamental Baptist Bible Institute, later known as Bible Baptist Seminary and later as the Arlington Baptist College, was an ardent proponent of Prohibition and gambling reform. One of his targets was Top O' Hill Terrace, which he reportedly vowed one day to own. In 1947, Texas Ranger Captain M.T. Lone Wolf Gonzaullas led a raid on Top O' Hill, catching the gambling operation in full swing. In late 1956, under the leadership of Earl K. Oldham, the Bible Baptist Seminary bought the property and relocated here, fulfilling Norris' promise, although neither he nor Browning (d. 1953) had lived to see it. Today, the Arlington Baptist College continues to use the site, which retains many of its original structures and features a statue of Norris by noted sculptor Pompeo Coppini. |
This page last updated: 7/15/2008
|StoppingPoints.com Editorial on Top O' Hill Terrace:|
|Pompeo Luigi Coppini (May 19, 1870ûSeptember 26, 1957) was a sculptor, born in Moglia, Mantua, Italy, the son of Giovanni and Leandra (Raffa) Coppini. He grew up in Florence where he studied at Accademia dell'Arte del Disegno under Augusto Rivalta.|
Many of his works are in Austin, Texas, displayed on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol and on the campus of The University of Texas. Coppini's statue of Lawrence Sullivan Ross (Sully), Texas Governor and third president of Texas A&M University is considered one of the most revered works on the A&M campus in College Station and students often place coins at the statue's feet for good luck on exams. Coppini's marble statue of Senator James Paul Clarke stands in the U.S. Capitol. Coppini also designed bronze two bronze sculptures at Baylor University in Waco, Texas — former Baylor University President Rufus C. Burleson, located on the Burleson Quadrangle on the Baylor campus (1903), and Baylor University namesake and founder Judge R.E.B. Baylor (1939). One of Coppini's best works, according to the artist, is his bronze sculpture of John Reagan, former U.S. Senator from Palestine, Texas, located in that city's Reagan Park (1911), featuring the personification of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy seated at the base of the monument.
Notable Scultpures by Pompeo Coppini:
- Confederate Soldiers monument (1903) on the Texas State Capitol grounds, on monument designed by Frank Teich
- Rufus C. Burleson bronze statue (1903) at the Burleson Quadrangle on the Baylor University campus in Waco, Texas.
- Terry's Texas Rangers monument (1907) on the Texas State Capitol grounds
- Hood's Texas Brigade (1910) on the Texas State Capitol grounds, Austin
- John H. Reagan bronze statues (1911) in Reagan Park in Palestine, Texas
- John Hunt Morgan Memorial (1911) in Lexington, Kentucky
- Firing Line bronze statue (1912) DeLeon Plaza Victoria, Texas
- Lawrence Sullivan Ross (1918) on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, Texas
- Charles H. Noyes bronze sculpture (1919) Ballinger, Texas
- Bronze doors of the Scottish Rite Cathedral (dedicated 1924) in San Antonio, Texas
- San Antonio Express-News (1929) building entrance with carvings, San Antonio, Texas
- Littlefield Fountain (1933) on the University of Texas campus
- Cenotaph to the Alamo (1936-40) San Antonio, Texas
- Judge R.E.B. Baylor bronze statue (1939) on the Baylor University campus in Waco, Texas.
- Dr. J. Frank Norris statue at the Top O' Hill Terrace, Arlington, Texas
- George Washington statue (1955) on the University of Texas campus
- Daughters of the Confederacy statue at Broadway Bluff, in Corpus Christi
Top O' Hill Terrace Historical Marker Location Map, Arlington, Texas
Related Themes: Texas Baptist Churches, Texas C.S.A., Texas Confederate States of America, Confederacy
Texas Confederate Historical Markers.