Located north of the main house, the tea garden was surrounded by sandstone walls and iron fencing with a lovely garden that contained benches, shrubs, plants and a pond with swans. Boasting beautiful views over Fort Worth, the tea garden was set on one of the highest points in Tarrant County and was a favorite afternoon tea and dining spot. A pretty gazebo anchored the tea garden and was the stage for many instrumental groups, music groups, and other ensembles, who played live music in the evenings against a beautiful backdrop of sweeping views. Today, the picturesque gardens surrounding the remains of the teahouse are used for special occasions such marriage proposals and prayers.
Notable features of the park include the front gate, which was designed and crafted by Southern Ornamental Ironworks of Arlington, an inspiring statue of Norris by acclaimed sculptor Pompeo Coppini, and the horse stables. Built to house the prize racehorse Royal Ford, who beat Sea Biscuit in 1940, the Royal Ford Stable features a French-Norman inspired roof, beautiful interior oak paneling, original hopper windows, and the original watering trough on the south side.
The Horse Barn is a large building with a rustic Woodbine sandstone exterior, three cupolas on the roof peak, and hollow tile-faced stone interiors. Originally used for housing racehorses, including the magnificent Colorado Lad and Valdina Lamar, the horse barn is now used as classrooms for the Seminary.
What is now the girls' dormitory for the Seminary was once a brothel which pandered to every desire of Top O' Hill's patrons and was littered with beautiful evening dresses when the Seminary took over.
The unique and favorite aspect of the Top O' Hill Terrace, however, is the underground concrete tunnel, which is said to have provided an easy and fast escape route from the casino for patrons when the casino was raided by police. The 50-foot-long, four-foot-wide and 10-foot-high tunnel opened onto the thickly wooded countryside of the park where escaping patrons could hide in the bush or make their way well-groomed walkways to the tea garden. Photo: Top O' Hill Terrace
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