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DISCOVER

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Our 
Story

The historic Garden of Eden Neighborhood was established more than 150 years ago and is located in the middle of Fort Worth and Haltom City, TX.  This community is the first African American Historic & Cultural Landmark District in Tarrant County designated by the City of Fort Worth.  This project will continue the revitalization of a community that was selected by the City of Fort Worth as the Neighborhood of the Year in 2004, The National Neighborhood of the Year by "Neighborhoods USA" in 2006, and several other City of Fort Worth Neighborhood Awards throughout the past decade. Funding is needed for the construction of the home of pioneer settlers Major & Malinda Cheney.  This project will bring the house and grounds back to their former glory.  The Major & Malinda Cheney Heritage Educational & Tourism Center will become a gateway for visitors to the area and help them to appreciate a valuable collection of farming and ranching artifacts and local African American History supported with quality programming for the community.  This great community has contributed to the rich history of both Fort Worth and Birdville (Haltom City).  This Freedmen's Community in Northeast Tarrant County has made a positive impact on the local railroad industry, mining of sand and gravel, and rights of way for major arteries, Belknap and Carson Streets.  More importantly, the Garden of Eden is home to one of Fort Worth's most celebrated journalists, Bob Ray Sanders.  Help us write a new chapter in the local history of Fort Worth, TX.

One of the organization’s greatest achievements was in November 2009, when a school was renamed in honor of Major Cheney in the Birdville Independent School District - "Major Cheney Elementary School at South Birdville."  The most recent achievements are the documentation of the neighborhood’s history in book form, “The Garden of Eden – The Story of a Freedmen’s Community in Texas,” written by Drew Sanders, and published by TCU Press, December 2015.  On March 4, 2016, this book was awarded the Texas State Historical Association’s Al Lowman Memorial Prize for the best book on Texas county and local history for 2015 and on May 1, 2021, Brenda Sanders Wise was elected as the first African American, Birdville Independent School District School Board Trustee, Place 3, with many relatives present to share in the historic event.  A cookbook, “Recipes from Out to the House Seasoned With Soul,” was published in 2007 and was dedicated to the great cooks and bakers in the Cheney Sanders family past and present, and to the farmers who plowed the fields and provided food that was so plentiful all year round. In October 2021 at the City of Fort Worth Neighborhood Awards Program, Brenda Sanders-Wise was received the City of Fort Worth “Neighbor of the Year Award.”

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