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Top O' Hill Terrace

  • Address: 3001 W. Division Arlington, TX 76012
  • Phone: (817) 461-8741 Ext. 109
  • Category: Things To Do
  • Sub-Category: Attractions & Sightseeing
  • Website: Visit Website
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Beulah Adams Marshall bought land here along the Bankhead Highway in the early 1920’s 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.

An opponent of the Top O’ Hill heyday was the outspoken J. Frank Norris, longtime pastor of First Baptist Church of Fort Worth. The conservative Norris, co-founder of Bible Baptist Seminary, was an ardent proponent of prohibition and gambling reform. One of his targets was Top O’ Hill Terrace, which he vowed one day to own. His prediction came true in 1956 when the Bible Baptist Seminary, which is now Arlington Baptist College, purchased the property and converted the property from a casino to seminary. Many of the historic structures from the days of Top O’ Hill remain today on this site.