John V. McMillan Plaza honors two important figures in Fort Worth’s history. The centerpiece of the plaza is a 12-foot-tall bronze statue of the City’s founder, Major Ripley Arnold. The statue was created by sculptor Archie St. Clair and was generously donated to the Tarrant Regional Water District by the Anfin family in honor of their late father, John V. McMillan.
McMillan Plaza is located near the original site of the fort, directly behind TCC Trinity River campus at the confluence of the Clear Fork and the West Fork of the Trinity River. The plaza is a TRWD facility managed by the TRVA as a part of Panther Island.
Major Ripley A. Arnold,
the founder of Fort Worth
In January 1849, U.S. Army General William Jenkins Worth, proposed building ten forts to mark and protect the west Texas frontier, situated from Eagle Pass to the confluence of the West Fork and Clear Fork of the Trinity River. Major Ripley Arnold was given command of Company F of the Second Dragoons and left Fort Graham to find a suitable location. On June 6th, 1849, Arnold established a post on the banks of the Trinity and named it Camp Worth in honor of his late commanding officer, General Worth. Arnold moved the camp to a north-facing bluff that overlooked the mouth of the Clear Fork in August of 1849. Shortly after, the US War Department officially granted the name “Fort Worth” to the post on 14 November 1849.
Ground Blessing Ceremony
The TRVA hosted a Native American ground blessing at the site of the John V. McMillan Plaza, featuring the Major Ripley Arnold Monument. The event included Native American music and dance, a replica of the statue of Major Arnold, renderings of the plaza and remarks by community leaders. More than 175 elementary students from Fort Worth ISD participated in the ceremony.