Panther Island / Central City News

Do you remember the Leonard’s M&O Subway?

Did you know that the location of the historic Leonard’s M&O Subway line runs right through the parking lot of Panther Island Pavilion? The parking lots are utilized for a variety of events throughout the year as well as overflow parking for the TCC Trinity River Campus. The metal structure that used to repair the cars has turned into an indoor event facility known as “The Shack”. Check out the before and after photos above and transformation from when the subway cars were active to now.

Learn more about the history of the M&O Subway –

The subway was originally built by Leonard’s Department Store in 1963, connecting the store to large parking lots on the edge of downtown, currently where parking for Panther Island Pavilion is now. Originally known as the Leonard’s M&O Subway, it consisted of one underground station beneath the store and four stations in the parking lots. Between 1962 and 1966, Leonard’s acquired a total of 15 Presidents’ Conference Committee streetcars from DC Transit in Washington, D.C.

The Tandy Corporation purchased the department store, its parking lots, and the subway in 1967. The corporation built its headquarters, the Tandy Center, on the site in 1974. Although it demolished the original store, Tandy retained the subway.

The small subway primarily served patrons visiting the mall at the base of the Tandy Center, which also linked to the downtown location of Fort Worth Public Library. However, the anchor tenant moved out in 1995 and the mall declined. The Tandy Center Subway ceased operation on August 30, 2002.

“Leonard’s number one” was the first PCC streetcar to run the line in 1963, the subway car was originally manufactured by the St. Louis Car Co. between 1937 and 1944 in Washington, D.C. with custom made air conditioning and heating. The number one car is the only one of five original subway cars to survive. In April 1982 the car was saved from the cutting torch by a Tandy computer programmer and stored on a farm south of Fort Worth, where it remained for over 25 years. On February 2, 2008, it was moved to a restoration location near Benbrook, Texas. As of late 2013, Leonard’s number one is now on public display in the lobby of Texas Capital Bank, Fort Worth (One City Place).