Knapp Heritage Park - Knapp Office

  • Year Built: 1947-48
  • Builder: Unknown
  • Orig. location: Arlington
  • Photo: O. K. Carter

About the Knapp Office:

Welcome to the Knapp Office…and these days, the general store…or a replica thereof.

The history: William and Bessie Knapp purchased several lots on Front Street at this location for their family home.

William Hudson Knapp, born in Blanco, Texas, had been transferred to Arlington to manage a dry goods store of the Hudson and Davis Company. William Knapp was active in Arlington city government and served on the AISD board. While serving as park commissioner he helped draft Arlington’s city charter, some of which is still applicable today. He helped establish the first city park, Meadowbrook, located on East Abram Street east of Collins Street. William died in 1942, and his wife Bessie in 1965. They were active members of First Methodist Church. Both are buried in Parkdale Cemetery.

Their son, James Hudson “Big Daddy” or “Papa” Knapp, was born in Mesquite in 1914 and came to Arlington to be with his parents. He attended AISD, North Texas Agricultural College (now UTA), and graduated from Jefferson University in Dallas (the university closed during the Great Depression in 1937).

Knapp quickly established himself as a prominent, distinctive and successful attorney not only in Arlington but in the region, practicing the barrister craft for more than a half-century. Knapp was interested in both the law and real estate, both as seller-buyer and developer—clearly one of the city’s major and most successful real estate entrepreneurs. Knapp married Mildred Betts in 1936. They had two children, James H. Knapp and William A. Knapp.

Knapp served as city attorney 1938-45 and as assistant county district attorney 1945-49. He helped establish Midway Airport (1942) and GSW Airport and established the J.H. Knapp subdivision, among numerous real estate projects. Over the years, Knapp was heavily involved in community betterment activities, including helping lead the way for the construction of S.H. 360. He helped found the Arlington Bar Association, serving as its first president.

Knapp died in 1989, and Mildred in 1993. Both are buried in Parkdale Cemetery.

This small building, built in 1947-48, served as Knapp’s office for many years, today serving as a centerpiece and office of Knapp Heritage Park and housing the park’s famed replica of a “general store.”

Also at Knapp Heritage Park: