Beulah Adams Marshall bought land here along the Bankhead Highway in the early 1920s 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 the casino, which benefited from the nearby Arlington Downs Racetrack. Top O’ Hill Terrace facilities included a horse barn and a private stable for Browning’s prized horse, Royal Ford, purchased from oilman and Arlington Downs owner W. T. Waggoner.To plan Arlington vacation without wasting time, ask Inspirock to design an itinerary.
Contemporary to the Top O’ Hill heyday was the outspoken Dr. J. Frank Norris (d. 1952), longtime pastor of First Baptist Church of Fort Worth. The conservative Norris, co-founder of Fundamental Baptist Bible Institute, later known as Bible Baptist Seminary and later as the Arlington Baptist College, was an ardent proponent of prohibition and gambling reform. One of his targets was Top O’ Hill Terrace, which he reportedly vowed one day to own. In 1947, Texas Ranger Captain M. T. “Lone Wolf” Gonzaullas led a raid on Top O’ Hill, catching the gambling operation in full swing. In late 1956, under the leadership of Earl K. Oldham, the Bible Baptist Seminary bought the property and relocated here, fulfilling Norris’ promise, although neither he nor Browning (d. 1953) had lived to see it. Today, the Arlington Baptist College continues to use the site, which retains many of its original structures and features a statue of Norris by noted Sculptor Pompeo Coppini.
Top O'Hill Terrace reviews
Vickie was great! Such history with so many interesting facts and twists to the story. Would love to come back once it’s restored. more »
Great tour. Vickie Bryant really knew her subject and the history of the site. She explained the history of the site and related that to the site with the tour that followed. The history of the... more »
If you are visiting Arlington, this is a very interesting tour about prohibition and gambling with a slide show and a walk around the grounds.We were lucky enough to get in for our tour on our last day in Arlington. Vicki was very informative and has done a lot of research to be sure all her information is accurate.It was very cool that everything was tied together with visitors coming in sharing stories and keeping history alive. This is an important piece of history that Arlington needs to be sure continues! Thank you Vicki for your hard work and dedication to Arlington history.
Very enjoyable tour! Mrs. Vickie Bryant was very knowledgeable and informed about the history of this place!! Awesome to see how far this land has come and be able to see some of the tunnels
Build a tripTell us where and when you
want to go, we will build
the best sightseeing itinerary
Refine itYou have complete flexibility on your destinations and itinerary
Book as a packageUse our travel agents to get
package savings and hassle free booking
Enjoy your trip!Enjoy our 24x7
See all ›
Side trips from Arlington
Hidden gems in Arlington
Parks in Arlington
Nearby attractions in Arlington
Kid-friendly things to do in Arlington
ObservatoryPlanetarium at the University of Texas at Arlington
Duration: 2 hours
Trips to Top O'Hill Terrace by other users
7 days in Dallas BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular sights Preferences: May Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 16 days in Arlington & Anaheim BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular sights Preferences: December Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 3 days in Arlington BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular sights Preferences: January Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 11 days in Turkey, Dallas & Egypt BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular sights Preferences: January Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 4 days in Dallas BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular sights Preferences: January Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium 51 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA October, popular sights Preferences: October Attraction style: Popular sights Pace: Medium