TCU has built, expanded, renovated torn down, and rebuilt its football stadium. It's a lot swankier now, better site lines, end zone complex, plenty of video boards, but the name remains the same Amon G. Carter Stadium or "The Carter" for the initiated. So who was Amon G. Carter? Glad you asked.
Giles Amon Carter was born in 1879 to his dad William Henry Carter and his mom Josephine. Like most self made men Giles quit school and at age eleven he went to work to help his family around their home in Bowie, Texas. He was dishwasher and waiter at a boarding house before leaving out for Indian Territory to work as a salesman. Then he left for San Francisco where he worked as an ad man.
At some point Giles Amon Carter changed his name to Amon Giles Carter and it stuck.
He came back to Texas, settling in Fort Worth and started his own ad agency before going to work for the Fort Worth Star as advertising manager in 1906. Three years later with the backing of a wealthy benefactor Carter merged the Star and the Fort Worth Telegram into the Fort Worth Star Telegram. From 1923 to just after World War II the Fort Worth Star Telegram had the largest circulation of any newspaper in the Southern United States serving large swaths of Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.
Carter became even more of a media magnate when he established WBAP in 1922, Fort Worth's first radio station. WBAP later became the first television station in the region.
In 1923, Carter got involved with a college, though not TCU. He helped convinced the State Legislature to establish a four year university in west Texas, Lubbock to be exact and Texas Technological College was born. He was on the first board of directors for the school. Texas Technological College shortened its name to Texas Tech.
Carter was instrumental in the development and growth of the oil industry in Fort Worth and encouraging investment in Fort Worth's infrastructure and downtown. He served as Director of the American Petroleum Institute as well. Carter was hands on in the oil business, drilling wells and using part of the proceeds to fund the Amon G. Carter Foundation. His philanthropic endeavors were prolific as well, Carter was an organizer and director of the Southwest Exposition and Fort Worth Stock Show, president of the Fort Worth Club for thirty-five years, and a contributor to area hospitals and civic centers.
He helped bring the first air plane to Fort Worth in 1911 and invested in Southern Air Transport, a regional carrier that eventually merged with three other smaller carriers to form American Airlines in 1928. Carter was a board member and director of American. He also helped bring General Dynamics and Bell Helicopter to Fort Worth.
When the metroplex was looking for a major airport location, American and Braniff struck a deal to put the facility in Arlington. Bickering over construction by the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth halted the project in 1942. After the war the City of Fort Worth purchased the land and built Amon G. Carter Field which later became the Greater Southwest International Airport. It shut down operations in 1974 after its traffic was eaten into by Love Field and the newly built DFW Airport.
Onto the stadium, in 1923 TCU received a generous donation to build a new library on campus and to do so, the University planned to tear down the existing stadium, Clark Field, and build the library on the stadium site. A new stadium was built in 1929 and named after Carter thanks to a generous donation. Carter asked Andrew Poyar, the architect of what is now Neyland Stadium in Knoxville to design the stadium. The stadium was completed in 1930 with an original capacity of 22,000.
Carter's influence and legacy extends beyond TCU's campus. Texas Wesleyan University School of Law's main auditorium bears his name as does the entrance as does the main entry to the Texas Tech campus, Amon G. Carter Plaza.
Carter married three times and had three children. He died in 1955 in Fort Worth.
One last bit on Carter, over the course of his life he developed his own rivalry of sorts with the city of Dallas. Carter was known to take a sack lunch anytime he traveled east into Dallas as to not spend any of his hard earned Fort Worth dollars there. He was also quoted as saying "Fort Worth, where the West begins...and Dallas is where the East peters out."