TEA TIME AT THE CASINO
Some folks might consider the Top O’ Hill Terrace’s rowdy beginnings a bit too racy for public consumption. But the Terrace, located in Arlington along the historic Bankhead Highway, and its historic past exhibit the classic characteristics inherent in the Texas spirit – a little temperance and a lot of independence. Entrepreneur Beulah Adams Marshall purchased the Tarrant County hilltop in the 1920s and built a tea room, complete with gardens, and a restaurant to serve Bankhead travelers as well as diners from nearby Dallas and Fort Worth. The property changed hands during Prohibition, and new owners Fred and Mary Browning capitalized on customers’ appetites despite the preponderance of their legal limitations, expanding the facilities to include a casino, horse barn and stable for Browning’s racehorses, a brothel, and a secret tunnel providing escape for customers during frequent raids. Temperance, however, eventually won the day and today the Top O’ Hill belongs to the Arlington Baptist College. The college maintains the historic buildings and grounds, eclectic architecture featuring sandstone blocks and wrought iron grillwork, and provides individual and group tours of the unique property by appointment.