1012 N. Main Street

Fort Worth-based nonprofit Transform 1012 N. Main Street, created by a coalition of 8 arts and civil rights organizations, plans to take a former KKK headquarter and make it a place of enlightenment

TAMMYE NASH | Managing Editor

Built in 1925, the three-story structure sitting at 1012 N. Main St. in Fort Worth was created as the headquarters for Fort Worth’s chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, Klavern No. 101, which boasted a membership of around 6,000.

Today, almost 100 years later, that building created as the home of hatred and bigotry is being reclaimed. Eight local arts organizations have purchased the building and are about to begin the process of turning it into The Fred Rouse Center for Arts and Community Healing through a project called Transform 1012 N. Main Street.


“We are still in the planning process,” Transform 1012’s recently-hired executive director, Carlos Gonzalez-Jaime, said recently. “We are going to start looking for architects, and we want feedback from the communities involved on the plans and on architects. In fact, we are inviting everyone to participate in an online meeting on Nov. 9 to bring us ideas and suggestions. We are asking designers and architects to bring us designs and plans to choose from.

“Basically, we are crowd-sourcing knowledge. We want feedback from the experts, and we want feedback from the community as well,” he added.

In 2018, two of the people who went on to found the organization discovered that there was, in 1921, a Black man named Fred Rouse who was lynched in Fort Worth. According to an article published in December 2021 by KERA, Rouse was a butcher, and when union workers in the Stockyards meatpacking plants went on strike, he was one of the non-union workers that the companies hired to replace those on strike. Rouse was attacked by a white mob and so severely beaten he had to be hospitalized for several days.

But then, on Dec. 11, a second mob formed which kidnapped Rouse from the hospital, took him to a tree off Samuels Avenue and hanged him.

After learning of this lynching, Gonzalez-Jaime said, Adam McKinney discovered that not only had Fred Rouse been lynched there on Samuels Avenue at NE 12th St., but about a mile west, just on the other side of the West Fork of the Trinity River at 1012 N. Main, the KKK had built its headquarters.

Those two intertwined pieces of history are what prompted eight modern-day Fort Worth nonprofits to come together to found Transform 1012.

The eight organizations — DNAWORKS, LGBTQ SAVES, Opal Lee Foundation, SOL Ballet Folklórico, Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice, The Welman Project, Window to Your World and the 1012 Youth Council — represent Black, Catholic, Hispanic, immigrant, Jewish and LGBTQ communities, all of which have been historically targeted by the KKK. Between them, they focus on the arts, social justice activism, anti-racism activism, educational activism, environmental activism and equity-based activism.

Their goal, according to the Transform 1012 website, is to “transform this monument to hate into a beacon of truth-telling, reconciliation and liberation for the nation.”

“What we want to do is repair some of the harm that the KKK has done to the communities it has targeted,” Gonzalez-Jaime said.

“There are two arts organizations in Transform 1012 — DNAWORKS and SOL Ballet Folklórico — so the building will have a theater with 400-500 seats and rehearsal space. We will have gathering space to talk about the history of the communities, of the KKK in Fort Worth and to talk about how this project can help our community to heal.

There will be gallery space for art, space dedicated to working for civil rights and equality, space for workshops and presentations and community outreach efforts. Gonzalez-Jaime said there will be a “makers space” for creatives and a tool library where makers can borrow what they need to create, as well as workshops on various DIY project.

“We are also planning to have space for artists in residence, and LGBTQ SAVES will have space there to provide counseling and workshops and perhaps even some shelter space for LGBTQ youth who need it. There is no shelter space for these young people in Fort Worth right now,” he said.

Gonzalez-Jaime said he first got involved in the arts as a patron, donor and volunteer while working as an industrial engineer in the corporate world. “I was very touched by what the arts can do to improve our communities and the lives of people,” he said, explaining why, in 2012, he decided to take early retirement from his job with Hewlett-Packard in Miami to focus on his true passion: helping nonprofit organizations focused on the arts develop and grow.

Gonzalez-Jaime said one of his biggest projects was working with a children’s museum with a $40 million capital campaign for its 20-year anniversary expansion project. He was also the first executive director for the Latino Arts Project in Dallas, overseeing that organization as it purchased and remodeled its space on Dragon Street in Dallas’ Design District.

Now he is focusing his passion on Transform 1012 and its mission. And he is asking the communities of Fort Worth to help.

“We have different phases for this project, starting with construction. The first goal is to stabilize the existing shell of the building and putting on a new roof,” Gonzalez-Jaime said. “We hope to get started with that in the spring of next year. We have already received a $3 million grant for the federal government to start that first phase, and we hope to have the center open by the end of 2025.

“We are applying for grants and other funding, but we need all the communities the center will serve to participate. We need donations, and we need volunteers,” he continued. We will start our capital campaign soon; we’re thinking of a goal of $40-to-$50 million. We already have the $3 million grant, and we will be applying for other grants like from the Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation. But we will need support from everybody.”

While he is asking the different communities for help, Gonzalez-Jaime promises that Transform 1012 will repay the favor.

“This is a project for all the communities,” he said. “The idea is to look for all the things we have in common. No matter what your race or your religion or whatever, this will be a safe space for everybody.

“We are going to try to help heal what has happened and what is happening in our society, with the help of the arts, of course,” Gonzalez-Jaime declared. “This building started with a bad history. But it is a beautiful building, and we are going to make it more beautiful in every way.”

For more information on Transform 1012 N. Main Street, or to volunteer with or donate to the organization, visit the website at Transform1012.org.