Panther City is one of the most popular nicknames for Fort Worth, Texas. Founder of Sleeping Panther Press, Rachel Pilcher, was looking for a name for the literary journal she was starting in 2016. Panther City Review was a natural choice.
But...why Panther City?
The best explanation comes from the inscription at the Sleeping Panther sculpture by Deran Wright on the corner of East Weatherford and Main Streets:
In 1873, economic over expansion sparked a nationwide depression lasting more than five years. Banks, railroad, and other companies went bankrupt. Labor and investment capital streamed out of Fort Worth. The young city scaled down its operations. Many believed Fort Worth to be doomed. Robert. E. Cowart, a former resident of Fort Worth who practiced law in Dallas, wrote the Dallas Herald that he "had been to a meeting in Fort Worth the other day and things were so quiet he had seen a panther asleep on Main Street, undisturbed by the rush of men or the hum of trade."
B.B. Paddick, editor of the Fort Worth Democrat, took these comments as a challenge and had a new masthead engraved with a panther lying in front of the bluff and the motto: Where The Panther Laid Down." The nickname "Panther City" stuck. There were panther stores, meat markets, and saloons. A pair of live panthers were mascots for Fort Worth's fire department. The panther has been used as a mascot (Fort Worth Cats baseball team and R.L. Paschal High School Panthers), for entertainment venues (Panther Hall), as building decoration (the Flatiron Building and the Blackstone Hotel), and as a design element (Fort Worth police badges). The intended Insult has become an enduring symbol of the city's strength.