Peters Brothers was started by Jim and Tom Peters in
1911. They were Greek immigrants who began their business shining shoes in Waco, TX during
the "Cotton Palace Celebration." With their savings of $600 Jim and Tom moved to
Fort Worth, TX and purchased a 17 ft. by 10 ft. wood building in the downtown area near 9th
Street and Houston Street. They renovated the building and put in a first class shoe shine
parlor. Jim and Tom hired four men to assist in shining shoes.
With the beginning of World War I, the business in downtown Fort
Worth was so great that the store had to be expanded to accommodate 36 men to shine shoes
on two shifts. In addition to shining shoes Jim and Tom operated a hat renovation
department. (You might say they worked their way to the "TOP.") As a child Tom
Peters dyed hats in Greece. With this experience he began cleaning hats for customers.
In 1921 Tom left Fort Worth to work for John B. Stetson in
Philadelphia, PA. He learned to make hats from the master hatters at Stetson. Tom returned
to Fort Worth with his new knowledge and started making hats at the downtown location.
Amon Carter was so intrigued with the Peters Brothers hats that he
gave them away to movie stars, dignitaries, and famous celebrities when they visited Fort
Worth. Mr. Carter named the hats "The Shady Oaks" and they are
still made to this day!
Jim Peters died in 1933 leaving the business to Tom. The shop was
moved to its current location of 909 Houston Street. In 1973 the last shoes were shined at
Peters Brothers. Tom divided the building in half and rented the other side to a
restaurant. He stayed with his first love which was hats and ran the shop until he was 98
½ years old. Tom Peters died in June of 1991 and is missed by many. Grandson Joe Peters
still makes "The Shady Oaks" the same way that granddad taught him which
was one at a time by hand.
Its not just cowboy hats now a days you can get almost any hat
you want from a 6 inch brim Tom Mix style to an Indiana Jones fedora.
Plans for expanding the retail area and stock room are almost
complete. This will allow more space for those popular Shady Oaks hats to be in stock. (so
the wait wont be so long)
hatter Thomas Bradley Peters, now 16 years old is in his 11th
year of training of making hats and as Granddad would say
"Weve been here since 1911 and were not going