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.
It’s 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 won’t be so long)
In closing…….5th generation hatter Thomas Bradley Peters, now 16 years old is in his 11th year of training of making hats and as Granddad would say "We’ve been here since 1911 and we’re not going anywhere."
Joe Peters Sr. 1945 - 2013
Joe Peters Sr., 68, passed away Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. Funeral: 3:30 p.m. Friday in Mount Olivet Chapel. Interment: Mount Olivet Cemetery. Visitation: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Mount Olivet Funeral Home. Joe was born Jan. 22, 1945. He served in the U.S. Army during Vietnam. He was the owner and operator of Peters Bros. Hats for 23 years. Joe was preceded in death by his wife, Nelda, and sister, Jennifer Fulgham. Survivors: Son, Joe Peters Jr. and wife, Tina; grandchildren, Bradley, Alex and Christina Peters; and several nieces and nephews.
Rest in Peace my good friend.
I have been wearing Peters Brother hats almost 40 years.