Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Last month I took a quick tour of the Dallas Centennial Fair Grounds, many of the wonderful Art Deco buildings built for the 1936 Centennial have survived the decades.

It is thrilling to walk back seventy years into the glory decade of the 1930’s, walking through the fairgrounds.

Registered as a National Historic Landmark, construction is underway to rebuild the center fountain and restore all the buildings, lampposts and murals.

post-4-1239393875_thumb.jpg

post-4-1239393896_thumb.jpg

post-4-1239393925_thumb.jpg

post-4-1239393957_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think is great how the city has not only kept the site over the decades but also how the city uses the site for many things including the Texas State Fair. I got to go to the state fair a few years back and had a great time including checking out some of the buildings built for the fair. Here is a link I found that the city has for the site: http://www.dallascityhall.com/FairPark/administration.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose the key to preservation is to have a purpose for structures after the exposition is closed. This purpose must be determined before one shovel full of earth is turned in the construction process. Without that foresight there is no preservation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Living in Oklahoma and having good friends living in Irving Texas, I have visited this Fair Park many times. It is absolutely stunning to say the least. Seems they really stay on top of it since its 1st major restoration approx 10 years ago. I was present when they were removing the many layers of paint to uncover the original murals. Hard to believe that someone could just give the go ahead to paint over such beauty and history. And...this park at night is a treasure!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The fountains in the Esplanade of State (between the Automobile and Centennial Buildings) have been restored to their original 1936 appearances and the aluminum statues of "The Tenor" and "The Soprano" as well as the "Sound Towers" at the head of the esplanade have also been replicated. I'm not sure if the "Sound Towers" are to be operational as they were for the Centennial Public Address system speakers.

One of the stories about the reasons for the permanency of the exhibition buildings was that Architect George Dahl found that it was actually less expensive to build them out of permanent materials (ceramic tile blocks) rather than temporary construction. Also unlike the temporary exhibit buildings which at most World's Fairs were intended for use for only a year or two at the most and then torn down, when the Texas Centennial Exposition (1936) and The Greater Texas and Pan American Exposition (1937) closed, the State Fair of Texas would resume in 1938 and the exhibit areas would be greatly improved with the new buildings.

Renovation of the interior of The Hall of State has also just recently been completed with the original paint color scheme restored. The Lecture Hall Theater on the lower level has also been restored to its original "Art Deco" theme and color scheme.

It has theater type seating for about 300 persons and a large stage which is used for various historical programs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wasn't aware that the Texas State Fair shut down for a couple of years, but it certainly makes sense.

Thanks for the info- it's appreciated!

Sounds like when passing through the Dallas area, paying a visit to see the restored buildings is worth the effort- even if the State Fair isn't underway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had wondered about the status of the Texas State Fair during the 1936 Centennial. The fact that it was not held does not really surprise me. I know that the New York State Fair was not held during a year or two in the WWI era amd agaim during WW2.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, the restored Esplanade is great! Along with restoring the historic pylons, sound boxes, sculptures, landscaping and lighting the city took the opportunity to install a pretty incredible fountain system that performs regularly for special events (State Fair, Fourth of July, Christmas). Unfortunately it doesn't yet run year-round due to cost, but it's a great start.

3777992841_bb5a5f81bf_z.jpg?zz=1

The Contralto and Countertenor sculpture were at one end of the Esplanade of State on two large pylons housing a speaker system for daily announcements. After the exposition, the plaster sculptures probably just crumbled apart. The reconstructed sculptures are bronze mounted on new 20 foot concrete pylons. The central pylon and cascading fountain were also restored/recreated. Although original to the 1936 design, the central pylon blocks the view of the Hall of State (it is said that George Dahl, general architect of the Centennial, added a pylon to block the Hall of State when the design of that building was given to another architect).

4371452173_d701c8bc53_z.jpg

The sound and light system was also restored along the length of the Esplanade:

4304221057_1bb4eb4bfa_z.jpg

New fountains:

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=UpUDSD27pVw

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=EwewB4uw1zo

Future projects:

-- Cleaning the Hall of State's (the exterior needs a good scrubbing)

-- Restoration of the bank of lights

-- Restoration of the Court of Honor

-- Recreation of the Ford Building

Esplanade%20Fountain.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DART opened the light rail station at Fair Park in 2009. It was designed to blend in to the surrounding architecture and sits at the historic streetcar entrance and main gate to Fair Park. During construction of the station, the original entrance gates and pylon were restored as well.

fairparkevening.jpg

3969471272_deb9cab3fe_z.jpg?zz=1

215336462_9d4483c332_z.jpg?zz=1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Over the past few months, some other news/happenings in Fair Park:

The Texas Museum of Automotive History opened in the Women's Building (original site of the Ford Building). They plan on staying in that building until the Museum of Nature & Science (today housed in both the original Natural History Building and Fine Arts Building) consolodates and moves downtown to the new Perot Museum of Nature & Science under construction. Once this happens, the auto museum can take over the original Fine Arts Building (recently known as the Science Place Museum).

http://www.tmah.org/

The Children's Aquarium at Fair Park recently reopened after a major renovation and slight expansion of the Aquarium Building.

http://www.childrensaquariumfairpark.com/

Nouveau 47, a new community theater group, recently started hosting productions at the Magnolia Lounge. Performance are held in the restored Margo Jones Theatre.

http://www.nouveau47.com/

The Top of Texas Centennial Tower is finally making progress for the Midway area. The 500-foot observation tower will open in 2013 when the Midway hopefully begins opening for the summer seasons.

towerfromfairperspective.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×