The National Geographic post Free Things to Do in Dallas has been getting a lot of views, so I thought it would be fun to follow it with a collection of my photos from various walks around downtown Dallas.
Most people think of Dallas as the land of cowboy hats, oil wells, and big hair. A brash new city, where you are tested to find culture or history. Much to my surprise, I’ve been finding all kinds of architectural gems tucked into the landscape of Dallas.
The area known as the Main Street Historic District is a great place to begin your walk. Start at the corner of Harwood St. and Main St. at the Dallas the Municipal Building. Once a jail, it’s where they took Lee Harvey Oswald when he was arrested for shooting President Kennedy. It’s also where he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby. A bit of Dallas I had forgotten, but re-learned while doing the research for this story.
Across the street you see Main Street Garden , Dallas’ answer to an urban park. There’s a small taco stand here where can stop for a drink or snack. Lots of people bring their dogs and kids here as well. This photograph was taken just before the Christmas holiday. If you look closely, you can see the Christmas tree in the center foreground.
The clock tower which you see in several photographs crowns what was originally the Mercantile Bank Building. The building was completed about 1942 and the current clock tower was added in 1958. It’s a downtown landmark, and one of my favorites.
On the east side of Main St. Gardens you’ll see this outstanding example of mid-century architecture. It was originally the Dallas Statler Hilton. It’s been vacant for some time now and in typical Dallas fashion there have been repeated attempts to tear it down. However, it now appears to be in the process of a makeover and whoever bought it has lit it from the inside with those cool blue lights. An interesting bit of history of the building, Tina Turner left her abusive ex-husband Ike sleeping in this hotel, when she finally left him, forever.
From the park, walk south on Main St. The entire Main St. Historic District can be seen in about a day. It’s an easy walk and there are plenty of restaurants and bars when you feel like taking a break. When the weather is nice you can enjoy an alfresco table.
The Wilson Building is my favorite in the area. I’ve photographed it many times trying to find the perfect angle. I’ve always thought it had a distinctly European flavor to it. I like the rounded corners and the tall columns supporting it. Wiki says it was modeled after the famous opera house, The Palais Garnier, in Paris, France. I don’t think it’s quite as opulent but at the time of it’s completion,it was the tallest building in Dallas, and considered a premier commercial building. It was completed in 1904.
The landmark Neiman Marcus luxury retailer is across the street. I recommend stopping in at Porta di Roma, the restaurant on the ground floor of the Wilson Buildinga nd having a glass of wine, as this is a great corner for people watching.
The Kirby Building is sort of a sister building to the Adolphus Hotel. Completed in 1913, it is historically known as the Busch building because it was developed by Adolphus Busch of the famous Anheiuser Busch brewery. It’s now a luxury residential building.
One block over on Elm St. is the Majestic Theater. The interior is extremely ornate and I recommend you try to see it. It’s done in a Baroque style, with beautiful crystal chandeliers, a double marble staircase and lots of gold leaf. It is still a functioning theater, hosting live acts and cultural events, so you may have to plan a visit on the evening of a performance.
This is just a small sample of the interesting, historical buildings I’ve discovered in Dallas. I’ll be creating a future post with many more photographs of buildings I have not included here.
If you are interested in walking the area here’s a link for a google map.
I’ll finish my walk with this photograph of a big Texas sky. It’s a rare day we don’t have some good cloud action in Dallas. When I see a storm coming in, or a particularly beautiful sky, I try to go for a photo walk because, let’s face it, a good sky makes for a better photograph.
If you have any questions about any of the buildings or photographs send me an email. Love to hear your comments as always.
All materials copyright Penny Sadler 2013. All rights reserved.