PHOTOS: See How Downtown Dallas Has Changed In These Historic Slides | KERA News

PHOTOS: See How Downtown Dallas Has Changed In These Historic Slides

May 17, 2019

When Mark Doty ran across a collection of 35mm slides that had been sitting in city of Dallas storage for decades, he had no idea if the scans would turn up anything interesting.

They most definitely did — including 1970s construction photos of City Hall, the iconic building designed by architect I.M. Pei, who died this past week.

Doty, the Dallas Historic Preservation's chief planner, had unearthed a trove of original images of downtown Dallas area streetscapes and skyscrapers dating from the 1970s through the early '90s.

Dallas Historic Preservation is letting KERA show a few of our favorites from the collection, which you can view in full on the department's Flickr account. The preservation folks have a few favorites, too — take a look at them in senior planner Jennifer Anderson's blog post.

We've included dates where they're known; not all slides were marked.

Dallas City Hall, 1500 Marilla
Dallas City Hall construction, 1974
Credit City of Dallas Historic Preservation

In the years after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and Jack Ruby gunned down Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of the Dallas Municipal Building , Dallas came to be known as "the City of Hate."

City leaders hated that label. Part of the plan to turn that reputation around was a fresh municipal building: Dallas City Hall. Construction began in 1972 after famed architect Pei — responsible for works like the pyramid at the Louvre in Paris, the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston and Dallas' Morton Meyerson Center — was chosen for the project.

The modernist building was completed in 1978 (this slide is from 1974). It sits at 1500 Marilla St., next to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center on the south side of downtown, visible on busy Young Street.

Here's what it looks like, via Google Street View. To explore City Hall's surroundings, use your cursor or finger to move the 360-degree image around. Tap the white arrows to move up and down the street and to turn corners:


Awalt Building, West End
Awalt Building, built in 1905
Credit City of Dallas Historic Preservation

Probably known best to downtown-dwellers the past several years as "home of the West End Chipotle," before that restaurant location closed, the 114-year-old Awalt Building operated as a furniture warehouse for decades. Now it's at the heart of the city's historic West End district, on Market and Pacific streets, near the DART West End station.

The building was headed for the wrecking ball to make way for a parking lot before it was rescued in the 1990s.

Here it is today:


Hart Furniture building, Elm and Harwood

The Hart Furniture store, date unknown
Credit City of Dallas Historic Preservation

One of downtown Dallas's oldest structures, this building opened in 1888, housing the Hart Furniture store for much of its life since. The store shut down in 1991 after 77 years in business, the Dallas Morning News reports. Located on the corner of Elm and Harwood, the Hart Funiture building's next-door neighbor is the equally historic Majestic Theatre.

Exterior renovation in recent years included paint removal, revealing the Italianate-style building's original red brick. 

Here it is today:


Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Pearl and Ross

This November 1979 slide below shows a couple of different points of interest within downtown's Arts District. Let's take a look.

Cathedral of the Virgin of Guadalupe, left, November 1979
Credit City of Dallas Historic Preservation

The cathedral on the left side of the photo opened in 1902, but its true history goes even further back. 

It was established as Sacred Heart Church in 1869. The first building opened in 1872 on Bryan and Ervay streets. And when it outgrew that modest structure, the cathedral was built on the current spot, on Ross Avenue and Pearl Street. The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart was dedicated in 1902.

In the 1970s, Sacred Heart and a nearby parish on Harwood Street, Our Lady of Guadalupe, merged, and the combined congregation made Sacred Heart its home. Then in 1975, Sacred Heart was renamed Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe — the Cathedral Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is the patroness of the Americas and a prominent religious figure in Mexican identity.

Also in the photo, in the background, you can see two towers in the middle of construction. The tower being built on the left is the JPMorgan Chase Tower. The fourth-tallest building in the city, the 55-story postmodern skyscraper helps define Dallas' distinctive skyline.  The tower under construction on the right is the 2100 Ross Avenue building. The two towers are connected by a skywalk.

Here is what the streetscape looks like today:

Bonus: Here's a photo from Instagram that shows the cathedral from the front.


Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture, Houston and Main

The date of this photo of the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture — formerly Dallas County's courthouse — is unknown. Besides the tint, there's a big difference between this vintage picture and the Street View image below it. Can you spot it?

Old Red Courthouse
Credit City of Dallas Historic Preservation

... See it yet? ...

It's the clock tower! The Romanesque red sandstone building was constructed in the 1890s with a clock tower, but officials removed it in 1919 after discovering major structural issues, afraid it might collapse in on the courthouse. It wasn't until 2007 that a reconstructed tower and clock were built back onto the top of Old Red. Now a museum, its latest construction project is a new roof.

The Magnolia/Mobil Oil Pegasus

This is a tale of two Pegasuses (or, depending on your source material, Pegasi).

A red neon Pegasus was placed on top of the Magnolia Oil building, now the Magnolia Hotel, in 1934. Photo date unknown.
Credit City of Dallas Historic Preservation

In 1934, a rotating, porcelain-and-neon flying horse was perched on top of the Magnolia Oil headquarters on Commerce and Akard streets. It was the crown on the the tallest building west of the Mississippi River for some time. Mobil Oil absorbed Magnolia in 1959, and Mobil took on the red Pegasus as its logo. It was one of the most iconic corporate symbols of the 20th century.

The building became the Magnolia Hotel in the 1990s, and the original Pegasus was replaced with a new one in 2000. The photo above is from sometime in the latter part of the century, showing a weathered and rusted Pegasus. And for about 12 years, that original horse sat waning in a shed, even going missing for a while. Then it was found, restored, mounted on a miniature oil derrick replica, and installed in 2015 on the lawn of the downtown Omni Dallas Hotel. 

Today, the city and its residents has adopted the Pegasus as its collective emblem.

In this Street View, you can see the new Pegasus on top of the Magnolia Dallas Downtown, looking up from Jackson Street:

Here's the original Pegasus on the lawn of the Omni hotel:

Bonus: Here's an Instagram photo of the original on the Omni Dallas lawn, and here's one of the new Pegasus atop the Magnolia.

Adolphus Hotel, Commerce and Akard

This December 1974 photo opens up a tale of two hotels.

Adolphus Hotel, front, and Baker hotel, right, on Jackson Street, December 1974
Credit City of Dallas Historic Preservation

It was taken from Jackson Street looking northwest toward Commerce Street. You can see the Adolphus Hotel, which opened in 1912, straight ahead.

The Beaux-Arts style Adolphus has been one of the places to be and stay in Dallas ever since:

  • In the Roaring '20s and into '30s, the hotel's Century Room nightclub hosted standing-room-only acts like the Andrews Sisters, Tony Bennett and Benny Goodman.
  • Local radio station KRLD 1080 AM began airing from the hotel in the 1930s, featuring stars like Bob Hope and Kate Smith for in-studio appearances.
  • From 1930 to 1965, the Century Room housed a retractable ice rink used for touring ice revues.
  • Guests have included presidents — Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush — in addition to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.

On the right side of the image, the structure festooned with holiday garland is what used to be the Baker Hotel.

In the Street View below, the Adolphus is still straight ahead but slightly obscured by tree coverage. The Baker Hotel was replaced with the Whitacre Tower, the white-colored building on the right, which houses AT&T's headquarters.

Notice the Jackson Street sign in both the image above and the Street View below.

Speaking of the Baker Hotel ...

BONUS: Implosion of the Baker Hotel
The Baker Hotel
Credit City of Dallas Historic Preservation

This slide did not explicitly say, the city's Jennifer Anderson warns, but this image appears to be of a crowd gathered to watch the implosion of the 54-year-old Baker Hotel, which took place on June 30, 1980. The camera appeared to snap just as the bottom of the building was beginning to crumble.

The Baker was the home of WFAA radio, and it was the place to stay on Texas-OU weekends, according to Dallas Public Library's Texas Archival Resources Online. Its Peacock Terrace Ballroom hosted big-name swing bands of the '20s and '30s. And long before J.R. Ewing, the Petroleum Club met at the Baker. 

Here's a 3D aerial image showing the AT&T headquarters — it's the building in the middle with the blue dot — where the Baker Hotel once stood. 

Screenshot of Google Earth's 3D rendering of downtown Dallas. AT&T's headquarters is the tower with the blue logo, center.
Credit Google Maps / Google Earth

Enjoy more photos from the city's historic preservation department on their Flickr account here.