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Dallas, Texas
National Historical Landmark

FAIR PARK

by Clint Skinner

13. Tower Building

Located to the right of the Hall of State, the Tower Building was designed by Donald Nelson, the man chosen to be the chief architect for the exposition. George Dahl picked Nelson because he had previously worked on the 1933 Chicago Fair. The architect made the building the tallest structure at the event with a height of 179 feet, allowing it to serve as the geographic center of the centennial celebration.

Dallas Fair Park -  The tower of Tower Building
The tower
Photo courtesy Clint Skinner, February 2016

The tallness of the building is attributed to the tower in the front. At the very top is a gold eagle designed by Raoul Josset and sculpted by Jose Martin. Both sides of the Great Seal of the United States present themselves beside the tower above the two entrances. Along the building's sides, a massive bas-relief frieze divided into three sections covers a total of 175 feet. The left section shows explorers, missionaries, settlers, historical figures, and a depiction of the Texas Revolution. The central area provides representations of the different industries and institutions necessary for a strong foundation. The right section tells about the pioneer days, the introduction of the railroad, the Civil War, the cattle industry, and the establishment of colleges and universities. The entire thing was sculpted by Julian Garnsey.

Dallas Fair Park - Gold eagle atop the  Tower Building
Gold eagle designed by Raoul Josset and sculpted by Jose Martin.
Photo courtesy Clint Skinner, February 2016
Dallas Fair Park - Tower Building
The Tower Building at Fair Park
Photo courtesy Clint Skinner, February 2016

Born in New York City, Julian was the son of a painter and muralist. He often worked with his father on projects, learning the trade in the process. After graduating from Harvard University with an architecture degree in 1909, he studied art in New York and Paris. Julian returned to his father and worked with him until he volunteered to fight in World War I. He then moved to California and served as the art director for the movies The Idle Rich and A Trip to Paradise. He also became president of the Los Angeles Architectural Club, California Water Color Society, and California Arts Club. In 1942, he joined the staff of Princeton to teach architecture. In addition to his work at Fair Park, he was well-known for his murals for Union Depot in Ogden, Utah, painted ceilings of the Powell Library at UCLA, and murals at the Hawaiian Electrical Company Building in Honolulu, Hawaii.

1936 Texas  Centennial  Exposition  in Dallas aerial photo left enlarged
#14 - Federal Building
(1936 Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas - Aereal photo left)
Click on image for full view
Courtesy Sarah Reveley
Known as the Federal Building when it first opened for the exposition, the structure housed thirty-five exhibits advertising government agencies. Visitors who entered the pavilion had to walk through a rotunda featuring four murals depicting the different regions of the nation. After the big event ended, the area past the rotunda was used for product and food vendors. The Federal Building was renamed the Electric Building in 1954. During this time, the exterior had a large clock and special lighted lettering to spell out the new name. Eventually, the place earned its current moniker as the Tower Building. The rotunda at some time in its long history displayed photographs of prominent, influential Texans who played an important part in the state's modern history. The exhibit space has been transformed into a food court after the building was remodeled in 1998. That same year, artist Robert Marshall made an exact replica of the gold eagle perched on top of the tower because the old one was too debilitated to restore. For the past few years, all the photographs posted in the rotunda have been placed in the food court. The building is also used as the headquarters for the City of Dallas Fair Park Administration.

October 23 , 2016
© Clint Skinner

FAIR PARK:
Fair Park - Attractions:
1. Fair Park Station
2. Main Entrance
3. Founders Statue
4. Women's Museum
5. DAR House
6. The Texas Vietnam Veterans Memorial
7. Sydney Smith Memorial Fountain
8. Music Hall
9. Fair Park Esplanade
10. Centennial Building
11. Automobile Building
12. Hall of State
13. Tower Building
14. Big Tex Circle
15. Grand Place
16. Old Mill Inn
17. Magnolia Lounge
18. Hall of Religion
19. African American Museum
20. Leonhardt Lagoon
21. Dallas Museum of Natural History
22. Science Place I
23. Children's Aquarium
24. Fair Park Bandshell
25. Texas Discovery Gardens
26. WRR Headquarters
27. Science Place II
28. The Texas Star
29. Cotton Bowl Stadium
30. The Texas Skyway
31. The Embarcadero
32. The Creative Arts Building
33. Food and Fiber Building
34. Pan American Arena
35. The Woofus
36. The Swine Building
37. Briscoe Carpenter Livestock Center
38. Livestock Pavilion and Arena
39. The Horse Barn
40. Fair Park Coliseum
41. Top of Texas Tower


References:
1.Bigtex.com
2.Dallashistory.org
3.Dallas Morning News Archives
4.Fairpark.org
5.Slate, John H. Historic Dallas Parks. Arcadia Publishing, 2010.
6.Tshaonline.org
7.Watermelon-kid.com
8.Wikipedia.org
8.Winters, Willis Cecil. Fair Park. Arcadia Publishing, 2010.

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