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Dallas, Texas
National Historical Landmark

FAIR PARK

by Clint Skinner

15. Grand Place

Grand Place is located to the right of the Tower Building. It currently stands on a section of ground that was called Smokey Row during the early 1900s. When the state fair was taking place, local churches set up food vending tents all next to each other. The cuisine provided was completely fresh, most of it cooked on open grills for the public to consume. All the smoke billowing into the air from these grills obviously led to the use of the area's nickname.
Dallas Fair Park Grand Place
Grand Place
Photo courtesy Clint Skinner, February 2016
In preparation for the centennial celebration, an exhibition building was constructed for the Ford Motor Company. The air-conditioned structure covered an area of 55,000 square feet, making it the biggest private exhibitor building at the event. Out of all the features at the Ford Building, the most famous, significant attraction was the display of the first car which the company made. When the centennial was over, the park repainted the structure and called it the Pan-American Building so it could be used for the exposition scheduled to take place the following year. Workers tore it down later after the Pan-Am Exposition.
1936 Texas  Centennial  Exposition  in Dallas aerial photo
No. 15 - Ford Motor Building
1936 Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas
Click on image for full view
Courtesy Sarah Reveley
The Women's Building was erected in 1954 in the exact same spot as the Ford Building and even covered the same amount of space. It served as the place for quilting and cooking competitions during the state fair until the 1970s. During 1964, a historical marker honoring the role that women played during the Civil War in Texas was placed near the entrance. At an undetermined date, the name of the structure was changed to Grand Place. It became a place for individuals to sell their products.

In 2009, Stephen Page made a deal with the Dallas Park Board. If he could open and operate his Texas Museum of Automotive History in a temporary building for a period of three years, the collection of classic cars could move into the facility which had previously housed the Science Place. The two sides agreed and work began on moving the museum's contents into Grand Place. The museum opened in 2010, displaying vehicles made throughout the twentieth century. Page contacted the Park Board about the possibility of a long-term contract that included the transferral into the Science Place building. Park and Recreation Director Paul Dyer met with him to discuss the matter but no progress was made. Tired of waiting for a written commitment for the move, the museum's owner decided to leave the park for good. The museum closed in 2011. Since then, Grand Place continues to be an empty shell until the merchants arrive for the state fair.

October 30 , 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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