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Dallas, Texas
National Historical Landmark

FAIR PARK

by Clint Skinner

2. Main Entrance

Fair Park currently has eleven entry gates and several parking lots around the perimeter of the grounds. Parking is free throughout the year with the exception of the state fair. During this time, the daily fee is fifteen dollars. Although parking can be found elsewhere for a cheaper price, the areas next to the fairgrounds provide extra security.

Although eleven entries currently exist, there were only four during the Texas Centennial. Out of the four, officials chose the entrance on Parry Avenue to serve as the main one. The ticket booths stood in the front at the current location of the train station. Nearby, the streetcars dropped visitors by the dozens to enjoy the spectacle of the exposition.

The main entrance was designed by a local architectural firm called Lang and Witchell, which also worked on the Dallas County Records Building, Magnolia Hotel, Dallas Cotton Exchange Building, and the courthouses of Cooke, Harris, and Johnson County. Patterned after the art deco style of the other buildings, the structures of the main entrance also share a similarity in how they were made. Dahl decided to use concrete blocks to make the various attractions at the fair, a brand-new building material at the time. However, he did not choose it primarily for this reason. The method was also considerably cheaper than the others available. This choice, perhaps unrecognized by Dahl at the time, helped contribute to the preservation of his work.

The block houses on the left and right, sporting the dates 1836 and 1936 respectively, had designs with a Southwestern motif added to them. Originally, they housed administration offices. They were later used as the place to buy tickets. However, when the state fair decided to use small trailers within the grounds for this purpose, the block houses became storage units.
Dallas TX - Fair Park main entrance 1836
Fair Park Main Entrance
Photo courtesy Clint Skinner, February 2016
Dallas TX - Fair Park main entrance 1936
Fair Park Main Entrance
Photo courtesy Clint Skinner, February 2016
Situated in the middle of the block house is tall pylon standing 85 feet high. It has a star attached at the top to symbolize the Lone Star State. The flagpoles behind the pylon were added in 1963.
Dallas TX - Fair Park main entrance
Fair Park Main Entrance - 85 feet pylon
Photo courtesy Clint Skinner, February 2016
Dallas TX - Fair Park main entrance frieze
The frieze on Fair Park Main Entrance
Photo courtesy Clint Skinner, February 2016
Near the bottom of the pylon is a piece of art that can easily be overlooked by those eager to enter the park. The bas-relief, a series of sculptures attached to the base to create a raised effect, covers all four sides of the monolith to form a horizontal decorative band called a frieze. Showing a scene of a wagon train and buffalo hunt, it was made by James Buchanan Winn, Jr.

Winn spent his youth in Celine, Texas before attending Washington University. After graduation, he studied art and architecture in the capital of France. He arrived in Dallas in 1923, painting mural for several places including the Dallas Medical Arts Building and Highland Park Village Theater. Winn left his Dallas home for a ranch in Wimberly, Texas and continued his artistic career, specializing in murals and bas-reliefs. His commissions included artwork for universities, colleges, banks, airports, and hotels. In addition to his assignments, he invented machines for the use of fiberglass and concrete. While residing in Wimberly, he helped organize the town's public schools and chamber of commerce.


September 4, 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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