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Dallas, Texas
National Historical Landmark

FAIR PARK

by Clint Skinner

9. Fair Park Esplanade

Dallas TX - Fair Park Esplanade
Fair Park Esplanade
Photo courtesy Clint Skinner, February 2016

Located behind Frank P. Holland Court, the Fair Park Esplanade refers to a 700-foot reflecting pool situated between the Centennial Building and Automobile Building with a sidewalk on both sides. It has a left pylon decorated with a bas-relief of a pegasus at the front and a pylon adorned with a bas-relief of a siren on the right. In front of each rectangular structure, a fountain decorated with a shell design sprouts water into the pool. At the other end, a tall monolith with a small fountain has two human statues standing next to it.

Between the two extremities is a collection of 272 water jets capable of spraying one hundred feet into the air. The jets work together to perform a dancing waters show every thirty minutes. During special events, they are accompanied by music and special lighting around the pool. Lasers and pyrotechnics join the shows during the nightly performances at the state fair.

Dallas TX - Fair Park Esplanade
Fair Park Esplanade
Photo courtesy Clint Skinner, February 2016
1936 Texas  Centennial  Exposition  in Dallas aerial photo left enlarged
No. 4 - Esplanade and Reflecting Basin
(
1936 Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas - Aereal photo left)
Click on image for full view
Courtesy Sarah Reveley
The Fair Park Esplanade was built specifically for the centennial exposition. Unfortunately, many of the features mysteriously disappeared over the years or deteriorated with the passage of time. Efforts to restore the esplanade to its former glory began in 2008, funded through a bond election which took place two years later. The project's cost exceeded thirteen million dollars, which was the price of installing the dancing fountains. Workers added benches, landscaping, scoop lights, the monolith, and the pegasus pylon. David Newton recreated the two human statues named Tenor and Contralto, representing a male and female athlete respectively. No one knows what happened to the originals. They simply vanished. The statues were the work of Lawrence Tenney Stevens, one of the main artists who contributed to the centennial celebration.

Lawrence Stevens spent his early life in Massachusetts, where he developed a love for sculpting and increased his skills throughout his school years. After graduating, he attended the Boston Museum School before volunteering for World War I. He returned from the war and managed to complete his education while spending time at the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation. In 1922, he won an art contest that rewarded him with a fellowship to study sculpture at the American Academy in Rome. After his return from Italy, Stevens decided to use his artistic skills to glorify the American West and provoke patriotism. He started in New York, but moved to South California. However, he spent his summers in Wyoming, where he focused on sculpting figures identified with the Old West such as ranchers, cowboys, farmers, and broncos using an assortment of clay, bronze, marble, and other materials. Lawrence's extensive artwork gained lots of attention, resulting in his commission for the exposition.

September 25, 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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