An Incredible View From Republic Tower 2 — 1968
by Paula Bosse
Photo by Bill Parrish, 1968, used with permission (click for larger image)
by Paula Bosse
On August 15, 1968, teenager Bill Parrish — a former Dallasite who was back in town on a visit — was surprised to see that a new building has sprung up since he’d left: the 50-story Republic Tower 2 (built in 1964), the much-taller sister-building to one of Dallas’ most famous skyscrapers, the 36-story rocket-topped Republic National Bank Building. He wondered if he could get to the top of the building to take some photos. Bill remembers the day clearly:
“I lived in Dallas until I was 9 years old, at which time we moved to Palo Alto, Califorinia. I spent the summer of 1968 at Texas A&M in an engineering program for high-ability science students. My parents picked me up in College Station and we came back via Dallas. I was a ‘tourist who used to live there’ and wanted some shots to remember the city by — even as a teenager. I had a fairly good camera, and I knew how to take pictures, having done photojournalism in high school. Also, I remembered how much fun I had living in Dallas, so maybe I was looking at the city a little differently.
“We stopped in Dallas for a few days on the way back, and we spent one day downtown visiting old haunts. My dad and I were in our suits, and we went to the new (to us) Republic Tower 2 and rode the elevator to the top and asked around if we could take some shots out of some windows. Some very nice folks allowed us to use an office that was currently not being used. A number of shots were made from the same office. I think we were in and out in about 5 minutes — I remember the folks up there were very nice to us … considering we just ‘dropped in.’
“I just wish I had shot like 3 rolls of film — like inside the Mercantile lobby, inside Titche’s, and inside Neiman’s. I would have shot stuff at Walnut Hill Village, Marsh Hill Village, in the terminal at Love Field, at my old school, peoples’ houses I remembered, restaurants, etc. if I had known they would be of value in 50 or so years.
“I guess the takeaway is that today if something catches your eye, shoot it (with your phone even), and archive it so it can be found later… and don’t throw away old pictures! You may not be able to keep everything, but be careful about what might be of value to someone.”
Below are some of Bill’s really, really wonderful photos taken on that summer day in 1968 from a top floor of the tallest building in Dallas. (Many of these are HUGE. Click to enlarge.)
The office Bill shot from; his aluminum camera case is on the windowsill.
The original be-rocketed Republic National Bank Building on the left, the taller Republic Tower 2 in the middle.
Sources & Notes
All photos in this post by Bill Parrish, used with his permission. They first appeared in the Retro Dallas Facebook group.
During this short trip to Dallas, Bill’s family also shot some home movie footage, which can be seen here.
Below, a Google map showing the Bill’s general view of the photos looking over Pegasus to Oak Cliff:
Some photos by a different photographer, taken from the top of the Republic Center Tower II (its official name) in 2007, can be seen here. A couple of the photos show the exact same shots Bill took. A lot can happen in 40 years!
The Wikipedia page for Republic Center is here; the official Republic Center site is here (worth checking out if only to see the BEAUTIFUL shot of the two buildings, including the re-lit “rocket” tower).
My previous post, “The Republic National Bank Building: Miles of Aluminum, Gold Leaf, and a Rocket,” is here.
All of Bill Parrish’s photos are very large. Click to see some of them much, much larger!
Thank you so much, Bill, for sharing these fantastic pictures. The photo at the top is now one of my favorite-EVER shots of the Dallas skyline!
Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.
Very nice and informative write-up Paula and kudos to Bill for taking such great photos back then. Too bad we didn’t have digital cameras back then. I suspect we would have lots more photos of the places we remember so well, but can not longer see them (i.e. Vickery Park Swimming Pool, Cotton Bowling Palace, Roscoe White’s Corral, etc., etc, etc.).
How can I contact the photo owner for a documentary usage?
Hi, Lin. Please contact me at FlashbackDallas214@gmail.com with your contact info, and I will pass it along to Mr. Parrish. Thanks! Paula
[…] There’s also a great photo of this which I included in one of my favorite Flashback Dallas posts, showing the rocket and searchlight from above, taken in 1968 from Republic Tower 2, here. […]
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Hey Paula, regarding the photos from 1968 of the Republic Bank tower, I can remember back before the 1st National Bank Building and Republic tower 2 when the searchlight on the bank tower rocket pylon was allowed to sweep 360 degrees. This was a real searchlight like the ones that had been in military use and easily remember seeing the beam across the sky overhead at night from where I lived over by Thomas Jefferson HS. That was SOME light!!!
Hey, Bill! I wrote about that death-ray beacon: https://flashbackdallas.com/2015/10/24/the-republic-bank-buildings-death-ray-beacon/