The Hilton Hotel, Main & Harwood

by Paula Bosse

hilton-hotel_1930_portal_smThe Hilton, Main & Harwood, 1930 (click for much larger image)

by Paula Bosse

When Conrad Hilton built the Lang and Witchell-designed Hilton Hotel in Dallas in 1925, it was the first hotel he had built from the ground up. It’s been through several name changes over the years (its White Plaza Hotel incarnation was its longest), and, remarkably (for Dallas), the building still stands — it is now Hotel Indigo

Above, a photo from 1930, with so much going on, it’s worth zooming in to see some of the details. All images are pretty big when clicked.

The left side of the photo shows Main Street looking west.

hilton_1930_det-1

I’m not sure what’s going on with the man at the curb — construction? Street cleaning? And I’ve looked and looked at that small tower-like thing on the corner but can’t figure out what it is. (UPDATE: Ha! Thanks to a helpful comment below, I now see that this “tower” which was confusing me so much is, not, in fact, an odd structure set on the sidewalk but is — of course! — a traffic light suspended above the street!) (UPDATE #2: I think another commenter was right when he said it is a uniformed telegram boy at a bicycle stand. I’ve never considered that telegram offices would have had bike stands — but of course they would!)

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The right side shows Harwood looking north.

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Here are the businesses listed in these blocks in 1930:

hilton_main_1930-directory1930 Dallas directory

hilton_harwood_1930-directory1930 Dallas directory

As a bonus, here’s a photo of the hotel in 1925 1927, taken from the steps of the Municipal Building (then the city hall), with a crowd looking toward the building. (UPDATE #3: yet another comment — see below — identifies this as a crowd watching famed flagpole-sitter Shipwreck Kelly doing his flagpole thing on top of the Hilton in 1927. The top of the this photo has been cropped.)

hilton-city-hall_1925_dmn-blog

hilton_1925_dmn-blog_det.JPG

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Top photo from the Texas Historical Commission Historic Resources Survey Collection, via the Portal to Texas History, here.

Second photo from Steve Brown’s Dallas Morning News Biz Beat Blog story “Historic Downtown Dallas Hotel Indigo To Get Makeover” (June 30, 1914), here.

The Wikipedia entry for Dallas’ first Hilton Hotel (not to be confused with the Statler-Hilton of the ’50s) is here.

The Hotel Indigo website is here.

All images larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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