On Top of the World: The Southland Center
by Paula Bosse
by Paula Bosse
Here are a couple of cool, vertigo-inducing photos taken by Squire Haskins in 1958 or very early 1959 showing Southland Life Insurance executives and a crane operator perched atop the under-construction Southland Center, which included the Southland Life building (which was the tallest building in Dallas for a while) and the Sheraton Hotel. Once completed and opened in April, 1959, there was an observation deck at the top of the Southland Life building, offering an unequaled, unobstructed view of the city.
The building under construction in these photos is unidentified, but the familiar Sheraton logo seen elsewhere with the same men is a tip-off.
Here’s what it all looked like when it opened. Click to see a larger image.
Sources & Notes
Photos are by Squire Haskins, from the Squire Haskins Photography, Inc. Collection, Special Collections, University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. Info on the top photo can be found here.
Some of the men in the photos are Dan C. Williams (President, Southland Life), Ben H. Carpenter (Executive Vice-President), William H. Oswalt, III (Vice-President, Director of Project Development for Southland Center), J. E. Herndon, and “A. B.”
A related Flashback Dallas post — “Sheraton Dallas, Original Version — 1959” — is here.
Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.
Now if they would just reopen Ports O’Call
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It is not clear when the first two photos were taken but they were definitely taken from the top of the 42 story Southland Life building.
You can tell by the different clothes the men are wearing that the third photo was taken at a different time. Based on the other photos at the UTA digital archive and this DMN article – http://goo.gl/4wI8Hb – it looks like it was taken in January 1958 from the top of the 28 story Sheraton Dallas Hotel.
Yes, I realized the photo with the Sheraton flag was taken at a different time — I meant that it was obvious it was the same project (Southland Center) because the same group of men was seen in all the photos.
[…] See photos of the Southland Center under construction in the Flashback Dallas post “On Top of the World: The Southland Center.” […]
I texted Paula Bosse on the last information that was printed about the Southland. I would really like to find out some information. My father worked on the building when it was being built. He fell from a scaffold and died when I was 7 years old. He died April 1 1959. I would be truly grateful if someone would contact me.
Bobbie Keith Pearson
Who were the engineers, I wonder. I have a box awarded to my grandfather. an electrical engineer, marked “Southland Center April 1959” No stories came down to me. Was it an award, did he just visit? Roy R Burnham was his name. thanks for any info you can give
The AB on the hardhat attributed to the man (second from the right in the photo) is for the building’s contractor American Bridge, a division of U.S. Steel. If you look closer you will see a round emblem with USS above the AB. My father was a Dept Supervisor at the Orange, TX plant until he retired in 1980.
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