Downtown Dallas, Last Week

by Paula Bosse

ervay-north-from-commerce_det_052417_bosseSo many architectural styles! (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Last week I went downtown to check on the restoration of the St. Jude Chapel mosaic (I’ll write about that soon…). Sadly, I’m hardly ever downtown, so I took the opportunity to walk around a bit and was struck by how much construction and beautifying is going on. Parts of it are verging on the overly hipsterized, but, generally, downtown is looking better these days than I’ve ever seen it.

I parked at an incredibly affordable parking garage behind Neiman’s — Dal-Park on Commerce just west of Ervay (you do not have to be a Neiman’s customer to park there). Three bucks! (Just drive slowly on your way out — it’s kind of cool, but it’s like going down a spiral staircase … in a car.)

One of the first things you see when you emerge from the parking garage is the Mercantile Building. I never tire of seeing this building. (All photos in this post are much larger when clicked.)

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Head north on Ervay from Commerce and you see that great view seen in the top photo — it’s kind of crazy to see so many wildly different styles of architecture, from so many eras all clustered together: the Neiman Marcus building (opened in 1914) on the left, the Wilson Building (1904), 211 N. Ervay (1958), the Republic Bank Building (1954), Thanksgiving Tower (1982), and just out of frame to the right, the Mercantile Bank Building (1943). Too bad the Old Red Courthouse (1891) is in the other direction! 

Heading up Ervay from Commerce, Neiman’s takes up the whole block to your left. The display windows on this side might not get the glory of the Main Street side, but the display seen in the photo below is great. I chuckled to myself when I realized that the star of a Neiman Marcus window was corrugated cardboard. But those dogs are fantastic! The name of the Dallas artist who made them is Loran Thrasher and you can see other examples of similar works at his website — click on “Installations” (those poodles!!).

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As you approach Main Street you see this elegant sign (Neiman-Marcus, for me, will always have that hyphen in it!). (See what this block looked like around 1920, looking south from Main, here.)

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Turn left on Main, and you’ll see this wonderful building across the street, just west of Stone Place — it’s one of the oldest buildings downtown, built sometime between 1892 and 1899. (I wrote about this building — and its two immediate neighbors — here.) I love this building which was very nicely restored by the fine folks at Architexas about 15 years ago.

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After admiring the Sol Irlandes building I turned around to see this surreal sight several stories above street-level.

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It’s an infinity pool — part of the Joule hotel (see what the pool looks like from up there here). It was pretty odd. If I felt a twinge of vertigo looking at this from the ground, I can’t even imagine how I would handle looking down. If the view isn’t obstructed, those brave swimmers can get a pretty good look at Pegasus (who is probably also a little concerned). This must be quite a sight at night.

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Just to the right of the Magnolia Building, you can see the Adolphus peeking through.

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One of the most impressive buildings in Dallas is the Wilson Building, at Main and Ervay (…and Elm and Ervay). It’s even more impressive when you see it up-close. I love seeing all these intricate decorative details on a building so unlike anything else in Dallas. (See what it looked like under construction in 1902 here.) Thank you, Sanguinet & Staats, for building us such a lovely architectural landmark.

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I decided to walk over to see how work on the Statler was coming, so I headed to Main Street Garden Park. This photo isn’t the best, but I wanted to get the Municipal Building (which is currently being restored to its original 1914 grandeur) in the same shot. The Statler is coming along nicely and should be open soon. I’ve always wanted to see inside that building. (Even if it no longer has its original heliport!)

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Speaking of the Statler Hilton Hotel (opened by Conrad Hilton in 1956), it’s nice to see that someone has repainted the “Hilt” on the side of what was the first hotel Conrad Hilton built anywhere, The Hilton Hotel, built at Main and Harwood in 1925 (it is now Hotel Indigo). (See the original “Hilton” sign in about 1925 here; it was repainted when it became the White Plaza a few years later.)

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I took the photos above from St. Paul, looking east. I turned around and saw this great view of the Merc! It looks good from every angle. (Here it is around 1942, looking west from Harwood.)

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It’s nice to see that so many of Dallas’ landmark buildings are still looking good — and it’s also a little strange seeing the places I read about and write about every day standing right in front of me. I need to get back downtown again soon — there’s so much more to see.

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All photos by Paula Bosse; they were taken on May 24, 2017.

All are much larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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