by Paula Bosse
A nice view of Main Street, looking west toward the probably pretty new courthouse (built in 1892). Streetcars, the St. George Hotel, the North Texas Building, the Trust Building. Much the same shot is seen in this photo from 1954 (more buildings, less sky).
I hope citizens back then weren’t getting too attached to that beautiful clock tower, because it would go bye-bye in April, 1919 after it had been determined that it might be on the verge of collapse.
From The Dallas Morning News, Jan. 22, 1919:
COURTHOUSE TOWER IS ORDERED REMOVED
Believing the courthouse tower to be a nuisance to the safety of persons in the building, the Commissioners Court yesterday ordered H. A. Overbeck, architect, to prepare specifications for its removal. The tower will be leveled off even with the balcony.
Mr. Overbeck recently made an inspection of the tower, reporting that while there is no immediate danger, it is altogether advisable that the tower be demolished, as a strong windstorm might cause it to collapse. The walls have numerous cracks in them, the sandstone is disintegrating in places, and some of the iron supports are rusted and deteriorating, he said.
The work of removing the tower will begin as soon as Mr. Overbeck can complete the necessary plans.
It wasn’t even 30 years old. The tower came down a few months later at a cost to the county of $10,000 (the equivalent today of about $153,000).
From The Dallas Morning News, April 20, 1919:
COST $10,000 TO REMOVE COURTHOUSE TOWER
The work of razing the courthouse tower was completed this week, and workmen yesterday began tearing down the scaffold and improvised elevator shaft which had been erected to facilitate the removal of the large quantity of stone and steel contained in the old tower.
It is estimated that there were close to 75 tons of material in the tower. It cost the county $10,000 to have it removed.
But, oh dear — it looked bad without the tower. Real bad. …I mean REAL bad.
But, thankfully, the Dallas County Courthouse got a brand new clock tower in 2007, and Old Red looks beautiful again!
Sources & Notes
Images from eBay.
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