environmentally conscious, state-of-the-art
standard against which future opera houses
will be measured.
Fair Park, Dallas, one of Dallas’ hidden treasures, is a central location to spend the day
relaxing and learning about the rich history
of Dallas. While many people associate
Fair Park with only concerts and the famous
Texas State Fair, there is actually much more
to this historically and culturally rich locale.
Fair Park is home to many beautiful native
and organic gardens, museums, and performance halls, but it also boasts some of the
finest art and architecture in the nation. As
a matter of fact, Dallas’ Fair Park holds the
designation of being a National Historic
Landmark due to it boasting the largest
collection of 1930s Art Deco architecture in
the United States, and it is the only unaltered
pre-1950s World’s Fair site in the nation.
The State Fair of Texas has called Fair Park
home since its inception in 1886 when the
Dallas State Fair Board of Directors voted
to purchase 80 acres of land and established
the fairgrounds. Now the largest annual
state fair in the United States, the State Fair
of Texas is the largest tenant of Fair Park.
In 1936, the city of Dallas was chosen
to host the State of Texas Centennial
Celebration. Architect George Dahl was
commissioned to rebuild Fair Park for
the event to the astonishing tune of $26
million—an outlandish price tag for the
Depression Era. Dahl was tasked with the
planning, designing and constructing with
only 14 months from conception to completion. With the help of 10 Dallas design
firms, Dahl and his team designed 26 major
buildings in nine months. Dahl took great
care to create a unique architectural look by
combining classic Art Deco designs of the
period with a Southwestern flare that interjected elements of Texas history.
The Hall of State building was designed
to be the architectural centerpiece of the
Exposition. At $1.3 million, it was the most
expensive structure per square foot ever
built in Texas at the time. Unlike past World
Fairs, the Dahl’s buildings were designed
and built to last. They remain a true treasure
to the city of Dallas and its residents.
Currently, Fair Park draws over seven
million people to ticketed events alone
and generates millions of dollars for the
city of Dallas annually. Superpages.com
Centre hosts over 40 concerts with nationally known stars each year. There are nine
museums and six performance halls located
at Fair Park, including the Science Place
and The Women’s Museum. There are
over 749,000 square feet of covered space
that can be used for conferences, exhibits,
markets, festivals and sporting events.
Fair Park has a wealth of history, art and
stunning architecture. The following is just
a brief peek at what Fair Park has to offer.
African American Museum
The African American Museum is the only
institution of its kind in the Southwest
dedicated to the preservation and display
of African-American artistic, cultural and
historical materials. It features one of the
largest collections of folk art in the nation.
The rich history of black art and culture
is stored in the four vaulted galleries,
augmented by a research library.
Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park
The Dallas Aquarium at Fair Park opened
in 1936 as part of the Texas Centennial celebration. Housed in its original Art Deco
building, the Aquarium is home to a varied
collection of thousands of aquatic animals,
including marine and freshwater fish,
reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates.
Dallas Historical Society
The Dallas Historical Society was organized
on March 31, 1922, by 101 prominent citi-
zens who wished to encourage historical
inquiry. In 1938, the Society assumed the
management of the magnificent Hall of
State at the request of the City of Dallas. The
Historical Society is the oldest historical orga-
nization in Dallas County that is committed
to preserving the area’s entire history.
Dallas Summer Musicals
For more than 75 years, the non-profit Dallas
Summer Musicals Inc. (DSM) has presented
the very best in Broadway to North Texas
audiences. Located in the historic Music Hall
at Fair Park, DSM promotes excellence in
live musical theatre with year-round performances for diverse audiences of all ages. Past
musicals have included Wicked, Disney’s The
Lion King, Kinky Boots and Pippin.
Museum of the American Railroad
The Museum of the American Railroad
possesses one of the most comprehensive
heavyweight passenger car collections in the
United States, with a complete pre World
War II passenger train including a Railway
Post Office and baggage car, coaches, lounge
cars, Pullman sleeping cars and a dining car.
African American Museum.
Photo by J. Griffis Smith courtesy of TxDOT