I’m going to let you in on a secret. Visitors to Dallas that love architecture, beautiful outdoor spaces, and want to learn a bit of Dallas history, go to Fair Park.
Fair Park is an urban treasure and notable destination for Art Deco architecture in the US. Though Miami may boast the largest collection of art deco architecture in the world, Fair Park has the largest collection of art deco exhibition buildings, art, and sculpture in the U.S.
It is one of the finest examples of excellent city planning and beautification of a public space to be found anywhere in the world.
Join me in a walk down the Esplanade at Fair Park
Fair Park is of significant historical value because it was the site of the 1936 Texas Centennial events and the State Fair of Texas has been held there every year for over 100 years.
Art Deco Treasure
The park is massive, at 277 acres. For the purpose of this photo essay, I’m only going to feature what is known as the Esplanade at Fair Park.
To me, the Esplanade is the real gem of the park. Built especially for the Centennial, the Esplanade features a 700-foot reflection pool and three fountains. During the State Fair of Texas and other special events, there are water shows set to a variety of music and lit by more than 170 lights.
Everything is bigger in Texas!
The reflection pool is flanked on each side by art deco buildings – each building has three huge porticos, adding to the feeling of expansiveness that is so much a part of the ambiance of Texas. The architect behind the design of the Esplanade, George Dahl, described the style of these buildings as “Texanic.” Even back in those days, “everything was bigger in Texas.”
Fabulous larger than life sculptures depict the six flags of the nations that once and now rule over Texas: Mexico, The Confederacy, Spain, France, The Republic of Texas and the United States. These sculptures can be found in the porticos in front of the buildings on either side of the Esplanade.
For the Texas Centennial, a team of international, national, and regional artists – including several winners of the prestigious Prix de Rome – assembled in 1936 to augment the Art Deco architecture.
The Hall Of State
A walk along the Esplanade should begin at the west entrance to the park on Parry Ave. and culminate at the Hall of State, an elaborate and regal art deco building that showcases the economic, agricultural, and social development of Texas.
Fair Park is a fantastic place for a walk – and more than any other place in Dallas, I believe it reflects the natural geography of the area in an aesthetically pleasing way. It’s now on my top five list of places I recommend to visitors to Dallas.
Here’s a link for a map and tour of the Esplanade.
Have you been to Fair Park? If you like this article you will enjoy my article on art deco architecture in Miami’s South Beach area.