Dallas Historical Society Newsletter
May, 2008 
In This Issue
Dallas' Other Art Museum
Lost Forts Premier
Photo Archives
Downtown Dallas Tour
Quick Links
AFE Star 
Join Our Mailing List
The Hall of State: Dallas' Other Art Museum 
north texas

  I've had my office in the Hall of State now for about three months.  I have wandered the halls and rooms admiring the art, thinking of the work it took to make the art and of the artists and craftspeople how made it.  Little has changed in the building since 1936 when it opened.  The building was the focal point of the Texas Centennial: it held the Centennial's principal exhibit and, architecturally, it was so positioned at the head of a 2,100 foot esplanade containing a 700 foot reflecting pool with fountains, to be framed by pavilions and arched porticoes and highlighted by beams of light from behind.

If the Hall of State were in New York or Chicago or San Francisco, there would be lines of people trying to get in to see its fascinating interior.  Its artwork, bronze statuary and wood carvings cannot be topped. Statuary by Italian-born Pompeo Coppini, carvings by Dallas's own Dorothy Austin, murals by Tom Lea, huge 78 feet long murals done by Eugene Savage, Reveau Bassett and James Buchanan Winn, carvings by Lynn Ford, architect O'Neil Ford's brother, James Mahoney's twelve panels on silver metal, the photographs of Polly Smith and much more.  The doors, walls and ceilings are covered with symbolic art.  And, outside, at the building's entrance, is Allie Tennant's majestic "Tejas Warrior."

The Hall of State is called. Streamline Moderne style of Art Deco.  Fair Park is the largest collection of Art Deco buildings in the country.  When the DART rail line comes to Fair Park next year and the restoration of the esplanade is complete, Fair Park will be the place to go and the Hall of State will be a must. It's worth the visit.

-Dr. Tom Smith
Lost Forts Premier 
Thursday May 15th from 6 PM till 9 PM the DHS in conjuction with Sterling Bank will host the world premier of a Texas documentary film "The Lost Forts: Fort Chadbourne.".

A reception will begin at 6 PM in the Great Hall and run until 9 PM. There will be a reception with live 19th century music.

 The films creator David Carter, of Dallas and Garland Richards, owner of Ft. Chadbourne will speak briefly about the film's development and the status of the historic forts in Texas. Once the film is shown it will be followed by a brief question and answer session to end the evening.

 Tickets will be $10 for non-members and free for all members. As seating is limited, advance reservations are recommended. The evenings entertainment is generously supported by; Frazer Brothers Sutlery, of Dallas.

The Hall of State:  A Treasure Trove of Dallas History and Culture.

This month we will focus on some of the many programs and allurement of the Hall of State, home of the Dallas Historical Society.
-By Ed Owens
  Since August of last year I have been scanning and saving into our server thousands of photographs. Now all of these photos are of historical importance, but most of them are not particularly interesting, a lot of snaps of unidentified buildings and landscapes.  However, every once and a while I strip-mine a gem out of the slag. Such was the case a few weeks ago when I cataloged the glass plates of a Mr. Joseph W. Bartlett.

   Mr. Bartlett, of 584 Swiss Avenue, was a Dallas lawyer during the late 19th and early 20th century, but his passion seemed to have been taking photographs of his family, 827 to be exact. I did much moaning as I plowed through the boxes containing Mr. Bartlett's 4x5 glass plates because they all seemed to have the same theme, "girl setting in wicker rocker on porch", or "woman and girl setting on porch". Then about a third of the way into the project I realized that what I was doing was watching a family grow up. I watched his daughter Gertrude grow from a tomboyish little kid with dirt on her face to a lovely young woman. I saw them move into their new home on Swiss Avenue, where on a very snowy day in December, they all huddled together on the porch while Father took another picture. The family dog, a black lab, knew one trick, setting up, which he did in every photograph.

   Mr. Bartlett and his brother Fred, also a lawyer, worked at the National Exchange Bank on Main Street, where in 1902 he took several great photographs of the Confederate Reunion Parade. Including one of an old fellow on crunches in a Confederate Veteran's uniform.

 When I began scanning the glass plates, I saw a number of photos of Mr. Bartlett mother and father, but those pictures stopped about half way through. I watched Gertrude and her sisters grow up and watch Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett grow old. The number of children in the photos got fewer as time when by. The black dog was replaced by a white with spots who also learned one trick, setting up.


At the end I of the project I was left with the words of an old song:


"  ... or are you a stranger without even a name

 Enshrined there forever behind a glass pane

 In an old photograph torn and tattered and stained

 And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame. "

Rediscovering Downtown Dallas!

Saturday-  May 10

Does downtown intimidate you? When you drive through, are you so busy watching the traffic lights, pedestrians, and one-way street signs that you don't have time to look up at the buildings?

Climb aboard and be guided as you learn about the heart of the city. Our first stop: Dealey Plaza, where the city began!  We'll go inside the Old Red Courthouse. A few blocks away, we'll go inside the Texas Cable News building and the Belo building to view historic murals depicting the rich heritage of Texas.  

After lunch, and a brief walk amid the Skyscrapers we'll explore Pioneer Cemetery, where many of the founders of Dallas are buried, and get an up-close view of the bronze cattle crossing the stream in Pioneer Plaza.  Along the way we'll drive by the Farmers Market, Old City Park, the remains of "Theater Row," and we'll explore the Arts District, the State-Thomas neighborhood.

Historian and author Dr. Michael V. Hazel will be the tour guide.

Cost:  $35 for DHS members     $45 for non-members.
Lunch is included in the ticket price.
Payment at the time of requesting your reservation ensures a seat on the bus.
Date/Time:   Saturday-  May 10   Depart at 9:00 AM and return at approximately 2:00 P.M.
Reservations:  Call Rashunda Sims at 214-421-4500 x101 or email  Rashunda@dallashistory.org for more information or to make your reservation.
Location:  Depart the Hall of State-  3939 Grand Ave. Located in Fair Park in Dallas.
If we may be of service to you in the future with discovering our past feel free to contact, visit or join the DHS.
The Dallas Historical Society