1936 Texas Centennial Exposition


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Having lived in the North Texas area for a decent amount of time, I've visited this area several times (state fair is hosted here). I've always been fascinated by the art-deco design, but I have to admit it does seem a bit off (way too egyptian/greco roman).


It is now called Fair Park

I'll start with some images, in case you aren't familiar with the site. It was supposedly built to commemorate Texas' 100 year anniversary of independence from Mexico in 1836.



I am having some trouble seeing how these could possibly relate to Texas independence from Mexico...

Now for the most important bit - construction photos!

cap fair park.JPG

This was the only one I can find, it seems to be attached to this article but every link on the article is 404ed.
But just a few days ago, the inbox filled up with 25 photos of Fair Park when it was still a construction site, its steel, stone and fireproof clay blocks buried beneath scaffolding. I’d seen a handful of similar photos before — in Kenneth Ragsdale’s essential history The Year America Discovered Texas: Centennial ’36 and Fair Park, written by Park and Recreation Department Director Willis Winters. But never a stack this size. And never these particular photos — of Hall of State, the Federal Building (now known as the Tower Building), the long-gone Ford Motor Company Building and other landmarks still standing.

These photos “get rid of this idea that these were temporary buildings,” said Greg Brown, program director for the Dallas Center for Architecture. He hadn’t seen the photos until I emailed them over Friday.

“They were built to last,” he said. “They were built to stay. The fact we still have them is amazing. There’s no collection like them in the world. And they’re still amazing. And they need to be taken care of.”
Other than the link to these books, the links to the pictures and to the site linked to the photos are not accessible, as far as I can see. So the one thread that would satisfy my curiosity is lost in the internet hole. I mean seriously, that is such a gem of a find its insane to think that these pictures have just disappeared...

This article is also fairly interesting, along with giving some good closeups of the murals it also implies that some of these structures are older than the centennial event.
When the Dallas State Fair made its only appearance in 1886, the year before it merged to become the State Fair of Texas, one of the main attractions was a wooden structure called the Exposition Building, despite the fact that there was no exposition. Its 140,000 feet of space served as a marketplace for companies and individuals wanting to sell their products that included pianos, alcohol, clothing,trunks, jewelry, saddles, sewing machines, hardware, quilts, and tobacco. It became the perfect place for exhibits, meetings, reunions, and public events when not being used for the fair.

In 1902, a blazing fire burned the structure to the ground, forcing officials to build a new one. Construction began in 1905 and opened at its current location the following year. Everyone called it the Exposition Building for thirty years.
It is said that the architect is man named George Dahl, a famous Dallas architect. Upon further digging, I wasn't able to find any project notes that he was involved with these buildings in 1936, contrary to the Wiki article.

So what do we have here, folks? Another "temporary" city constructed for a celebratory event, which was spawned off an older site that was destroyed in a fire, replete with imagery that evokes symbolism not necessarily related to what the celebration was for.


Well-known member
Never really considered looking into 1930s expos, thank you for bringing it up.

By the way, what flags are those in the video below at about 1 minute into it? Additionally I find it interesting that video quality is worse than some of the 1900 Paris Expo videos.

Yeah, the image quality is lacking to say the least.

Here are some images I found of historical Texas flags related to independence.


I think the second image has it - - 2nd flag clockwise from the top.
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