Travel to U.S.: West: Downtown Dallas II
Downtown II is the downtown of office buildings, almost empty at night. It emerged in the 1970s and went through a long decline after the collapse of oil prices in the 1980s.
The city's skyline from the northwest, from a pond in the floodplain of the Trinity. One of the two confining dikes can be seen stretching behind the tree at the left.
A closer view, still from within the floodplain. The tallest building is the Bank of America building, from 1985. To its left, the square building with a steel tower is the Renaissance Tower of 1974. The glass-wrapped arrow is Fountain Place, from 1986. To its left is the pyramidal Trammell Crow Tower of 1985 and, behind it to the right, the keyhole-slotted JP Morgan Chase Tower of 1987. The skyline, in short, underwent massive revision in the early 1980s. Nothing over 300 feet has been built downtown since then.
From the Commerce Street Viaduct, the skyline is still dominated by the Bank of America, Renaissance, and JPMorgan towers. The names are less permanent than the buildings themselves: Bank of America was originally First Interstate Bank, the Renaisance was originally First International, and JPMOrgan Chase was originally Bank One.
The view from the historically important corner of Pacific Avenue and North Hawkins, where the first two railroads of Dallas crossed. The warehouse sits approximately on the site of the old station. Comerica (originally Bank One) is the barrel-vaulted tower on the left; the pyramidal Trammell Crow is on the far right. Behind the warehouse is the erstwhile Adam's Mark Hotel, once again a Sheraton, as it was when it opened in 1959 as part of Southland Center. Southland was originally an insurance company, but it grew to include the ice company that had itself grown to include 7-Eleven. The hotel is the biggest in Dallas.
Like many American downtowns, Dallas has a downtown that's wrapped in freeways. They're supposed to improve access, of course, but they also wall downtown off from the surrounding neighborhoods. In some cases, that's their intention--to protect businessmen from mostly black neighborhoods. In the process, they make downtown a pedestrian island.
A perfect example of an urban landscape hostile to human beings. Downtown is to the right; Uptown is to the left. To its credit, the city is now planning to build a 5-acre park that will roof this same freeway and provide a much better path for pedestrians.
The city's first skyscraper, the Praetorian Building of 1910, hides under a skin applied in 1960.
The Praetorian, here from another angle, has been empty since sometime in the late 1980s. Easy to overlook today, it must have once seemed huge in a city where most downtown buildings were like its neighbors shown here.
Southland Center, 100 feet higher than anything else in the city when it was built in 1959. The architect was Welton Becket, a prolific firm in California. Since this picture was taken, the hotel has been reflagged a Sheraton, which coincidentally is what it was when it opened fifty years ago.
The Bank of America Tower. A twin tower was planned but never built.
In different light.
Fountain Place, designed by Pei Cobb Freed.
All three of these buildings--JP Morgan Chase from 1986, the San Jacinto Center from 1982, and the Trammell Crow Building from 1985--were built by Trammell Crow. The central one is a copy of yet another Crow building, one in San Francisco. The church was built as the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and dedicated in 1902. In 1975 the nearby Our Lady of Guadalupe was closed and merged with the cathedral, which was renamed Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe. The white building to its right is the Belo Mansion, shown in the previous folder.
The former Grand Hotel, which opened as the Dallas Statler Hilton in 1956. It's been closed since 2001. Its flat-slab concrete floors were innovative.
Here it rises over the construction of an underground garage, which is to be roofed with a park.
The Reunion Tower, part of the Hyatt Regency Hotel from 1978. This was another Welton Becket project, 20 years after the Southland Center. The name Reunion comes from La Reunion Colony, a Fourier-style utopian venture in the 1850s.
The last gasp of a residential downtown: the grim Manor House of 1966. No new residential construction would take place downtown for another 40 years.
About as overbearing as a building can be: the aloof City Hall, designed by no less than I.M. Pei and opened in 1978.
The periphery of downtown has suffered, too, with the exception of the north side. Here: a motel on U.S. 80 a mile west of downtown.
A strip mall on the south side of downtown, perhaps a 10 minute walk from Neiman-Marcus.
Several miles to the south, at Hatcher and Harwood, the Southland Terraces were built mostly in 1926. Only 60 of the 230 apartments are presently occupied. Rents start at $300 a month. The local manager says, "It's tough, it's hard, it's nerve racking. And I go to bed crying many nights." A long time resident says, "These used to be beautiful." (Scott Goldstein in DMN, 25 Nov 06)
A motel on U.S. 77 north of downtown.
The swimming pool has been filled in and has become a little pasture.
Meanwhile, the Trinity flows along. A hotly debated plan has the city building a new bypass highway at the edge of the floodplain. I-35 is too congested, the argument goes, and the new road won't disturb plans for developing a park along the river.
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