Most of us are instructed early that, "It's not nice to keep secrets."
So I'm going to share with you some little secrets about Fair Park that escape the eyes of even many regular visitors. I'm also going to ask you to share with me those little odd, unnoticed aspects of the park that you find intriguing. Here we go:
You may have seen, just north of the Hall of State, a quaint replica of the Statue of Liberty holding a torch just like its namesake in New York Harbor. But this smaller version was not a gift to Fair Park from France.
In the 1950s, the Boy Scouts of America helped fund the creation of numerous Statue of Liberty replicas that they distributed across the United States in honor of scouting’s 40th anniversary. This is one of those replicas, made of stamped sheet copper by the Friedley Voshardt Foundry in Chicago.
However, you may not have noticed that the plaque beneath the statue mistakenly identifies it as the Allegorical Figure of the State Fair of Texas. That statue sits near the main entrance gate to the park grounds.
No one knows for sure, but it's surmised the Statue of Liberty replica once stood near the Allegorical Figure monument, and that when workers relocated Lady Liberty to her current location in 1978, they mistakenly relocated the plaque along with her.
Donald Barthelme, who designed the grand Hall of State, was deeply disappointed when he learned he would not be allowed to engrave his name on the building. The architect's response: I’ll show you.
Glance at the top of the structure and you’ll see the last names of 59 prominent Texans encircling it. Now look at the first letters of the first eight names, and you’ll discover they spell out B-A-R-T-H-E-L-M.
We surmise Barthelme decided to make the next name Burnet, because there was no other name on the list that began with ‘E,’ and from a distance, the ‘B’ would resemble the letter ‘E’ more than any other letter would.
Got a question about something unusual you’ve seen at Fair Park? Send it to me
Don’t be surprised if you stumble upon a bear cub as you saunter across the Fair Park grounds. The good news is, it’s not just harmless, it’s a symbol of peace.
The 84-pound sculpture was given by the people of Berlin to the people of Dallas in 1970, during the height of the Cold War and when Berlin was still a divided city. It was a token of good will created by German sculptor Hildebert Kliem, who was renowned for having restored many of the historical buildings in Germany that suffered damage during World War Two.
Why a bear? For more than 700 years, the black bear has been the unofficial mascot of Berlin, likely alluding to an ambitious 12th-century ruler of the region called Albrecht the Bear.
Fair Park contains many more secrets I’ll share with you in the future. Now that I’ve told you mine, you tell me yours.