Friends of Fair Park, 1121 First Ave., Dallas, TX 75210 (214) 426-3400

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Spirit of the Centennial Award Luncheon

Honoring outstanding Fair Park advocates since 1994


Friends of Fair Park cordially invites you to
Fair Park Spirit of the Centennial Award Luncheon
Tuesday, May 2nd, 11:30am – 1:00pm
Fair Park Music Hall

Award Honoree: Virginia Savage McAlester

On Tuesday, May 2, 2017, the Spirit of the Centennial Award will be presented to Virginia Savage McAlester.

The Spirit of the Centennial Award is presented annually by the Friends of Fair Park to individuals or organizations who have demonstrated outstanding service and commitment to Fair Park.

The luncheon at which we bestow the award is the largest fundraiser for Friends of Fair Park. We need friends and supporters like you to make it successful.

You can support this luncheon by:

  • becoming a sponsor (which includes a table of ten seats)
  • purchasing individual seats
  • buying individual raffle tickets or bundles of raffle tickets and be entered to win a suite to a professional sports game and other prizes

To become a sponsor (includes a table for ten), or purchase seats, for the next luncheon BY CHECK:

To become a sponsor or purchase seats (or buy raffle tickets in advance!) by BY CREDIT CARD:


Virginia Savage McAlesterVirginia Savage McAlester is a graduate of Harvard University and attended the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She has spent her professional life alternating between writing books and working on active preservation and planning projects. Virginia is proud to be a fifth-generation Dallasite — or at least was until she realized how crazed her forebears must have been to remain in Texas in the days before air-conditioning.

Her interest in historic homes and neighborhoods began in earnest when she and her neighbors decided to seek historic designation for their early twentieth-century neighborhood — Swiss Avenue, a part of Dallas' large 1905 Munger Place development. The neighborhood incorporated and formed a group that is today's Preservation Dallas.

They were asked to undertake an architectural survey of their neighborhood, but could find no book to help them identify the styles of homes they were trying to save. This led to the research for "A Field Guide to American Houses," a book that has been used for many architectural surveys and helped people across the country understand their own neighborhoods. In 2013, it was revised to include a study on newer neighborhoods and houses.

Preservation projects have included:

  • Organizing and running a revolving fund in Munger Place, a neighborhood of mostly American four square houses
  • Serving on Dallas' first Landmark Commission and on many subsequent terms
  • Chairing the 1990 Fair Park Development Plan

Her favorite preservation project has been her involvement with Fair Park, the site of the 1936 Texas Centennial Celebration. The park is arguably the world's most intact collection of art deco architecture, sculpture, murals and planning. Virginia was the initial founder of Friends of Fair Park. During her terms as president, she created and implemented the Texas Promenade fundraising project and worked to obtain National Historic Landmark status for Fair Park.

She has served on Dallas’ Urban Design Advisory Committee and the Forward Dallas steering committee. Her sixth book, "Great American Suburbs: The Homes of the Park Cities, Dallas," about the development of Highland Park and University Park, received an Award of Merit from the American Association of State and Local History.

For more information about the 2017 luncheon, please contact either:

Melissa Rieman (214-697-1015) melissa(at)

Craig Holcomb (214-457-2212) craigcholcomb(at)


1994 Judge David Fox
1995 Hugh and Matilda Robinson
1996 Walt Humann
1997 Lt. Governor Bob Bullock, Texas State Legislature
1998 Mary Ceverha, Rita Cox, Carol Reed
1999 State Fair Association
2000 Michael A. Jenkins
2001 Cathy Bonner, Matrice Ellis Kirk, Dealey Herndon, Candace O’Keefe
2002 Rep. Steven D. Wolens
2003 Paul Dyer
2004 Texas Instruments
2005 Rep. Terri Hodge
2006 The Field Scovell Family
2007 Craig Holcomb
2008 The Meadows Foundation
2009 Dallas Area Rapid Transit
2010 George A. Shafer
2011 Gold Metal Recyclers
2012 Joan & Alan Walne
2013 Mary Suhm
2014 WFAA-TV Channel 8
2015 James P. Graham
2016 Willis Winters
2017 Virginia Savage McAlester

Spirit of the Centennial