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Fair Park’s Art & Architectural Highlights

Explore our National Historic Landmark


DALLAS ARCHITECT GEORGE DAHL SERVED AS GENERAL PLANNER FOR THE 1936 CENTENNIAL EXHIBITION AT FAIR PARK

In its "Places of a Lifetime" series, National Geographic Traveler magazine wrote:

"Fair Park is much more than an assemblage of buildings; it's a district telling dozens of stories from dozens of cultures . . . Architect George Dahl employed this majestic design, infusing it with elements of Southwestern art on existing and new buildings, and the overwhelming success of the centennial – six million people visited, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt – helped pull Dallas out of the Depression.”

Dahl divided the Centennial Exposition into four sub-districts, still evident today:

THE ESPLANADE
The formal, symmetrical Esplanade (1936) features a 700-foot-long reflecting pool flanked by six statues representing the six nations that once ruled Texas. Its architectural highlights (spotlighted in our Esplanade walking tour) include:
THE LAGOON
Fair Park’s naturalistic lagoon has museum buildings set informally around it. Its architectural highlights (spotlighted in our Lagoon walking tour) include:
THE AGRARIAN DISTRICT
This section ironically portrays a very urban feel. It houses the livestock facilities and exhibit halls along Nimitz Drive. Some of the Agrarian District's architectural highlights (also featured in our Esplanade walking tour) include:
THE MIDWAY
This popular playground has as its most striking monument the giant Texas Star Ferris wheel, the second largest Ferris wheel in the world. The Midway also houses during the State Fair of Texas several amusement park rides and games of chance.

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