“Commerce Street looking west at St. Paul,” circa 1949
Share your own Ghosts of Dallas.
Yesterday on the DMN Opinion Blog, Rodger Jones wrote about taking a morning walk through Thanks-Giving Square.
Half the place looks like a kennel’s exercise yard — which is to say, pity the landscape crew that’s trying to grow grass under the dog droppings — and the other half is dominated by signs trying to keep the animals away.
Even though the park is half off-limits to dogs, that doesn’t prevent the kennel smell from lingering.
He proposes making the space a dog-free zone. I doubt that Patrick Kennedy, who wrote about Thanks-Giving Square’s problems last year in D Magazine, would agree with that proposal.
While Kennedy also was troubled by the amount of feces side-stepping necessary when navigating the area, he pointed to a couple of larger challenges. For one, the buildings that have gone up since the space was dedicated in 1976 have resulted in far more shade on the spot, which has led to erosion problems. And secondly, the walls that border the square have a way of detaching it from the surrounding area:
West Blast Investigation Continues, Children Head back to School: The center of the fertilizer factory explosion was located over the weekend. Media were allowed a look at the epicenter of the blast Sunday. In Dallas, a memorial for a local firefighter who died in the explosions. West students head back to school in nine nearby school districts. Donations to West have been strong. And, if you haven’t yet, check out Zac’s expanded reflections on his hometown on NBC.
Photos and Criticism of the New Bush Center: The Dallas Morning News has a special section dedicated to the new George W. Bush Presidential Center, which opens this Thursday. It includes a sneak peek, an interview with the ex-president, and the news’ new architecture critic’s first bow:
Designed by New York architect Robert A.M. Stern, it seems decidedly undecided about its place in the world, trading in the language of architectures past while claiming, without much conviction, the mantle of the present. Everywhere competent, it nowhere rises to a level of inspiration.
Trial Over Kaufman Slayings Will Likely Take Place in Kaufman: You would think a highly publicized trial in a small county like Kaufman would force the trial to move in order to find jurors less familiar with the case. But finding any location in Texas where potential jurors are unfamiliar with the shooting death of the Kaufman County district attorney may be close to impossible.
Kaufman County DA and Wife Gunned Down: We’re only beginning to scratch the surface on this one. But some, such as Forney Mayor Darren Rozell, are already drawing connections between the killing of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, and the murder of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse two months ago on the day the U.S. Department of Justice released a statement saying Hasse was involved in a racketeering case against the Aryan Brotherhood.
DMN Lauds Don Williams’ Speech, Still Mum of Golf Course: Late last week, Glenn was quick to point out that Rudy Bush’s piece (paywall) on former Trammel Crow CEO Don Williams’ chiding of the Dallas elite at the Dallas Country Club was missing some choice words about plans to build a golf club in South Dallas (namely, that Williams at first thought the course was the “worst use of $12 million that the city could possibly spend” before taking a step back and saying that a golf course doesn’t equal jobs or development). Well, over the weekend, this Dallas Morning News editorial offered formal support to Williams’ tough talk, but still nothing about the golf course, which this DMN editorial endorsed back in November, saying that:
We know there will be naysayers and cynics. But when a corporation of AT&T’s size recognizes that it’s time to focus on southern Dallas — and then uses its substantial leadership powers to rally major backing — that’s a marker worth applauding. This golf course plan is a game changer.
So, DMN, tell us: Is Williams a naysayer or a cynic?
First Baptist Opens New $130 Million Campus For Easter: Those chewy, sugary gummy ducks in your kids’ Easter baskets? They weren’t the only tacky treats to arrive in Dallas yesterday morning.
Mark Lamster, the new architecture critic at the Dallas Morning News, doesn’t start his gig until next month. Shame. Because I’d like to know what he thinks of this nasty Los Angeles Times review of the Perot. As Eric Nicholson has pointed out on Unfair Park, most everyone has had nice things to say about the Thom Mayne-designed building. Then comes the LAT:
It is a thoroughly cynical piece of work, a building that uses a frenzy of architectural forms to endorse the idea that architecture, in the end, is mere decoration. Mayne’s design appears to put innovative architecture on a literal pedestal — or a plinth, to be exact — while actually allowing it to become peripheral, noticeably separate from the heart of the museum and its galleries.
The building’s apparent radicalism is tacked on, its braggadocio paper-thin. Like many of Mayne’s recent buildings, it is a work of architecture without the courage of its convictions — convictions that are shouted, naturally, at top volume.
From there, it doesn’t get better. Maybe Lamster can be convinced to throw us one for free, before he’s on the clock. Eh, buddy?
The photo you see above is from Mineral Lover, a Chinese trade publication. It was passed on to me by FrontRowing machine Christopher Mosley, who also works for The Arkenstone, a Richardson company that specializes in gems and minerals. Anyway, the piece is about a Chinese gem dealer’s trip to Dallas. Does anyone know what “Museum Tower Death Ray” is in Cantonese?
Whenever I used to vent to former Arts District executive director Veletta Lill about all the things that frustrate me about the Arts District — its shortage of residences, its orientation towards the high end of the market, its one-dimensional character as a depot for imported art and performances — Lill would remind me that the Arts District as it stands today is only 25 years into a 50-year vision. The things that make a neighborhood a neighborhood (people of all walks of life, services, booze and coffee) will come, she promised optimistically.
Regarding that future vision, Lill always singled-out the parking lot adjacent to Museum Tower as key component in the overall Arts District build-out. Now it looks like the spot could be the location of the most significant development on Flora Street since Rem Koolhaus and Joshua Prince-Ramus decided to perpetually torture any Dallas theater lover with weak knees. Curious what’s going on? Jump.
Since Klyde Warren Park is moving forward with its planned ice rink, it feels like the powers-that-be are running out of usable real estate, what with the dog park, the children’s area, the performance stage, the putting green, ping-pong tables, the t-shirt cannon firing range, the Bonnie and Klyde improv troupe’s theater, and so on. Since my window overlooks Klyde Warren, I’ve spent a fair amount of time looking down at it and assessing the situation. And — I think — I’ve come up with a solution.
Klyde Warren Park needs to add another park.
Hear me out. Do you need sun to play ping-pong? Or putt golf balls? Or eat sushi? Or climb on a jungle gym? Or read a book? Or go ice skating? Or listen to Robert Wilonsky talk? Or whatever? No, no, no, no, no, no, no, and (depending on exactly whatever entails) probably not. Right? So you stack another park on top of the park that is already there, supported by 150 to 200 mostly unobtrusive concrete pillars, along with a series of steel support beams. You’d probably only have to close the park for, like, six months, a year tops. I’m not an architect, at least not a professional one. But I’ve sketched out what this will look like. I think you’ll find my solution both elegant and attractive.
Dallas-Dwelling Navy Seal Sniper Killed at Erath County Gun Range:Â Ex-Navy SEAL, decorated veteran, and the deadliest sniper in U.S. history, Chris Kyle, took former Marine Eddie Ray Routh to a shooting range in Erath County Saturday, most likely as part of a mentoring program for soldiers suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Then, for some reason, Routh shot and killed Kyle.
Museum Tower Spoils Latest Nasher Exhibition: A new show by the artist Ken Price opens later this week at the Nasher Sculpture Center, and to prepare, the museum had to cover the glass ceilings of the galleries containing the loaned art work to protect it against Museum Tower’s intense reflective glare. Little progress has been made on finding a solution to the glare issue, and a lawsuit looks moreÂ likelyÂ after a lawyer for the pension fund that owns the condo tower suggested as much to the Texas attorney general last week.
Wetlands Construction Begins Along Trinity River: Remember the Trinity River Project? Dirt is flying on the thing — or at least part of it. Two hundred acres of trees are being cleared for the creation of a series of wetlands that will help ease flooding.
Yesterday, the Dallas City Council approved funding for the second Santiago Calatrava-designed bridge in the city, the Margaret McDermott Bridge. The price tag is $115 million, $12 million higher than the last estimate, and $41 million higher than the original. Really, though, the Council shouldn’t be surprised. Just look at other “signature bridges” designed by Calatrava.
In 2009, Samuel Beckett Bridge opened in Dublin. Original estimate? Ten million euros. Final cost? Sixty million.Â The cost of the Jerusalem Chords Bridge grew from NIS 80 million to NIS 129 million to NIS 246 million, or roughly $70 million. Calgary’s Peace Bridge climbed from $19 million to $25 million (contractors picked up the cost increase on that one, due to a pretty smart city contract). AndÂ Ponte della CostituzioneÂ in Venice’s cost grew from 6.7 million euros to 11.8 million euros, an increase that caused protests in the streets.
The point is simple. We can complain all we want about the cost of these bridges, but a simple look through history shows that these structures a.) take a long time to approve/build, and b.) usually run over-budget, grossly.
Not So Sweet Sixteen: A 16-year-old’s birthday party in Grapevine didn’t quite go as planned Saturday night. Towards the end of the evening, the girl’s father got in an argument with her mother, shot the woman in the doorway to their house, and then killed himself on the front lawn.
Gun Buyback Event Turns Into Gun Auction: First Presbyterian Church of Dallas and The Stewpot want to do their part to help take guns off the street, so on Saturday they hosted a gun buyback event in downtown Dallas, just as they have for years. But this year, isn’t like other years. A protest group set up across the street from the church and began selling guns from the back of a truck.
With Second “Calatrava” Bridge, Dallas Reaffirms Superficiality: Writing about the revised design for the new I-30 bridge, critic Scott Cantrell argues we are not getting a second Santiago Calatrava, more Â like a TxDOT bridge with Calatrava “decals.” That’s typical of a city that likes to drop big bucks on name brands not just because they offer quality, he says, but because they offer bragging rights:
Calatrava is a Rolex watch among Seikos. The Seikos keep time just as well, and can be quite handsome, but the Rolex has snob appeal. Dallas loves snob appeal, especially with a foreign accent.
The Oak Cliff apartment building where Lee Harvey Oswald lived for five months in the early 1960s will be razed later this week, the Morning News reports.Â The property at 600 Elsbeth had been on and off the city’s radar for years, its possible demolition the result of asbestos and decay. Jane Bryant purchased the building and fought its demolition, a battle which now appears to be over.
As Jason said last week, the vertical orientation is the “scourge of our time.” Other than that, though, pretty neat video.
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has selected the Terminal Annex Federal Building in Downtown Dallas for their satellite office.
— Mike Rawlings (@Mike_Rawlings) November 29, 2012
Thanks to Undersecretary Kappos and his USPTO team for their cooperation during the site selection process.
— Mike Rawlings (@Mike_Rawlings) November 29, 2012
From Rawlings’ Facebook page:
I’m excited by today’s announcement that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will make Downtown Dallas the home of their new regional satellite office. This office will be a catalyst for innovation, economic growth & job creation throughout North Texas.
Downtown Dallas will immediately become a hub for entrepreneurs, inventors and small businesses.
I’d like to thank Undersecretary David Kappos and his team for their cooperation during the site selection process. We look forward to working with the U.S. Commerce Department for years to come.
Recent D Magazine subject Noah Jeppson wrote about the building – at 207 South Houston – for Unvisited Dallas earlier this year,Â calling it a “somewhat overlooked, [and] impressive Art Deco structure.” The Patent Office will occupy 45,000 square feet of the building.