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Making Dallas Even Better

Remembering June Mattingly, Intrepid Dallas Arts Supporter

If you’ve spent more than five or ten minutes in a Dallas gallery, you’re likely to have met June Mattingly. Mattingly was a stalwart supporter of the Dallas arts, the author of a book on Texas contemporary artists, and a former gallery owner who introduced a number of this city’s more notable artists. The Dallas Observer reports today that Mattingly has passed away.

Mattingly’s creative roots in Dallas ran deep – all the way to one of this city’s most iconic sculptures. The original Pegasus that sat on top of the Magnolia Building in downtown Dallas was created by her father H. Harold Wineburgh’s sign company, Texlite. Mattingly was a tireless advocate for her father’s Pegasus, and it was restored and reinstalled outside the downtown Dallas Omni last year. In this interview from 2011, Mattingly speaks about her father and the Pegasus. In 2012, Mattingly sat for an hour long interview to offer her insight into the history of Dallas culture.

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Why Yesterday Was Such an Important Day for Dallas History

As Tim mentions in Leading Off, the Dallas Landmark Commission voted in favor of pursuing protection for a number of important historic sites and structures yesterday, choosing preservation over lazy private interests in each case. The decision to move a 19th century home in the Cedars, rather than bulldoze it for a parking lot, and to move towards designating the Meadows Building on Central Expressway as a historic landmark, thus protecting it from its current owner’s planned demolition of a wing, demonstrates a rare and welcomed willingness from a city board to stand up to private developers in the name of the public’s interest. And the move to protect Big Spring also showed that the commission is willing to step in on behalf of Dallas’ dwindling natural resource, even in a case where the chief threat to the preservation of that natural resource is the city itself.

Mark Lamster runs through all of this in a column, and I don’t have much to add to his thoughts, though it is worth highlighting a few of them:

If the Meadows isn’t a landmark, than nothing is. The commission’s unanimous vote in favor of designation was a heartening indication of this reality, and a welcome validation of its own responsibility. A landmarks commission that cannot protect a building like the Meadows is not worth its name, and serves no purpose.

Yesterday, Dallas demonstrated that it has a Landmark Commission with a purpose. That should be an encouraging source of optimism. Perhaps we are transitioning into a new kind of Dallas, a city that bucks the character cliches of its ensconced business-first civic mentality that has historically devalued not just history and nature, but the public oversight of municipal government to boot.

First Look at the Dallas of 11/22/63

If you’ve forgiven the Hulu adaptation of Stephen King’s novel — about a time traveler who aims to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — for snarling traffic downtown last October, you might want to check it out when it drops on the streaming site on Feb. 15.

Hulu today released the first full-blown trailer for 11/22/63. Of particular interest is its CGI re-creation of the Dallas skyline of 1963:

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Remembering David Bowie’s 1983 Las Colinas Sessions With Stevie Ray Vaughan

I’m still trying to wrap my mind around a world without David Bowie. The innovator, the legend, the icon — a man who belongs on a short list of the most important artists of the late-20th century — passed away from cancer last night at the age of 69. Amidst the many obituaries and tributes that are surely to come pouring out over the coming days and weeks, I thought I’d pass along 90 minutes of bootleg Bowie recorded at the Las Colinas Studios on April 27, 1983.

Let’s set the stage:

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Another Old Dallas Building Is Threatened, But How Far Should Historic Preservation Go?

That didn’t take long. On the heels of yesterday’s news that the Meadows Building off Central Expressway may be “amputated” comes word of yet another historic Dallas structure staring down the bulldozers. Candy’s Dirt reports that the owner of the former Church of the Master, Evangelical and Reformed Church in Oak Cliff, near the corner of Kiest and Polk, wants to rezone the land and tear down the building, replacing it with who knows what. The City Plan Commission hearing on the zoning case was supposed to be held today, but it has been pushed back to January 7.

Now, before we get all hot under the collar about this latest historic tear down, it’s worthwhile to raise the question of whether or not every old building in Dallas should be considered historic and worthy of preservation.

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Another Week, Another Abominable Story About a Historic Teardown

Is there even a point in getting angry anymore? I mean, there have been so many stories about Dallas erasing its past that the immediate spike in my blood pressure that came after reading about the latest pending tear down of a historic structure seems like a complete waste of energy. I thought this city was beyond this, all the trashing of itself for the sake of the stupid. But apparently not.

The latest? Well, one of my favorite buildings in the city, the Meadows Building on Central Expressway, is going to have one of its wings “amputated.” To be fair, it’s not a Dallasite to blame. The Chicago real estate company GlenStar Properties wants to tear down the three story section of the Meadows that runs parallel to Greenville Ave. Why? The ugly-as-hell Davaco/Energy Square building that sits behind it is tough to get to, so GlenStar is going to tear down a chunk of the Meadows to make a driveway.

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Oak Cliff Ice House Demonstrates Need to Expand City’s Registry of Historic Places

Before it grew into the global corporate behemoth known as 7-Eleven, the Southland Ice Company was founded in a little shack at the corner of Edgefield and 12th in Oak Cliff. As the convenience store chain grew, it expanded operations, eventually constructing a much larger ice house on the corner of Page and Polk streets just a few blocks south of the original location. The building was started in 1908 and completed in 1915. Through the late-1990s and 2000s, the old Southland Ice Company ice house served as a cultural center. Since then, the building has sat vacant. And you know what we do in Dallas when historic buildings sit vacant: we tear them down.

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