Fair Park and the Hall of State

The State Fair of Texas has been held at Fair Park in Dallas since 1886, according to dallascityhall.com. The fair is the largest annual state fair in the U.S. and Fair Park is a National Historic Landmark.

In 1936, Dallas was chosen to host the State of Texas Centennial Celebration, and architect George Dahl was hired to rebuild Fair Park for the event. His task was to plan, design and build the $25 million Texas Centennial Exposition during a 14-month period; he directed 10 Dallas firms that were hired to design 26 major buildings during a nine-month period.

The Hall of State was designed to be the exposition's architectural centerpiece. At $1.3 million, at the time it was the most expensive structure per square foot ever built in Texas.

The centennial had a final count of more than 6 million people, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The event has been credited with pulling Dallas out of the Depression, providing jobs for more than 15,000 people and boosting Dallas' economy.

A new automobile exhibit hall was built in Fair Park during the 1940s, but otherwise, Fair Park mainly stayed the same. During recent years, there have been constant renovations to restore Fair Park.

Fair Park currently draws more than 7 million people to ticketed events and generates millions of dollars for Dallas each year. It has nine museums and six performance halls and hosts more than 40 concerts each year. Fair Park boasts the largest collection of 1930s art deco architecture in the U.S. and also is the U.S.'s only unaltered pre-1950s World's Fair site.

This Web exclusive information is a supplement to Reroofing in the Lone Star State.