11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Fair Park's Texas Centennial Buildings

Year Listed: 1994, 1995
Location: Texas
Threat: Deterioration, Neglect

Fair
The restored esplanade at Fair Park, in Dallas, Texas.

Credit: National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Significance

In 1936, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Texas independence, an impressive grouping of exhibit buildings was constructed around a 700-foot-long reflecting pool and lagoon on the Texas State Fairgrounds. At a time when the world's fairs and expositions captivated the country, the Centennial was a celebration of the Lone Star State, Western culture and a wildly popular architectural style -- Art Deco. Intricate and beautiful murals, frescoes and sculptures were created to adorn the exposition building. Today, the Texas Fair draws more than 3 million people each October, but the still beautiful facades of the buildings conceal serious problems. Collapsing roofs, buckling walls and murals that are flaking or have been painted over are evidence of rapidly accelerating deterioration. Slowly, building by building, the City of Dallas and Friends of Fair Park are working to restore this National Historic Landmark District.