Death of a Dive Bar: Elbow Room Is Officially Rubble

Preservation Dallas and the Landmark Commission tried to have the Elbow Room site designated a historic landmark. But yesterday, the building became a pile of rubble.EXPAND
Preservation Dallas and the Landmark Commission tried to have the Elbow Room site designated a historic landmark. But yesterday, the building became a pile of rubble.
Joe Pappalardo

Last we heard, preservationists were working with Texas A&M to save at least part of the building at 3010 Gaston Ave., which has been the bar Elbow Room for the last 20 years. A&M seized the building, built in 1933, through eminent domain in December.

“[Texas A&M] could go on with their plans [to demolish it]. I don’t think it would be a wise course of action, and I don’t think they perceive it to be a wise course of action," Daron Tapscott, chair of the city of Dallas' landmark designation committee, told the Dallas Observer in May. "They’re being very cooperative at this time."

As of yesterday, the result of that cooperation is a pile of rubble. In May, Texas A&M promised it would level the building within a month to make way for its new dental school. And two months later, it's delivered on that promise.

Private nonprofit Preservation Dallas and the Landmark Commission were trying to have the site designated a historic landmark, even though the process typically takes one to two years and the city of Dallas had already issued demolition permits.

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“It’s the last remaining building of that kind on that side of Gaston Avenue," said David Preziosi, president of Preservation Dallas. "It’s recalling the past — what that area used to be, made up of those little brick buildings from the 1920s, '30s and '40s. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.”

Preservationists' last hope was that Texas A&M would succumb to local pressure.

“We hope they realize what they don’t need is an incredible amount of ill will in the community,” Tapscott said. “No one likes being the bad guy, and public ill will is about the only leverage anyone has at this point.”

If A&M wasn't willing to spare the entire building, Tapscott hoped it would consider working part of the old building into the new structure, in keeping with other preservation efforts like Saint Ann restaurant in the Harwood District, which used to be a school.

Texas A&M had other plans in mind. See the rest of our photos below.

Death of a Dive Bar: Elbow Room Is Officially Rubble (2)EXPAND
Joe Pappalardo
Death of a Dive Bar: Elbow Room Is Officially Rubble (4)EXPAND
Joe Pappalardo
Death of a Dive Bar: Elbow Room Is Officially Rubble (5)EXPAND
Joe Pappalardo
Death of a Dive Bar: Elbow Room Is Officially Rubble (3)EXPAND
Joe Pappalardo

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