Arts & Culture News

The Snowstorm Endangered a Bit of Dallas History When a Pipe Burst at Fair Park

Big Tex is safe, as are the historical archives housed in Fair Park, after a pipe burst last week during the Texas snowstorm.
Jim Schutze
Big Tex is safe, as are the historical archives housed in Fair Park, after a pipe burst last week during the Texas snowstorm.
The Texas Big Freeze of 2021 made history with some of the coldest consecutive days the state has ever experienced. In addition to massive power outages and deaths resulting from below-freezing temperatures, the snowstorm also came close to erasing an important piece of local history.

Most people visit Dallas' Fair Park complex for an occasional concert, or, of course, to attend the yearly fair and eat those deep-fried foods that hurt so good when you're later spinning uncontrollably on the rides, but the Dallas staple is also the year-round home of the Dallas Historical Society.

Since 1922, the nonprofit has been preserving historical archives and educating the public about local history.

At 4 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17, the freezing weather caused a pipe to burst at the Dallas Historical Society’s building in Fair Park’s Hall of State.

In a press release, the organization said that staff was informed that water had begun to flood the building, and management staff and Dallas Fire Rescue arrived just in time to shut off all water.

“We feel fortunate that so many people, trained volunteers and staff, mobilized so quickly in defense of the building, the art and the collection.” – Veletta Forsythe Lill, Dallas Historical Society board chair

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“From that moment forward all efforts were made to remove water from the building, assess building needs and priorities and protect the extensive and rare collection of the Dallas Historical Society,” said the press release.

Staff also came to the site to help remove water and protect the collection of archives, which include antique photographs, periodicals and other artifacts.

The Fair Park wing also houses important works of art commemorating Texas history.

“We feel fortunate that so many people, trained volunteers and staff, mobilized so quickly in defense of the building, the art and the collection,” said Veletta Forsythe Lill, Dallas Historical Society board chair, in a statement. “The Dallas community feels a great sense of ownership and pride in this landmark building and its contents that reflect our city’s history. We have a very large family.”

No other parts of Fair Park have reportedly suffered any water damage, and Big Tex appears to be safe.