Not a Moment Too Soon, the Dallas Downtown Historic District Is Now a Little Bigger

The Texas Historical Commission sends word that the Dallas Downtown Historic District is now a little bit bigger than when first established in 2006 by the National Register of Historic Places. Says the THC, the district -- which encompasses 555 acres and 66 buildings in an area "roughly bounded" by Federal, N. St. Paul, Pacific, Harwood, S. Pearl, Commerce, S. Ervay, Akard, Commerce and Field -- now includes 22 additional buildings. And at least two of them are familiar structures to the Friends of Unfair Park, according to the media release:

Buildings added to the district include landmarks such as the neoclassical 1913 First Presbyterian Church by Dallas architect C.D. Hill and the 1941 Masonic Temple by the Dallas firm Flint and Broad. Smaller-scale buildings recently added to the district include the 1929 Warner Brothers Building, an outstanding local example of the zigzag moderne style, which is also significant for its association with Delta blues musician Robert Johnson. Johnson held his second and last recording session at the Brunswick Records studio in the building in 1937. Other musicians who recorded at the studios include Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Roy Newman and His Boys, Gene Autry, W. Lee O'Daniel and his Hillbilly Boys, the Light Crust Doughboys and the Stamps Quartet.
The significance of this development after the jump.

Katherine Seale, executive director of Preservation Dallas, tells Unfair Park this morning that she's "excited" by the news. Among the reasons why:  A developer interested in buying and renovating 508 Park Avenue, for instance, would now be eligible for an enormous tax break. "The contributing buildings, if they're income-producing, they're eligible for a 20 percent federal tax credit for rehab," she says. Which may help, even slightly, get the building off the mayor and city attorney's to-do list and into the hands of someone who can turn the building into, oh, a music museum.

Adds THC executive director Larry Oaks, "Listing in the National Register follows a tremendous amount of preparation and helps preserve the real stories of Texas. Many individuals contribute to the nomination of these properties, including the owners, local preservation organizations, our staff and our professional review board. The citizens of Dallas and Dallas County can be very proud of this accomplishment."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky