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Slowly But Surely, Elm Street's History is Being Erased One Old Building at a Time

You may have noticed in recent days that Elm Street downtown is missing another one of its old buildings: the 70-year-old-or-so 1600 Elm, which was razed last week as part of the Joule expansion. We knew it was coming down; we just didn't know when. Also on the chopping block: 1604 Elm, which has a demolition permit on display. Turns out it was granted the same day Tim Headington's company got the OK to raze the Praetorian Building, the West's first skyscraper.

The building at 1604 Elm is among the oldest in downtown: Records indicate the former Hite Building was built in 1900, and that it once served as a W. T. Grant storefront. But like most of the smaller storefronts downtown, it went to ruin while skyscrapers took root around it. Which is why 1604 Elm, not to mention the other buildings around Stone Street being demolished by Headington, don't need Landmark Commission consent before they're razed: They're considered "non-contributing" pieces of the Downtown Dallas Historic District.

That said, Friend of Unfair Park and downtown resident Noah Jeppson can't help but note: Those buildings are just two being added to the growing pile of rubble up and down Elm, which is slowly but surely being shed of whatever history that remains: "In the course of eight months," writes Noah, "807 Elm, 1600 Elm, 1604 Elm, 2222 Elm, 2224 Elm and 2226 Elm will have been leveled."

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