8 Historical Sites You Might Not Know About
January 7, 2019
BY SARA RATHBUN
If you’re anything like me, history class was your absolute favorite growing up. My Netflix list certainly looks like old-school History Channel mixed with true crime documentaries. When I moved here in 2011, all I really know about the local history was JFK and Dealey Plaza. But once I settled in and got better acquainted with my surroundings, I found some really cool hidden historical sites around Dallas. Here’s some of my favorites that you could easily spend an afternoon getting lost in:
U.S. Post Office and Courthouse
This one doubles as an architect and a history nerd’s dream! Built in 1930, this Renaissance Revival-style building has a gorgeous interior, but unfortunately you won’t be able to see most of it - the upper floors were converted to private residences in 2011. What holds a special place in my feminist heart, however, are the courtrooms. This is where Roe v. Wade was argued at the district court level in 1970 before it was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
400 N Ervay St, Dallas, TX 75201
Bonnie and Clyde’s grave sites
crown hill memorial park & Western Heights Cemetery
Sadly, America’s most notorious couple weren’t laid to rest at one another’s side, due to the *strong* objections from Bonnie’s family. The good news is that they are both within Dallas city limits, and certainly worth a visit. If you’d like to pay your respects to Bonnie Parker, she can be found at Crown Hill Memorial Park, while Clyde Barrow is buried in Western Heights Cemetery.
9718 Webb Chapel Rd, Dallas, TX & 1617 Fort Worth Ave, Dallas, TX 75208
While it may seem like any other Tex-Mex joint, Mariano’s Hacinda’s Dallas location is the home to the first frozen margarita machine. I owe many a happy-hour to Mariano Martinez, who thought to repurpose a soft-serve machine back in the 70’s. The original machine itself currently lives in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., but you can still pay homage to it’s birth place!
6300 Skillman St J, Dallas, TX 75231 | website
The Adolphus Hotel
When Adolphus Busch wasn’t founding brewing companies, he was building luxury accommodations here in Dallas. This Beaux-Arts style building was the tallest building in Texas when it opened in 1912, and was the first hotel in the world to offer air conditioning. You can still book a room to stay in this swanky hotel, but be careful, because it also happens to be haunted.
1321 Commerce St, Dallas, TX 75202 | website
The first Neiman Marcus
As if being the home to the first shopping mall weren’t enough, the Dallas-area is also home to the very first Neiman Marcus over on Main street. Founded in 1907 by siblings Herbert Marcus and Carrie Marcus Newman, along with Carrie’s husband Al Neiman, this this high-end retailer had the first loyalty program and in-store gift wrapping.
1618 Main St, Dallas, TX 75201 | website
Built in 1950, this music venue has seen some of the biggest country western legends like Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson. While that may sound stereotypically Texan, don’t be quick to write this off as just another country bar. Back in 1978, the Longhorn Ballroom made headlines when an audience member headbutted frontman Sid Vicious during a Sex Pistols show.
216 Corinth Street, Dallas, TX 75207 | website
Home of the annual Texas State Fair, Fair Park has been a Dallas icon since it was built in 1886. While it started as a fairly simple fairground, it was completely renovated in 1936 in the Art Deco style for the Texas Centennial Exposition. Most of the buildings were supposed to be temporary, but many survive today along with their original murals. And fun fact? Fair Park holds the greatest concentration of commercial Art Deco buildings anywhere in the US.
1121 First Avenue Dallas, TX 75210 | website
While this theater was originally known for being the largest and most luxurious in the area when it was completed in 1931, it earned a special place in history in 1963. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested just outside the Texas Theatre on November 22, 1963 for the murder of Dallas Police officer J. D. Tippitt, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.