Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Grave Sites of Bonnie and Clyde

   I recently set out to visit the grave sites of notorious bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde. Both  are buried in Dallas. Despite their wish to be buried together, the Parker family denied their request.


    Bonnie Parker was originally buried in Fishtrap Cemetery off Singleton Road in Dallas but in 1945 her body was moved to the new Crown Hill Cemetery.





Directions to Crown Hill Cemetery 

Enter Through the Lombardy Lane Entrance



   Clyde Barrow was buried next to his brother in west Dallas' Western Heights Cemetery off Fort Worth Avenue. The cemetery has a (easily climbable) fence and a locked gate. There is currently no access to the general public

Directions

No criminal mind could penetrate this fortress of security. 




   Not far from the Barrow gravesite is a old gas station that was once home to the Barrow family. Located on 1221 Singleton, the building is vacant and for sale.

  Directions 

The gas station in its early days

Available for purchase, the gas station today 




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Dallas' Free Observation Deck

   One of the most iconic buildings in the Dallas skyline is Reunion Tower, but a ticket to the top is now $16.
   Equally iconic is the Chase Tower, with a keyhole near the top of the 55th floor.



   The Sky Lobby observation deck sits right below the keyhole and offers spectacular north and south views of Dallas. Although the deck is free, you must check in at the security desk and show ID before heading up.

Directions

The Sky Lobby, A Garden on the 40th Floor



Looking north toward Klyde Warren Deck Park and the Museum Tower



Looking South toward the Sheraton and my reflection




Looking up toward the Keyhole





Be prepared to check in at the Security Desk before taking the Express Elevator to Sky Lobby. The deck is open during normal business hours. 


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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Super Bowl Sunday: Let's Have an Implosion

  In case you missed you it, there was an implosion Sunday morning in Dallas. The Xerox / ACS Building at 3988 North Central Expressway (Between Fitzhugh and Lemmon) was imploded early this morning.



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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Giant Iguanas, Record Setting Boots and Six Dancing Frogs - The Art of Bob 'Daddy-O' Wade



Bob "Daddy-O" Wade said it all started for him with one gigantic iguana.  If you go by the entrance of the Fort Worth Zoo, you'll see the current resting place of the Iguana. But it more infamously sat atop the Lone Star Cafe in New York City during the 70s and 80s. (aka  The Unofficial Texas Embassy)

The Lone Star Cafe, the Unofficial Texas Embassy - The Most Famous Iguana Perch

   Before it's New Your City days, the Iguana lived near Niagara Falls. The lizard was created for display one summer in the 70s for Art Park, a music and art venue near Niagara Falls. After the summer, Wade had to find a new home for the Iguana. Through friends, he contacted the Lone Star Cafe who purchased the Iguana for their roof.

   Some New York neighbors felt the Iguana was an eyesore, an oversized code busting advertisement. A court battle designated the Iguana as art, but nonetheless, the owners of the Lone Star Cafe lowers the sculpture below the roofs parapet, so it wouldn't be seen from the street, thus quelling neighborhood dissent.

   In 1983, Mayor Ed Koch lef an effort to have the Iguana redisplayed (after tiring of wrongly directed complaints that he banned the lizard)  The rededication of the Iguana was attended by Ed Koch and Texas Governor Mark White, (who just happened to be in New York City on state business that week).

The Iguana being lowered by helicopter at the Fort Worth Zoo

   When the Lone Star Cafe closed in 1989, the iguana went though series of hands, including an east coast horse ranch and a pier in Tribeca. It was finally purchased by patrons in Fort Worth, where it sat in a barn for 11 years. Eventually it found a home atop the Fort Worth Zoo, where it was delivered by helicopter.  (check out the trailer for an upcoming documentary on the Iguana)

   
                        


   The notoriety of the giant Iguana begat the World's Largest Cowboy Boots, perhaps San Antonio's most iconic site, following the Alamo and the Riverwalk.


The boots were created in 1979 for the Washington Project for the Arts. The large scale work of public art was constructed and displayed just a few blocks from the White House for over a year on 12th and Avenue G. After the exhibit was over, the Rouse Corporation offered to buy the boots to place outside North Star Mall.

The Boots being constructed for the first time in downtown Washington DC

Bob "Daddy-O" Wad across the street from his boots

   The transportation of the giant boots was an adventure in itself. The boots got stuck in an overpass before leaving the Washington DC. The trucks transporting the oversized footwear had to take back roads all the way to Texas to avoid police, using CB radios to alert the drivers to possible trouble.
   
The boots being reassembled in San Antonio
   In the early days at the mall, KTSA radio became the talk of the town when they built a broadcast booth atop the boot.  For a short time, a homeless man had made a home inside the boot. Today the World’s Largest Pair of Boots has become one of San Antonio’s most recognizable sites. 

   The Iguana begat the Boots, the Boots begat the Frogs.  The six frogs were originally located in Dallas on lower Greenville Ave atop a club called Tango were Bob Wade's next iconic commission. The club was opened by Shannon Wynne, the son of Angus Wynne, the developer of Six Flags.

   The club was originally to be named Six Frogs over Tango. Like the Iguana, Dallas neighbors complained about the frogs. Eventually, the frogs were removed and took a circular tour of Texas. For a while they rested above a gas station south of Dallas called Carl's Corner.

The Frogs atop the Chuy's in Nashville
   Today, 3 are in Nashville atop a Chuy's restaurant and 3 are back on Greenville Ave atop the Taco Cabana which sits at the same address as Tango. 

The Frogs at Taco Cabana





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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dallas Jail Starts Out As Luxury Hotel

   Every day from my studio, I can see the beautiful Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge (aka The Big Bent Pole) but I also see the Bill Decker Detention Center.


   Most people probably don't know that this jail was once a luxury hotel where the Beatles stayed on the one trip to Dallas.  Back in the 60s this was a rather upscale join known as the Cabana Motor Hotel. Doris Day was a one time owner. Raquel Welch once worked their as a cocktail waitress

   Enjoy a blast from the bast, The Cabana Motor Hotel, in more glamorous days.









News Story from December 12, 1984




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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Who Was Harry Hines? - The Forgotten Harry Hines Memorial


   I took an informal poll yesterday and asked people what was the first thing that came to mind when I mention "Harry Hines"

   Seediness,  streetwalkers, industrial were a few of the otherwise unpleasant descriptions I received about the infamous Dallas boulevard. Fair?  Perhaps.

   Did you know that Harry Hines Boulevard ends in uptown just a block from the new deck park? Did you ever stop and wonder who was Harry Hines?  Obviously, someone thought he did something noteworthy enough to name a thoroughfare after him, albeit a notorious one.

   I have to admit, I never really thought much about it until I stumbled across this small park near downtown. I use the term stumble, because when I went back with my camera, I wandered around for 20 minutes trying to find it again.

  The park is at the corner of Harry Hines Boulevard and Ashland, is less than a half acres and has a small monument in the middle. Thousand of cars pass by everyday in this midtown maze of streets but few realize the answer to "Who Was Harry Hines?" sits under a large shade tree.










   The memorial gives us not only insight into who he was, but the high esteem he was given by city leaders. It is also a cautionary tale, be careful where you place your name. The plaque reads:

       "Harry Hines, in whose honor Harry Hines Boulevard was named, served six years as Chairman of the Texas Highway Commission 1935 -1945

      His foresight envisioned the need for a new route north and northwest out of Dallas and carried to culmination what can appropriately be considered Dallas' first step toward a divided expressway system, which will prove a lasting tribute to his vision for our city and state.

   This memorial placed by friends who held him in high esteem and affection

   1886 - 1956






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Monday, August 4, 2014

Dallas' Bridge Park


   First there was the wildly successful Klyde Warren Deck Park between Uptown and Downtown. Now comes Dallas' newest attraction, the Bridge Park.

   Opened with relatively minor fanfare, the bridge park was built on the old Continental Avenue Bridge which was replaced by the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.  Today it connects pedestrians to the two areas which are predicted to have immense changes in the next 20 years, Riverside Boulevard (formerly Industrial Boulevard) and West Dallas.

    Below are a few photos of Dallas most unusual park.
The Continental Bridge in the shade of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

Looking east, toward downtown


A climbing . . . blob


Chess Tables, Umbrellas and Vines that will eventually add shade


Misters and loungers give a place to cool off and get sun.


Underneath the bridges, running trails



One of many chairs, benches and tables on the bridge park

One of many chairs, benches and tables on the bridge park

Looking west toward Trinity Groves


A small playground with the climbing blob

Great views of the parallel Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge


A short distance away is the new Sylvan Avenue Bridge which has an offramp that will connect you to the new running trails and other park features in the Trinity River Project.





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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Update: The Katy Trail Extension


NOTE: The original post is followed by a further update



   Dallas has one of the most extensive bike and jogging trail systems in the U.S. One of the most exciting developments in recent years have been plans to extend the popular Katy Trail to White Rock Lake.


   The plan is to build a bridge over Mockingbird Lane and then have the trail mostly follow the Dart line from Mockingbird Station to White Rock Station on the north side of the lake.
Rendering of the Katy trail Bridge over Mockingbird Ave.

      There has only been a small bit of work done at Mockingbird Lane. It will be the last piece of the trails extention to be completed.  Most people, including myself, would probably be surprised how much work has already been done.

      I noticed a few days ago that a portion of the trail that follows Northwest Highway towards the White Rock Dart Station had already been finished and striped.

This final portion of the Katy Trail Extension runs parallel to Northwest Highway.  It follows the path of an old alley which some homes still use to access their garages.  I wonder how this is going to work.
   I decided to walk the new portion of the trail and follow to where it disappeared from view of Northwest Highway motorist. I discovered that a significant portion of the extension is already finished.

The Katy extension headed north toward Northwest Highway
Standing in the same spot, looking south


   What's interesting is that the trail will follow the Dart Green line from Mockingbird Station until it reaches the as of now undeveloped Union Pacific Trail. A tall ramp will be built to bring the trail down to the rail line. It appears that for now the trail will go north to Northwest Highway, then east to the Dart Station. From there, you take another trail south to the lake. 
   

Pylons being built for a ramp that will lower the trail to the Union Pacific Trail, which is owned by DART

Sadly,  I'm not the only person to discover this portion of the Katy Trail Extension. A tagger has already ruined a portion of the trial. 


   Unlike the original portion of the Katy Trail, this section of the Extension is very secluded. Even though the trail bisects two neighborhoods, it's set considerably lower and gives you a feeling of being out in the country.   
    We are still a few years away from the Extension being completed. The bridge over Mockingbird will be the final piece. In the meantime, joggers and cyclist will still have a considerable amount of trails to discover.


UPDATE:   July  2014

   More sections have been completed, but you'd really have to search to find them.  The bridge that connects the trail from the Dart Line to the Union Pacific Trail toward Northwest Highway has been completed, although it is not open yet.



FACING EAST AT RIDGEWOOD REC CENTER

An unfinished path of the Katy Trail Extension just north of Mockingbird at Fisher Ave and Ridgewood Park.  This is a view facing east.  The trail parallels the Dart line and will turn north toward Northwest Highway via the old Union Pacific Rail Line

A couple of views of the bridge that lowers the trail from street level to the old rail line



FACING WEST AT  RIDGEWOOD REC CENTER

Facing west at Fisher Avenue, the trail travels behind the Ridgewood Rec Center.  A trailhead parking lot is being used as a  construction site

The trail passes buy a new splash park


Headed west, the trail near the Dart Line headed toward Mockingbird Station

    





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