Municipal Archives


Fair Park, 1888-1930, 1972-1992

​Collection 1991-079

​Overview

Repository
Office of the City Secretary
Dallas Municipal Archives
1500 Marilla Street, 5D South
Dallas, Texas 75201
CreatorDallas Park and Recreation Department
TitleFair Park
Dates1888-1930, 1972-1992
QuantityTwo feet, 3.5 linear inches
AbstractLand deeds, land transfer documents, contracts, reports and studies, printed materials.
Identification1991-079
LanguageRecords are in English


Scope and Content

Fair Park, the site of the State Fair of Texas, is located in east Dallas near the downtown business district. It is owned by the city of Dallas and managed by the Dallas Park and Recreation Department.  The 277-acre site is home to the annual State Fair of Texas, the Cotton Bowl stadium, five museums, and gardens.  Fair Park houses one of the greatest concentrations of early twentieth-century Art Deco exposition buildings in the United States. 

The original eighty-acre site was purchased by Captain William H. Gaston from the Thomas Lagow league and the John Grigsby league for $16,000 in 1886 and deeded to the newly chartered Dallas State Fair and Exposition Association. In return Gaston received 140 shares of stock, which he later donated to the fair organization.  The Dallas Exposition opened its first fair on October 26, 1886. 

Fair Park was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986 because of its exceptional significance in American history.  This significance is derived from its 105-year association with the State Fair of Texas and as the site of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition.  While the location of Fair Park dates back to the original 1886 fairgrounds, many of the existing buildings and public spaces were constructed for the 1936 Exposition which attracted over seven million visitors.

In preparation for the Centennial, the fairgrounds were expanded and transformed into a showplace of modern buildings under the remarkable direction of Centennial Architect George Dahl and consulting architect Paul Cret.  The design theme for the Exposition was "Texanic" and "Southwestern."  This regional flavor, intermingled with modern concepts, was the basic design style for both the renovation of existing Fair Park structures and the design of new buildings.

After sixty-five years, all of the permanent and many of the temporary buildings, murals, statues and bas-relief sculptures survive.  In addition, a number of buildings have been constructed since the Centennial; most blend well with the character of the 1936 Exposition buildings. 

In 1904, this special park was acquired when the State Fair met with reverses in the way of a destructive fire and unprofitable exhibition.  Fair Park became Dallas' second park when the City of Dallas agreed to pay the mortgage and take title to the property, build exhibition halls, and start a sewer-water system with a $125,000 bond issue.  Since that time, the City has leased the land to the State Fair Association for a few weeks out of every year in order for the fair to be held. For twenty-four days each year in October, Fair Park experiences the vitality and social interaction that has characterized state fairs since the turn of the century.  During the last decade, attendance at the Fair has surged to 3.5 million, ranking it as the largest annual exposition in the United States.

The collection consists of land deeds, land transfer documents, contracts, reports and studies, maps, and printed materials documenting the early history of Fair Park and planning studies and promotional materials for Fair Park dating 1972-1992.

Organization

The collection is arranged into two series:  land transfer documents and planning studies.

Access

Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from the Dallas Municipal Archives. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.

Citation

Fair Park, 1888-1930, 1972-1992 (Box <x>, Folder <y>), Dallas Municipal Archives

Related Materials

Collection 2005-006—Fair Park Esplanade Conservation
Collection 2002-007—Fair Park Mural Conservation, 1999-2000
Collection 1994-035—Fair Park Music Hall Renovations
Collection 1991-107—South Dallas/Fair Park Neighborhood Preservation Economic Development Plan, 1987

Index Terms

Dallas -- Texas -- History
Dallas (Tex.). Park and Recreation Department
Fair Park (Dallas, Tex.)

Container List 

BoxFolderTitle, Date
  Land Acquisition (fragile condition; consult archivist)
11Agreement: Texas State Fair and Dallas Exposition Association and T. L. Bradford Leasing.  Leasing property inside the fairgrounds, July 1899
 2Offer of sale to the City of Dallas by the Stockholders of Texas State Fair, January 25, 1904
 3Resolution: Election on purchasing of the Texas State Fair Grounds, adopted February 22, 1904
 4Communication from Texas State Fair and its directors, Filed March 26, 1904
 5Report on Public Improvements and Public Grounds and Building.  Committees Supporting Contract with State Fair of Texas, July 25, 1904
 6Levy of a special tax for four years for the purpose of acquiring the State Fair grounds, August 17, 1904
 7Shareholders Texas State Fair convey fairgrounds to the City of Dallas, August 4, 1904, witnessed September 29, 1904
 8Report of Board of Commissioners, "State Fair of Texas Matters", August 22, 1904
 9Contract: City of Dallas and State Fair of Texas, concerning the rights to Texas State Fair Grounds, October 3, 1904
 10Release of Lien, J. T. Trezevant, Trustee to Texas State Fair, Payment of Bonds issued April 10, 1900 complete, October 11, 1904
 11Report to the City Council from Mayor Barry, closing the transaction by the City of Dallas, taking the title to the State Fair Grounds from the Texas State Fair by deed dated June 27, 1904, report dated October 11, 1904
 12Land Acquisition: Release of mortgage of Deed of Trusts, John H. Gaston, et al. to Texas State Fair, October 11, 1904
 13Contract: City of Dallas and State Fair of Texas, approved August 1904, filed October 15, 1904
 14Resolution to accept Texas State Fair proposition which contemplates sale of property, 1904
 15Form of contract between City of Dallas and State Fair of Texas, 1904
 16City National Bank Draft, 1906.
 17Agreement between the City of Dallas and American Exchange Bank.  Payment for land acquisition, May 1906
 18Fidelity real estate and trust company certification of directors, December 30, 1907
 19Land acquisition: Cashier notices.  Enlargement of Fair Park, December 19, 1907
 20Land acquisition: American Exchange National Bank promissory notes, May 21, 1907 and December 1907
 21Land acquisition: Board of Directors Fidelity Real Estate and Trust Company, Resolution to sell property in Fair Park tract, Thomas and Richard Lagow surveys to the City of Dallas, December 30, 1907
 22Land acquisition: deed jacket
 23Land acquisition: Kimbrough Property sold to Fidelity Real Estate and Trust Company, July 20, 1906
 24Land acquisition: Insurance of title for original owner: Robert Lee and Dora Swope, and Guaranty Company, May 16, 1908
 25Land acquisition: Fidelity Real Estate and Trust Company, December 30, 1907
 26Land Acquisition: Fidelity Real Estate and Trust Company, December 30, 1907
 27Land Acquisition: Property of Agnes Amanda Fortune sold to the City of Dallas, July 10, 1908
21Land Acquisition: Warranty deed for property of Eliza McCoy, deceased, sold by estate executor, J. M. McCoy, to Fidelity Real Estate and Trust Company, June 16, 1906
 2Land Acquisition: Warranty deed for property of D. H. Tucker (of Georgia) sold to Fidelity Real Estate and Trust Company, September 13, 1906
 3Land Acquisition: Warranty deed for property N. J. Hustead sold to Fidelity Real Estate and Trust Company, October 1, 1906
 4Land deed for property of Sam and T. A. Hunnicut sold to N. J. Hustead, September 3, 1888
 5Land Acquisition: Warranty deed for property of C. C. Weichsel sold to Fidelity Real Estate and Trust Company, November 5, 1907
 6Land Acquisition: Warranty deed for property of Lida and Emanuel Amato sold to Fidelity Real Estate and Trust Company, January 8, 1906
 7Fair Park Lands envelope
 8Land deed for property of John M. McAfee sold to A. B. Jones, June 22, 1896
 9Property Transfer of property of Charles E. Jones (of Louisiana) to John M. McAfee, June 22, 1896 (land originally sold to Charles E. Jones by J. T. Baker and A. V. Hexter.)
 10Land deed for property of J. T. Backer and A. V. Hexter sold to Charles E. Jones, July 17, 1888
 11Release of vendors' or mortgage lien A. V. Hexter, et al and Charles E. Jones, October 14-November 12, 1889 with promissory note dated July 17, 1888.
 12Warranty deed property of J. T. Baker and A. V. Hexter sold to George E. Jones, November 16, 1889
 13Land deed for property of J. T. Baker and A. V. Hexter sold to George E. Jones, December 9, 1889
 14Land deed for property of J. T. Baker sold to J. L. Tucker, December 13, 1890
 15Land deed for property of Allie Hexter to J. L. Tucker, December 27, 1890
 16Land Acquisition: Release of Vendors' or Mortgage Lien by George A. Jones to   J. L. Tucker, December 21, 1891
 17Release of Vendors' Lien by Sam Hunnicutt to J. N. Vickery, May 23, 1887
 18Land deed for property of J. N. Vickery and Mary J. Vickery sold to E. H. Lambert, April 20, 1893
 19Land deed for property of Elijah H. and James Lambert sold to J. M. Vickery, April 29, 1897
 20Deed of Trust for property of J. N. and Mary J. Vickery sold to W. E. Hawkins, trustee for the benefit of John A. Crowdus, May 19, 1897 (originally owned by Sam Hunnicutt.)
 21Affidavit to Homestead by J. N. and Mary J. Vickery, May 18, 1897
 22Sworn statement by W. R. Lagow for ownership of Lagow land by Lagow family since 1879, May 18, 1897
 23Deed of Release by John A. Crowdus, releases lien to J. N. and Mary J. Vickery, promissory note paid in full, November 20, 1899
 24Warranty deed for property of J. N. and Mary J. Vickery sold to J. C. Toney, October 17, 1901
 25Title paper for property of J. L. Toney to C. Weichsel, Fidelity Real Estate and Trust Company, closed May 31, 1906 (envelope)
 26Land Acquisition: Warranty deed for property of J. L. and Emma Toney sold to Fidelity Real Estate and Trust Company, July 6, 1906
 27Correction deed for J. A. Vickery to J. L. Toney, May 28, 1906, filed June 7, 1906
 28Release of Vendors' or Mortgage Lien by H. E. and W. B. Jausel releasing Mrs. Awato, June 3, 1903, filed June 8, 1906
 29Warranty deed for property of H. E. Jausel et al to Mrs. Lida Awato, filed June 8, 1906
 30Land Acquisition: Release of Vendors' Lien by Emma J. Spruce to T. B. Smith, November 7, 1911. [Lee Pandres Property
 31Land Acquisition: Tax Office statements by T. B. Smith for the year 1910, dated December 6, 1911
 32Land Acquisition: Property of T. B. and Eufaula Smith sold to L. Lee Pandres, November 6, 1911
 33Land Acquisition: Property of Lee Pandres, letter of purchase to City of Dallas, Park Board, November 10, 1911
 34Land Acquisition: Property of Lee Pandres document jacket
  Planning Studies
 35Auditorium contract, Klien Brothers, July 31, 1905
 36Agreement: City of Dallas Park Board and the State Fair of Texas and the Firm of Smith and Rawlings for work on the Auditorium building
 37Special assessments Parry Avenue, July 24, 1912
 38Property in H. C. Long Survey owned by Dallas Compress Company, sold to the City of Dallas, April 12, 1912
 39Dallas Compress Company, Financial documents
 40Special assessment - land owned by F. E. Ritter, paid to contractor J. R. Gregory for paving Second Avenue and land owned by City of Dallas Park Board, May  29,  1912
 41Title H. C. Long Survey, March 25, 1912, includes correspondence concerning the title, April 10, 1912
 42Resolution City of Dallas Park Board concerning Auditorium, Brown-Crummer Investment, July 18, 1924
 43Auditorium contract, June 18, 1924
 44Auditorium contract, May 22, 1924
 45Agreement between the City of Dallas and State Fair of Texas, 1924
 46List of releases turned over to Pete Cossu Locke, November 19, 1930
31Fair Park Development/Design Concept Plan, November 1983
 2Fair Park Plan, 1972
 3Fair Park, descriptive brochure includes brief historical sketch, 1992
 4Proposal to evaluate strategic economic and land use alternatives for the 250 acre Fair Park, 1978
41Proposal to evaluate strategic economic and land use alternatives for the 250 acre Fair Park, 1978 [Second copy]
 2Evaluation of Prospective Uses for Dallas Fair Park, June 15, 1978
 3Proposal for Land Study, LWFW, 1978
 4Proposal for Land Study, Charles T. Thompson, 1978
 5Plan and Program for Fair Park, WMRT, 4/15/78
 6Fair Park Consultant Qualifications, Gladstone Associates, 1978
 7Proposal for Redevelopment Economic Research Associates, 1978
 8Appraisal of Cotton Bowl Station, January 1, 1969
 9Proposal for Fair Parks, Carr Lynch Associates, 1978
 10Management Resources For Fair Park Redevelopment Design, November 1983
 11Proposal for Fair Park, Laventhal and Horweth, 1978
51Proposal for Fair Park, Coopers & Lybrand, 1978
 2Proposal for Fair Park, Arthur Young, 1978
 3Fair Park Planning Study, 1981
 4Fair Park Planning Study, 1981
 5Fair Park Programming Development, Management Study, 1981
 6Fair Park Music Hall, 1977
 7Comprehensive Arts Facility Plan for Dallas - New Life for Fair Park, October 1977
61Summary Fair Park Plan, 1971
 2Fair Park Historic District, 1985
 3Fair Park Parking Study, 1986
71LWFW - Summary Report - Fair Park Plan, c. 1979