Downtown Dallas has a substantial collection of brightly light high-rise office buildings downtown. Some good restaurants, but fewer bars. Downtown transit hub allows easy access to other parts of the city via a system called DART.
The Meyerson Symphony Center is located near the Dallas Museum of Art, Guadalupe Cathedral and Nasher Sculpture Center in the Cultural District of Dallas.
We've wanted to see the Meyerson since we moved to the Dallas area, so we were thrilled to hear that complimentary tours were given on the weekend.
Docent, Bill Herrera, kept us enthralled as he guided us throughout this striking, contemporary music center (pics #2-3). We wandered to the pricey boxes on the upper tiers, tried out the seats on Orchestra level and glimpsed behind stage.
The immense Lay Organ (in honor of Herman W., and Amelia H. Lay) sits behind the stage in McDermott Concert Hall (pic 4)*. It's 'one of the biggest mechanical action organs ever constructed for a concert hall' and was built by C.B. Fisk of Gloucester, Massachusetts. It contains 4,535 pipes!
*McDermott Hall is named for the co-founder of Texas Instruments, Eugene McDermott.
Tours are given on "selected" Mondays, Thursday, Friday and Saturdays at 1 pm. Groups should call ahead 214-670-3600.
This log cabin was built by William Brown Miller and his slaves around 1847 and was located in South Oak Cliff, Texas. It's constructed of oak and cedar with a limestone chimney.
As pioneers settled, often their first home was a log cabin. The Millers lived in this rustic home for 15 years.
Since there was no school in the area, the Miller children were schooled at home. The neighbors asked if their children could join them, thereby making this cabin one of the oldest schools in Dallas County.
Inside, a costumed homemaker described her day of cooking and doing chores.
This simple two story structure was once located in Renner, Texas, a small community absorbed by the expanding city of Dallas. It's the Renner School, built in 1888 and utilized until 1919.
The building has features of the Greek Revival style, which was used commonly for schools, public meeting halls and Masonic lodges in the South at this time.
As you step inside you'll see a replicated school room, complete with multiple rows of desks and blackboards (picture 2). A second story classroom sits above this.
As the sunlight shone through the windows, it seemed like a pleasant enough place to learn one's ABC's!
We've been wanting to hear the Dallas Symphony perform since moving to Texas 1 1/2 years ago. This weekend we purchased tickets for a Sunday matinee, where we heard the introduction to Mozart's The Magic Flute, Debussy's Le Mer and Ravel's Bolero. The performance was stellar!
A giant screen presented the artistry of Great Britain's J.M.W. Turner as Debussy's piece was performed. Turner's masterpieces featuring the great churning sea went hand in hand with the musical offering, Le Mer.
The Meyerson Symphony Center was designed by architect, I.M. Pei. The structure is composed of Indiana and red limestone, boasts soaring spaces, travertine marble, rare wood trim and paneling, while instrument quality brass embellishments edge the tiered levels. A practical, but costly mohair wool cover the comfortable theatre seats (pics 1-3).
Superb accoustics were created by Russell Johnson. It's said that the Meyerson's accoustics make it one of the finest concert halls in the United States and perhaps even the world.
'Dallas Panels' by artist Ellsworth Kelly brighten one of the dining areas (pic 4), while a 68 ton creation of forged steel named 'De Musica' by Eduardo Chillida sits outside the entrance of peaceful Betty B. Marcus Park.
Don't be scared off by people telling you there's nothing to do in downtown Dallas. Actually, there's lots to do!
Visit the lovely Dallas World Aquarium (designed to look like a rainforest, pretty cool), check out the Sixth Floor Museum, walk around West End and explore downtown. More people are moving down there these days, and more and more businesses are opening up. There's actually quite a few shopping opportunities downtown!
For a glimpse of old Texas (1840-1910) one need only visit Dallas Heritage Village, where history comes alive! It is a 13 acre complex in downtown Dallas which offers 38 historic structures to view and tour.
We drove there on a recent weekend with our grandson to tour the grounds and historic structures. A Texas institution, Blue Bell ice cream, was celebrating its 100th anniversary by handing our complimentary cups of ice cream. It was a good day for it, too, because it was sunny and hot.
The village had a restored hotel, print shop, saloon, drs. office, farm, bandstand, several homes, a log cabin, blacksmith shop, school, church, general store and other buildings. It was an educational and fun visit! A gunfight even erupted while we were there...imagine that!
Costumed guides and village folk roam the streets and add their two cents to your tour. Their presence added a good dose of reality to our visit. We thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon!
See these pics for some interesting characters on hand:
picture 2 A genteel woman of the town
picture 3 Some questionable characters on Main Street
picture 4 A gentleman of the village at Millermore
picture 5 A countrywoman from the farm
Hours are Tues.Sat. 10am-4pm; Sun. noon to 4pm and is closed to the public. January, February and August hours are: Tues.-Sat. 10am-2pm; Sun. noon to 4pm and closed on Mondays.
Admission is $7 for adults' $5 seniors 65 and older and $4 for children 4-12 years of age.
This lovely neo-classical revival home (1885) was occupied by the Daniel F. and Mary Sullivan family for 100 years. Notice the pretty fluted columns on the front porch. It actually sat a short distance away on Akard and Beaumont street, in what was considered the 'fashionable neighborhood' of Cedars.
Mr. Sullivan was a plumbing and gas fitting contractor, so had an indoor bathroom and early gas lighting throughout the home. I'm sure he was the envy of his community!
The parlor was set for tea when we visited the home, making us feel welcome and wanting to join the family for conversation and refreshments (picture 2)!
This quaint country church once stood in Pilot Grove, Texas. It was constructed in 1895 and was the house of worship for a Methodist congregation.
Once a community was birthed, a church was one of the first buildings to be erected. This was an important focus for the pioneer society, offering a place to socialize and for spiritual instruction.
As we entered the little church, organ music filled the interior (picture 2). We sat quietly in the pew for a few moments, listening to the hymns being played so beautifully.
This view of main street shows the Alamo Saloon and theBlum Bros. General Store.
Owned and operated by the son of a German immigrant, the Alamo Saloon was a fixture in old Dallas. It drew the working men of Dallas, members of the German community and sometimes ladies of questionable virtue.
Described as a fairly respectable watering hole in the early days of the city, it still offers five different beers from local breweries or stronger fare and a game of poker or dominoes.
Since we were visiting the village on Blue Bell ice cream's 100th anniversary, ice cream sodas were served from the bar.
The squared-off flat roofed building next to the saloon was the Blum Bros. General Store. This style of architecture was commonly used for stores in the early 19th century. It was once located on Wolfe Street in Dallas and was built and operated by Albert F. Mueller, who had immigrated from Germany.
In 1897, Simon Blum moved to Dallas, taking over ownership of the store. He was a member of the Jewish community. His brother, Mordecai, joined him in 1900 becoming partners. He and his family moved from Galveston, Texas after the hurricane hit in the early 1900's.
After living in a crude log cabin for 15 years, the Millers built a beautiful home (circa 1855-62) which was constructed with elements of the Greek Revival style.
It has a symmetrical facade and square Doric portico at the front door, which is the original. A 1912 renovation added the front porch with columns.
As families grew more prosperous through the years, their homes reflected their personal success. (picture 2) The log cabin was demoted to a storage shed of sorts.
At the home, guides representing town tolk dressed in period style (picture 3), while on the front porch a distinguished gentleman reminisced about the old days.
This home was originally known as the George House, constructed in 1900 by D. C. George as a wedding gift to his wife. She wasn't permitted to see it until completed, so what a surprise this pretty Queen Anne style must have been to her.
Queen Anne was a style popular with the middle to upper classes from 18980-1910. It has an assymmetrical floor plan, turret, bay windows and "jigsaw" trim beneath the eaves.
This home is fitted with new amenities of the 1900's such as electric light features, a metal shingle roof and cast iron cook stove in the kitchen.
*picture 2-- Notice the early kiddicar and lovely accessories in this living room--the pretty floral wallpaper, stylish settee and well-used oriental rug.
Currently the residence is depicting the traditional Jewish home of the Blum family who were originally from Galveston and Houston. It is painted in its original colors.