Everything in Texas is bigger! Texans have a way of making things larger than life as a way of celebrating their character and heritage. In 1936, the governor of Texas wanted to celebrate the state’s centennial in a big way! He commissioned architect George Dahl to make it happen in a Texas-sized way. Dahl went to work and constructed for the state fair more than 50 art deco buildings for the annual celebration.
The State Fair of Texas is an annual event held in Dallas at the historic Fair Park. The fair has taken place every year since 1886 except for varying periods during World War I and World War II. It begins the last Friday in September and ends 24 days later. While the State Fair of Texas considers quantifying its official attendance figures too much of a hassle, it is still consistently recognized as one of the most highly attended and best state fairs in America as well as Dallas’s signature event.
George Dahl was a prominent architect based in Dallas during the 20th century. His most notable contributions include the Art Deco structures of the State Fair of Texas at Fair Park. He oversaw planning and construction of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition held during the state fair. He began his career working for the Herbert M. Greene Co. in Dallas. He became a partner in Greene’s firm in 1928. In 1943, Dahl founded his own firm, George Leighton Dahl, Architects and Engineers, Incorporated, with a nationwide practice. Dahl was also a pioneer in fast-track construction. Upon his retirement in 1973, he had produced some 3,000 projects throughout the country that are estimated to be worth $2 billion.
The art deco buildings designed by Dahl and the Centennial Exposition were a hit! More than 6 million people, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt, attended the fair in 1936. The event is credited with helping pull Dallas out of the Great Depression.
From the Factory Floor
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Gerald Olesker, CEO, ADG Lighting