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Dealey Plaza

Posted by Greg Jaynes 
Dealey Plaza
July 22, 2013 03:45AM
The primary reason Dealey plaza exists is because of the triple underpass. The underpass was built to avoid a grade crossing of the railroad tracks for trains entering Union Station. There was another underpass north of Dealey plaza on Continental street built for the same reason though no attempt at beautification was made when it was built. It has been reworked and looks very nice now though it's not a park. Actually it was just a trestle.

The Union Terminal company was a partnership between the City of Dallas and several railroad companies whose tracks served Dallas. The creation of this company and Union Station was recommended by George Kessler who was commissioned by the city to develop a plan to manage Dallas' growth. The Kessler plan called for a plaza but his idea was to have it about where the Terminal Annex building stands.

Respectfully,
Greg Jaynes
Re: Dealey Plaza
July 22, 2013 01:28PM
I understand that the river was later routed away from downtown, but prior to that, it ran at the bottom of the slope there, where the RR track is or just beyond where Stemmons (I-35E) runs today.

Dealey Plaza is 1) roughly the location of Bryan's settlement that became Dallas, 2) honors George Bannerman Dealey, and 3) the site of the Kennedy assassination. Sometimes I wonder if we downplay #1, which really ought to be important.

I know that we have Founders Plaza on the other side of the County Records Building where the replica of the Bryan cabin is located, but it seems to me we've played down the importance of the area as the foundational spot for the city.

/ted
Re: Dealey Plaza
July 22, 2013 01:28PM
I understand that the river was later routed away from downtown, but prior to that, it ran at the bottom of the slope there, where the RR track is or just beyond where Stemmons (I-35E) runs today.

Dealey Plaza is 1) roughly the location of Bryan's settlement that became Dallas, 2) honors George Bannerman Dealey, and 3) the site of the Kennedy assassination. Sometimes I wonder if we downplay #1, which really ought to be important.

I know that we have Founders Plaza on the other side of the County Records Building where the replica of the Bryan cabin is located, but it seems to me we've played down the importance of the area as the foundational spot for the city.

/ted
Re: Dealey Plaza
July 22, 2013 01:28PM
Why does this system sometimes post things twice? Why does this system sometimes post things twice?
Re: Dealey Plaza
July 22, 2013 03:46PM
TedACampbell Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Why does this system sometimes post things twice?
> Why does this system sometimes post things twice?

=============

Usually happens when you press the Post Message link, and if it does not respond immediately, you press it a second time. You can edit a post afterwards and remove the duplicate text but the message header will remain in the system unless the moderator removes it.

What also sometimes happens when you return to the thread the message may not appear unless you refresh your browser. Some have thought their message lost and compose a second version only later to find out both are posted.

Most of us have done it and its no big deal.

M C
Re: Dealey Plaza
July 22, 2013 06:50PM
TedACampbell Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I understand that the river was later routed away
> from downtown, but prior to that, it ran at the
> bottom of the slope there, where the RR track is
> or just beyond where Stemmons (I-35E) runs today.

The levees were built first and the river rerouted before the triple underpass was built.
All these things are connected. The other benefit was the reclamation of the river
bottoms on the north side of the levees which is now the Stemmons corridor.




> Dealey Plaza is 1) roughly the location of Bryan's
> settlement that became Dallas,

I think it's the exact spot. Bryan is who had the streets laid out and named. His wife wrote that
he farmed corn where the current Old Red courthouse stands.



> 2) honors George
> Bannerman Dealey, and 3) the site of the Kennedy
> assassination. Sometimes I wonder if we downplay
> #1, which really ought to be important.

The assassination definitely overshadows it. But Dallas never really seemed to care
about it's history much. It was always run by forward looking people til it got
single member districts then Laura Miller as mayor. I don't think there has been
anything in the way of a unified vision of the future since.


> I know that we have Founders Plaza on the other
> side of the County Records Building where the
> replica of the Bryan cabin is located, but it
> seems to me we've played down the importance of
> the area as the foundational spot for the city.

I agree.

Respectfully,
Greg Jaynes
Re: Dealey Plaza
July 22, 2013 08:41PM
Greg -

Do you still have the photo of the Dallas Terminal Company Bridge plaque and the map showing the old river bed immediately below the triple underpass?

This is the pre-railroad 1854 Plat Map. When Union Station was completed about 1916 most of the tracks were laid down what was then Broadway. To my knowledge nothing had ever been built on Water Street except perhaps for the toll collector's house. The buildings between Broadway and Houston were razed in 1935 to create the slope of the streets for the underpass.



I don't recall offhand the construction process of tunneling under the tracks to build the roadways. Did the railroad operations continue uninterrupted?

Several years ago you raised the issue of similarities between Dallas and Van Buren Arkansas. While there is no evidence Bryan was directly involved in the development of that town he was a business associate of the founders, David Thompson and John Drennan, and their acquaintance goes back to Bryan's birthplace in Fayetteville, Tennessee when he was still a teen. His journey west followed their route just a few years later

Bryan was surely influenced by them as they also started with a commercial enterprise (supplying firewood to the riverboats - Bryan operated a trading post) on the river then became land developers. One of their first acts was to donate the site for a courthouse to guarantee the selection of the fledgling town as county seat just as Bryan did in 1850 to sway the second election in Dallas. Bryan went one better by also donating 98 town lots.

I recently laid out early maps of the two towns. The orientation of the streets to the river is almost identical, as is the orientation of the river to the cardinal directions. As you suggested there were several street names common to both towns.

Another item I have found is that Drennan founded the Chihuahua Trading Company in 1839 and dispatched a party of men westward along Red River following the footsteps of Josiah Gregg the year before. One or the other might account for Bryan's first visit to Holland Coffee and the Three Forks, reported in most accounts as 1839.

M C
Re: Dealey Plaza
July 22, 2013 09:39PM
M C Toyer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Greg -
>
> Do you still have the photo of the Dallas Terminal
> Company Bridge plaque and the map showing the old
> river bed immediately below the triple underpass?

Union Terminal Co.
I have all my pictures. I may not have any more copies of the plans you are referring to but
I know where to get it if I want one. The river bed was a ways out from where the west side
of the triple underpass is. Not too far. I'm estimating about 70 feet.



> I don't recall offhand the construction process of
> tunneling under the tracks to build the roadways.
> Did the railroad operations continue
> uninterrupted?

The river bed was filled in to the level of the ground on the west bank.
The entire east bank was dug out. Nothing above it but open sky.
In other words, they didn't tunnel under railroad tracks. The triple
underpass was built from scratch. I have some pictures of the
construction which I got from the Dallas library.




> Several years ago you raised the issue of
> similarities between Dallas and Van Buren
> Arkansas. While there is no evidence Bryan was
> directly involved in the development of that town
> he was a business associate of the founders, David
> Thompson and John Drennan, and their acquaintance
> goes back to Bryan's birthplace in Fayetteville,
> Tennessee when he was still a teen. His journey
> west followed their route just a few years later
>
> Bryan was surely influenced by them as they also
> started with a commercial enterprise (supplying
> firewood to the riverboats - Bryan operated a
> trading post) on the river then became land
> developers. One of their first acts was to donate
> the site for a courthouse to guarantee the
> selection of the fledgling town as county seat
> just as Bryan did in 1850 to sway the second
> election in Dallas. Bryan went one better by also
> donating 98 town lots.


They knew how to grease the skids, didn't they.



> I recently laid out early maps of the two towns.
> The orientation of the streets to the river is
> almost identical, as is the orientation of the
> river to the cardinal directions. As you
> suggested there were several street names common
> to both towns.
>
> Another item I have found is that Drennan founded
> the Chihuahua Trading Company in 1839 and
> dispatched a party of men westward along Red River
> following the footsteps of Josiah Gregg the year
> before. One or the other might account for
> Bryan's first visit to Holland Coffee and the
> Three Forks, reported in most accounts as 1839.

I wonder how these relate to Fort Warren 1836.
[www.tshaonline.org]

It was on the river but west of Bonham. There is an old style historical plaque on hwy 82.


Respectfully,
Greg Jaynes
Re: Dealey Plaza
July 23, 2013 12:57AM
Greg -

Thanks for the clarification on Union Terminal Company - maybe I can find the image - my files are scattered on 3 or 4 computers. I do have a couple of construction pics handy will post separately

Re Fort Warren / Warren's Trading Post, I've seen the marker many times and made a few trips to the river just to get a feel of the terrain, not expecting there might be any remains, and not even sure if the river course has changed.

As I recall one of the problems in reconciling Lucy Trent's Bryan biography is she cites his foray into Indian Territory and down the Kiamichi / Kiamitia in 1837 and that he met Coffee on Bois d'Arc Creek, which is as you know the site of Fort Inglish.

Now that could coincide with the Holland and Sophia Coffee wedding trip from Washington on the Brazos to Washita Bend and Bryan might have made the encounter somewhere along the route. Given Colville's and Coffee's business interests in Van Buren Bryan may have already made their acquaintance.

John Neely Bryan Jr was the source for Bryan having been employed by Coffee at Washita Bend but that could have been at a later time and possibly have coincided with Cooke's Military Road Expedition in the winter of 1840-41. That scenario would fit with Bryan being recorded on the 1840 census in Van Buren, returning there to settle his affairs after learning of the planned road to the Three Forks, and arrive at the future site of Dallas in November 1841.

I do have a copy of Coffee's last will and testament - need to compare to Bryan's handwriting, just a long shot.

The other ingredient is the Beeman family tradition they met Bryan before either arrived / returned to the Three Forks. The Beemans entered Texas early December 1840 and were in the De Kalb / Boston vicinity until the early fall of 1841 when they removed to Bird's Fort.

So many questions - so few records; It's all just a crap shoot guessing game.

M C
Re: Dealey Plaza
July 23, 2013 02:52AM
1935 facing northeast, triple underpass and south pedestrian tunnel under construction



1935 aerial facing east, buildings demolished, tracks laid, roadways not yet built, ca 1922 concrete Commerce Street Viaduct over railway still standing, old river channel trace bottom right (photo credit Lonnie Wiggins)



1926 aerial facing southwest, buildings between Houston and Broadway, Union Terminal, railway tracks on Broadway, ca 1922 Commerce Street Viaduct, Trinity River, turning wye behind Union Station at upper left (photo credit Dallas Public Library)



=============================
Well before Dealey Plaza but while we're down by the river two of my favorite photos:

Sarah Cockrell's 1872 Iron Toll Bridge, facing west, the rock filled crib between the east bulwark and first piling was the support for Alex Cockrell's 1854 covered wooden bridge destroyed in 1858 flood (photo credit Dallas Public Library, published in Barrot Sanders' Dallas: Her Golden Years))



1890 Iron Truss Bridge taken during 1908 flood - not sure if before or after as the high water mark lapped at the bridge deck and railroad tracks in foreground - note the bridge was built on the 1872 pilings (photo credit Dallas Public Library, published in Barrot Sanders' Dallas: Her Golden Years))



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1908 flood crest



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