10 of the Best Historical Buildings in Dallas

10 of the Best Historical Buildings in Dallas

Possessing a population of more than 1 million, Dallas rose from humble beginnings. In this article, we explore a selection of the area’s iconic buildings, from the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas to the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture.

1. The Kirby Apartments

The Kirby Apartments are over 100 years old. Initially known as the Busch Building in honor of prominent St. Louis businessman Adolphus Busch, developers converted this 17-story gothic-style high-rise into a loft apartment complex in 1999. It still features the original hardwood floors dating back to 1913, as well as exposed brick, vaulted ceilings, and spacious walk-in closets.

2. Texas Schoolbook Depository

This Romanesque Revival building is probably the most recognizable Dallas landmark. Lee Harvey Oswald used the sixth floor of the structure as a hideout in 1963, when he assassinated President John F. Kennedy.

Texas Schoolbook Depository
Image by James Hicks | Flickr

Originally known as the Southern Rock Island Plow Company Building, the Texas Schoolbook Depository was constructed in 1903 at 411 Elm Street. It is included in the National Register of Historic Places. Today, it houses the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, which chronicles the life and assassination of President John F. Kennedy and its impact on the country.

3. Majestic Theatre

Located at 1925 Elm Street in downtown Dallas, Majestic Theatre is a five-story 20th Century interpretation of Renaissance Revival. It features a large marquee, tripartite windows with arched and square frames, elaborate moldings, and sculptured ornaments.

Today, national promoters use the Majestic Theatre for a variety of art and comedy events. It also serves as a venue for private functions, nonprofit fundraisers, and corporate meetings.

4. First Presbyterian Church of Dallas

Constructed in 1913 and designed by renowned Dallas architect C.D. Hill, this building in a prominent location in downtown Dallas possesses cultural and historical significance. The exterior is well preserved, and the interior retains most of its character-defining features, such as a dramatic art-glass dome.

5. Neiman Marcus Store

The Neiman Marcus flagship store first opened in downtown Dallas in 1907. This Renaissance Revival-style building sits on the corner of Ervay Street and Main Street, and continues to draw customers from across Dallas and beyond as a luxury shopping experience. There are tasteful displays and exquisite collections that aim to provide customers with an enjoyable shopping experience. Moreover, the Christmas displays in the store’s windows during the wintertime form the centerpiece of the city’s holiday celebrations.

6. Tower Petroleum Building

Located in the Harwood Historic District, this 23-story skyscraper was built in the Zigzag Moderne art deco style. The building, which opened in 1931, stands 315 feet tall. Mark Lemmon designed this famous Dallas landmark, which is adjacent to the Majestic Theatre. In 2007, the Dallas City Council approved plans to convert the structure into a luxury hotel. The site now houses the Cambria Dallas Downtown, which opened in 2018.

7. The Wilson Building

This 12-story building was constructed in 1904 in the Late 19th and 20th Century Revival style. From 1904 to 1909, The Wilson was the city’s tallest structure. J.B. Wilson, a wealthy and influential Dallas cattleman, commissioned it. He engaged craftsmen from across the United States to work on The Wilson. Their installations included the marble and mahogany interior. Patterned after the Palais Garnier in Paris, France, this complex was home to the Titche-Goettinger department store, which occupied the basement and first two floors.

The Wilson Building
Image by Steven Martin | Flickr

8. Texas Theatre

Widely known as the location of Lee Harvey Oswald’s arrest, there are many intriguing details about this historic building. The theatre opened in the 1930s to screen moving pictures, and Howard Hughes owned the original cinema chain.

Texas Theatre’s projectionist box was built with fire suppression as a priority. Fires were a significant threat to cinemas at the time. This made being a projectionist a dangerous job, which involved working around hazardous and highly flammable chemicals. Chains used to support heavy metal screens still dangle by the entrance to the projectionist room. If a fire broke out, the screens could slam down and seal off the projectionist room.

9. Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture           

The Old Red Courthouse, situated in the heart of downtown Dallas, has helped to shape the entire county’s cultural heritage. Constructed in 1892, this iconic red sandstone building served as Dallas County’s primary courthouse until 1966. It was designed by Max A. Orlopp, Jr. in a Richardsonian Romanesque style. It features rusticated marble accents. The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places under Dallas County Courthouse. Today, the building is an event center and museum that tells the story of Texas through the ages.

10. Knights of Pythias Temple

This landmark, located at the corner of Good-Latimer Expressway and Elm Street, was originally The Grand Lodge of the Colored Knights of Pythias Building. It housed a fraternal order similar to societies such as the International Order of Oddfellows or Freemasons. William Sidney Pittman, Dallas’ first African-American architect, designed the temple. Throughout the segregation period, it was an important structure among African Americans as a place to meet socially, as well as to do business. Today, the Knights of Pythias Temple is one of the few remaining non-religious buildings designed by an African-American architect.

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