Offering panoramic views of Dallas, Texas, Reunion Tower is arguably the most iconic building in the city. We explore the tower, its history, and what makes Reunion Tower one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dallas.
Reunion Tower cost $35 million to build
Work on the project started in 1975, when John Scovell negotiated the contract with Henry C. Beck Co.
It was designed by Welton Becket
This prominent architect designed a stunning array of iconic buildings in California throughout his career, including Bullock’s Pasadena, the Prudential Building, the UCLA Medical Center, the Capitol Records Building, and the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
The top of Reunion Tower is known locally as The Ball
It gains its name from the rotating ball-shaped section at the summit of the structure, home to the Observation Deck and restaurant Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck.
Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty restaurant offers an eclectic menu
Diners can enjoy 360-degree views from the rotating restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows. This unique venue offers a selection of contemporary Asian dishes, accompanied by sake, Asian beers, and an extensive wine list. Menu highlights include crispy shrimp and lobster spring rolls, the spring sashimi tower, Korean fried “chicken and waffles,” and Maryland-style crab cake benedict. The dessert menu features dishes like five-spice chocolate mousse pops and rhubarb-ginger cheesecake.
The Observation Deck is 470 feet high
Known as the GeO-Deck, Reunion Tower’s Observation Deck provides panoramic views of the Dallas skyline through high-definition zoom cameras, telescopes, and interactive touch screens, as well as free digital photographs to take home. The GeO-Deck features both indoor and outdoor viewing areas, allowing visitors to see for miles in any direction.
The GeO-Deck features a new interactive experience called the Reunion Tower Constellation. A series of touch screen monitors run along the GeO-Deck’s inner wall, where on-screen prompts encourage visitors to add their name to a star and describe their experience. Subsequent visits create new stars, adding to the constellation.
Reunion Tower opened to the public on April 15, 1978
After its opening, Reunion Tower became an instant icon of the city, receiving positive reviews from the New York Times, which compared the building to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis in terms of creating a distinctive focus for the city.
Reunion Tower was the brainchild of Ray Hunt and John Scovell
In the early 1970s, Ray Hunt, son of oil tycoon H. L. Hunt, embarked upon a mission to revitalize downtown Dallas. He teamed with John Scovell, a Hunt Oil Company employee, to plan the construction of the Hyatt Regency Dallas.
Working with architecture firm Welton Becket & Associates, the duo initially intended to add a revolving observation deck to sit atop the Hyatt Regency, but the idea was not well received by the building’s developers. They, along with Welton Becket, came up with a new plan: to create a separate observation tower.
Construction commenced on the new building in 1975 and was completed three years later. Within 30 minutes of Reunion Tower’s grand opening, traffic on Dallas highways came to a standstill, with locals transfixed by Reunion Tower’s 50-story-high twinkling glass ball.
Reunion Tower was featured in a number of hit shows and films
The venue, along with its shimmering counterpart, the Hyatt Regency, plays a prominent role in Dallas culture. Reunion Tower has also been featured as a backdrop in several hit movies, including Robocop.
Reunion Tower was featured in the opening credits of Dallas, a hit TV show that first aired the year the tower opened. Today, Reunion Tower puts on a show all of its own, with The Ball lighting up the night with glittering light displays.
Reunion Tower features 259 light fixtures, each fitted with three separate LED lights
Each of those LED lights features a dozen “nodes,” meaning that each light has 36 nodes in total: 12 each of blue, red, and green. The total number of color combinations tops 16.7 million, creating a practically limitless palette of color.
Reunion Tower stages dozens of different light shows every year. Some are more challenging than others. Halloween light shows are particularly impressive, as the tower is turned into an enormous jack-o-lantern.
There are 989 steps to the top of the tower
Additionally, the elevators have the capacity to carry 500 people per hour and travel at 7.4 mph.
Reunion Tower was specially designed to withstand tornadoes
Dallas falls within the infamous “Tornado Alley,” which experiences an average of 132 tornadoes each year. Though the majority of these occur in the North Texas Red River Valley region, tornadoes were factored into the planning of Reunion Tower.
The construction team tested structural models of Reunion Tower, wind testing them to ensure that the building could withstand winds as strong as 125 mph.
Approximately one marriage proposal occurs at Reunion Tower every day
The venue has earned a reputation as one of the most romantic spots in Dallas. It offers special packages for couples, creating a night to remember. These incorporate a VIP elevator service, complimentary sparkling wine, and reservations at Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck.