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When the block-long Main Street Garden opened three years it brought new attention to the neighborhood at the east end of downtown Dallas. The public park’s expansive lawn has hosted numerous festivities and provides an excellent viewpoint for studying the architecture of the area. You don’t have to be an architect to appreciate the classic design of the old Municipal Building or the clean lines of the 1955 Dallas Public Library. Stretching back one century, the buildings surrounding the park have formed the basis for this evolving neighborhood and their diversity is one of the strengths of the Harwood Historic District.

While Main Street Garden offers a great vantage point to judge these structures from the outside, have you ever wondered what lies behind closed doors?

On Saturday, April 13th you’ll have the chance to be an urban explorer and tour some of these buildings during Architecture360’s Main Street Garden Celebration. From 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. behind-the-scenes tours will take visitors inside buildings and into areas rarely seen by the public.

Stairs and jail door

The Municipal Building’s once contained the city jail at the top of the building. Today, it sits mostly forgotten

Inside the Titche-Goettinger Building — formerly home to one of the largest department stores in the Southwest — see remnants of downtown’s golden age of retailing. At the other end of the park, climb the stairs to the top of the Municipal Building to see where Lee Harvey Oswald was jailed after the Kennedy assassination. And inside the Statler Hilton, marvel at the Empire Room’s colored glass wall and Jack Lubin mural – recently rediscovered during building renovations. While elements of these buildings remain “time capsules” of their era, you’ll learn how these places have influenced Dallas history while being adapted to new uses.

directory on wall

The directory still hangs on the wall of the old Dallas Public Library building

Docent-led tours will be offered free of charge, and tickets will be available on a first come, first served basis. Skyline tours and entertainment in the park will round out the festivities. To see a full line up of the day’s activities view the schedule HERE.

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