Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Mystery Man of Norbuck Park

   On the southeast corner of Buckner and Northwest Highway sits one of East Dallas' busiest public spaces, Norbuck Park. It has two lighted softball fields, a playground, tennis court, roller hockey rink and wooded trails that have hosted high school cross country meets for generations.
   Just a short distance from White Rock Lake, it has become popular with running groups and is the Start / Finish Line for the Dallas Running Club's Half Marathon.
 
   Situated between the ball fields is a monument to a man who died over 50 years ago. I've often wondered, who is Rowland Adams?  Why did his contemporaries feel compelled to place a marker in this park?


  The monument itself offers few clues. It reads:

1917 -1962
A Tribute To
Rowland D. Adams
Whose Love of God and Life
Inspired Him To Appreciate the
Beauty of the World and His
Fellow Man

To Be a Coach and Counselor to
Boys and Girls

To Be a Friend and Example to All

This Monument is Dedicated

   We are able to determine that Mr. Adams died at the rather young age of 44 or 45. And that his death occurred  50 years ago. Were he alive today, he would be in his mid 90's. Chance are that few of his contemporaries would still be around.

  The monument also stated that he was a coach of boys and girls. The young men and woman who were inspired by Mr. Adams are probably in there 60's and 70's today.

   I went to the staff at downtown branch of the Dallas Library to see if they could find anything more on Rowland D. Adams. The search uncovered his obituary from the January 19, 1962 printing of the Dallas Times Herald which shed some light on his contributions.

   Rowland Adams organized the White Rock Churches Athletic Association in 1956. According to his obituary, it was the largest church sponsored athletic association in the nation. In 1962 alone there were over 2000 youngsters participating in baseball and basketball programs. Adams himself coached teams from his congregation at Lakeview Christian Church. It also stated that he had been sick for many years and that he died at the age of 44. 

    East Dallas has changed much in the past 60 years. In 1962, that area of town was much like Frisco is today. The homes were new, the area was growing, the public schools were some of the best in the state. 
   Today, many of the churches that were once part of of the White Rock Churches Athletic Association have seen their congregations age and many of the buildings now house churches of different denominations.  
   And at Norbuck Park, a new generation of children enjoy the fields of play.  Hopefully some of them have grandparents that will tell them of a man whose monument overlooks their playground.

   







Sunday, March 11, 2012

The $10 Million View


   I recently had an opportunity to visit the new 43 story Museum Tower overlooking Woodall Rogers Freeway and the new Deck Park. The building is still months from completion but my friend Josh Frye has a few connections and took me to the construction site.

   When the tower opens it will feature condos starting at $1 million with a $10 million penthouse. I wondered what a $10 million view looks like, so I brought my camera along. Chance are, I probably won't ever get inside this building again.

A rendering of the completed tower with a $10 million condo on the top floor.

The Tower, looking up from the ground floor

Inside the finished $1 Million Condo


A view high above the new deck park. 

Looking west

On the very top of the building, 43 floors above downtown. (Yes, I am a little nervous)

My buddy Josh has no qualms standing against a flimsy wooden rail, 43 floors above downtown


Rendering of your finished $10 Million balcony. To be honest, I can't see how anybody would ever feel comfortable sitting out there.

Looking north toward Love Field from the unfinished penthouse. My knees were weak taking this photo .


High enough to look through the hole of this building.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"Have You Seen Our Copy of the Declaration of Independance?"

   Earlier today, I was at the main branch of the Dallas Public Library waiting for some items to be retrieved from the local history section. A staff member approached me and asked if I needed some assistance. When I replied that I had been helped, she asked, "Since you're waiting, have you seen our copy of the Declaration of Independence?"

   "THE Declaration  of Independence," I replied, "the one from 1776?"

  "Yes," replied Sharon Martin, manager of the Dallas Library's Main Branch. "We have one of the originals here on the 7th floor."

The specially designed room housing the Declaration.

   Indeed, in a specially designed room open on the 7th floor of downtown Dallas' Main Library is THE Declaration of Independence.

   How did the Dallas Public Library obtain this precious piece of Americana? To answer this question we must go back to 1776.
   After the document was handwritten on July 4, 1776, it was taken to John Dunlop, a Philadelphia printer who made approximately 200 copies. Historians consider Dunlop's first run, the original copies of the Declaration. These copies went out to newspapers and public officials in all 13 colonies.

The Dallas Library's Copy of the Declaration of Independence in its sealed case.


   Today, less than 30 of John Dunlop's original run still exist and many are in bad condition. The document at the Dallas Main Library is sometimes referred to as "the Lost Copy" because it was discovered in storage in a Philadelphia book store in 1968. Two Dallas businessmen purchased the copy in an auction shortly after it was found. It was later donated to the city of Dallas and put on display in City Hall before finding its permanent home on the 7th floor of the library.
   The Declaration is in excellent condition and is housed in a specially designed case that protects it from aging. Its free and open to the public during normal business hours.


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