Missing Art of the Metroplex - Where is 'The Wishing Star'?


Update:  In late 2017, after being closed for 17 years, The Statler Hotel finished it's renovation and was reopened.  Only on thing was missing,  The Wishing Star.
   Unbelievably, the Star was found in the back yard of a former Statler Hotel employer who was allowed to take home the sculpture when the hotel closed in 2001.  The gentleman who had taken home the piece generously donated the piece back to the new owners and refused any payment for it. He requested that the artwork be restored and displayed back at the hotel once the renovation was done.  He also asked that his donation remain anonymous.



   Today The Wishing Star has been restored and is on display once again in the reopened Statler Hotel



The Original Post

This rare photo and caption from the Dallas Times Herald shows a picture of the sculptor and his creation "A Wishing Star". Where is this artwork today? Nobody knows.

   In 1956, the 1000 room Statler Hotel opened in downtown Dallas at a cost of $16 Million. For its time, it was the most modern hotel in the world, introducing such futuristic features as elevator music, central TV reception with a set in every room and the first ballroom with a moveable wall that could divide it into smaller sections. 



  The symbol of this spectacular hotel, featured on all it's literature, was the "Wishing Star"  The symbol was paterned after a piece of original artwork by noted sculpture Jose de Rivera. de Rivera was know for his abstract work that can be seen from Washington D.C.'s Mall to the site of the New York World's Fair.


   By the 1990's the Statler had gone through numerous less than stellar renovations and a name change. It's glory faded, few people remember that this building was once the toast of Dallas. It's final incarnation, the Grand Hotel,   closed in 2001. 
  Sometime during the numerous failed renovations and ownership changes, the scuplture was removed from it's perch on the second floor garden. The trail quickly got murky as recent owners say that the artwork was gone when they purchased the building. The whereabouts of 'The Wishing Star' are unclear to this day. 
   In the Spring of 2011, the Statler was purchased and slated for renovation and reopening. The once grand building will regain it's glory as a mid century masterpiece. It's front yard is the newly created Main Street Garden. All that will be missing from this restoration will be the return of it's once majestic symbol. 

Read More about the history of The Statler Hotel.

More Missing Art of the Metroplex




You Need to Check Out this Piece of Public Art




   In Fort Worth, at the intersection of 7th and University, there is a piece of public art that never ceases to amaze me. It sits in front of the new Post Office. Four silver post, each bent towards downtown.

    I remember when these four posts were straight. 18 years ago, they supported a billboard. But when the F2 tornado of 2000 swept thru the westside and headed toward downtown, it tore the billboard off and forever twisted the four posts.

   During the clean up, nobody bothered to remove the posts. As a then resident of the westside, we grew fond of Mother Nature's art piece. When a new post office was proposed for the intersection, it was decided that posts should remain on the plaza front the station.

   Today, the four post sit as a reminder of of the awesome power of nature. For myself, that makes it definitely the most intriguing piece of public art in the metroplex.







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Implosions!





    Westchester Plaza, a 12 Story Apartment Complex in Fort Worth come down Sunday Morning,  March 18 at 8 am.  The Apartments were on the corner of 8th Avenue and Pennsylvania in the Medical District across the street from the Thistle Hill Mansion.   The building was constructed in 1951.





            

    Texas Stadium,  home of the Dallas Cowboys for almost 40 years, met it's fate on April 11, 2010. Located in the apex of Highways 114, Northwest Highway and 183, the stadium parking lots were once used on non game days as drive in Movie theaters.







   The Thomas Building in downtown Dallas was used for the Cotton business for over 70 years. It sat vacant for it's last 20 years before coming down in November of 2012.  It's site, 1314 Wood St.  is now used for parking. 





   The First Baptist Church of Dallas imploded 4 buildings of their downtown campus for new construction on October 30, 2010. 





   The Power Plant of Northlake in Coppell comes down in 2012. 





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Searching For the Mickey Mantle Bowling Center

   I recently came across this photo of a cigarette lighter from the Mickey Mantle Bowling Center. My curiosity got the best of me, and I spent the better part of the morning finding out what I could about Mickey Mantle's long gone business venture.



   The bowling center opened in the mid 1950s, in a development at the corner of Harry Hines and Mockingbird Lane called Exchange Park.  In the 1950s, Exchange Park was a very modern and glamorous mixed used development that housed the headquarters of Braniff Airlines along with numerous commercial interests, including Mantle's Bowling Center.  Exchange Park still exists today, but mainly as offices for UT Southwester Medical Center and Chase Bank.

Exchange Park, at the Corner of Harry Hines and Mockingbird, in it's heyday 
   The Mickey Mantle Bowling Center became part of a New York Yankees contract dispute in 1959. The Yankees wanted Mantle to take a significant payout, despite hitting 42 Home Runs the previous year.  Mantle said he would not take a cut, but deserved a raise. He publicly stated he would be more than happy to stay in Dallas and run his bowling alley rather than accept the pay cut. 


Photo Courtesy of @BSMile via Twitter

Matchbook from Mickey Mantle Bowling Center

Mug given to those who bowled a perfect game

    The Bowling Center lasted only a few years as did his chain of restaurants that Mantle tried to run  in the late 60s. Mickey Mantle's Country Cookin' original location at 3561 Marvin D Love Freeway is long gone, but there still exists numerous pieces of memorabilia from his failed restaurant venture.         Mantle also lent his name to a development at Cedar Creek Lake.  Willowwood and Arbolado developments still exist today, but few remember Mickey Mantle's involvement. 







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