Our Lady of the Lake To Rebuild
2,200 people. The Y-shaped building employed a flat-slab structural system, the first full application of its kind, which reduced the number of columns and footers needed. Tabler was also one of the first in the country to use a thin-skinned curtain wall design consisting of 1 3/8” panels made of glass and porcelain coated metal. Its innovative features made it a significant contributor to the Modern movement in Dallas, and for the state of Texas.
Local preservation activists have worked to secure its inclusion in the designation of a potential historic district. In addition, Preservation Dallas has drafted a nomination to identify the Statler Hilton as a local landmark. The 2008 list is the twenty-first such list announced by the National Trust to highlight important examples of the nation’s architectural, cultural, and natural heritage that are at risk for destruction or irreparable damage.
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The Main Building, built in 1895, burned on May 6.
Statler Hilton Listed as ‘Endangered’ d a l l a s When first opened in 1956, the sheer size and bold form made the Statler Hilton one of downtown Dallas’ crown jewels. Fifty-two years later, the former icon of mid-century design sits vacant and threatened by encroaching development. However, with its recent inclusion on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2008 list of 11 Most Endangered Places, the old hotel may survive the increasing pressure for its destruction. Spared from demolition in 2003, the Statler Hilton is located across the street from the future site of a municipal park, Main Street Gardens, part of a major revitalization effort for downtown Dallas. Construction cleared an entire city block, and included razing the hotel’s parking garage. No longer owned by the Hilton Hotels Corporation, the building’s potential has been explored by other hotel operators, but numerous factors – no adjacent parking, low ceiling heights, and environmental costs – make its restoration a financial challenge. Designed by New York architect William Tabler, the Statler Hilton was the first glassand-metal hotel in the nation. Construction cost $16 million, it was the first major hotel built in Dallas in nearly three decades and the largest convention facility in the South. The hotel contained 1,000 guest rooms and a ballroom for
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The Statler Hilton, opened in 1956 but now threatened by encroaching development, is officially ‘endangered.’
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Top Photos courtesy Our Lady of the Lake Univeristy, San Antonio; Hilton Photo Copyright John Rogers Photography, courtesy Kate Singleton
a n t o n i o The four-alarm fire that devastated Our Lady of the Lake University’s Main Building on May 6 was likely caused by an electrical shortage in the attic, according to fire officials. Following an investigation, the historic building was released back to the university so assessment and restorative efforts could begin. Though no there were no injuries, more than 100 staff and faculty were displaced. The blaze affected more than 68,000 square feet of classrooms, labs and offices, the cafeteria, and the kitchen, along with a wing of Theresian Residence Hall that housed 35 women students. In addition, the basement of the adjacent Moye Hall sustained water damage. Built in 1895, the Main Building was designed by the renowned architect James Wahrenberger.
Nestled in the heart of the campus, it housed a dormitory and administrative offices. Its silver Gothic spires, soaring towers, dormered rooflines, and turrets graced the city skyline for more than a century. From a foundation of progressive European educational philosophy, our Lady of the Lake University developed as a leading institution of higher learning in the state. The Girl’s Academy opened in 1896 offering kindergarten through high school classes in the four-story brick building. College courses were first offered in 1911 and eight years later, the school obtained the status of a senior college. The college became coeducational in 1969. A rebuilding fund established by Frost Bank will accept monetary donations from individuals and businesses to assist in the restoration. The largest contribution – $1 million – to the effort so far has come from the Valero Energy Foundation on May 22.