Goat Hill's famed billboard as it will be seen for many years to come.

Ask John Neely Bryan: Why Does Dallas Adore Its Beer-Shilling Waterfall?

It's a treasured landmark along Interstate 35E.

John Neely Bryan, Our Founder
John Neely Bryan, Our Founder

Friends, Wick Allison has exciting news. You already know that he’s recruited some impressive names to support the Coalition For a New Dallas effort to cut the concrete noose suffocating downtown. What you don’t know is that one extremely big fish had thus far eluded him.

That would be yours truly, founder of the greatest city in mankind’s long and glorious history. It’s not that I was necessarily opposed to the proposition. Like all right-thinking citizens, I’d read last May’s quite satisfactory edition of D Magazine with the greatest of interest and been persuaded by the prudence of the prescriptions for Dallas’ future contained therein.

Yet I realized how vital I was to Wick’s effort, and thus it was incumbent upon myself to milk the situation for all the benefits and honors I could. Over countless luncheons in Stephan Pyles dining room, he endeavored to wear down my resolve. Eventually, under the stars at the Coalition’s kickoff event last night in an Uptown beer garden, I agreed. Yet not before I pried from him a ringing endorsement of my own effort to recast the unfortunately named Reunion Tower as the Bryan Citadel.

This truly is a day to be celebrated.

 

Question: What’s up with the beer/waterfall sign along I-35 on Goat Hill? How long has it been there? How is it still here? Why didn’t Trammell Crow tear it down when they built those apartments? Is it really that beloved of a Dallas icon? —Todd J.

The water-spewing billboard to which you refer has indeed been an important landmark ever since it was erected in 1962 as a means of proffering some of that swill they call beer down in San Antonio. It is, in point of fact, so beloved that it was almost entirely rebuilt into an even mightier form back in 2008.

The Trammell Crow development company wisely understood the public outcry it would have faced had it dared to raze this treasured piece of our city’s history. Steve Brown over at George Dealey’s rag did his usual bang-up job of touting just what the city’s commercial real estate PR machine fed him back in 2013, when he recounted all that makes the waterfall billboard so remarkable. Namely, college skinny-dipping parties. By the by, if anyone has possession of photographs or daguerreotypes of any of these shindigs, the editors of D Magazine would be much obliged to see them. (For use in the “Ghosts of Dallas” series, you understand.) Also, Brown conveniently excluded mention of the ancient Citizens Council rituals that took place there and gave Goat Hill its name.

Mr. Brown implies that the residents of Crow’s soon-to-be-completed Alexan apartment community atop that vantage point will value the waterfall as an attractive amenity. How could they not, what with the promise of moonlit views of lithe coeds frolicking sans culottes? Hell, I’ve got a mind to sign a lease myself, considering that, plus this sort of access to the world-famous Le Bistro and Grille:

I hope they serve chimichangas.
I hope they serve chimichangas.

 

Weighing a relocation,

John-Neely-Bryan-signature
John Neely Bryan is the founder of the city of Dallas and an expert on all matters. Email him for advice, to have a dispute adjudicated, or to seek his wisdom on any of a myriad of topics, at [email protected].

Comments

  • Johnyalamo

    Mr. Bryan,
    In, regards to the upcoming election, I would sooner support an imaginary mayoral or city council candidate that was AGAINST the Trinity tollway than a real, flesh and bone candidate that was in favor of the concrete noose. Are you or Wylie H Dallas running for local office?

    • Wylie H Dallas

      Possibly…

  • mik

    A few historical tidbits: For its first few years in existence, on Texas/OU weekends, you would pass by the sign and find the water “modified” with orange food coloring. On other occasions it would be very foamy from applications of laundry powder. After a while a security fence and sometimes guards were added.

  • palebo

    Agree with P North – now that “Goat Hill” is destroyed, whats the point of any of it???

    Trammell Corw Companys GAWD-AWFUL PIECE OF DRECK has ruined anything of beauty on that piece of land – its like some nasty giant dog came and took a stinking dump on there.

  • Greg Pettigrew

    Another ugly apartment building in Dallas. Goat Hill deserves better.

  • 1stand10burger

    Why didn’t they tear it down? Easy – they don’t own it. ClearChannel does. Outdoor advertising companies generally pay the land owner for an easement or even buy a 10’x10′ parcel of land w/ an access easement(to change/maintain their sign) when constructing a billboard.

    That one is a CASH COW at that location on I-35, and w/ the city putting a moratorium on new billboard construction there’s absolutely no chance that billboard (or any other) will be removed by whomever owns it.

  • bigDjorie

    If we need to give any attention to a historical water site, it should be our ignorance to CEDAR SPRINGS. Cedar Springs is not just the eclectic gayborhood strip. CEDAR SPRINGS spring is truly a Dallas natural, once beautiful, icon. CEDAR SPRINGS now sits in a trash filled gully in Craddock Park across from Whole Foods on Lemmon. What a tragedy that the city engineers use it a sewer over flow, yet the natural spring waters still flow up from the ground and go under the DNNT. Cedar Spring was the original first settlement of Dallas.

    Now it’s true, in the 70’s we did sneak up to the Coors beer sign, but I certainly don’t remember any one getting naked up there. Baby Doe’ s Matchless Mine was up there, so you had to be careful, not to get caught. We were bored and its was warm summer nights. Recently, as of 5 years ago, its was all tagged up and homeless camps. Yes, 30 years later, it was still fun to climb Goat Hill.

    Yes, the beer sign is a cash cow, with a strategic billboard location. Although, the Beer billboard does have a Dallas icon-ism attached to it, like Forest Lane, and Mobil Oil Pegasus and many many more. We are still a young city with very little past. Ah, yes, I do remember the days of orange water, soapy bubbles (I swear, it wasn’t me) and even when it was dried up and not working…(what, why isn’t the water flowing?,) they need to fix the sign. It’s kind of like the Colgate clock sign, on the NJ side of the NYC harbor, and other city icons across the country. Guess those icons will always there, until they are gone and we will say remember when.

    In the last decade, Dallas has sold out to the typical box, no relief, east European, behind the iron curtain, non-architectural, minimal design, creepy undescriptive, stick built…blah, blah, blah, apartments.

    But Dallas…like the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, (Danny Faulkner years) 90,’s, and into the millennium and beyond, it’s always more, more and more apartments/condos.

    Goat Hill deserved better…the Crow machine continues.