Fire at the H. L. Greene building, also known as the Wilson Building, January 15, 1950. PA76-1/6500.1, from the Hayes Collection, Dallas Public Library.

Dallas History

Tales From the Dallas History Archives: The Changing Dallas Skyline

With recent implosions and fires destroying old buildings around downtown, the Dallas Central Library's archivist shares a few photos of structures that are no longer with us.

The Dallas skyline seems like an immutable sight. Its presence exudes a sense of permanence, but if the past several months has taught us anything, it’s that no building in Dallas lasts forever. In the early morning hours of May 28,, the 115-year-old Ambassador Hotel building in the Cedars caught fire and partially collapsed, requiring a controlled collapse of the remaining structure.

A few weeks ago, a building in downtown proper that previously housed the Reserve Life Insurance building was imploded by demolition crews to make way for new construction by its current owner, First Baptist Dallas. There are plenty of photos of Dallas’ old towers at the Archives Division at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library. And there are other photos of fires, tornadoes, and construction that changed the makeup of the buildings around downtown. Let’s take a look at a few. (Above these words is a 1950 fire at what is now the Wilson Building. )


Brandon Murray, a librarian and archivist in the Dallas Public Library’s Dallas History & Archives Division, writes about North Texas history for D Magazine.

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