The State Fair of Texas has been held at Fair Park in Dallas since 1886, according
to dallascityhall.com. The fair is the largest annual state fair in the U.S. and
Fair Park is a National Historic Landmark.
In 1936, Dallas was chosen to host the State of Texas Centennial Celebration, and
architect George Dahl was hired to rebuild Fair Park for the event. His task was
to plan, design and build the $25 million Texas Centennial Exposition during a 14-month
period; he directed 10 Dallas firms that were hired to design 26 major buildings
during a nine-month period.
The Hall of State was designed to be the exposition's architectural centerpiece.
At $1.3 million, at the time it was the most expensive structure per square foot
ever built in Texas.
The centennial had a final count of more than 6 million people, including President
Franklin D. Roosevelt. The event has been credited with pulling Dallas out of the
Depression, providing jobs for more than 15,000 people and boosting Dallas' economy.
A new automobile exhibit hall was built in Fair Park during the 1940s, but otherwise,
Fair Park mainly stayed the same. During recent years, there have been constant
renovations to restore Fair Park.
Fair Park currently draws more than 7 million people to ticketed events and generates
millions of dollars for Dallas each year. It has nine museums and six performance
halls and hosts more than 40 concerts each year. Fair Park boasts the largest collection
of 1930s art deco architecture in the U.S. and also is the U.S.'s only unaltered
pre-1950s World's Fair site.