John Neely Bryan wore many hats. He was a Presbyterian farmer, lawyer and a tradesman. Perhaps more importantly, he founded Dallas, Texas. In 1841, he built a small log building. A reconstructed model of the edifice was later erected in Dallas County Historical Plaza in downtown Dallas.
Also known as New Oak Cliff Cemetery, Laurel Land Memorial Park is famous as the final resting place for musician Stevie Ray Vaughan and J.D. Tippit, a Dallas police officer Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly killed after he allegedly killed President John F. Kennedy.
Sometimes it feels like the history of Dallas centers on the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Contrary to prevailing opinion, it does not. Any visitor to Dallas looking to explore more of the city’s history should begin at the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture near Dealey Plaza in the heart of downtown Dallas. The museum, located in the historic 1892 Dallas County Courthouse, explores the fascinating history of Dallas, how the city grew into the major metropolis it is today and some of the cultural conflicts along the way.
Dealey Plaza is today synonymous with the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. However, the history of the plaza dates to 1935 when it was dedicated. Named for longtime Dallas Morning News publisher George Bannerman Dealey, the plaza was completed in 1940. Construction of the 15-acre plaza was made possible after the Trinity River was rerouted to prevent flooding in the area. Home to some of the first settlements, Dealey Plaza is sometimes known as the “birthplace of Dallas.”
The 561-foot-tall Reunion Tower is one of the recognizable landmarks in Dallas. Part of the Hyatt Regency Hotel complex, Reunion Tower is the 15th tallest building in Dallas and located about 1,000 feet from Dealey Plaza where President John F. Kennedy was killed in 1963. Known locally as “The Ball,” the tower was completed on Feb. 2, 1978.
According to VisitDallas.com, “Phillip Johnson, a Kennedy family friend, constructed this stark and simple memorial to the late president.” The memorial is located in the Dallas County Historical Plaza and near Dealey Plaza, where President John F. Kennedy was killed on Nov. 22, 1963.
The George W. Bush Presidential Center opened on April 25, 2013. The centerpiece is a 9/11 exhibit, but it is but one section of the 14,000-square-foot museum that opened to the public last month. In addition, the museum features a full scale replica of the Oval Office, information about life in The White House, President Bush’s two dogs, a collection of autographed baseballs and an exhibit — complete with hanging chads — about the 2000 election in which Bush defeated then Vice President Al Gore.
The 66-acre Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is located on the southeastern shore of White Rock Lake in East Dallas. Since opening to the public in 1984, the garden has received many accolades from publications including Architectural Digest, USA Today, Fodor’s Travel, Trip Advisor, The Travel Channel and many others. The Arboretum includes many formal and informal garden spaces, world-recognized trial gardens, a concert lawn, picnic areas, food service areas, a gift shop, orientation theater, classrooms and the historic DeGolyer House.
Originally opened in 1989, the museum, tells not only the story of Kennedy’s assassination and the aftermath of his death, but puts into context Kennedy’s visit to Dallas, which was in essence the first stop of his 1964 re-election campaign. The most powerful scene in the museum is arguably the reconstructed sniper’s perch. According to the Warren Commission, Oswald organized boxes containing schoolbooks into the perch; the museum based its reconstruction on photographs taken on Nov. 22, 1963.
Created in 1994, Pioneer Plaza is the largest public open space in the Dallas central business district. The park is home to the Cattle Drive Through Dallas sculpture. The giant bronze sculpture commemorates (as its name suggests) a cattle drive through the city.
Pioneer Park Cemetery consists of graveyards containing the remains of several of the Dallas’ earliest founders, including mayors, business leaders and heroes of the Texas revolution. Located in the Dallas’ Convention Center District and east of Pioneer Plaza, the cemetery dates to the 1850s and remained in use until the 1920s.