Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 24, Number 2, Fall 2012 Page: 12
This periodical is part of the collection entitled: Legacies: a History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the Dallas Historical Society.
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Mayor Connor entertained Adolphus Busch
with champagne in 1890, these Dallas leaders
entertained the next generation of St. Louis
capitalists.As City Hall gave way to the Adolphus,
the space at Akard and Commerce continued
to operate as a social, as well as architectural
crossroads for the connections between these
In this second layer of building and
partnership, the connections to Dallas grew
deeper, and geographic identity and loyalty
grew blurry. At one time visitors, St. Louisans
increasingly assumed the identity of Dallasites
and city boosters themselves. A piece of sheet
music offers a good demonstration of this kind
of acculturation by St. Louisans and St. Louis
institutions. In 1915 St. Louis and Dallas vied
to host the Democratic National Convention,
using whatever means they could to market the
city nationally. Dallas boosters commissioned
MEET MEIN DALLAS
BL SURE AND MLL I ML"
This sheet music was produced in an unsuccessful
effort to lure the Democratic National Convention to
Dallas in 1916. The title was obviously inspired by the
song made famous during the St. Louis World's Fair of
1904, and the background features both the Adolphus
and Busch Buildings.
Jack Gardner, the entertainment manager of
the Adolphus, to write and publish a jingle to
promote their bid called "Meet Me in Dallas."
The Texas Democratic Convention planned to
sell the sheet music for ten cents a copy, using
the proceeds to send copies around the country
to drum up support for its bid.18 The song's title
is an obvious play on "Meet Me in St. Louis,"
the song composed for the 1904 Fair (and later
popularized in the famous 1944 Judy Garland
film). The cover art also makes reference to St.
Louis by featuring a photograph ofthe Commerce
and Akard intersection, with its towering Busch
skyscrapers prominently featured as signs of the
city's progressive spirit. To spur sales, Gardner
played the music at the Adolphus, as well as at
performances at the nearby Majestic Theatre, also
owned by a former St. Louisan, Karl Hoblitzelle.
By 1915 these institutions, symbols of the links
to St. Louis, were more closely connected with
Dallas than St. Louis.
As Dallas entered the 1920s this kind of
acculturation continued, and the bonds between
the cities began to loosen as Dallas grew increasingly
mature, both economically and culturally. The
local architectural community began to assert
its sophistication and professionalism, forming
the Dallas Architectural Club in 1922.19 Leading
firms like Lang and Witchell took a greater role
in shaping the most important projects in the city.
At Commerce and Akard, however, connections
to St. Louis continued, as the intersection was
scraped clean a third time and rebuilt with
even taller buildings. The Oriental Hotel, once
a landmark of progressive modernity, was razed
in 1925 to make way for the Baker Hotel. One
block to the south, the small headquarters of
Southwestern Bell Telephone Company was
replaced with a mighty tower modeled on the
company's headquarters building in St. Louis.
Both projects signaled the beginning of a shift
from a linear relationship between Dallas and
St. Louis to a more internal dynamic between
Dallas and the rest ofTexas.
Unlike the Oriental, which it replaced,
the Baker Hotel was not a Dallas-St. Louis
institution but part of a chain of Texan hotels
owned by T. B. Baker in San Antonio, Austin, and
Fort Worth. Baker wanted to add a Dallas hotel
to complete his collection, and he identified the
site of the Oriental as the ideal location for a
new, mammoth 22-story, 700-room institution
complete with meeting rooms and banqueting
I2 LEGACIES Fall 2012
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Dallas Historical Society. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 24, Number 2, Fall 2012, periodical, Autumn 2012; Dallas, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth308998/m1/14/: accessed May 11, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.