Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 21, Number 1, Spring, 2009 Page: 22
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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Frank Lloyd Wright and
the Rogers Lacy Hotel
BY CHARLES T. MARSHALL
fOn a Wednesday evening in March 1946, a
starstruck group of college students barged
into the Baker Hotel room of a celebrated archi-
tect. The following day, more than a hundred
civic leaders crowded into the Dallas Museum of
Fine Arts to hear the architect's lecture.
Headlines in The Dallas Morning News heralded
his arrival: "Outstanding Architect To Visit
Dallas"; "Architect Arrives For Hotel Parley";
"Famed Architect Confers on New Dallas Hotel
Plans."1 The city was electric.
From his office at the Morning News, John
Rosenfield was not just a keen observer of the
contagion. The amusements editor sensed that a
building designed by the man considered
America's greatest architect would galvanize the
cosmopolitan aspirations of his postwar boom-
town. Known as the city's "cultural czar,"2
Rosenfield had orchestrated contact with the
architect for a proposed downtown hotel project
and hyped the visit in daily newspaper articles.
But it wasn't the novelty of Frank Lloyd
Wright's visit that generated the electricity
(Stanley Marcus had previously lured him to
Dallas in the 1930s for literary and architectural
enlightenment); it wasn't his hobnobbing at local
icons (attending a Neiman-Marcus fashion
show, he approved of the simple skirt lines); and
it wasn't even his provocative quotes on a slow
news day (to the local press, he declared that "the
overgrown city is a monstrosity" and "today's
automobile is four times longer than it need
It was his vision. Lounging in silk pajamas
that evening and lecturing in a tweed suit the
next day,Wright described to his transfixed audi-
ence a glistening stainless steel and glass future
which, he modestly predicted, would "mark the
spot where Dallas once stood."4
For his part,Wright could not get started fast
enough. Almost 80, he yearned to build the sky-
scraper that had eluded him throughout his long
career. Within weeks of receiving an inquiry
from Dallas investment banker Gordon Rupe,
acting on behalf of a wealthy East Texas wildcat-
ter who wanted to build an innovative down-
22 LEGACIES Spring 2009
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Dallas Heritage Village. Legacies: A History Journal for Dallas and North Central Texas, Volume 21, Number 1, Spring, 2009, periodical, 2009; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth66966/m1/24/: accessed December 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Historical Society.