The Trains at NorthPark honors Dallas Hall’s 100th birthday in 2012

Dallas Hall

The Trains at NorthPark honors Dallas Hall’s 100th birthday in 2012

Dallas Hall in The Trains at NorthPark

Dallas Hall, with an SMU Centennial flag on the dome and a vintage Mustang coupe at the front steps, celebrates its 100th birthday as a highlight of The Trains at NorthPark’s 2012 exhibition. Photo: Kim Ritzenthaler.

Each holiday season, more than 80,000 people visit Dallas’ NorthPark Center to see the most elaborate toy train exhibit in Texas. And in 2012, the scale locomotives – including an SMU railcar – roll past Dallas Hall in honor of the historic landmark’s 100th birthday.

The Trains at NorthPark celebrates its 25th anniversary supporting the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas and its 14th year at NorthPark Center in 2012. The exhibit encompasses 1,600 feet of track and more than 4,000 square feet of train-themed environments, with all the trimmings of the holiday train travel experience: steam engine and coach cars, a ticket booth and a train station.

This holiday season, SMU’s iconic oldest building joins a Dallas cityscape that includes the downtown skyline, the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, the State Fair of Texas and the Cotton Bowl. Dallas Hall’s presence in the exhibit was made possible by the SMU Centennial Host Committee.

The miniature journey across America also includes New York City’s Times Square and Grand Central Station; the White House in Washington, D.C.; New England fall foliage; Albuquerque’s hot-air balloon festival; the Grand Canyon; Route 66; San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and many other sights and highlights.

The Dallas Hall centennial plaque at SMU

The plaque placed at Dallas Hall during its 100th birthday celebration commends “those visionary donors and leaders who created the crowning symbol of SMU.” Photo: Hillsman S. Jackson

The University marked Dallas Hall’s centennial in November with the placement of a plaque commemorating its 100 years as SMU’s center and focal point. The plaque is located next to the building’s southwest door, near the cornerstone laid by the University’s founders on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 1912.

> SMU News: Happy 100th Birthday to Dallas Hall

Since 1987 The Trains at NorthPark has raised money for children and families served by the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas. Currently this annual fundraiser provides the funds for almost one-third of the organization’s annual operating budget.

The Trains at NorthPark is located on the 2nd level of NorthPark Center, next to Barneys New York.

Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children and seniors. The trains run through Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013.

Visit YouTube for a video of The Trains at NorthPark’s 2011 exhibit
> Check out more photos at the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas gallery

December 11, 2012|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

Dallas Hall celebrates 100 years on the Hilltop

Historic photo of Dallas Hall under construction

Dallas Hall, under construction. Photo courtesy of the SMU Archives.

On a chilly Thanksgiving Day in 1912, several thousand people gathered on a hill six miles from downtown Dallas. They had traveled by car and chartered train to celebrate the laying of the cornerstone of Dallas Hall, an event The Dallas Morning News described as “a day of jubilation.”

SMU celebrated the centennial of the laying of the Dallas Hall cornerstone Nov. 28, 2012, at a ceremony for the Dallas Hall Society in the Rotunda of Dallas Hall. The Dallas Hall Society recognizes those who contribute to SMU’s future through planned gifts.

In a 30-day countdown that began Homecoming weekend, alumni, students, faculty and staff signed giant Dallas Hall birthday cards and enjoyed birthday cupcakes.

For nearly 100 years, SMU’s elegant first building has served as a symbol of the University, a standard of its classic collegiate Georgian style, home to intellectual discourse for generations of students, and center of SMU’s liberal arts tradition, now Dedman College. Named in honor of the Dallas citizens whose contributions funded the building, Dallas Hall also serves as a symbol of the close relationship the University shares with the city.

Darwin Payne, SMU journalism professor emeritus and noted historian of Dallas, wrote and presented a brief history of Dallas Hall and its place in SMU’s founding at the anniversary celebration, excerpted below:

[A] Southwestern University professor had asked [SMU’s first president, Robert Stewart] Hyer if he truly thought the Methodist church could build a “real” university in Dallas. Hyer had answered: “Yes, but it will just about kill the man who does it. Nevertheless, I am willing to try. I know my limitations—I am not a money raiser. I also know my qualifications. I know how to select a faculty, and a great faculty makes a great school. Therefore, if the money is provided, I believe I can do the job.”

[…]

Precious few of the young students who arrived in 1915 for the beginning of classes – numbering 706 by the end of the first academic year – had ever seen such a building with such massive columns, its beautiful dome, and classic proportions. Their letters home and the oral histories they later gave provide unmistakable evidence of its tremendous impact.

It was a grand time, too, for SMU and for Dallas Hall and for the city of Dallas. So much excitement. So much promise. So much to do. And so much accomplished since then in these hundred years in a campus that now has more than a hundred buildings. But Dallas Hall, as we can see, is as beautiful and inspiring as it was then! It stands as a remarkable testament to the wisdom and forward-thinking of President Hyer, trustees, architects, and many others.

Written by Nancy George

> Find the full story, complete text of Payne’s remarks and historic photos at SMU News

November 29, 2012|News|

Tune In: Dallas Hall light show celebrates SMU centennial

SMU’s landmark building was a key player in the University’s inaugural Founders’ Day Weekend celebrations in April 2011. For 10 evenings, representing SMU’s 10 decades, Dallas Hall was illuminated in honor of the citizens of Dallas who generously provided the funds for the University’s first building.

Celebrate the kickoff of the SMU centennial all over again with this video of the Lighting of the Dome from Eva Parks of SMU News. Click the YouTube screen to continue, or visit this link to open the high-def Dallas Hall dome lighting video in a new window. video

May 11, 2011|Tune In|

SMU centennial kicks into high gear with Founders’ Day celebration

Founders' Day banner, 800px

SMU begins a new tradition with the first Founders’ Day Weekend celebration April 15-17, 2011.

The festivities begin Friday, April 15 with a Centennial Celebration at 1:30 p.m. on the Main Quad. The attractions include a performance by the Mustang Band, the raising of the Centennial Flag, and the opportunity to sign a giant birthday card for the University.

The day’s activities also include the extremely popular Inside SMU program, an afternoon of adult classes for alumni, parents and friends taught by SMU faculty, as well as the 2011 President’s Briefing.

Also scheduled is Relay for Life, the SMU student body’s largest annual philanthropy event, which supports the American Cancer Society. The Relay takes place 5:30 p.m.-5:30 a.m. April 15-16 on Bishop Boulevard. For more information, call 214-768-4405.

In addition, the University will welcome back alumni who graduated more than 50 years ago for the annual Golden Mustang reunion.

From 9-11 a.m. Saturday, April 16, SMU celebrates with its neighbors as the gold sponsor of the annual University Park Eggstravaganza Easter Egg Hunt in Goar Park, 3800 University Boulevard. Peruna and the Easter Bunny will make special appearances, in addition to other family activities. The University also will provide special SMU giveaways. For more information, call 214-987-5488.

For 10 evenings, representing SMU’s 10 decades, the dome of Dallas Hall will be lit in honor of the citizens of Dallas who provided the funds for SMU’s first building. The first lighting begins at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 17, and continues each night through Tuesday, April 26.

Designated as the third Friday in April each year, the day recognizes “the visionary institutions, organizations and individuals that founded the University on April 17, 1911,” according to the SMU 100 website.

The University will mark the 100-year anniversaries of its founding in 1911 and its opening in 1915 during The Second Century Celebration.

> RSVP and find a complete schedule at the Founders’ Day Weekend homepage
> Learn more about the SMU Centennial at the Second Century Celebration website

April 7, 2011|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

Dallas Hall to go dark for Earth Hour 2009

Dallas Hall at night

For one hour on March 28, the lights will go down in SMU’s historic Dallas Hall as part of Earth Hour 2009. Hundreds of cities are expected to participate in the observance at 8:30 p.m. local time.

SMU community members will gather on the Main Quad from 8:30-9:30 p.m. to reflect on power usage and climate change. Individuals are also being encouraged to turn off their own lights during that time.

The building joins several other Dallas icons in the voluntary blackout Saturday night. The lights of Reunion Tower, the red neon Pegasus atop the Magnolia Hotel and the green argon outlines of the Bank of America Tower all will go dark. Street lights, traffic lights and other safety lighting will not be affected.

Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. By 2008 the message had gone global, with 50 million people participating worldwide, as well as such international landmarks as San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca-Cola billboard in Times Square.

Earth Hour organizers have set a goal of 1 billion individual participants for 2009.

Read more from The Dallas Morning News
Visit the official Earth Hour website

March 27, 2009|Calendar Highlights, News|
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