When walking around downtown Dallas, one comes across a white spiral construction in the intersection of Ervay Street and Pacific Avenue. It contrasts with the glass and steel buildings around this tower surrounded by lush gardens and a water fountain. One might think this is Rapunzel’s tower but it isn’t. It’s Thanksgiving Square.
I had seen it on several occasions from the car. When my sister came to visit, we went to see the sights and one of them was Thanksgiving Square. One can climb the ramp to the top to see the multi-denominational chapel. The chapel was closed the day we visited. The Hall of Thanksgiving on the ground floor tells the story of thanksgiving traditions in the U.S.
The story of this monument to gratitude dates back to the mid-1960s. On the one hand, Dallas wanted to improve the negative image the rest of the country had of the city, created by JFK’s assassination. On the other hand, four local businessmen wanted the city to be known also for the good heart of its citizens and not just for its economic and material achievements. So they decide to create a public space dedicated to gratitude, since thanksgiving is present in every culture and religion.
These four businessmen created the Thanksgiving Foundation bought a plot of land and construction began in 1973. The tower, whose bell tolls every hour, was opened in 1976 in time for the Bicentennial of the American Revolution.
Thanksgiving Square was the city’s first mixed public-private development. The latest one is Klyde Waren Park, created in 2013.
The cascade and water fountain behind the tower really make for an urban oasis in the concrete desert. Lush gardens surround the fountain and invite to sit and take a load off.
Other monuments, or sculptures, are the Ring of Thanks and the Circle of Giving. The ring is covered in 23 carat gold (96%). I wonder if anyone ever tried to scrape some of that gold off! A story by Normal Rockwell served as inspiration for the mural.
Thanksgiving Square is one of the many unsung corners of Dallas with an interesting story behind it. It’s well worth a visit.
1627 Pacific Ave.
Gardens: 5. Am to 11 pm.
Chapel: Wed – Sun 11 am to 3 pm; Mon 1 pm to 3 pm, Tue closed.