Texas Centennial Exposition opens
On this day in 1936, the Central Centennial Exposition, part of the Texas Centennial celebration marking 100 years of Texas independence, opened in Dallas's Fair Park. Construction on the exposition began in October 1935 with George L. Dahl as the architect. The official $25 million central exposition occupied fifty buildings and was the first world's fair held in the Southwest. The "Cavalcade of Texas," a historical pageant depicting four centuries of Texas history, became one of the exposition's most popular attractions. The Hall of Negro Life marked an exposition milestone, the first recognition of black culture at a world's fair. The competing unofficial Fort Worth Frontier Centennial Exposition opened on July 18. The Fort Worth exposition closed on November 14, the Dallas exposition on November 29. Although attendance at both fairs (Dallas, 6,345,385; Fort Worth, 986,128) fell far short of expectations, civic leaders felt the publicity they brought to both the area and the state was well worth the cost. The Dallas exposition reopened in June 1937 as the Greater Texas and Pan American Exposition and closed in October. Many of the exposition buildings, including the Hall of State, are still standing and were renovated along with Fair Park in the 1980s.