As DART Debuts Its "New" Police HQ, the Trial Over the Building Inches Closer to the Station

Texas Record Historical Photograph Collection
Back when Monroe Shops was the train maintenance facility for the Texas Electric Railway
Dallas Area Rapid Transit sends word today: The old Monroe Shops building, near the Blue Line's Illinois Station on Corinth Road, was officially rebirthed today as the DART police department's HQ after close to 20 years on the drawing board. For preservationists, this qualifies as Big News: It was originally built in 1914 as part of the Texas Electric Railway (also known as the Interurban) until it rolled to a dead stop in 1948, and went on the National Register of Historic Places in March 2007 because it "embodies the distinctive characteristics of architectural patterns reminiscent of Texas Interurban Railway era," per DART's release.

Transit agency architect Steven Bourn oversaw the redo of the 69,000-square foot space; DART spokesman Mark Ball was kind enough to shoot us some photos of the redo-in-progress, which follow after the jump. Ball also directs our attention to this astounding cache of photos featuring not only the original Interurban facility during its operating days, but dozens of photos of Dallas's streetcars way back when. If you've got an hour to kill.

But I also recall another story involving Monroe Shops: developer John Tatum's long-running legal battle with DART over the building, which Tatum wanted and which Schutze has written about at length. (Last I looked, DART had spent around $250,000 fighting Tatum; Jim's understanding is the bill's much higher now.) I asked Jim if he knew where it stood; he called Tatum; and Jim offers this update about the story within the story:
A 3-year-old lawsuit against DART over Monroe Lofts goes to trial May 17 in the Dallas 44th Civil District Court of Judge Carlos Cortez. Tatum, a former DART board member, claims DART breached a contract with him for the re-development of the building.

DART originally claimed sovereign immunity, saying it was protected from Tatum's suit by its status as a government agency. Tatum beat DART on that claim at the district court level, at the appeals court and at the Texas Supreme Court.

The first order of business in Cortez's court will be a demand by Tatum's lawyers that DART produce a tape of an August 2007 closed session of the DART board. Tatum told me in 2009 that his problems started when the late Lynn Flint Shaw, then on the DART board, leaned on him to hire the wife of a prominent clergyman as a consultant and he refused.
Monroe Shops.jpg
Photos courtesy Dallas Area Rapid Transit

Monoe Shops construction.jpg

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Just what we need: a police headquarters for a police department we shouldn't have. DPD defaulted a lot of responsibilities long ago and so now we have bus & train police, DISD police, hospital police, community college police. And all the taxpayer-funded costs associated with all these police organizations.

Snookie Pie
Snookie Pie

Lynn Flint Shaw...hmmmmm. Her death, ruled suicide, always seemed suspicious to me. My understanding was that she had a lot of high-powered scams going.

I sincerely hope that Judge Carlos Cortez does the right thing here. He used to be a judge that was not afraid of political hot water.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

oohhh, sounds like someone didn't get thier "equity, equity, equity!"

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

I wish we still had Interurban and didn't have DART.


If I had to hazard a guess, I would say the wrecked interurban car on the right in the cover photo is the wreck near Kirkland (present day Dallas east of Manderville Lane south of Royal Lane) http://ntl1.specialcollection....\DOT_56GB\Railroad\WEBSEARCH\3177.PDF which makes the picture post April 10, 1948.


On April 10, 1948, there was a head-end collision between two passenger trains on the Texas Electric Railway near Kirkland, Tex., which resulted in the injury of 30 passengers arid 2 train-service employees. Ironically, the cars involved were No. 365 (shown in cover photo on left) and No. 366 (probably the wrecked car on the right).

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