Your First Look at 508 Park Ave.'s Deck (and Band Shell), And a Rare Photo Taken in '46

Click to enlarge these first looks at the new-look 508 Park Avenue. You'll find more, many more, below.
Amongst all the maybes, could-bes and one-days downtown, one development's as close as it gets to a Sure Thing: 508 Park Avenue, which First Presbyterian is in the process of turning into The Museum of Street Culture to be curated by blues historian Alan Govenar. At this very moment, in fact, reps from First Presby and Good Fulton & Farrell are at Dallas City Hall presenting to the Landmark Commission's Central Business District/West End Task Force the pages of plans you will find below, which include your very first look at the rooftop deck and next-door amphitheater, which Landmark signed off on last year.

508 in 1946.jpg
First Presbyterian found this never-before-seen photo of 508 Park as it looked in '46 in the Jack Warner Collection at USC.
There are actually three presentations below -- for 508 Park, 1900 Young (which will be razed and replaced by the outdoor concert site) and 1905 Canton, the latter of which is presently a fenced-off patch of weeds. Jon Rollins at GFF, who will make the presentation to Landmark, says there have been some tweaks since last we spoke about the project -- such as the addition of solar panels and rain-water storage units on Canton and restrooms to the amphitheater site, as well as WPA-style murals on the exterior of the site where Robert Johnson and Bob Wills once recorded. "So we'll start to tell the story of the building on the outside of the building," he says, "before you even step foot into 508 Park."

As for the rooftop deck and that dance floor and the new elevator, he says: "The church all along has wanted to occupy the roof, which has a wonderful view of the downtown skyline. 508, when it's reused, will be all about spaces for public gathering, arts groups and the connection between the public and the private. It'll create a space for people to gather and listen to music, which seemed like a natural program, and to be able to do that we needed to make sure it was accessible for the mobility impaired. And we needed to provide shade so people could use it in the summer, and the rail is for safety. But because it's historic, it's important for us not to disturb how the building meets the sky, which is why were using glass."

Rollins says 1900 Young will begin coming down sometime before the end of April, when their certificate of demolition expires; there's some abatement that must take place first in both existing buildings.

Now, on a related note: Carol Adams at First Presby also directs our attention to the just-updated-and-revised 508 Park Ave. website, which offers more history about former Warner Bros. movie storage facility -- including the photo you see above, recently discovered in USC's Cinematic Arts Library. (Who knew there were windows on the side presently devoured by 1900 Young?) She promises more from the archives soon. Till then, the future awaits below ... New 508 Park Avenue Renderings (Rooftop)New 1900 Young Landmark Submissions New 1905 Canton Landmark Submission
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4 comments
Xina Jones
Xina Jones

Robert, thank you and the Observer for being so diligent about covering this throughout the years. It's been efforts like yours that save what few charming, historical places we have left here. Also, aside from contributing to the site, will there be a public event, a benefit, to further increase awareness?

Floradora
Floradora

Where will the funds for building, maintaining, and staffing come from?What exactly is the involvement of First Presbyterian Church in this endeavor?It doesn't exactly sound like a religious or social project even though it might be worthy.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

The church is in charge of the entire operation, from buying the buildings to overseeing the designs to hiring Govenar to opening the museum. But as you'll see on the 508Park website, they will gladly take any donations.

Floradora
Floradora

In charge and fundind are two different things. The church will fund the operation from donations only or from the church operating funds?

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