Monday, June 6, 2011

Totally Texas -- Cattle drive through downtown Dallas

Pioneer Plaza
Intersection of South Griffin and Young Streets
Pioneer Plaza has everything Dallas parks should have but too often don’t -- shade, water, places to sit (okay, rocks, but sit-on-able rocks). And a jaw dropping attraction -- larger than life bronze sculptures of longhorned steers, cowboys and horses. On a recent weekend visit, it even had an enterprising ice cream vendor whose hand truck dispensed refreshments of the sort the city of Dallas usually seems determined to keep off its streets.

And there’s parking. Did I mention the free parking in a small lot off Griffin Street? How often do you find that in Dallas? The park itself is free and open every day, rain or shine.

Currently seventy six-foot-tall bronze steers, (more are added to the herd from time to time) and three still taller mounted cowboys traverse an ridge and manmade limestone cliff with a waterfall and native plant landscaping, to cross a stream in the shadow of downtown’s skyscrapers.

The sculptures commemorate nineteenth century cattle drives along the Shawnee Trail from Austin to Dallas. The works by Glen Rose sculptor Robert Summers occupy about four acres near the Convention Center, placed there after the land was cleared for a planned development that had failed. Now they’re part of one of the most frequently visited sites in downtown.

(Next week I head to Austin for the Writers League of Texas conference, but also to expand Totally Texas topics beyond my usual North Central area of the state. Drop a list of your favorite places and events in the Austin area in the comments section for possible inclusion in later blogs. My favorite suggestions are for places and events that are family friendly and cheap. But most of all, ones you love.)

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