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Best Of Home

Best Literary Landmarks In DFW

September 24, 2012 5:00 AM

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Literary landmarks in Dallas and Fort Worth are rich with classic literature and western lore. Books and places depicting a changing society, outlaws and true Texas characters dot our landscape in surprising ways. Read below for some little known literary facts about DFW.
Cowboys Stadium
1 Legends Way
Arlington, TX 76011
(817) 892-4400
stadium.dallascowboys.com

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The impressive Cowboys Stadium boasts football games, art exhibits, tours and grandiose LED display video board 72’ high by 160’ wide. It’s this very stadium that is the backdrop for Ben Fountain’s critically acclaimed novel, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.” His book explores the psychological juxtaposition of a returning Iraqi War veteran viewing the lifestyles of the rich and famous as he is honored for his war service.

Related: 5 Must-Read Books by DFW Authors

The Mansfield Public Library
104 S. Wisteria St.
Mansfield, TX 76063
(817) 473-4391
www.mansfield-tx.gov

The Mansfield Public Library was designated a Literary Landmark by the American Library Association for the work of native author John Howard Griffin (1920-1980.) His groundbreaking 1959 novel, “Black Like Me,” explores racial prejudice in the Deep South. Griffin darkened his skin in a social experiment and lived as a black man for seven weeks while traveling through Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama. Former First Lady Laura W. Bush, a special guest at the 2011 Literary Landmark ceremony, described Griffin as “one of the strongest white voices for civil rights.”

The Winspear Opera House
2403 Flora St.
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 954-9925
www.attpac.org

The contemporary bright red Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House is a notable Dallas landmark for its architecture. More notably, it is home to The Dallas Opera that produced the world premiere opera “Moby-Dick” in 2010. Composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer faced a mammoth task that paid off with worldwide critical acclaim. Melville’s classic novel is filled with detailed descriptions of whaling in the lofty English language spoken during 1851. The use of symbolism and metaphor with complicated themes presented a special challenge for the opera creative team. The first-rate cast of Ben Heppner (Captain Ahab), Morgan Smith (Starbuck), Jonathan Lemalu (Queequeg) and Stephen Costello as Greenhorn (Ishmael) brought life to Melville’s epic masterpiece.

Related: Organizations Giving Back To The DFW Arts

Kalita Humphreys Theater
3636 Turtle Creek Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75219
(214) 526-8210
www.dallastheatercenter.org

The Kalita Humphreys Theater is the former main stage for The Dallas Theater Center designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. His original concept was conceived in 1915, but two other cities were unable to come up with the funding. Wright worked with Dallas Theater Center Director Dr. Paul Baker to create a stunning building nestled among the trees along Turtle Creek. Famous playwright Preston Jones spent the majority of his career employed by the DTC. In 1972, Jones was named director of Down Center Stage, a workshop inside the theater. Preston’s award winning “A Texas Trilogy” plays premiered in Kalita Humphreys Theater during the early 1970s. The first play in the trilogy, “Oldest Living Graduate,” was also broadcast on television in 1980 and won several Emmys. “A Texas Trilogy” later played at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. to huge critical acclaim.

Western Heights Cemetery
1617 Fort Worth Ave.
Dallas, Texas 75208
(214) 421-4500
dallashistory.org/history

The 1930s notorious outlaws Clyde and Buck Barrow’s final resting place is in Western Heights Cemetery just west of downtown Dallas. Clyde and his older brother Buck are buried in modest graves maintained by the Trinity Oaks Church of Christ. Many books detail the crimes and hard lives of Clyde, his love Bonnie Parker, brother Buck and his wife Blanche. “Running with Bonnie and Clyde,” by historian and author John Neal Phillips, shares first-hand accounts by former gang member Ralph Fults who met Clyde at age 19. In 1930, they robbed a bank to finance a prison raid. In 1932, Bonnie Parker slipped Clyde a handgun and helped him escape from jail. Law enforcement did not appreciate the Barrow Gang’s crime wave, especially Clyde’s bad habit of spraying bullets from his machine gun, their stealing of cars, robbing banks, kidnapping folks and killing nine police officers and three civilians. On a farm in Bienville Parish, La., Texas Rangers and FBI agents ambushed Bonnie and Clyde. Viewings of their bodies were held in Dallas before burial. Bonnie Parker is buried at Crown Hill Memorial Park in Dallas County on Webb Chapel Road.

Marilee Vergati, is an international award winning art director and writer. As a native Dallasite and fifth generation Texan, she brings a unique insight to her beloved state, its events, arts, ecology and people. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.

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