Thanks-Giving Square

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Thanks-Giving Square
Thank-Giving Square Mosaic
Thank-Giving Square Mosaic
Type private park
Location Dallas, Texas
Coordinates 32°46′58″N 96°47′54″W / 32.78269°N 96.79846°W / 32.78269; -96.79846Coordinates: 32°46′58″N 96°47′54″W / 32.78269°N 96.79846°W / 32.78269; -96.79846
Created 1976 (1976)
Operated by Thanks-Giving Foundation
Status open all year
Website Thanks-Giving Square

Thanks-Giving Square is a public-private complex in the City Center District of downtown Dallas, Texas (USA). Originally planned as the first of several traffic-relieving complexes in downtown Dallas, it was dedicated in 1976; at the time it was the first public-private partnership of its kind in Dallas. The complex consists of three components: a landscaped park, a major section of the underground pedestrian network and the Bullington Truck Terminal. The City of Dallas leases the land and subsurface from the Thanks-Giving Foundation, but owns the underground structures.

The Park[edit]

Thanks-Giving Square generally refers to the visible park, which is operated by the non-profit Thanks-Giving Foundation. The park, designed by architect Philip Johnson, was dedicated in 1976 to promote the concept of giving thanks as a universal, human value.

At the main entrance to the park is the Court of All Nations and the Wall of Praise. The Wall of Praise features a portion of the text from Psalms 100 and a mosaic based on Norman Rockwell's "The Golden Rule". From the Wall of Praise, visitors are led to a 50-foot (15 m) Bell Tower that features three bronze bells designed in the form of the Liberty Bell. The bells ring every hour.

Beside the Bell Tower is the Ring of Thanks and Circle of Giving. The 14-foot (4 m) diameter aluminum ring is covered in 23 carat (96%) gold leaf and invites the visitor to pass through the ring before entering the courtyard of Thanks-Giving Square.

The most prominent and recognizable feature of Thanks-Giving Square is the Chapel of Thanksgiving, a small, spiral tower that features an enclave for prayerful thanks. The entrance to the chapel is at the end of a 125-foot (38 m) bridge that runs over a cascading waterfall. Inside the chapel, the spiral is topped with stained glass "Glory Window", one of largest horizontally mounted stained-glass pieces in the world.[1] The window was designed by Gabriel Loire of Chartres, France to feature brighter colors as the spiral reached its apex, becoming brighter as it reaches the center. The window appears in a shot in director Terrence Malick's 2011 film The Tree of Life. The etched glass window "The Spirit of Thanksgiving," designed by glass engraver John Hutton, features a dove over the doorway.

Below the chapel is the Hall of Thanksgiving and Exhibit Area, which tells the story of the American Thanksgiving tradition.

The courtyard slopes to below-street level and is surrounded by running water featuring waterfalls and aqueducts. The area contains many grassy areas and is a popular gathering place for office workers and downtown residents.

The private multi-faith organization implements the Multifaith Exploration and Exchange Program that is dedicated to the pursuit of understanding between different faiths and religions. Tours, presentations and various programming take place throughout the year.

Pedestrian Network[edit]

A major connecting point of the Dallas Pedestrian Network is situated one level below the park. Connecting several adjacent buildings, the corridors are lined with restaurant and retail space owned by the City of Dallas. Consecutive construction with the park allowed for skylights, wide walkways and several colorful open spaces to disguise the fact that it is several feet underground. The network can also be accessed from the park's courtyard. Escalators bring the network to ground level at Bullington Street, which serves as a pedestrian mall and connects to the Bullington-Akard Skywalk.

Bullington Truck Terminal[edit]

The Bullington Truck Terminal, one of the key features in the Ponte-Travers-designed plan for downtown circulation, was constructed to consolidate street-level delivery trucks following Dallas' rapid growth in the 1960s. By placing truck traffic below-grade, it was estimated that 350 trucks per day would be removed from ground-level streets. The city issued $6.5 million for the project as part of the 1972 city bond program; construction was finished in 1977.[2]

The truck terminal lies 50 feet below ground and contains 43 spaces for trucks, which enter from a portal located at Patterson Street. Adjacent buildings such as the Republic Center, Energy Plaza, Thanksgiving Tower and Fidelity Union Tower built connections to the truck terminal at their own expense and use it as their primary loading dock. Thanks-Giving Square was designed as the first of three truck facilities in the Dallas Central Business District; however, it was the only one funded and completed.

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