There’s So Much to See at Thanks-Giving Square
Celebrating gratitude and Thanksgiving has a long history in Dallas, Texas, and it stretches back to the very first thanksgiving community program that happened way back in 1861. In fact, the people of Dallas loved Thanksgiving so much that they created a private park located in the heart of downtown and called Thanks-Giving Square. This major infrastructure project that took over 15 years to complete launched Dallas to be the unofficial thanksgiving capital of the world. In this article, we are going to know more about the history of Thanks-Giving Square as well as the places and things you can see here.
History of the Thanks-Giving Square
The idea for the Thanks-Giving Square began when the people of Dallas wanted land for the beauty that is dedicated in gratitude to God. The Square is situated on a one-acre triangle of the area that is located between Bryan, Pacific, and Ervay, which happens to be the busiest section of downtown Dallas. Peter Stewart, the man who first visualized the project in 1962, envisioned the place to be similar to the Union Square in San Francisco and the Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. In order to raise funds for such a project, the city of Dallas formed the Thanks-Giving Square Foundation in 1964.
As donations and contributions began to accumulate, they have been able to purchase the required land for the new park. And grassroots efforts, as well as additional programs that were launched by the foundation, helped the city to raise another $1.7 million for the development of the park.
As the plans for the park developed, a consultant named Vincent Ponte recommended that the park should have pedestrian, automobile, and traffic separation to alleviate congestion in the Dallas business center.
Sites to See in Thanks-Giving Park
Generally, the Thanks-Giving Square refers to the facilities and garden that can be seen at street level. These are owned and operated by the non-profit organization named Thanks-Giving Foundation. The Square is situated fifteen feet below ground level, and it has a four-foot wall that is blocking the view of automobiles to give parkgoers a serene and green island. It also has active fountains that mask the city noise.
Court of All Nations – Located at the western end of the park is the Court of All Nations. This is the ceremonial entryway that has the Wall of Praise as well as Norman Rockwell’s Golden Rule Mosaic. This is also the spot where you can find the Ring of Thanks, which is the 14-foot aluminum ring that is covered with 23-carat gold leaf. You can walk through the ring before passing under the 50-foot Bell Tower, which has three bronze bells that are similar to the Liberty Bell.
Center Court of Praise – The Center Court of Praise is located in the middle of the garden. The design of this location is inspired by public gathering spaces around the world. This is where special events are celebrated through song, speech, and dance. You can see an aluminum and gold ring here along with a text reference that is found in Psalm 100. The Center Court of Praise often holds memorial services, special events, as well as citywide prayer vigils.
Chapel of Thanksgiving – This chapel is the spiritual center of the Thanks-Giving Square, and it is open for all people from different walks of faith. Here you can see a spiraling shape that stands over 90-feet tall, and it represents the infinite upward reach of the human spirit. Before you enter the chapel, you will have to cross a 135-foot bridge that runs over a cascading waterfall. Inside the chapel, you will see a stained glass ceiling they call the “Glory Window,” and it is one of the biggest horizontally mounted stained-glass in the world. They encourage visitors to leave their statements of gratitude when they enter the chapel.
Hall of Thanksgiving – This hall is located below the chapel, and here you will see the story of the American Thanksgiving tradition. This hall is dedicated to holding meetings, exhibitions, and as a resource center for the Thanks-Giving Square. Some artifacts are displayed here, such as the Presidential Proclamations and the Book of Prayers.
Grove – This is a garden area that is specially allocated for contemplation and meditation. President George H.W Bush dedicated the Wall of Presidents, which is a spot where you can see the prayer and thanksgiving words of American presidents.