If someone says “Six Flags” or even “Six Flags Over Texas” most people will think of the amusement park(s). Few outside of the Lone Star State know the historical implications of the six flags. There really have been six different flags flying over the state – a couple of them twice each.
First was the flag of Spain. From 1519-1685 and again from 1690-1821 most of Texas was a Spanish colony. In between, for the five years from 1685 to 1690, the area was under French rule. For more than a decade, from 1821 to 1836, Texas was a part of the newly-independent country of Mexico.
For ten years, from 1836 to 1845, Texas was a Republic… its own country. Some people think it was the only state to be independent, but that’s not true.
Then, in 1845, Texas joined the US as the 28th state, only to secede and join the Confederate States in 1861. Finally, in 1865, after the Civil War (or The War Between the States, as it is still called in the South) it rejoined the US.
Along the Esplanade, in Dallas’ Fair Park, are six huge porticoes lining a massive pool… three on the north and three on the south. Each portico represents one of the flags that flew over the state. There is a huge female statue outside each representing each country… I’ll look at them another time. What I want to show you is what is inside each portico.
Every entry boasts a massive mural painted on the wall. They are done in a beautiful, powerful, art deco style. I think they are among the coolest things in the city.
And they are virtually unknown. Each fall, millions attend the Texas State Fair and wander around eating their corny dogs, riding the ferris wheel, or looking at the newest car models or the fattest livestock and nobody bothers to peek inside the porticoes at the artwork – even though they are about forty feet tall.
I love to walk the mostly deserted park on non-fair days and look at the paintings. The ones on the south side, facing the north, have been beautifully restored. The ones on the north side, facing south – where the burning sun reaches in – are in worse shape and are very difficult to see because they are behind protective screens. I hope they are restored some time… I’m sure someone is working on it.
The murals are very difficult to photograph. They are in shade and reach up tall and wide in alcoves where you can’t get any distance away for a good shot.
So I did the best I could. If you have the time and are in town – go down and take a look for yourself. Otherwise… here you go.