When I first moved to Dallas and worked downtown, I remember trooping out together at lunch and walking from the Kirby Building (which was offices then) over to the Spaghetti Warehouse which at that time (1981) sat alone in an empty sea of abandoned brick warehouses, west of downtown.
“This is such a cool area, somebody ought to do something with it,” I said.
My cow-orkers laughed at me, as was their habit. “This place, these old empty buildings, what a silly idea.”
But of course, in the next few years they were developed. The West End Marketplace was installed in a gigantic old cracker factory next to the Spaghetti Warehouse and for years it was the place to go for things to do. I remember going down there on the day it opened (maybe 1985?) and it was very exciting. The building had four floors of retail, topped with a food court and movie theaters. Next to the building was Dallas Alley, a narrow neon lit defile that gave access to a plethora of nightlife options. If memory serves, it had at least five nightclubs built into its base: a piano bar, a contemporary live music club, a blues bar, a saloon, and a giant multi-level dance palace. It was a blast.
But all good things come to an end, and big city nightclubs and urban retail… the end usually comes suddenly. After a few years of bright lights and a few years of decline, it all went dark. The West End Marketplace closed and is still mostly vacant. Dallas Alley was reduced to a slightly scary route to get north to the now-growing Victory area. The Spaghetti Warehouse is still there.
Back in the day, Dallas Alley was lined with sculptural tributes to great Texas Musicians. These have been stolen, vandalized, or fallen into disrepair. It’s a shame.
Roy Orbison’s glasses, though, still remain.