One of the most fascinating towers in the United States is one of the most popular attractions in Dallas, Texas. This remarkable structure has been dominating the city’s skyline for multiple decades.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the interesting and fun facts about the Reunion Tower in Dallas, a building with some fascinating stories to tell.
1. It’s located in an area with the same name in downtown Dallas
The Reunion Tower is one of the most fascinating landmarks in Dallas, the third-largest city in Texas after Houston and San Antonio. It’s situated in the western part of downtown Dallas, an area referred to as the Reunion District.
The district wasn’t named after the tower or vice versa but after a small community of French, Swiss, and Belgian colonists who settled here in the mid-19th century. They referred to their community as “La Réunion.”
Just like today, this community was located on the south bank of the Trinity River. It was short-lived, however, but the name of the district which is now situated in West Dallas stuck.
2. The tower was completed in the late 1970s
The Reunion Tower was built as part of a large urban redevelopment project that took place in the city of Dallas during the 1970s. Another famous landmark in the city was the famous train station known as the Union Station.
The structure was designed by Welton Becket and Associates, an architectural firm founded by modernist architect Welton Becket (1902-1969). The main contractor was M. M. Sundt Construction Company.
This construction company was originally founded in 1890 by a Norwegian ship carpenter named Mauritz Martinsen Sundt. He immigrated to the United States as a teenager and the first major project of his new company was building a massive dam in New Mexico in 1910.
The Reunion Tower was completed nearly 9 decades after the company was founded as it was completed on February 2, 1978.
3. It’s part of a large hotel complex that was completed at the same time
The tower wasn’t the only project completed in the year 1978. It was part of a massive construction project in which the main structure was the Hyatt Regency Hotel complex.
This immense hotel on the western edge of downtown Dallas features 1,120 rooms and was opened in 1978. The complex of buildings has a distinctive modernist design and is Y-shaped with an atrium on the south side.
The tallest building of the complex features 28 floors and stands 105 meters (343 feet) tall, which means it can be qualified as a skyscraper as well.
4. How tall is the concrete observation tower in Dallas?
So how tall is the Reunion Tower in Dallas?
The tower is only the 15th-tallest building in Dallas today as it stands 171 meters tall (561 feet). The tallest buildings in the city are the Bank of America Plaza (280.7 meters / 921 feet) and the Renaissance Tower (270.1 / 886 feet).
The structure consists of 4 concrete shafts including one central shaft that features a staircase and mechanical floors. The 3 external shafts have a rectangular design and house the 10 elevators that bring visitors to the top of the tower.
The top section of the structure features 3 levels, including a revolving restaurant (which unfortunately closed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic), an observation deck called the “GeO-Deck,” and a 360-degree platform called “Cloud 9.”
5. The building is illuminated at night with 259 large LED ights
The tower is an amazing addition to the Dallas skyline during the daytime, but it especially shines at night. That’s because it’s equipped with 259 LED lights that illuminate the tower in a wide variety of colors.
These were manufactured by Altman Lighting and Color Kinetics, a division of the Philips Company from the Netherlands. These allow the tower to shine at night along with the other tall buildings in the city.
More interesting facts about the Reunion Tower in Dallas
6. The Reunion Tower is just a short distance south of Dealey Plaza and the Grassy Knowl, two sites associated with the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963.
An interesting place to visit in this area is “The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza,” the location of the presumed sniper’s nest. The square next to the park called Dealey Plaza was named John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza in honor of the late president.
7. The remarkable building on top of the tower appears as a geodesic dome because of the aluminum struts that encase it. These struts have 259 intersections which are equipped with LED lights.
Because of the remarkable appearance of this structure on top of the tower, it’s locally known as “The Ball.”
8. The ground level of the tower is home to a gift shop called “Kaleidoscope.” The interior facility of the top section of the tower features an interactive display.
Here you can learn about all the famous landmarks in Dallas as you can view them through high-definition cameras, the history of the Reunion Tower itself, and the tragic events that happened just nearby on November 22, 1963.
9. Both the Tower and the Hyatt Regency Hotel were prominently featured in the popular tv series called “Dallas.” This was the case for as long as the series ran between 1978 and 1991.
10. The tower was originally a free-standing structure when it was completed in 1978. This seized to be the case when a low-rise ballroom was built against it which connects the tower with the hotel.
11. The addition of the ballroom wasn’t the only project involving the tower in its history. The tower was closed to the public on November 16, 2007, for a major renovation project.
The restaurant reopened just 2 years later but the renovation deck with its new interactive display only reopened to the public on October 5, 2013. This was the year that the tower celebrated its 35th birthday.
12. The lighting system of the tower was also replaced to save electricity. The original lights consumed 130 Watts while the newly installed lights consume less than 20% of that. This way, the magnificent tower looks amazing at night at a fraction of what it originally cost.