The Robert E. Lee statue was almost built on Swiss Avenue

A birds-eye view of Swiss Avenue in 1950. (From the collection of the Dallas History and Archives of the Dallas Public Library)
A birds-eye view of Swiss Avenue in 1950. (From the collection of the Dallas History and Archives of the Dallas Public Library)

Robert E. Lee Park, which has been the subject of much controversy lately, was built in 1936 as a part of Texas’  centennial celebration, even though Robert E. Lee was neither from Texas nor did he have a role in Texas’ independence from Mexico.

The statue and park were designed by Mark Lemmon, who also designed Woodrow Wilson High School among many other Dallas landmarks. During the planning stages, the Dallas Southern Memorial Association proposed two other sites that lost out to the current location in Oak Lawn. One was Dealey Plaza, and the other was along Swiss Avenue, according to a recent presentation from the mayor’s task force on the Confederate monuments.

It’s not clear exactly where on the stately street the monument was considered. With Robert E. Lee Elementary not too far away, it may have made sense to put the statue on the historic street, which was in its prime at the time, but neighbors today are probably thankful to not have all the controversy in their front yards.


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