Pioneer Plaza

In Dallas, Texas, check out Pioneer Plaza for a photo opportunity that will accommodate Texas.  The clock tower was erected to honor the city’s status as the seat of Shioze prefecture in Japan. Also known as the Peace Bell Tower, it is home to the World Peace Bell, which is regarded as Asia’s largest bronze monument.  At the center of the city is one of the West’s most renowned monuments, a monument to commemorate important cattle drives that followed the Shawnee Trail across Kansas. It is located next to Pioneer Cemetery, which holds the ashes of numerous Dallas mayors and soldiers from both America’s past wars.

Pioneer Plaza, as we know it today, was once a vacant site that was prepared for a proposed skyscraper project that never came to be. Today, thanks to the talents of self-taught Texan sculptor Robert Summers, it’s one of Dallas’ most popular photo opportunities.  In 1994, Summers began a herd of bronze longhorn cattle and three cowboys on the banks of a river that flows into Dallas. It’s worth taking a diversion off the usual route to see some of Dallas’ most iconic attractions.

The monument is a tribute to the Texas cattle drives, which in the 19th century carried undetermined thousands of longhorn steers from one side of Texas to another.  The Shawnee Trail, which ran through Dallas, was quickly surpassed by the far larger Chisholm Trail, which ran from Fort Worth to Wichita Falls and became the center of the Texas cattle trade.

The Dallas herd is represented in almost Terracotta Army levels of detail, from the ‘d’ (for ‘Dallas’) branding scars to the bronze finish. The town’s name comes from the fact that it was founded by pioneers who were intent on establishing a colony in the wilderness. The Pioneers’ Resting Place is where they are now buried, and additional people have been interred at this cemetery since then.  This monument, which was previously the Confederate War Memorial, was removed in 2020 after the Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

The Confederate connection might be controversial today, but Dallas was a crucial conflict zone in the Civil War, with Texans on both sides before the South finally gave up in 1865.

The cemetery and Pioneer Place are both open to the public, but finding a parking spot may be difficult if you only want to visit for a few photographs. On the negative side, downtown lots on Griffin Street and Young Street generally have some spaces available, although you’ll have to pay to park.

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