Landmark Lore is a series on the LCM blog where we tell you the stories behind all those landmarks in our photos. Ever wondered why Dallas is so obsessed with Pegasus? Or why there’s a robot in the middle of downtown? Wonder no more! We’ll also tell you where you can see the real thing. See the full listing of landmarks here.
By far, the landmark we get asked about most often is the red Pegasus.
“What’s with Dallas and the Exxon Mobil logo?”
Well, no offense to Exxon Mobil, but we had it first. Here’s the story:
The original red neon Pegasus sat atop the Magnolia Hotel—then the city’s tallest “skyscraper” at 29 stories—starting in 1934. It was put there by the Magnolia Oil Company, built for them by a local sign maker called Texlite, and it was rumored you could see it as far as 75 miles away from the city.
When Magnolia Oil was bought by Mobil (later Exxon Mobil) in 1959, they adopted the logo for their own but maintained an agreement with the city of Dallas to continue to use it as a symbol for the city. The original Pegasus remained on top of the Magnolia until 1999, when it had to be taken down due to structural problems. After raising $600,000 for a replacement, a new version was placed atop the building and lit on January 1, 2000 and the original was hidden away in a storage shed.
Over ten years later, the developers of the Omni Hotel went in search of the old Pegasus. It was eventually found in a city-owned shed in White Rock Lake, and local artist Tony Collins Art worked with art conservators van Enter Studio to restore the structure to its original glory.
Today, you can find the original structure in the plaza in front of the Omni Dallas Hotel. It’s a definite must-see for any visitor to Dallas, and of course locals. You can also still see the second Pegasus shining above the Magnolia Hotel.
Read more about the history and restoration of the Pegasus at these links: