Historic Downtown: Preservation efforts under way for 508 Park structure
Dallas Morning News – by Robert Wilonsky
Tuesday April 24, 2012
Demolition began Monday on a storage facility adjacent to 508 Park Ave. in downtown Dallas.
Crews began demolition Monday on an old downtown storage facility at the corner of Young Street and Park Avenue as part of a project to preserve an important piece of music history.
Next door to history: Heavy equipment was used to begin knocking down the old Columbia Pictures storage facility in downtown Dallas. The structure is next door to 508 Park Avenue, where legendary bluesman Robert Johnson recorded in 1937. Texas swing maestro Bob Wills also recorded there long before he was an icon.
Amphitheater coming: The Columbia storage building will give way to an amphitheater and connect with 508 Park, likewise on its way to restoration as many things: museum, recording facility, art studio and exhibition gallery.
Saved by Presbyterians: 508 Park was long neglected and faced demolition when it was purchased by First Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Bruce Buchanan, executive director of The Stewpot, the church’s nearby ministry that serves the homeless and needy, said last year that the plan was to build a small grassy amphitheater to be used for worship or concerts.
Presiding at the demolition: Buchanan presided Monday, blessing the Columbia building before it was torn down. Another event is planned at First Presbyterian on June 19 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Johnson’s two-day recording session at the building formerly known as the Brunswick and Decca Records offices.