Historic Hotels of America® inducted The Statler Dallas (1956) into its membership on March 16. The Statler is the 300th hotel to be instated and this induction marks a significant milestone in the history and growth of Historic Hotels of America. Historic Hotels of America was originally founded in 1989 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to increase the recognition and celebration of historic hotels.
The history of The Statler parallels the growth of Dallas following World War II. Former Dallas Mayor R. L. Thornton, with a number of other local business and community leaders, thought Dallas needed more hotels and room for conventions. This prompted the group to convince the Statler Hotel Company to bring a new hotel to downtown. In 1954, Hilton Hotels Corporation purchased the Statler Hotel Company. Two years later, and Hilton finished The Statler Dallas for $16 million. It was the first major hotel to be built in downtown Dallas in nearly 30 years.
The sheer size, bold form and innovative architectural features soon made The Statler an icon of mid-20th century design. It was the largest hotel in the Southwest when it opened, and was home to the biggest convention space in the South with a spacious, 2,200-person ballroom. The Statler was the first building to feature elevator music and to have custom 21-inch Westinghouse televisions in each guestroom and suite. The hotel uniquely featured a heliport on its roof, which guests used to be airlifted from Dallas' local and surrounding airports. The hotel's iconic stature was solidified when the American Institute of Architecture's Dallas Guide called The Statler and the library located next door, designed by George Dahl in 1953, "the best block of 1950s architecture in the city."
Time and neglect took its toll on the building, and in 2001, the hotel closed, and in 2003, it was nearly demolished. Preservation Dallas added the building to its list of Most Endangered Structures in 2007 and 2008, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation chose The Statler as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2008 because of its representation of American mid-century design.
Today, through preservation efforts and the help of state and federal tax credits, the hotel has been restored to its former glory. The historic property gained new life as owner and developer Centurion American Development Group reopened the 159-room hotel and mixed-used development as The Statler Dallas, Curio Collection by Hilton in 2017, following a $255 million renovation. The Statler Dallas is now listed as one of National Trust for Historic Preservation's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places success stories.