Historic Flags of the Texas State Library and Archives
Texas Centennial Flag, 1936
The 1936 Centennial Exposition, the gigantic world’s fair held in Dallas to mark the 100th anniversary of Texas independence, has been described as the birthplace of modern Texas. The fair was the culmination of a dozen years of work by countless state agencies and thousands of Texans. Legendary retail entrepreneur Stanley Marcus described the impact of the exposition: “It was in 1936 that the rest of the world discovered Texas.” The Texas Centennial was more than pageantry. Highways were built or improved to handle tourism. The state was systematically photographed for the first time; a saturation advertising and publicity campaign brought modern Texas to the attention of the nation.
The ultra-modern Art Deco buildings still stand at the Texas State Fairgrounds in Dallas, the largest collection of such architecture remaining in the world. The fair’s pavilions included the nation’s first celebration of African-American life, and the athletic contests were the first to be integrated in the South. The fair’s economic impact is credited with buffering Dallas from the worst of the Great Depression and developing the generation of leaders that transformed Dallas into one of the nation’s largest and most powerful cities. This flag is a well-preserved example of a flag commercially created for the Texas Centennial. Where or even whether it was ever flown is unknown.