Landmarks, Dallas County, Texas, 1941-45

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Historic Oak Cliff Hotel
Being Razed for New Structure

  A landmark passes...The Cliff Hotel was a Dallas showplace (top photo) during the Gay Nineties. But now the fine old frame hotel, later known as Forest Inn, is being torn down (lower picture) at Jefferson and Crawford.

     An historic landmark is coming down in Oak Cliff with the wrecking of the old Forest Inn, fifty-five room hotel that has stood almost sixty years at Jefferson and Crawford.
     Modern brick store buildings probably will replace the sturdy frame building, John M. Stemmons, real estate developer, said. It will take about ten weeks to tear down the hotel that was fashionable in the Gay Nineties.
     The destruction is a tough job, Jack Haake, wrecking contractor, said. Despite its age, the building is so well built, that much time is being required to take it apart. The lumber is of the best grade and much of it still is in good condition, Haake said. Scores of huge 2x6 planks, thirty-two feet long, were used in the building, and that timber is in excellent condition.
Built By Marsalis.
     The hotel was picturesque as built in 1889 by T. L. Marsalis, pioneer in Oak Cliff development. It once was known as the Cliff Hotel, and for many years, was a Dallas showplace. It contained one of the largest public dining rooms in the Southwest during its heyday.
     The hotel was the scene of fashionable dinners and other gatherings in the Nineties. During this period, the Opera House and old pavilion were located at what was known as Forest Park, now Marsalis Park, and a narrow-gauge railroad operated between Dallas and Oak Cliff. Soon, however, the hotel became the home of the Oak Cliff Female Institute. The school became widely known, and in 1900, the name was changed to Eminence College.
Again Becomes School.
     In 1903, the school was abandoned and the hotel, again, opened after a thorough modernization. Forest Park became the scene of large gatherings in the summer, and in the evenings, there were band concerts and often opera performances. Show people stopped at the hotel.
     In 1912, the hotel, again, became a school, as the home of the Oak Cliff College. The college was operated under direction of J. B. Dodson. The college was short lived, and in 1915, the building, again, became a hotel. After renovation, it was renamed Forest Inn. Another renovation came in 1919 to make it a family hotel.
     In recent years, Forest Inn was the home of many teachers assigned to faculties of Oak Cliff schools. Tenants started moving from the building last December, when it was decided to destroy the landmark.

- September 10, 1945, Dallas Morning News, Sec. I, p. 2, col. 1-4.
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