NORTH TEXAS ROOM

An atmosphere of great beauty greets visitors as they enter the spacious North Texas room. Lynn Ford’s carved wood figures that represent cotton and wheat stand against a wide panel of polished wood over the south doors. Arthur Starr Niendorff, a native Texan who grew up in Dallas, executed the mural above the north doors. The profile heads carved in low relief on the double doors beneath the painting represent a rugged frontiersman (1836) and a latter-day Texan (1936), illustrating the passage of a century of Texans.

The photographs that line the walls of this room are pressed on glass, and are the work of photographer Polly Smith. She was born on December 29, 1908 in Ruston, Louisiana. She studied photography and art in New York City and met W. H. Kittrell Jr., publicity manager for the Texas Centennial who headed the New York office. Smith formally became a freelance photographer for Exposition in early October 1935. Staying in hotels along her routes, she traveled the state accumulating negatives and periodically stopping to develop them. In March of 1936, a friend who was a fine cabinetmaker and photographer built a dark room on the backend of a Ford truck. From that point, she drove around the state, developing her work at will under the first shady tree she saw along the road. As the official photographer for the new Hall of State, her work was chosen to line this room.