George L. Dahl (1894-1987)


Dahl, George L.

Personal Information

Birth/Death: b. 11 May 1894 - d. 18 July 1987
Occupation: American architect
Location: Dallas, TX

AIA Affiliation

Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 1932-decease
Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) 1958

Biographical Sources

American Architects Directories:

Biographical listing in 1956 American Architects Directory
Biographical listing in 1962 American Architects Directory
Biographical listing in 1970 American Architects Directory

Biographical Information:

Contributed by the Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas:
George Dahl, one of Dallas' most prominent architects, was born in Minneapolis in 1894, of Norwegian immigrants. He learned to speak English in school at age 7. After graduating from college with a bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of Minnesota, he received his Masters from Harvard in 1923. In 1926, he began work for the Herbert M. Greene Co. in Dallas, Texas. He became a partner in Greene's firm in 1928, and the name of the firm was changed to Herbert M. Greene, LaRoche, and Dahl and later LaRoche and Dahl after Greene passed away.
In 1943, Dahl founded his own company, George Leighton Dahl, Architects and Engineers, Incorporated. It was during his time that his career reached soaring heights. Upon his retirement in 1973, he had produced some 3,000 projects throughout the country that are estimated to be worth $3 billion. After 1973, Dahl continued to make appearances at architectural events in Dallas and lived to see his most famous project, Fair Park (1936), fastidiously restored and named a National Historic Landmark.
Dallas buildings that he designed include the Methodist Hospital, the Earle Cabell Federal Building, Owen Fine Art Center at Southern Methodist University, The Dallas Morning News building, Jesuit High School, the Dallas Public Health Center, Mrs. Baird's Bakery, and Sears on Ross Avenue. Outside Dallas, he designed 26 buildings for the University of Texas at Austin, 32 stores for Sears, Roebuck and Co. and 15 prisons for the Texas Department of Corrections. His firm also worked on projects for the Federal government, the Navy, the Bureau of Yards and Docks, Army Engineers, General Services Administration, and the U.S. Air Force. Other works include banks, office buildings, churches, department stores, schools, hospitals, stadiums, and shopping centers. He also designed, managed, and owned Gold Crest Apartments, the apartment building in which he lived until his death in July of 1987.
Dahl was active in professional organizations. He was one of the founders of the Texas Society of Architects and served as the Society's second President. Dahl was also President of AIA Dallas in 1959, and was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. He was admired by the people who worked with him. David Braden, who was a partner in the firm for which Dahl was consultant after his retirement, admiringly summed up the true legacy of his mentor, "While the public will remember his buildings, his professional colleagues will remember him as an innovator and organizer.... He spent most of his professional life pioneering activities which are now common in the profession, but which were unheard of or strenuously resisted by his colleagues at the time."
Dahl, who was survived by his wife Joan, was an active contributor to the Dallas community as well as the skyline. He provided leadership and support for numerous Dallas organizations including the Hella Temple Shrine, Louis Preister Masonic Lodge, and Scottish Rite, and the Rotary Club.

Related Records

George L. Dahl (firm)
Greene, LaRoche and Dahl (firm)
Dahl / Braden / Jones / Chapman, Inc. (firm)

Archival Holdings

The American Institute of Architects Archives

Membership file contains membership application, unsuccessful Fellowship nomination (1953), successful Fellowship nomination (1958), biographical outline, request for emeritus (retired) status, and obituaries.

Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas

George Dahl papers, 1916-1991
Creative works, correspondence, printed material, photographs, financial documentation, works of art on paper, audio recordings, and a scrapbook, document the life and work of architect, George Dahl. The material has been arranged into four series: Personal Papers, Professional Papers, Office Records and Project Records. The Personal Papers contain records about the life and activities of Dahl. Of note is George Dahl's correspondence and sketches to friends in the 1980's which he terms "dazzlers," and a scrapbook created by Dahl's wife, Joan, documenting the last decade of his personal life. The Professional Papers contain records related to Dahl's activities in the architectural profession. The Office Records series is primarily records created by Dahl and his company, Dahl Architects and Engineers Inc. (1948-1973). The Project Records series is largely project files, and includes photographs and drawings.
For more information https://www.lib.utexas.edu/about/locations/alexander-architectural-archives

Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas

See also holdings under Greene, LaRoche and Dahl