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Culture / Newsy

Dallas Landmark Burns Down in Massive Middle of the Night Fire — the Historic Ambassador Hotel is Gone

The City's Oldest Hotel Was Being Transformed Into a New Mixed-Use Development Before Mysterious Fire Took It

BY // 05.29.19

In the middle of the night, Dallas’ 115-year old Ambassador Hotel in The Cedars burned down in a massive fire.

The landmark building was in the process of being renovated into residences, shops and restaurants. After the fire, which started around 1:30 am early Tuesday and raged until it was put out by 5 am, little remained of the building. The rest is being demolished by wrecking ball.

More than 100 firefighters fought the massive blaze. Black smoke and flames were visible far beyond the site of the fire in the 1300 block of South Ervay Street. No one was injured, but the historic six-story hotel is completely gone now.

The hotel was built in 1904 and in 1965 it became an official Texas landmark. In the past, it hosted several famous guests, including U.S. presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and William Taft. And in the 1920s, there was even a speakeasy in the basement.

The plan was for Dallas’ oldest hotel to become loft apartments with shops, restaurants, a swimming pool and a new speakeasy bar. The redevelopment was just getting started when the fire took place. It’s a great disappointment, as it was meant to be repurposed with many historic touches of the hotel remaining intact.

I hadn’t known much about the historic hotel, but I do remember noticing it on my way to Four Corners Brewing Co. a few weeks ago. I thought it was a cool piece of architecture for the neighborhood and wondered where it had come from. I had no idea the historical significance it had and now I wish I’d noticed it a bit sooner.

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The cause of the colossal fire is still under investigation. Some incredible drone footage was recently posted by WFAA reporter Tiffany Lion, which is included below.

As for what will become of the Ambassador property now? Developer Jim Lake will have to start over on a new project, which will still use the Ambassador name, but include nothing of the now gone historic building.

Take a bird’s-eye view of the Ambassador Hotel fire’s devastation:

Home, chic home.

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