Day Trips: Pegasus Sign, Dallas

Pegasus flies high in the Dallas sky


Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

Pegasus, the winged stallion of Greek mythology, has been an unofficial mascot of Dallas since it landed on the roof of the Magnolia Building in 1934.

Many establishments in Dallas have attached their identity to the flying horse, from a brewery to a bank to the local WNBA team (the Wings).

Pegasus arrived in North Texas as the logo for the Magnolia Petroleum Co. after it was acquired by the Standard Oil Co. of New York.


Magnolia was founded as a joint stock association in 1911 to consolidate several Texas oil companies refining crude from the Corsicana and Spindletop oil fields. The company built its new headquarters in downtown Dallas in 1922. Rumor has it that at the time, the 29-story office building was the city's first skyscraper and the first high-rise in the U.S. to be air-conditioned.

Magnolia service stations were folded into the Mobil Oil Corporation in 1959. The city eventually took ownership of the building. In 1999 it opened as the 325-room luxury Magnolia Hotel.


For decades the bright red lights of Pegasus welcomed visitors to Dallas from the roof of the Magnolia Building. Over time, larger buildings obscured the view of the flying horse. The original sign was replaced by a new model in 2000. Now, according to The Dallas Morning News, the replacement, which the city still owns, is in need of repairs before it takes flight to the street below.

The original Pegasus sign was lost for 15 years before being discovered in a warehouse and renovated with new red neon lights. The 35-by-40-foot flying horse slowly turns (once every five minutes) on a short oil derrick at 555 S. Lamar St. in a park near the entrance to the Omni Hotel, still welcoming visitors and selfie photographers to Dallas.


1,635th in a series. Everywhere is a day trip from somewhere: Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Dallas, Pegasus, Magnolia Building, Magnolia Petroleum Co., Standard Oil, Mobil Oil, Omni Hotel, Magnolia Hotel

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