How the Historic Center of Black life in Dallas Became a Luxury Hotel

The facade of the historic building which is now part of the Pittman Hotel in Dallas. The historic building near Elm Street and Good Latimer Expressway in Deep Ellum was designed by architect William Sidney Pittman. Originally the Knights of Pythias Temple, or the Pythian temple, it was later the Union Bankers Building and sat vacant for many years before being redeveloped. (Leonid Furmansky/Perkins and Will)
The facade of the historic building which is now part of the Pittman Hotel in Dallas. The historic building near Elm Street and Good Latimer Expressway in Deep Ellum was designed by architect William Sidney Pittman. Originally the Knights of Pythias Temple, or the Pythian temple, it was later the Union Bankers Building and sat vacant for many years before being redeveloped. (Leonid Furmansky/Perkins and Will)

This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and TMN. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’s communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.

By Mark Lamster
Dallas Morning News Writer

Deep Ellum’s uneven gentrification continues with Knights of Pythias Temple transformation into the Pittman.

When I arrived in this city seven years ago, the old Knights of Pythias Temple, the Deep Ellum landmark that was once the epicenter of Black commercial life in Dallas, was a derelict block of a building, lonely and whitewashed. Its languishing state was especially troubling to preservationists, who feared its deterioration and eventual removal in the churn of “progress.”

That progress has come, and the good news is that the temple still stands. Indeed, its red brick exterior has been conscientiously restored, and its interior meticulously adapted, although in a radically new setting. It is now the front half of the luxury Pittman Hotel—a large addition has been linked behind it to give the hotel an expanded footprint—that, in turn, is part of the mixed-use Epic development.

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