When you think about Dallas, what symbols come to mind? The blue star of the Dallas Cowboys? Mariano Martinez’ frozen margarita machine? The oil derricks on JR Ewing’s Southfork Ranch? Big Tex’s ten-gallon hat? The American flag atop Flag Pole Hill? The dandelion lights of Reunion Tower?
No list is complete without Pegasus, the flying horse first seen on Dallas’ skyline in 1934. Beginning today, Lake Highlands has a Pegasus all our own.
Dedicated members of the Lake Highlands Junior Women’s League and officials at the Lake Highlands Public Improvement District have installed a sculpture of the winged horse near Lake Highlands High School. The art installation was created by 2005 LHHS graduate Daniel Scoggins from repurposed scrap metal and new steel.
Scoggins graduated from the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design and received a $20,000 grant for his work from a nonprofit called Dash. Approval came from Richardson ISD, which owns the northwest corner of White Rock Trail and Church Road where the installment is located. Landscaping and installation costs of $150,000 were financed by the LHJWL and LHPID.
But no one said the process has been easy.
“Travel back in time with me to six years ago,” said Susan Fairchild, then president of the LHJWL, at Thursday’s artwork dedication ceremony. “The LHHS MAC (multipurpose activity center) was just a thought. The LHHS addition and renovation was in the planning stages. The aquatic center had just been approved. The trail extension was a dream. There was no Covid. As the LHJWL was thinking of what we could do to beautify Lake Highlands, we realized that this corner was bursting with life. More visitors were coming through, and we wanted to create another beautiful gateway for passage into Lake Highlands to welcome everyone into our community.”
Fairchild and her team worked with Kathy Stewart, then executive director of the LHPID, and Vicky Taylor, then Stewart’s assistant at the PID, to devise a plan. All admit Scoggins’ installation has turned out better than they originally dreamed.
“From my perspective,” Stewart said, “I’ve gotten to see the very best parts of our neighborhood through this project — planning, a huge dose of persistence and patience. When you know something is right and good, you just hang in there.” Stewart, who now represents D10 on the city council, praised the artist, the general contractors, the landscape architects, and leaders within RISD, LHJWL and LHPID for their determination.
“You guys recognized that there are lots and lots of people who come through this intersection,” she continued. “They’re coming to a football game or a pickleball game or the aquatic center or a 5K, so this has become an entry point into the neighborhood.”
“We have to have these partnerships in order for our community to be better and look better,” said Taylor, who now serves as executive director of the LHPID and coordinated the project from beginning to end. “This is an amazing combined project for LHPID and LHJWL, because we both have a focus on beautification.”
After a delay which had his work stored for a time in a dusty warehouse, Scoggins was happy to see it finally installed in its permanent home just blocks from the home where he grew up. Parents Gary and Betty still live in Lake Highlands, and he recently moved back from Atlanta with his own wife and growing family.
“One thing I love about Lake Highlands is the way it still has the same feel as it did when I was growing up. I love that. Having my work here right near the school in such a central location for our neighborhood means people are going to say, ‘Hey, have you seen the Pegasus?’,” Scoggins said. “I love Lake Highlands. I love the people, and I love starting this new chapter in my life. Hopefully, I can do some other large scale sculptures and artistic commissions here.”
Dallas’ original Pegasus was placed atop the Magnolia Hotel, then the city’s tallest building at 29 stories. It remained there until a replacement was required in 2000. The original, lost for a while in a storage facility near White Rock Lake, was rediscovered, refurbished and now sits in front of the Omni Hotel downtown.
According to Greek mythology, the Pegasus is a symbol of freedom, power and endless creativity. “Encompassing beauty and a sense of majesty,” writes New World Encyclopedia, “it is a guide for humankind beyond the physical world to the realm where the spirit can soar without limit.”
LH Junior Women’s League volunteers have raised almost a million dollars since they were founded in 2004 to fund people and projects across our neighborhood. You may donate to their worthy causes here.