Left: Reunion Tower construction on November 15, 1976. Right: The tower photographed in 2013. 

Left: Reunion Tower construction on November 15, 1976. Right: The tower photographed in 2013. 

Illustration Hannah Wise/Staff writer

Reunion Tower is an iconic member of the Dallas skyline, and here are 10 fun facts you might not know about it: 

The dome is not famous because of "Dallas"

Elizabeth M. Claffey/File photo

Most people think the dome became world-renowned thanks to the opening scenes of "Dallas." But the original panoramic intro to the TV show was filmed before the tower was finished. Only the base is highlighted in the first seven seasons. The scene-stealer is actually its gleaming-glass hotel sister.

The dome is not geodesic

Taylor Glascock/File photo

The dome is not geodesic but an eight-frequency icosahedron that creates 259 intersections for individual lights.

Reunion Tower was built to withstand tornadoes

Brad Loper/Staff photographer

Because the tower is in tornado alley, a structural model was built at Texas A&M University's wind-testing facility in College Station to make certain it could withstand winds of up to 125 miles an hour.

It cost $35 million to build Reunion in 1975

Woodbine Development

In 1975, Scovell negotiated the $35 million construction contract with Henry C. Beck Co. to build Reunion. He took it to Ray Hunt, who refused to review it. "I said, 'You've got to be kidding. I've never signed a construction contract in my life, and you're not even going to read the damn thing?' That was my very first introduction to Ray's belief in accountability. And nothing's changed since then."

A concrete slip-form was used to build the tower

Tom Dillard/Staff photographer

The tower was built by pouring concrete into a slip-form that moved up 1 foot an hour. The most important guy on the site was the one sitting in the middle of the slip-form making sure that the pour was laser-precise so that Dallas didn't get a Leaning Tower of Pisa.

There are 64 "legs" in the foundation

There are 64, 60-foot "legs" under the concrete "tabletop" that serves as the tower's foundation. It's a really big tabletop:10 feet deep and 90 feet in diameter.

Reunion Tower would cost a lot more to build today

Kye R. Lee/Staff photographer

Ray Hunt paid $2.92 a square foot for the first 20-acre tract in 1972. Today the going rate for property anywhere in downtown is $100-plus

Can "The Ball" attract a million customers a year? 

Lara Solt/Staff photographer

John Scovell thought consultants were crazy when they said The Ball could attract a million customers a year. But after touring Seattle's Space Needle and San Antonio's HemisFair Tower, the president of Woodbine Development thought the potential was so great that he might start a tower subsidiary and start franchising the concept. Turned out one 50-story tower was plenty.

Don't forget the furnishings

Tom Dillard/Staff photographer

The tower cost $8 million to build, equip and furnish.

The tower was almost not named Reunion

Carter Rose/File photo

Reunion would have been named Esplanade if consultants had had their way. But Scovell nixed it. Scovell, a history buff, learned about La Réunion, a socialist utopian community formed in 1855 in West Dallas, and liked the tie-in. A week later, the project was named Reunion. "We had a very short chain of command," Scovell said.

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