The Pegasus first landed in Downtown Dallas in 1934, perching atop what was then the city’s tallest building: the 29-story Magnolia Hotel.

Pegasus: The Beloved Unofficial Mascot of Dallas.

A fixture of the Dallas skyline, a massive neon Pegasus has kept watch over the city for almost a 100 years.

For generations of Dallasites the real mascot of their city is not that of their famous football team, the Cowboys, but the mascot chosen by the city’s professional women’s basketball team, the Wings. For nearly nine decades, the mythical creature known as Pegasus, The Flying Red Horse of Dallas, has been the beloved unofficial mascot of Big D. Beginning in 1934, the original iconic 12-foot-tall winged horse, mounted his perch atop what was then the tallest building in the city, the 29-story Magnolia Oil building.  Sign maker Texlite created the Pegasus with two mirror images of the neon red horse on either side of a structure that rotated and was lit up at night like a beacon shining over the urban landscape, allowing the creature to be seen from all directions.
After Magnolia Oil merged with Mobil in the late 1950s the Flying Red Horse of Dallas gained national recognition as a logo for the company.  However, when Mobil moved out of downtown Dallas in the 1980s the Pegasus would begin a long slow slide into a state of neglect and disrepair. By 1999 it had fallen into such poor condition it had to be taken down and placed in storage. The citizens of Dallas were at a complete loss. They had always taken for granted that their Pegasus would be there to watch over them and inspire the next generation. Something had to be done, and it was. The city raised 600,000 dollars for a new, slightly smaller Pegasus. On January 1, 2000, just in time for the millennial celebration, the little brother Pegasus took his rightful place atop what was by then the Magnolia Hotel.

A little more than a decade later, interest began to grow as to the fate of the original Pegasus that had come down back in 1999. The Pegasus seemed to have simply vanished without anyone in the city knowing exactly where it had been moved and placed into storage.  Developers of the Omni Hotel in Dallas would spearhead a search eventually locating the remains of the original in a storage building near White Rock Lake.    Completely rusted out, and curiously riddled with bullet holes, they remained determined that they would restore the original and display it on behalf of the city at the site of their new hotel. 200,000 dollars later in 2015, the original Pegasus made his proud return mounted on an oil derrick in front of the hotel.

The neon red Pegasus shines bright in front of the Omni Dallas Hotel.

For long time citizens of Dallas, their Pegasus has been every bit the source of civic pride and inspiration that St. Louis takes in its Gateway Arch or San Francisco in its famous bridge. For carrying the thunderbolts of Zeus in his faithful service to the Greek god, Pegasus, would earn the right to be forever transformed into a constellation among the stars. Like the mythical winged horse who aspired to reach the very heights of Olympus, Dallas would also sprout wings and soar to heights unimagined by its founder, John Neely Bryan back in 1841 when he settled a frontier outpost on the banks of the trinity river.

In many respects, the winged horse of ancient Greece has been and continues to be the perfect symbol for the city of Dallas.

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