Pegasus – “The Flying Red Horse”
1934 was the year the original Pegasus was installed on the roof of the 29 story Magnolia Building. This building was the city of Dallas’s first skyscraper as well as the tallest building in Texas and the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. The Magnolia Building was the headquarters for the Magnolia Oil Company later to become Mobil Oil.
The original Pegasus, the logo of Magnolia Oil, was completed in six weeks. It was produced to welcome oilmen attending the American Petroleum Institute’s first annual meeting in November 1934. Pegasus was never intended to become a permanent structure, but it still flies above the Magnolia Building, now the W Hotel.
Dallas and North Texas residents referred to Pegasus as the “Flying Red Horse”. It became a landmark of the Dallas skyline. As a youngster traveling to Dallas with my family from Mt. Pleasant on the narrow 2 lane US 67 highway, I would always try to be the first one to spot the “Flying Red Horse” as we got to Rockwall some 20 or 30 miles away.
The original Pegasus was constructed of two porcelain enamel identical horses spaced 14 feet apart, each measuring 40 feet in length and 32 feet in height. A quarter of a mile of neon tubing outlines the details on both sides of the silhouette. Pegasus was installed atop a 50 foot tower made to resemble an oil derrick. Over the years wear and tear rendered “The Flying Red Horse” impossible to be restored and it was removed in 1999. A new Pegasus was built at a cost of $600,000.00 which was donated by individual and corporate sponsors. The second Pegasus was installed in time for New Year’s Eve 2000. This is the “Flying Red Horse” I have photographed atop the now W Hotel.
The original “Flying Red Horse” was discovered stored in a city owned warehouse. Efforts began to emerge to restore the original at a cost of $200,000.00. The newly restored original Pegasus – “Flying Red Horse” is now mounted on a small platform in front of the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas. The Mayor of Dallas officially turned the neon lights on in May 2015.