‘Champion of Historic Preservation’ Lindalyn Adams Dies at 91

Lindalyn Adams, who was instrumental in the creation of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza,  La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas, and what’s now known as Preservation Park Cities, died last week at 91 after suffering a stroke.

Lindalyn was born July 4, 1930, and attended Bradfield Elementary, Highland Park Junior High, Highland Park High School, and SMU, where she met her husband, Dr. Reuben H. Adams (Rube). Lindalyn followed Rube to Duke University Medical School, and they returned to Dallas to be married on September 10, 1949. The couple was married for 51 years before his death on September 11, 2000. 

“​​We have lost a champion of historic preservation, Lindalyn Adams.  Her accomplishments are too many to list, but her affect on many preservation and history organizations throughout Dallas and the state of Texas will be missed,” Preservation Dallas said in a post on Facebook.

The Sixth Floor Museum also paid tribute to Adams.

“Lindalyn’s long association with our Museum began with a tour of the empty sixth floor space in March 1977, at a time when the former Depository building was still in danger of being torn down,” the tribute on its website reads. “After Dallas County purchased the structure later that year, Public Works Director Judson Shook asked her to spearhead an effort to create a tasteful historical display about the Kennedy assassination. Little did she know at the time that she would ultimately serve as the project’s driving force, community champion and cheerleader through more than a decade of challenging development. Alongside historian Conover Hunt, Lindalyn began touring prominent individuals through the dusty warehouse to solicit support for the controversial project. ”

​​ The Sixth Floor exhibit opened Feb. 20, 1989.

As the Texas Monthly reported in 2013, “ It took 11 tortuous years — battling Tom Landry, courting Ross Perot, enduring the indifference of Washington, D.C. — to get the Sixth Floor Museum up and running; when you hear the founders talk, they sound like Marines struggling to raise the flag at Iwo Jima.”

Adams also worked to raise money to preserve the oldest house in Highland Park in 1985 with Pierce Allman and Jennie Reeves and move it to Old City Park.

“Inspired by the upcoming Texas Sesquicentennial, they dreamed up the idea of hosting a community-wide fundraising celebration, a fiesta, based on Texas historical tradition. The first La Fiesta Gala was held in Highland Park Village,” a post on La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas’ website reads. “Little did Lindalyn, Pierce and Jennie know that this neighborhood benefit would evolve into the La Fiesta of today – an organization of hundreds that honors forty Duchesses and forty Escorts, supports seventeen beneficiaries and has raised over 9.48 million dollars for the Park Cities!”

“Lindalyn’s vision and that of our other two La Fiesta founders set in motion an organization that has now, itself, become a treasured part of the history of the Park Cities and that continues to make such a positive difference in the lives of our Park Cities residents of all ages,” said Elizabeth Gambrell, the 2020-2021 La Fiesta President.

Adams was also among those involved in 1982 in organizing the Park Cities Historical Society, now Preservation Park Cities, was its third president in 1984-85, received its Founders Award in 2013, and was one of three recipients of the Tie Davis Preservation Award in 2015.

“As Editor of Park Cities Home Tour magazine since 2014 I can tell you that Lindalyn Adams had an impact on all that knew her as a tireless campaigner to save and celebrate significant architectural homes in our community. She was an inspiration and an important leader for Preservation Park Cities Board member,” said Albert McClendon.In lieu of flowers, Adams’ family asks those who wish to remember her to donate to Baylor Health Care Foundation, the Sixth Floor Museum, or Highland Park Presbyterian Church.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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