The Deep Ellum Banjo Man

Back in December of 2009, I travelled to Denton, Texas to watch my oldest daughter Paige graduate from the University of North Texas. We had a grand time there, especially on the Denton County Courthouse square, with all the touristy type stores decked out for Christmas. And that used bookstore! You see, Denton, like many small Texas towns, had a opera house on the Square ages ago. This one, like all similar opera houses in Texas I know of, had fallen into disrepair. So it was converted into, at present, a huge bookstore. What a wonderful place to browse in!

Anyway, I digress.

I had also heard that there was a very interesting street sculpture just east of downtown Dallas of a banjo man. Armed with information from the Internet, I set out to find him on Me and My New Pickin' Buddythe way back, and sure enough, there he sat in the Deep Ellum District at the southwest corner of North Good Latimer and Gaston Avenue. Quite an imposing figure, I have a few photos of him here, along with yours truly picking a number with him.

The Deep Ellum district in Dallas was once a famous venue for Blues musicians. It appears its renown has diminished in recent decades, though.The Banjo Man, with Downtown Dallas in the Background BanjoManDallas3

Compare these small trees in front of the building with what is current on Google Streetview.And alas, when I went to Google street view just now, the Banjoman is barely seen on the higher-altitude view, but in the street view (seemingly newer as the trees are bigger), it appears that some construction is going on at that corner. Could it be he has been removed?

There is another similar ‘tinman’ elsewhere in Deep Ellum, two blocks northwest at Good Latimer and Miranda Street; this fellow appears to be a singer, not a banjo player.

Click on these images for a slightly larger photo.

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About Phill Gibson

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama where I work as a Systems Engineer and part-time banjo and mandolin instructor. I've been playing various instruments since my teen years. I started mandolin at about age 17 and banjo at 20. I love just about all kinds of music. In terms of banjo styles, I play Scruggs and melodic and am working on becoming more advanced with single string. I'm also working on 4-finger banjo, which is way off the beaten path. I would like to see more jazz techniques integrated into bluegrass situations; counterpoint, especially. So long-term, that's what I'm doing. I'm also very keen on astronomy, ATM (amateur telescope making), birding, christian homeschooling, martial arts, organic gardening and about 30 other distracting hobbies to a (mercifully) lesser extent.
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2 Responses to The Deep Ellum Banjo Man

  1. Bill Chance says:

    I’m a big fan of the Travelling man series of sculptures in Deep Ellum. There are actually three along Good Latimer. The first one is at Elm street and has The Man emerging from the ground, surrounded by birds (you can see this in street view). The second is the Banjo Man and the third is the Man walking with a bird on his hand.

    The sculptures are still there, and will be for a long time. They are on Street View, though the Banjo Man is hard to see because a train is going by. Oh, and isn’t that Denton Used Bookstore amazing?

    Nice photos, thanks for sharing.

    • Phill Gibson says:

      Bill,

      Great – I was hoping someone close to Dallas would know the answer! Thanks for the details. And I’m glad it is still there; I didn’t realize there was a train going by in the street view.

      Yes, I could spend a lot of time (and $!) at that bookstore.

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