Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Dallas Fire Works Ad — 1891


by Paula Bosse

Even in the 1890s, Oak Cliff was encouraging people to buy local.

Manufacturer of
Fire Works of All Kinds.
Whistling Bombs and Rockets Also Exhibitions A Specialty.
Special Designs of any Kind Made to Order.
Send For Price Lists.
Take Oak Cliff and West Dallas Elevated R.R. to Factory.

Louis J. Witte, Manager.
P.O. Address Care Board of Trade.

Do NOT go to Fort Worth for your fireworks!


Ad from the 1891 city directory.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The First JFK Assassination Reenactment — 1963

jfk_secret-service-reenactment_dth_112763Secret Service film crew, 11-27-63 (click for much larger image)

by Paula Bosse

There is yet another JFK assassination-related film being shot in and around Dealey Plaza, causing all sorts of traffic woes, but spotlighting some great period cars, trucks, and fashions. The first reenactment? It took place on November 27, 1963 as part of the Secret Service investigation. A newspaper account suggested that Jack Ruby may have been watching from his jail cell, mere steps away. The photos below, showing some of that filming, were taken by a Dallas Times Herald staff photographer. (All photos from the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza/UNT’s Portal to Texas History.)




The reenactment received only a few paragraphs in The Dallas Morning News the next day. (Click for larger images.)



jfk_secret-service-reenactment_dmn_112863bDMN, Nov. 28, 1963

Another photo — this one of somber onlookers — taken the same day. Ruby’s home-away-from-home — the jailhouse — is in the background at the left.



Photos from the incredible Dallas Times Herald collection of Kennedy assassination photographs from the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, viewable online via UNT’s invaluable Portal to Texas History; the reenactment photos are here.

The Dallas Morning News clipping is an excerpt from an article by Carl Freund; the full article is here.

Currently filming in Dallas: the television adaptation of Stephen King’s novel “11-22-63.” Read the updates on the filming from Robert Wilonsky of The Dallas Morning News, here.

All photos are much larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Take a Spin In “The Rotor” at The State Fair of Texas

state-fair-midway_ebayAnother beautiful day at the fair! (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Students’ Day at the Fair? There are a lot of unaccompanied kids in that photo eating food on sticks.

I could be wrong, but I think the round structure to the right of the entrance is The Rotor (part of the sign is visible at the far right). The Rotor resembled a large barrel inside. You’d stand with your back to the curved wall, and then the walls would begin spinning around. Eventually the spinning got faster and you’d be pinned against the wall with centrifugal force as the floor dropped out. …Which could be a big mistake after too many corny dogs and cotton candy.

The Rotor debuted at the State Fair in 1952, imported from England. The British company would be sued later that year by the man who invented the ride, Ernst Hoffmeister. Hoffmeister sued several people who were operating similar rides internationally, but all was resolved by the following year, and the Rotor ride was an extremely popular fixture of the State Fair of Texas midway for many years.

rotor_dmn_092552-photorotor_dmn_092552-captionDallas Morning News, Sept. 25, 1952

Read the interview with these men in the DMN article “‘Bloody Sensation’ — Britons to Supply Ride on State Fair Midway” by Frank X. Tolbert (Sept. 25, 1952) — here. Below, the ride in action.

rotor_dmn_101253arotor_dmn_101253bDMN, Oct. 12, 1953 (click photo for larger image)


Postcard from eBay.

Newspaper clippings as noted.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Wading in Turtle Creek, 100 Years Ago


by Paula Bosse

A photograph of children wading in a very different-looking Turtle Creek, taken about 1915, the year Highland Park (pop. 1,100) was incorporated.


Photo from the 1915-1916 SMU Rotunda yearbook.

Population factoid from Wikipedia.

Click picture for larger image.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Dallas Skyline, Vibrant & Sophisticated — 1960

skyline_1960_dmn_100260If only… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

This fantastic interpretation of the Dallas skyline appeared, uncredited, in the 75th anniversary issue of The Dallas Morning News in 1960. A little artistic license and … voilà! … Dallas has never looked New Yorkier. In a good way!

Thank you, anonymous staff artist! This is the cool, sophisticated version of Dallas I’ve always wanted to live in!


From The Dallas Morning News, Oct. 2, 1960.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

From the Vault: University Park’s Monarch Butterfly Wrangler

monarch_life_colorCarl Anderson & friends (John Dominis, Time-Life Pictures/Getty Image)

by Paula Bosse

One of my favorite Flashback Dallas posts was the one I wrote earlier this year about Carl Anderson, a man who was passionate about studying Monarch butterflies. He shared his love of these butterflies with everyone — from the neighbor kids on Centenary Avenue in University Park to the worldwide readership of Life magazine.

I wrote the original post — which you can read here — when the Monarchs were migrating up from Mexico. Now they are migrating back south. Check out the animated map of the Fall/Winter 2015 migration here.

Keep your eyes peeled for Monarchs! Do it for Carl!


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

1615 South Ervay: The Eagle Apartment Building

1615-s-ervay_zillowThe Eagle, today (click for larger image) / Photo: Zillow

by Paula Bosse

Whenever I drive along South Ervay, I always slow down — or pull over — to take a look at this building. It doesn’t look like anything else around it, and I’ve wondered about it from the first time I saw it.

It was built in 1924 and was announced in The Dallas Morning News beneath the headline “New Apartment Building on South Ervay Street to Have Garage Space in Basement.” It was accompanied by a drawing of a fairly grand-looking building.

1615-s-ervay_dmn_062224DMN, June 24, 1924 (click for larger image)

The caption:

“This new apartment building at 1615 South Ervay street, now being completed by George Kean, embodies many new and novel features in the construction of buildings of this character, one of these being provision of garage space for tenants in the basement. The building will contain eight four-room apartments and sixteen two-room efficiency apartments. J. W. Lindsley & Co. are leasing agents, and contract has been given to Sanger Bros. for furnishings of the building.” (DMN, June 22, 1924)

A basement garage for a small apartment building like this was pretty unusual for the time. And when they said Sanger’s was supplying the furnishings, they meant everything from furniture down to bed linens and kitchen utensils!

The first “for rent” ads began appearing a week after this announcement. Below, the photo and text of an ad from June 29, 1924.

eagle-apts_dmn_062924-deteagle-apts_dmn_062924-textDMN, June 29, 1924

Hey, I’d take a look!

But renting’s for chumps — how about owning the entire building? (“Can care for 50 cars”!)

eagle-apts_dmn_080324DMN, Aug.3, 1924

Below, an ad with rates and a bit more info (it sounds like all units had a Murphy bed — even the apartments with a bedroom):

eagle-apts_dmn_071225DMN, July 12, 1925

They were kind of pricey. According to the Inflation Calculator, prices in today’s money would be about $825-$900 for a 2-room efficiency, and about $1,225-$1,375 for a 4-room apartment.

By the fall of 1931, the building had changed hands, was under new management, and had been re-named. It was now the Lafayette Apartments, and units were now being rented “by day, week or month.”

lafayette_dmn_100131DMN, Oct. 1, 1931

lafayette-apartments_dmn_101532DMN, Oct. 15, 1932

Today this stretch of South Ervay is not the crowded and busy thoroughfare it once was. Though there were several businesses and small industrial buildings, it was also a residential area, lined with houses, apartment buildings, and the large Park Residence Hotel (better known in recent years as the Ambassador Hotel). The Eagle apartment building is in the 1600 block of South Ervay — when it opened in 1924, there were also apartment buildings in the 1500 and 1700 blocks. It’s interesting to take a look at a page from the 1924 city directory to see who and what occupied this South Ervay neighborhood in 1924 (click for larger image):

south-ervay_1924-directory1924 Dallas directory

The building right next door to the Eagle Apartments was the Franklin-Rickenbacker Motor Co., a car dealership (part of the word “Franklin” can be seen painted on the brick wall in the 1924 photograph). For context, here are the automobiles that would have been for sale next door to the Eagle when it opened.

1924-franklin_secondchancegarage1924 Franklin

1924-rickenbacker1924 Rickenbacker

Today, people are still living in 1615 South Ervay. I’m not sure how many condominiums are in the building, but if you search around on the internet, you can find several real estate listings that show what various of the units look like inside. They’re very nice! It’s a much larger building than I realized, as can be seen in this aerial view.


I love that red door. Here’s to the continued revitalization of South Dallas and The Cedars!


Top photo from Zillow.

Photo of the Franklin automobile from SecondChanceGarage.com, here. I found the Rickenbacker photo on a Rickenbacker guitar site which froze my computer and which shall remain unlinked; more photos of Rickenbacker cars (as well as a history of the company) can be found here (the car was named after WWI flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker, a cousin of the guitar maker).

All other sources as noted.

1615 S. Ervay is located caddy-corner to Old City Park/Dallas Heritage Village, near the intersection of S. Ervay and Gano streets.


Street view of the building, looking north on Ervay toward downtown, here.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Young Bucks at the Fair — 1915

state-fair_men-touring-car_1915_degolyerDeGolyer Library/SMU

by Paula Bosse

Some of these guys look like they’d be fun to spend a day with at the fair. …Some of them don’t.


Real photo postcard titled “Men in a touring car with 1915 State Fair of Texas in Dallas banner” is from the Collection of Texas Postcards, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; it can be accessed here.

Click for larger image.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

From the Vault: Oak Cliff Trolley — 1895


trolley_oak-cliff_det1“Dallas from Oak Cliff” (detail), Henry Stark (click for much larger image)

by Paula Bosse

This wonderful detail of a photograph by Henry Stark shows a trolley chugging through a rural and woody Oak Cliff in 1895: an example of 19th-century mass transit in Dallas. See the full post from last year — which includes the original photo and three other magnified details — here.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

From the Vault: The Marietta Mask


by Paula Bosse

In case you missed it earlier this year, check out the Flashback Dallas story of the 1947 invention by a Dallas dentist that had a huge impact on professional (and amateur) sports. Read about the Marietta Mask, here.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


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