Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Main Street and Flags, Flags, Flags — ca. 1917

downtown_ca1917_LOCFind the flags! (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

This is a cool photo. I have no idea if it was taken anywhere around July 4th, but I post it today because today is July 4th, AND I see 5 — possibly 6 — American flags in this photograph of Main Street. The patriotism displayed here may have more to do with World War I than Independence Day, but why not post it on the 4th of July?

Enjoy the holiday!


Photo identified as “Texas, Dallas, 1917, Business section” by the Library of Congress; photo info here.

For the previous Flashback Dallas post “4th of July — Sweating in Formation,” which shows a parade from the 1870s or 1880s, click here.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“The Last Time I Saw Texas” — 1953/58

neiman-marcus_texas-mapThat “X” is in the wrong spot, y’all…. (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Before I begin, I offer apologies in advance to Oscar Hammerstein II (original lyricist of “The Last Time I Saw Paris”), NeimanMarcus (with or without the hyphen), haters of Texas stereotypes, and, especially, Fort Worth.

In a Dallas item connected with “Independence Day” in only the most tangential way possible, I thought I’d share a little cabaret song I stumbled across today whilst rummaging through the internet. It’s a humorously re-written version of the Academy Award-winning hit song “The Last Time I Saw Paris,” (…um, the one in FRANCE….), written in 1940 by Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics) and Jerome Kern (music).

Partial lyrics were reported by Earl Wilson in his syndicated gossip/entertainment column, “Broadway Last Night,” twice — first in 1953, after he’d seen Juliana Larson sing it at the Sherry Netherland Hotel, then later, in 1958, after he’d heard Connie Moore sing it at the St. Regis Maisonette. Both women had Texas ties (Constance Moore actually grew up in Dallas), so I’m sure both enjoyed singing the ditty (in what one hopes was in an ever-so-amusing sophisticated style, à la Noël Coward).

At the Neiman-Marcus store
They sell the usual furs
And the cutest children’s Cadillacs
And yachts marked “His” and “Hers.”

The last time I saw Texas
And the oil was in her hills,
The kiddies bought their lunch at school
With hundred-dollar bills.

The last time I saw Texas,
All Dallas was so gay,
We’d burned Fort Worth to the ground
On Independence Day.

Happy Independence Day, Fort Worth!


Listen to Noël Coward sing “The Last Time I Saw Paris” (before FW was being burned to the ground), here.

Juliana Larson (aka Juliana Bernhardt) was a former John Powers model who married wealthy Houston oilman Walter Bedford Sharp, Jr. (whose father was a business partner with Howard Hughes’ father). She started in light opera in Texas and moved on to New York nightclubs. She seems to be known mostly as the wife of a Texas oilman and a permanent fixture on Best Dressed lists. She horrified everyone when she showed up to a Metropolitan Opera opening night wearing trousers — see her delighting in the publicity she received from that, in Life magazine (Nov. 24, 1952), here.

Constance Moore was born in Iowa but grew up and began her career in Dallas. More about her here and here; glamour photos here.

The “Texas” lyrics were reported by Earl Wilson to have been written by David Roger (for Juliana Larson, in 1953) and by Earl Brent (for Connie Moore, in 1958). The partial lyrics Wilson quoted in 1953 and 1958 were the same. …So there you go. (I changed the order of one line, because it seems that Wilson got the lines of the first verse in the wrong order.)

I’m not sure where I found that Neiman’s map, but it’s cool. (Why IS the “X “is the hinterlands, anyway?)

Enjoy your 4th of July weekend! And don’t burn anything down!


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Commerce Street — 1942-ish

commerce-st_RPPC-1942_ebayCommerce St. (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Today, a somewhat random shot of Commerce Street from the early 1940s.

…And now I have a hankering for a Dr Pepper.


Cropped shot of an item currently being offered on eBay, here.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

A New Turbine Power Station for Big D — 1907

power-station_1907New and old power plants, 1907 (click for much larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Construction began in 1906 on a new power plant for the Dallas Electric Light & Power Company. It was built next to the old power plant, and it furnished electricity for the city’s lighting and power needs as well as for its streetcars and interurban cars. When construction began, the project was expected to cost more than $500,000 (over $13 million in today’s money), a large (but necessary) expenditure for the growing city.

power-station_dmn_020906Dallas Morning News, Feb. 9, 1906

The photo at the top shows the new plant on the left, and the old 19th-century plant on the right. Here, a view from the other side:


Inside? A lot of fascinating stuff that looked like this (as well as a stern-looking man who appears to be trying to avoid the camera):


The power station was northwest of downtown, between the MKT and Cotton Belt and Rock Island railroad yards (approximately where the American Airlines Center is today). Before the Trinity was straightened and moved, the plant was only about half a mile from the banks of the river. Even though the grade of the new station’s floor was built above the highest flood level, the historic flood of 1908 put the plant out of commission for several days, but — probably because it was filled with brand new equipment — the city’s power was restored much faster than one might have expected.


Photos are from the Street Railway Journal, May 18, 1907 (Vol. XXIX, No. 20). To view the entire 7-page article — which includes more photographs as well as several floorplans and schematics, all of which are very cool (even to someone like me who has absolutely no idea of what any of it means!) — check it out, here.

See how the American Airlines Center incorporated elements of the 1907 plant’s design, here.

My previous related post, “DP&L’s Twin Smokestacks,” can be read here.

Photos are much larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The “Semi-Convertible” Streetcar — 1907

semi-convertible-streetcar_1907_smEXTRA long… (click for larger image of car)

by Paula Bosse

Ah, the “grooveless-post semi-convertible” streetcar with the “extra long platforms,” the cherry and maple interior, the domed ceiling, and the clusters of frosted globes. Sounds nice.

semi-convertible-streetcar_int_1907“Interior of Car for Dallas” (click for larger image)

semi-convertible-streetcar_dmn_082907Dallas Morning News, Aug. 29, 1907


Photos from Street Railway Journal, April 6, 1907; original article can be accessed here. Above scans from an old eBay listing.

Want to know more about the Brill Convertible and Semi-Convertible Cars? Sure you do! Hie yourself here.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Clifton Church’s Central Business District — ca. 1894

main_by-church_1894Main Street looking west, toward a ghostly courthouse (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

These three photographs were taken by prominent Dallas photographer Clifton Church, probably in 1893 or 1894. The one at the top shows Main Street looking west, taken just east of Poydras. (The then-new courthouse at the end of the street appears to have been lightly fleshed out by the hand of a photo re-toucher, giving it a mirage-like quality.) The Trust Building, on the right, was at the northeast corner of Main & N. Austin; the Dexter insurance office was in the North Texas Building, at 221-223 Main (under the old numbering system), between N. Lamar and Poydras; and the Scruggs & Scruggs wholesale liquor business was at 237-239 Main, two doors east of the Poydras intersection. The present-day view from the same location can be seen on Google Street View, here.


The photo below shows Elm Street looking east, taken just east of Akard. In the middle of the block on the left is Mayer’s Beer Garden & Saloon, at 361-363 Elm; the tall building behind it was the Guild Building at 369-371 Elm. Across the street, the tall building on the right is the Chilton Building. In the foreground at the right is the Dallas Business College at 342 Elm (which, in the 1892 city directory, showed to be where artist Frank Reaugh had studio space). The present-day view can be seen here.



And, below, Commerce Street, looking east from about Poydras. At the bottom left is the L. J. Bartlett Oriental Livery and stables, at 237-241 Commerce; next to it is the St. George Hotel. In the distance, across the street, is the brand new Oriental Hotel at Commerce and Akard with its distinctive rounded topknot. In the middle of the block is the famed Padgitt Bros. Saddlery at 248-250 Commerce, and in the foreground is Ballard & Burnette at 240-242 Commerce, a company that sold “wholesale hats, caps, gloves, and umbrellas.” The present-day view is here



Below is a handy-dandy visual showing the locations of the above photos on a present-day map. (The black line shows where Poydras used to be. It exists today only as an alley-like block-long stretch of asphalt that runs alongside the downtown McDonald’s.) Click for larger image.

downtown_church-photos_googleGoogle Maps


Photos by Clifton Church (1855-1943), from his book Dallas, Texas Through a Camera: A Collection of Half-Tone Engravings from Original Photographs (Dallas: J. M. Colville, Franklin Printing House, 1894). (Sadly, these images are a bit washed out. I’d love to see the original photographs — and I’d love to see a copy of the original book.)

Address information from city directories and Sanborn maps.

Click pictures for larger images.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Gay Activism in Dallas and the Fight for Equality

gay-pride-parade_062572_portal_smDallas’ first gay pride march, June 24, 1972 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Today’s historic ruling by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of marriage equality comes after decades of civil rights activism from the LBGT community. The push for acceptance and equality began for many after the historic Stonewall Riots in New York City, which happened 47 years ago this week. The political fight began in Dallas — as it did in most major US cities — in the early 1970s. Dallas’ first Gay Pride march was held downtown on June 24, 1972, at a time when “out” homosexuals or lesbians were often blacklisted or denied basic civil rights without legal recourse. Below, the coverage of that first march by the Dallas and Fort Worth newspapers.

gay-pride-parade_dmn_062572DMN, June 25, 1972 (click for larger image)

gay-pride-parade-FWST_062572Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 25, 1972

And now, a long, long 43 years later — almost to the day — the Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is now legal in every state in the union, a landmark victory not only for those early political and social activists who marched in the streets of Dallas and fought for their basic human rights, but also a victory for those of us who are their friends and family.

gay-pride-parade_june1972_dmn-blogAt the JFK memorial, June 24, 1972 (photo: DMN/Dallas Public Library)


A wonderful history of the gay community in Dallas — from the days of secret “speak-easy”-type clubs to political organization to the AIDS fight — is contained in the KERA-produced documentary “Finding Our Voice: The Dallas Gay & Lesbian Community” (2000), which can be viewed in its entirety on YouTube, here.



The top photograph of Dallas’ first Gay Pride march is from the LGBT Collection of the UNT Libraries; it and other photos of the parade can be found on UNT’s Portal to Texas History website, here.

Bottom photo is from the Texas/Dallas Archives Division, Dallas Public Library/The Dallas Morning News Collection; it appeared on a DMN blog post, here.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Santa Fe Railroad Ads: “Main Line to Progress” — 1955

ad-magnolia-petroleum-welcoming-new-santa-fe-line_dmn_120455-det_smMagnolia Petroleum Co. ad (detail), 1955 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

In the previous post, “White Rock Station,” I wrote about the opening of a new passenger depot that had been built to serve suburban travelers along the new stretch of Santa Fe track laid between Dallas and Denton in 1955, opening up direct through-travel to Chicago. This was big news, and as was the charming custom back then, when a new business endeavor opened or expanded, other businesses (often direct competitors) placed ads in the local papers to welcome them and wish them well.

Here are a few of the ads that appeared in a special supplement of The Dallas Morning News on the day before service began on the new line. I’ve chosen these details of ads because they feature illustrations of the city’s skyline — I always love to see the Dallas skyline in ads, but I particularly like the style of commercial art from this period.

At the top is a detail from an ad placed by the Magnolia Petroleum Company, with the tag-line “Main Line to Progress.”

Next, a cool detail from a Hutchings-Sealy National Bank of Galveston advertisement.


And, lastly, a detail from the large double-page spread placed by the Santa Fe company itself; this illustration takes up almost an entire page.



All three ads appeared in a special Dallas Morning News supplement published on Dec. 4, 1955, the day before service began on the new line which offered through-service from Dallas to Chicago.

Original Magnolia ad is here.

Original Hutchings-Sealy bank ad is here.

Original Santa Fe ad is here. The first page of the ad, with the text, can be viewed (and read) here.

The previous Flashback Dallas post on this new Santa Fe line and its two new depots in Dallas and Denton can be found here.

All images larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

White Rock Station

white-rock-station_glen-brewer_062468White Rock Station, June 24, 1968 (click for larger image) © Glen Brewer

by Paula Bosse

The White Rock passenger station — the Santa Fe railroad’s first suburban train depot built in the Southwest — opened in December, 1955 on Jupiter Road, about a quarter of a mile south of Kingsley (located mere steps across the Garland city line), a few miles northeast of White Rock Lake. It was the culmination of a $7,000,000 construction project in which two depots were built and 49.3 miles of new track was laid between Dallas and Denton (or, more specifically, between Zacha Junction — the area near Northwest Highway & Garland Road — and Dalton Junction, an area just northwest of Denton).

santa-fe-line_dmn_120555-detDallas Morning News, Dec. 5, 1955

The new track — touted by a Santa Fe ad as being “the longest main line construction over new territory by any railroad in 25 years” — was important because it offered passengers from Dallas the ability to travel for the first time directly to Chicago without having to change trains. It also reduced freight line distances by 65 miles. The swanky streamlined Texas Chief shuttled passengers between Dallas’ Union Station and Chicago in about 19 hours — travel time between Union Station and the new White Rock Station was 25-30 minutes.

white-rock-station_dmn_120455_det-map_smSanta Fe ad, DMN, Dec. 4, 1955

The breathless advertising copy from the giant two-page spread in The Dallas Morning News (which appeared on Dec. 4, 1955, the day before official service began) includes the following description:

“And just wait until you see the special lounge car and dining car on the Texas Chief — the last word in luxury in railroad equipment, decorated in the style and smartness indicative of Dallas…. A lounge decorated to please a Texan! Wide open and spacious feeling, with really comfortable modern sofas and chairs, casually grouped to make you want to relax. You’ll see the Star of Texas and famous cattle brands tooled into the rich leather back-bar — and Texas-inspired murals in hand-hammered copper. Even the walls are richly paneled — in smart, new frosted walnut. Just wait until you see it, you’ll say there’s nothing like it.”

And here they are (click for larger images):


Below, the Texas Chief, pulling out of the station, heading north. (To see a grainy closeup of the station in the background, click here.)

texas-chief_degolyer_smu_122956Photo by Everette DeGolyer, Dec. 29, 1956 (SMU)


white-rock-station_dmn_120455_det-drawingwhite-rock-station_dmn_120455_renderingAbove two drawings from Santa Fe ad, DMN, Dec. 4, 1955

white-rock-station_c1956_portalcirca 1956


UPDATE, because … well, why not? Here’s a photo of the Texas Chief being christened at Union Station on Dec. 5, 1955 with a bottle of water from White Rock Lake! The caption to this Dallas Morning News photo by Clint Grant reads: “NEW STREAMLINER CHRISTENED — With a bottle of water from White Rock Lake, Mrs. Fred G. Gurley, wife of the Santa Fe Railway’s president, christens the new Dallas-Chicago Texas Chief in ceremonies Monday at the Union Terminal. At right is Miss Sandra Browning of Garland, who presented the local bottle of water.” (DMN, Dec. 6, 1955)



Top photo shows passengers waiting for the train on June 24, 1968; photo © Glen Brewer.

Text and images from The Dallas Morning News as noted. (For anyone doing research into this specific new rail line, there is a 16-page section in the the DMN on Dec. 5, 1955 that is bursting with helpful info, civic pride, “welcome to the neighborhood” ads, and corporate puffery.)

The two photos showing the dining and lounge cars of the Texas Chief were taken around 1956; both are from the Museum of the American Railroad Collection, Portal to Texas History. Other photos of the Texas Chief from this collection can be seen here.

Photo of the Texas Chief pulling out of the White Rock Station was taken by Everette L. DeGolyer on Dec. 29, 1956; it is from the Everette L. DeGolyer Jr. Collection of United States Railroad Photographs, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University. The photo (“Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe, Diesel Electric Passenger Locomotive No. 11, White Rock Station”) can be viewed here.

The two drawings, and a few quotes, are from a large advertisement placed by the Santa Fe railroad to announce the opening of the White Rock Station and their new line. The ad appeared in The Dallas Morning News on Dec. 4, 1955, and it can be accessed in a PDF, here.

The last photograph, showing the station, is dated “circa 1956″ and credited to “Monaghan, M.D.”; it can be viewed on the Portal to Texas History site, here.

A 1962 map showing the location of the station is here. A present-day Bing map showing where the station was is here. A Google Street View image of the area today is (…if you must…) here.

And, lastly, a YouTube video of Harry Mancini’s version of “Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe” — with cool period film footage of train travel — is here.

An article on the construction of the Denton and Dallas (White Rock) depots — “Work on New Santa Fe Depot To Start Here” (Denton Record-Chronicle, July 13, 1955) — is in a document uploaded to Dropbox, here.

ad-casa-linda-bank_white-rock-station_dmn_120455DMN, Dec. 4, 1955

Click pictures for larger images.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Magnolia Building at Night


by Paula Bosse

Dallas noir.


Undated photo, from the ExxonMobil Historical Collection, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History; viewable here.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


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