Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

“Dallas Skyline: Late Afternoon From Stemmons Freeway” by Ed Bearden — 1959

bearden_dallas-skyline-late-afternoon-from-stemmons-freeway_litho_1959Skyline and power plant… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I think the 1950s Dallas skyline is my favorite Dallas skyline. This lithograph by Dallas artist Ed Bearden shows all the usual superstars — the Southland Life Building, the Medical Arts Building, the Republic Bank Building, the Mercantile, the Magnolia — but it also shows a building that doesn’t often find its way into artistic renderings of the city’s skyline: the Dallas Power & Light plant (which was demolished several years ago and is now the site of the American Airlines Center). It looks really great here, with its familiar twin steamstacks and its oasis-like “spray pond” shimmering in the foreground. In fact, the presence of the DP&L plant is my favorite element of this artwork. The beauty of that workhorse industrial plant gives those fancy skyscrapers a run for their money!

This same view from the Stemmons of today looks like — brace yourself — this.


Lithograph by Ed Bearden; image from an auction listing on the Live Auctioneers site, here. (Thanks, “Not Bob,” for alerting me to this great artwork!)

See another Bearden skyline seen from a similar vantage point, here.

More on the cool-looking DP&L plant and its twin smokestacks can be found in these Flashback Dallas posts:

  • “DP&L’s Twin Smokestacks,” here
  • “A New Turbine Power Station for Big D — 1907,” here


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Union Station — ca. 1916

union-station_ca-1916_dmn-archives_frontier-top-tierA century ago… (click to see larger image)

by Paula Bosse

A new Union Station, bustling with activity, as seen across a scrubby vacant lot which, today, is the home of the Dallas Morning News building at S. Houston and Young. See the view today, here.

The photo shows the baggage shed which used to be on the south side of the building as well as the passenger bridge heading to and from the trains, with steps leading down to the platforms. See the details on the Sanborn map from 1921 here.

Union Station has weathered some difficult times and suffered from neglect after the golden age of train travel ended, but after recent extensive renovation/restoration, the historic landmark looks as good as new!


Photo from the Dallas Morning News archives, reproduced in the book Frontier to Top Tier (2010, Pediment Publishing).

See a timeline on the history of Union Station from the Watermelon Kid site, here.

Union Station website is here.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Keeping Up With Busy Dallas — 1927

dallas-skyline_drawing_forest-avenue-high-school-yrbk_1927Spot the landmarks (click for much larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Here are two striking graphic depictions of the Dallas skyline, both of which appeared in the 1927 Forest Avenue High School yearbook. The skyline was impressive in 1927, but it would change a lot in the next few years. One important change would come with the addition of what became the unofficial symbol of Dallas: the Magnolia Building was already there in 1927, but Pegasus would not be installed on top of it until 1934.

Below, a drawing that appeared on the last page of the yearbook, showing a locomotive chugging away from the Big City, with the promise/threat “You may leave Dallas, but you’ll come back.”


This is an interesting little tidbit from the same yearbook:


26.44 square miles in area?! Smallest of any major Texas city?! 42nd in U.S. population?! How times change. According to recent figures, the City of Dallas stretches across 385 square miles, is the third largest city in Texas, and is the ninth largest city in the United States. And the Magnolia Building — seen in both of the drawings above and once the tallest building in the state — is now dwarfed by taller buildings all around it. Dallas has been busy.


Drawings from the 1927 Forest Avenue High School yearbook, The Forester. (Forest Avenue High School was the original name of James Madison High School. The all-white South Dallas high school became an all-black high school in 1956.)

The artist of the top drawing appears to be someone by the name of “Bond.” The bottom drawing is signed “GWH” — George W. Harwood, Jr. I think Bond might have been a professional artist affiliated with the printing company that printed the yearbooks, but here is the dashing photo of GWH, Class of 1930 (I believe he left Dallas and didn’t come back…).


Click drawings to see larger images.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Broken Links Are Driving Me to Drink


by Paula Bosse

A couple of months ago I wrote about the arduous task of having to manually migrate files from one cloud to another cloud. Well, I haven’t quite finished, and there are now several links that when clicked will get you to one of those confoundingly cutesy “Oopsie! That file doesn’t seem to be here anymore!” 404 pages.

I’m slogging through the last 40 or so files — I hope to have everything moved by the coming week. If you get one of these error messages, hold tight and check back soon — equilibrium will be restored forthwith!

In the meantime, enjoy the photo of a rusted sign for Dallas Beer above. This is how I currently feel after having spent weeks moving hundreds and hundreds of digital files from here to there, one by one. When I started, I felt a bit fresher, like this:


But there is light at the end of the tunnel. I’ll be fresh as a cynical daisy in no time!


Dallas Beer signs are from somewhere on the internet. That’s the best I can do. I’m really tired….


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

From the Vault: Jim Lehrer Reports on Dallas’ “Irate Irishman” — 1960


by Paula Bosse

What happened when Dallas City Hall repeatedly refused to allow a determined Irishman in possession of 65-dollars’ worth of green calcium paint and a line-painting machine to paint a green stripe down Main Street for a St. Patrick’s Day parade? Luckily, stalwart Dallas Morning News reporter Jim Lehrer (yes, that Jim Lehrer) chronicled the heated battle for posterity. Read the amusing story in a Flashback Dallas post from 2014, “Never Tell an Irate Irishman That He Can’t Paint a Green Strip Down Main Street — 1960.”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Long and Woodrow From Above — 1965

woodrow_1965-yrbk_birdseyeSo much open green space! (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

A few days ago, after having done too many recent posts on Dallas high schools, I decided to post this great 1965 photo of J. L. Long Jr. High School and Woodrow Wilson High School on Facebook and Twitter, rather than write another high school post. But then Facebook follower Chris Prestridge went out and took the same shot with his drone and sent it to me. And it’s cool! So now I kind of have to post both of these great then-and-now photos. (Thank you, Chris!)

In the photos we see Woodrow in the center foreground, Long behind it, the Lakewood Country Club at the upper left, and, in the background, White Rock Lake. Things haven’t changed hugely in the intervening 52 years — it’s still a pretty area, but things just seem more crowded. (How I long for the days of school campuses devoid of the clutter of what I used to call “temporary buildings” — but those buildings don’t seem to be “temporary,” because they never go away. And those displaced fields and playgrounds never come back.)

Here’s the same view today.


Below, the two photos, cheek by jowl. Click to see them bigger.



Top photo is from the 1965 Crusader, the yearbook of Woodrow Wilson High School; I found it on Flickr, here.

Many thanks to Chris Prestridge who “droned” the present-day photo yesterday, on March 14, 2017. Thank you, Chris! (And thank you, Chris’ drone!)

See another bird’s-eye view of both campuses — but one looking to the southwest rather than the northeast — in the Flashback Dallas post “J. L. Long, Woodrow Wilson — 1958,” here.

Click photos to see larger images.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Whittle Music Building — ca. 1956

whittle-music_elm-and-murphy_flickr_red-oak-kidSouthwest corner of Elm & Murphy… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Above, the very attractive home of the Whittle Music Co., which sat at 1108 Elm Street on the southwest corner of Elm and Murphy. It was built as a two-story building in 1892 for the A. Harris Co., one of Dallas’ earliest department stores. A third floor was added in 1899. A. Harris Co. eventually outgrew the building, and, around 1914, it moved into several floors of the Kirby Building. In August, 1941, the Whittle Music Co. moved in from their previous nearby location. The company which sold “everything musical” (instruments, radios, phonographs, records, sheet music, etc.) was happy to move into the larger building, which included a basement, an auditorium for performances, meetings, and recitals, and several large display windows to better feature their large selection of pianos (the building was apparently the first store in Dallas designed to include large windows in which to prominently display merchandise to passersby).

D. L. Whittle (1879-1970) came to Dallas in 1912 and was involved in several businesses (including selling Wurlitzer pipe organs and co-owning the Crystal Theater). He became president of Western Automatic Music Co. (which sold electric player pianos) and eventually changed the name to the D. L. Whittle Music Co. A few years later he sold the business to Howard Beasley who decided to keep the Whittle name. (See the 1968 Sam Acheson interview with Whittle at the bottom of this post for more information about Mr. Whittle and his memories of Dallas in the ‘teens.)

Whittle’s became one of Dallas’ premier music companies, selling instruments and recorded music, offering lessons, hosting performances, etc. According to a Dallas Morning News article by Kent Biffle, customers included Van Cliburn and Arthur Rubinstein, and “Al Jolson once sold tickets to one of his own shows” at the store’s ticket window (DMN, May 31, 1964).

Business was flourishing and all was going well, until the early 1960s when it was announced that the block the building was on (as well as other adjacent blocks) was set to be bulldozed to make way for the construction of One Main Place. Interestingly, Whittle’s and the Dallas, Texas Corp. (developers of One Main Place) agreed to a land swap: the music company would get land in Oak Lawn and a fancy new building built on it in exchange for the Elm Street property. Only after Whittle’s had taken occupancy of their new home would the 63-year-old building be demolished. (Seems like a pretty sweet deal for the Whittle company — perhaps the fact that D. L. Whittle was a major stockholder of the Texas Bank & Trust Co. — which had ties to the One Main Place project — was a factor.)

Whittle’s moved into its new location at 2733 Oak Lawn in March, 1965. Not only was it a nice new building, it also finally had “ample parking.” Whittle’s ceased operations sometime in … the ’80s? … but the George Dahl-designed building still stands, here.

I’ve never been a huge fan of One Main Place, but it was a VERY BIG DEAL in the late ’60s. It was envisioned as an entire complex — One Main Place, Two Main Place, and Three Main Place — but only one building was ever built. Yeah, we got another tall building out of the deal (the symbol of “dynamic growth!”), but the view of the attractive three-story building in the photo at the top of this post is, let’s face it, far more aesthetically pleasing than the same view today. Sorry, little building. I wish you’d survived.


Most images and clippings are larger when clicked.

harris_moving_dmn_112092Dallas Morning News, Nov. 20, 1892

Souvenir Guide to Dallas, 1894

DMN, July 2, 1899

DMN, Sept. 23, 1918

DMN, Nov. 2, 1919

DMN, Nov. 2, 1919

DMN, Sept. 13, 1964

DMN, Feb. 22, 1965

DMN, March 12, 1965

DMN, March 7, 1965

DMN, Nov. 25, 1968


Original source of photo at top is unknown — I found it on Flickr, here. The Oliver Luggage Co. appears to have been a next-door neighbor for only a year or two, beginning in 1956.

I was one of thousands of school children who bought instruments and sheet music from Whittle’s on Oak Lawn. I always liked going into that cool building. I had no idea George Dahl designed it. It looks like the Dallas Historical Society has the Whittle Music Co. collection. You can see a ton of thumbnail images here. Here are a couple of those thumbnails blown up (apologies for the picture quality) — the Oak Lawn store:



Two other One Main Place-related posts:

  • “Main & Murphy — ca. 1907,” here
  • “The Elm Street Cave — 1967,” here

Too small? Click it!


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Twelve Prominent Black Baptist Churches — 1967

church_zion-hill-missionary-baptist_1967Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Flipping through the pages of the 1967 Souvenir Program of the 74th Annual Session of the Missionary Baptist General Convention of Texas and Its Auxiliaries (…as one does), I kept coming across ads featuring photos of Dallas churches and wondered how many were still standing. Out of the twelve I’m posting here, all but three are still standing. That’s a healthy survival rate!

All photos are from the above-mentioned program for the Missionary Baptist General Convention of Texas, which convened in Dallas, October 17-20, 1967. All photos (which are larger when clicked) appeared in this 1967 booklet, but a few were older photos taken in previous years or decades.



At the top, Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 909 Morrell Avenue, East Oak Cliff (Rev. A. F. Thomas, Sr., Minister). The church is still standing and is still cool-looking — see it on Google Street View here. (According to a history of the church, the building was designed by J. C. Hibbard, the Assembly of God preacher who designed his own Oak Cliff church, the Gospel Lighthouse Church, which I wrote about here — the two eye-catching buildings are only a mile apart.)



People’s Missionary Baptist Church, 3119 Pine Street, South Dallas (Rev. S. M. Wright, Pastor). Still standing, here



Allen Chapel Baptist Church, 2146 Overton Road, Oak Cliff (Rev. J. R. Allen, Pastor). Still standing, here.



Morning Star Baptist Church (photo circa 1947, the year the brick church was built), 2662 Anderson Street, South Dallas (Rev. Howard Gill, Pastor). Still standing, here.



Good Street Baptist Church, 902 N. Good-Latimer (between Live Oak and Bryan) (Dr. Cesar Clark, Pastor). No longer standing.



Oak Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 4440 S. Oakland Avenue (now Malcolm X Blvd.), South Dallas (Rev. M. G. Solomon, Pastor). Drawing of their “future church building.” Still standing, here.



Bethany Baptist Church, 6710 Webster Street, Love Field area (A. L. Schley, Pastor). Still standing, here.



Munger Avenue Baptist Church, 3919 Munger Avenue (not to be confused with N. Munger Blvd.), near Haskell and Washington, in what used to be the thriving African-American neighborhood of North Dallas (Rev. B. E. Joshua, Pastor). Still standing, here.



Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, 2525 Caddo Street, just a few blocks from Munger Avenue Baptist Church (Rev. G. B. Prince, Pastor). No longer standing. The property was sold to the Southland Corporation in 1983 — its location is now occupied by a Cityplace parking lot. According to the history of the church, Pilgrim Rest moved to 1819 N. Washington in 1985.



Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, 3611 Latimer Street, South Dallas (Rev. B. F. Briggs, Pastor). Still standing, here.



St. John Baptist Church, 2019 Allen Street, State-Thomas area (Robert H. Wilson, Minister). No longer standing, most likely displaced by the construction of Woodall Rodgers Freeway.



New Zion Baptist Church, 2214 Pine Street, South Dallas (Rev. A. V. Voice, Pastor). Now Greater New Zion Church, this is my favorite of these twelve buildings, and it still looks good, here.


Many thanks to George Gimarc for passing this wonderful little booklet on to me. I hope to share more from its pages in the future.

All photos larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Dobbs House: Love Field’s Airport Restaurant

love-field_dobbs-house-restaurant_ebayDallasites’ favorite airport restaurant… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Dobbs House was a national restaurant and catering company, found chiefly in airports (although they did have non-airport restaurants, and at one point they had bought out the Toddle House chain). When the “new” Love Field terminal opened in 1940 (see the heart-stoppingly beautiful Art Deco front entrance at night, here), it had what was probably a very nice, perfectly serviceable, 24-hour restaurant. It was rather unimaginatively called “Airport Restaurant,” and it seated about 75 in the coffee shop and 100 in the dining room. And its “modern  blue and yellow leatherette furniture” was probably delightful. (All photos and clippings are larger when clicked.)

Dallas Morning News, Sept. 26, 1940


A lot of people probably enjoyed a hot cup of coffee while seated on that modern leatherette. But in 1944, the Hull-Dobbs company waltzed in an took over the restaurant and catering business and agreed to pay the city what seems like a miniscule $500 a month (about $7,000 in today’s money). The administration building, which housed the restaurant, was undergoing remodeling at the time, and I guess the city was giving the company something of a break. In 1945, though, Hull-Dobbs began to pay 5% of their gross revenue to the city, rather than a flat monthly fee. (I’m guessing that 5% was quite a bit more than $500.)

DMN, July 1, 1944

DMN, Dec. 6, 1945

Business was good. REAL good. It was almost too good, because almost every newspaper article which mentioned the restaurant (called Dobbs House, part of a national chain) noted how busy it was and how it was almost impossible for a person to find an empty seat. It was known for its good food (see a 1955 menu here), and one of the main reasons it was always crowded was because local people dined at the restaurant, taking up precious seats intended for hungry travelers. Dallasites loved to drive out to the airport for a nice meal, followed by a leisurely couple of hours watching airplanes take off and land.

But, basically, Love Field had become a major metropolitan airport, and its success — and the resulting increase in traffic and the overall crush of humanity — meant that everyone was running out of space.

DMN, Feb. 4, 1951

The airport had outgrown its beautiful 1940 Art Deco terminal, and a new, equally heart-stoppingly beautiful terminal opened in 1958. Dobbs House moved into its more spacious quarters with a freshly signed ten-year contract. …And by now they were paying a whole lot more than $500 a month.

DMN, Jan. 3, 1957

The restaurant and catering business were not all that the Dobbs company was running. Not only did they have a “swanky” restaurant at the new terminal, they also had a non-swanky restaurant and a basement cafeteria. They also had, at various times, control of the following concessions: cigar, shoeshine, gift shop (including apparel, candy, and camera shops), and … parking (!). This was on top of their land office business catering and restauranting. James Dobbs knew a thing or two about business — he didn’t get fantastically wealthy just selling 15-cent cups of coffee and black-bottom pie….

via Dallas Love Field Facebook page

In 1958, Dobbs House opened the exotic Luau Room, which served Polynesia cuisine. This was another Dobbs eatery that was very popular with Dallasites, and it lasted many, many years.

via eBay

The Luau Room was a sort of early “theme” chain from the Dobbs people, and it was a feature at several Dobbs House-served airports. The photo below might be the Dallas location. Might be Charlotte, or Orlando, or Houston.

via Tiki Central — check out the comments

Dobbs House  was a fixture of the Dallas airport/restaurant scene for a surprisingly long time. Dobbs House was still at Love Field in the 1980s — possibly into the ’90s. And when Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport opened, the Dobbs people slid right in. DFW was huge — and they had control of everything. (Alcohol sales alone must have been enormous!)

For D/FW’s first two decades, a single company operated all of the bars and restaurants that generate about $40 million in sales each year. Dobbs House had the food and beverage contract from 1974 until 1993, when Host Marriott Services took over the operations. (Dallas Morning News, May 22, 1996)

Dobbs House was in business here for almost 50 years. That’s a pretty good run for a restaurant in Dallas. (And I hear their cornbread sticks were to die for.)


Top photo showing Dobbs House Restaurant at Love Field found on eBay several months ago.

Airport Restaurant menu (ca. 1940-1944) found on eBay, here.

The Dobbs House cornsticks recipe is contained in the 1960 book How America Eats by Clementine Paddleford — used copies are out there, but they are surprisingly expensive. But from what I hear, if you want that recipe, it’s probably worth it!

An interesting side note about James K. Dobbs, head of the company that bore his name: even though he was a resident of Memphis, he actually died in a Dallas hospital in September, 1960, having been sent here for asthma treatment, and having recently suffered his second heart attack. He was 66. His company had grown to include about 125 restaurants at the time of his death. He had also made huge sums of money in automobile dealerships.

Photos and clippings are larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

From the Vault: The First Woman Decorated for Heroism in a Combat Zone — 1944


by Paula Bosse

Today is International Women’s Day. What better time to look back at a Dallas woman who, as a member of the Army Nurse Corps, served in field hospitals during World War II and became the first woman to receive the Silver Star for valor in combat. Read about her story of keeping her cool as she and her team worked in hospital tents on the Anzio beachhead as they were attacked by German long-range artillery in the Flashback Dallas post from last year, “Lt. Mary L. Roberts, The ‘Angel of Anzio’ — The First Woman Awarded the Silver Star,” here.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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