Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

From the Vault: Learn a Trade at Crozier Tech — 1946

crozier-tech_woodworking_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUAnyone for woodworking?

by Paula Bosse

Take a look back at some of the incredible vocational opportunities once offered to Dallas high school students in the 2018 Flashback Dallas post “Crozier Technical High School — ca. 1946.” Enjoy all the great photos (one of which shows a girl in a sculpture class who looks so much like me that it kind of freaks me out every time I see it). (Incidentally, the “me” of 1946 would have had a huge crush on the woodworking guy of 1946. We could have made beautiful sculptures and/or pergolas together.)

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

From the Vault: Hangin’ at White Rock — 1972

white-rock_sunday_1972_EPA

by Paula Bosse

On this holiday, a flashback to the White Rock Lake of yesteryear in the post “Lazy Weekends, Cruising White Rock Lake — 1972.” Enjoy the day!

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Linda Coffee, The Dallas Attorney Who Took Roe v. Wade to the U.S. Supreme Court

coffee-linda_WFAA_SMU_june-1970Linda Coffee, 27 years old, on her way to the Supreme Court to make history

by Paula Bosse

The most important woman in the abortion rights fight is someone you’ve never heard of: LINDA COFFEE, the Dallas attorney who took the local case of Roe v. Wade from Dallas all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in a successful battle to have the ban on abortion in Texas declared unconstitutional. She began the case when she was only 26 years old and less than two years out of UT Law School.

Coffee was the driving force of this landmark legal case from the very beginning but preferred to leave the limelight to her co-counsel, Sarah Weddington, who joined the team a short time after the case was underway. (Weddington, an Austin lawyer, was *also* only in her 20s!)

The image above is a screenshot of a 1970 television interview with Coffee in news footage from the WFAA archive, a treasure trove of historical film clips housed at SMU as part of the Hamon Arts Library’s G. William Jones Film & Video Collection (the WFAA archive is viewable on YouTube here, with additions being made all the time).

This rare, recently unearthed Channel 8 interview from June, 1970 has Coffee discussing the ramifications of her first win in the long legal journey which would ultimately end in victory in the U.S. Supreme Court. It is almost certainly her first TV interview. (Read the notes of the YouTube clip for the full description.)

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My mother was involved in all sorts of women’s political groups in Dallas in the 1970s (and beyond). Meetings of various progressive political organizations and committees were often held at the First Unitarian Church on Preston Road in University Park (yes, University Park was an unlikely hotbed of activism!), and my mother knew Linda Coffee through these women’s groups. I had heard Linda’s name over the years but didn’t really know much about her until I came across this short Channel 8 interview. I’ve been working in these archives for SMU and wasn’t able to identify this unidentified woman but felt sure my mother would know who she was. I was talking to my mother on the phone trying to describe her: “I’m not sure who she is. She appears to be a lawyer, but she just looks too young and too… disheveled to be a lawyer. A little scroungy.” “Oh!” my mother said instantly, “Linda Coffee.” And she was right! She hadn’t even seen the footage.

I immediately loved Linda from my introduction to her in this footage. She’s earnest, confident, smart, pixie-ish, and she looks a little like a “real-person” version of Linda Ronstadt. I wonder if she ever imagined she would be responsible for one of the most famous legal cases of the 20th century?

I decided to look into her background in Dallas, and I was pretty surprised to see that she grew up one street over from where I grew up (she lived in the 5700  block of Anita) and went to my East Dallas alma mater, Woodrow Wilson High School (she and musician Steve Miller were there at the same time, Class of 1961 — she was in the band, he was on the football team — wonder if they ever met?).

linda_1961_band-detLinda Coffee, Woodrow band, 1961

miller-steve_WWHS_1961_srSteve Miller, senior photo, 1961

While we’re at it, here a few more photos of Linda Coffee in high school.

coffee_1959_high-school_WWHS-1959-yrbk_p92_sophLinda Coffee, Woodrow sophomore, 1959

coffee_1960_high-school_WWHS-1960-yrbk_p85_jrLinda Coffee, Woodrow junior, 1960

coffee_1960_high-school_latin-club_WWHS-1960-yrbk_jrLinda (dark robe) with the Latin club, attending “Ben Hur” screening downtown, 1960

coffee_1961_high-school_science-club_WWHS-1961-yrbk_srLinda and other officers of the Woodrow Science Club, 1961

coffee_1961_high-school_new-zealand_WWHS-1961-yrbk_p268-det_srLinda pointing to New Zealand, 1961

coffee_1961_high-school_sr-photo-bio_WWHS-1961-yrbk_p57_srLinda Coffee, Woodrow Wilson High School, senior photo, 1961

She apparently excelled at everything and had a wide range of interests.

After graduating from Woodrow, she went to RIce University where she majored in German, then went on to law school at the University of Texas where she passed the Texas bar exam with the second highest score in the class. After becoming a lawyer, she was a law clerk in Dallas for District Judge Sarah T. Hughes (she and another female clerk were profiled in a 1968 Dallas Morning News article which carried the unfortunate headline, “The Law Clerks Are Girls”). It wasn’t long after this that she began working on a case to challenge the constitutionality of a vague Texas law which banned abortions. In January, 1973, Linda Coffee and co-counsel Sarah Weddington won their case in the U.S. Supreme Court. Linda had just turned 30.

linda-coffee_getty-images
Linda Coffee, 1972, via Getty Images

weddington-sarah_1972Sarah Weddington, 1972, via Glamour magazine

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I would highly recommend (and I mean HIGHLY RECOMMEND) the Vanity Fair profile of Linda Coffee written by Joshua Prager titled “Roe v. Wade’s Secret Heroine Tells Her Story.” Reading this when I knew virtually nothing about Linda made me want to know more about her and made me want to share her story with as many people as possible. How is it that this lawyer who has had such a massively important impact on modern life (especially women’s lives) isn’t a household name? Prager’s article tells you why. Joshua Prager has expanded this article to a full book concerning the Roe case which will be published in a couple of weeks: The Family Roe, An American Story. With the current news of the newly implemented controversial legislation by the State of Texas, this book could not possibly be more timely.

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Thank you, Linda. Thank you, Sarah.

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Sources & Notes

Top image is a screenshot of a June, 1970 interview of Linda Coffee conducted by Channel 8 reporter Phil Reynolds; this interview can be seen on YouTube here (from the WFAA archive, G. William Jones Film & Video Collection, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University). 

All high school-era photos of Linda Coffee are from various editions of The Crusader, the yearbook of Woodrow Wilson High School.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Casa View Hills/Casa View Village — 1955

casa-view-village-shopping-center_dallas-mag_april-1955Casa View Village shopping area, April 1955

by Paula Bosse

I wrote about the rather confusing history of the shopping center in Casa View at Gus Thomasson and Ferguson in the post “Shopping at Sears in Casa View” — so this is something of a companion, showing architectural drawings (mostly parking spaces, but, still…). The original shopping center was called, somewhat whimsically, Casa View Hills, which opened in 1953 (the drawing seen below). In 1955, the center was bought by new owners who changed the name to Casa View Village and immediately began the second phase of construction (seen above), which expanded the center across Gus Thomasson (…I think). 

casa-view-hills-shopping-center_dallas-mag_march-1955Built as Casa View Hills (1953), w/ new 2-story addition (1955)

Caption of the drawing immediately above:

INSURANCE COMPANY BUYS SHOPPING CENTER
The $2,500,000 Casa View Hills Shopping Center has been acquired by the Lone Star Life Insurance Company for its home office property and general headquarters. The center, located on Gus Thomasson and Ferguson Roads in the northeast section of Dallas, is virtually completed except for final finishing on the two-story office building which will house the insurance company. W. H. Smith, president of the company, said the property was purchased from Clark and Smith, General Contractors. [Alexander and Russell, architects.] (“Dallas” magazine, March, 1955)

casa-view-shopping-center_dmn_100453Oct. 4, 1953

The caption for the very top image, showing the planned expansion:

CONSTRUCTION OF NEW CENTER STARTS JUNE 1
Construction of Casa View Village, a new shopping center at the intersection of Gus Thomasson and Ferguson Roads east of White Rock Lake, is scheduled to begin June 1, it has been announced by Avery Mays, Dallas real estate developer. Valued at $1,500,000, the 9-acre tract includes a 100,000 square foot building area which will include a Tom Thumb Super Market, Skillerns Drug Store and other stores and offices. Harwood K. Smith and Joseph M. Mills are the architects; Phillips, Proctor and Bowers, the land planners; and H. W. Meador Company, the leasing agent. (“Dallas” magazine, April, 1955)

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Sources & Notes

Architectural drawings and quoted text from Dallas magazine, March, 1955 and April, 1955.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Downtown Dallas in Color — 1940s & 1950s

kodachrome_commerce-lamar_trolleydodger_twitterColorful Commerce St. (via trolleydodger.com)

by Paula Bosse

After seeing so many pictures of historic downtown Dallas in black and white, it’s pretty thrilling to see color photos — even better, super-saturated Kodachrome slides. Here are a few.

Above, a photo taken on July 31, 1950: a view of Commerce Street, taken from Lamar looking east. I LOVE this photo! Sadly, I really don’t love what this same block looks like today: brace yourselves — click here! (For reference, Padgitt Bros. was at 1018 Commerce.) 

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Below, a photo from 1954: the 300 block of N. Ervay, taken from Bryan looking southeast toward Pacific. The Republic Bank Building (at the left) is still there, but those buildings on the right? Gone, gone, gone. That space is now taken up with Thanksgiving Square. I may be in the minority, but I would rather have those buildings back. That crazy-looking building housing businesses such as Arcadia Liquor (309 N. Ervay)? I have been all-but-obsessed with that weird building for years. Personally, I prefer its bizarro architecture to that of Philip Johnson. See what this block looks like now, here.

kodachrome_bryan-n-ervay_1954_shorpyvia Shorpy.com

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Below, from 1950: Main Street, looking east toward St. Paul (and Titche’s). This is fantastic! The view now is here

kodachrome_main_1950_noah-jeppsonvia Noah Jeppson, Flickr

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Another great photo from the collection of Noah Jeppson (seriously, check out his Flickr stream here!), this is one I’ve posted before — everyone posts this because it’s such an amazing photo, from 1945 (!): Elm Street, looking east from the 1400 block. See it today, here

elm-street-color_1940s_jeppson-flickrvia Noah Jeppson

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And lastly, despite the watermark, a cool September, 1940 view of the gas station/service station which once held down the Preston Road entrance to Highland Park Village: looking northwesterly toward Mockingbird. The view today is here

kodachrome_highland-park-village_gas-stations_sept-1940_color-slide_ebay_watermarkvia eBay

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If you’ve got color photos/slides from this era, I’d love to see them!

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Sources & Notes

Links to all sources can be found beneath the photos.

Special shout-out to Michael T. Jackson (@memj83) for tagging me on Twitter to a post by @Kodakforever — a heart-stoppingly great collection of Kodachrome photos where I first saw a few of the photos posted above.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Soldier Fishing from a Viaduct — 1948

soldier-fishing-viaduct_feb-28-1948_DPLHope this isn’t dinner…

by Paula Bosse

A soldier in uniform, sitting on the concrete railing of a viaduct, casting into the Trinity. 

When I posted this in a Dallas history group several years ago and asked which viaduct is shown, there was no consensus — Houston Street was mentioned most often, but just about all of them got several votes!

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Sources & Notes

I can’t remember where I came across this photo (which is dated Feb. 28, 1948), but it is from the collection of the Dallas Public Library.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Pleasant Grove Business Ads: 1959-1969 (Pt. 2)

spruce-high-school_1965-yrbk_jerrys-food-mart_lake-june-rdJerry’s Food Mart, 6416 Lake June Rd., 1964-ish

by Paula Bosse

This final installment of 1960s ads for Pleasant Grove businesses has even more more ads from the yearbooks of H. Grady Spruce High School and W. W. Samuell High School (a link to the previous posts is at the bottom of this page). (Click ads to see larger images.)

BAXLEY CLEANERS, 8117 Scyene — Murrill L. Baxley owner. This very cute little building still stands!

samuell-high-school_1960-yrbk_baxley-cleaners1960

PLEASANT GROVE CLEANERS, 8011 Lake June Road.

samuell-high-school_1960-yrbk_pleasant-grove-cleaners1960

THOMAS COIN-OPERATED SPEED QUEEN LAUNDRY, 11001 Seagoville Road. (Laundromats once offered the use of hair dryers?)

spruce-high-school_1966-yrbk_thomas-laundromat1966

CAMPUS BARBER SHOP, 9614 Old Seagoville Road. (1966: owner Ike Robertson pictured with Jack Kelley and “Red.” 1968: owner Keith Gibson.)

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NATALIE SCHOOL OF DANCE, 231 Pleasant Grove Center — Natalie Skelton owner. 

spruce-high-school_1966-yrbk_natalie-school-of-dance1966

SOUTHEAST YMCA, 2818 Prichard Lane. Still standing but now a church, I believe.

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PLEASANT OAKS BAPTIST CHURCH, 412 North Masters Drive. Still standing in what looks to be a remodeled building. 

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MACON-HOLCOMB FUNERAL HOME, 8142 Lake June Road. Still standing (as a different funeral home).

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DUDLEY M. HUGHES FUNERAL HOME, 2615 S. Buckner Blvd. Still standing (as a different funeral home).

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spruce-high-school_1968-yrbk_dudley-m-hughes-funeral-home1968

GROVE STATE BANK, 1520 S. Buckner Blvd. I’m kind of shocked to see that this once-cool mid-century building is actually still standing — as a Bank of America branch. Its exterior has been smoothed of most of its character, but the original building is still there.

spruce-high-school_1964-yrbk_grove-state-bank1964

TRINITY SAVINGS & LOAN ASSOCIATION, 1838 S. Buckner Blvd. I think this original building is also still standing — now as a Chase Bank branch. 

spruce-high-school_1966-yrbk_trinity-savings-and-loan1966

JERRY’S FOOD MART, 6416 Lake June Road and 10420 Second Ave. in Rylie — Jerry Smith owner.

spruce-high-school_1964-yrbk_jerrys1964

JERRY’S FOOD MART, 1328 Jim Miller Road.

spruce-high-school_1966-yrbk_jerrys-food-mart1966

BEST FOR LESS FOOD MART, 1042 Second Ave. — E.R. Smith owner. “Where Ma saves Pa’s money.”

spruce-high-school_1966-yrbk_best-for-less-food-mart1966

spruce-high-school_1968-yrbk_best-for-less1968

BARNARD’S DRIVE-IN GROCERY, 136 N. Masters — O. L. (Leon) Barnard and Thelma Barnard owners. I love this couple!

spruce-high-school_1968-yrbk_barnards1968

N. D. WHITTLE & SON POULTRY FARM, 2660 Dowdy Ferry Road. I’m happy to see this is an ongoing (and expanded) business!

spruce-high-school_1967-yrbk_whittle-and-son-poultry-farm1967

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Sources & Notes

All ads are from the high school yearbooks of H. Grady Spruce and W. W. Samuell.

Other Pleasant Grove posts from Flashback Dallas can be found here.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Pleasant Grove Business Ads: 1959-1969 (Pt. 1)

spruce-high-school_1967-yrbk_pauls-florist_photo
South Buckner Blvd. doesn’t really look like this anymore…

by Paula Bosse

I love the ads in high school yearbooks, so here are a bunch of Pleasant Grove-area business ads from the pages of the Spruce and Samuell annuals. Click to see larger images. First up, all sorts of automotive-related establishments.

GROVE AUTO SUPPLY, 7930 Lake June Rd.

spruce-high-school_1968-yrbk_grove-auto-supply1968

KARSMITH, 7512 Second Ave. & Elam Rd., and 1952 S. Buckner Blvd. — Charles Smith and Wesley T. Smith, owners. “If you can’t stop, wave.”

spruce-high-school_1967-yrbk_karsmith1967

spruce-high-school_1969-yrbk_karsmith1969

STOVALL’S CYCLE SHOP, 8152 Second Ave.

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HOLLEMAN ENCO SERVICE STATION, 300 S. St. Augustine.

spruce-high-school_1965-yrbk_holleman-enco1965

BARRETT MOTORS, 1514 S. Buckner — Big Billy Barrett, owner.

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HONDA SALES, 405 S. Buckner — Jack Poe, owner.

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TUCKER & SONS SHELL SERVICE STATION, 9606 Second Ave. “S&H Green Stamps… Hot coffee….”

spruce-high-school_1967-yrbk_tucker-and-sons-shell-station1967

spruce-high-school_1968-yrbk_tucker-and-sons-shell-station1968

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Next, various retail shops.

PAUL’S FLORIST & GREENHOUSE, 2017 S. Buckner — later at 8121 Bruton Rd. — Tommy Ochoa and Jean Ochoa, owners. If it’s a business in a little house-like building with metal or cloth awnings, I’m a fan.

samuell-high-school_1959-yrbk_pauls-florist1959

spruce-high-school_1967-yrbk_pauls-florist1967

spruce-high-school_1969-yrbk_pauls-florist1969

SKILLERN’S DRUG STORE, 1437 S. Buckner (Store No. 31).

spruce-high-school_1968-yrbk_skillerns_photo

spruce-high-school_1968-yrbk_skillerns_full1968

TURNER’S MENS & BOYS CLOTHING, 1317 S. Buckner.

spruce-high-school_1964-yrbk_turners1964

McKEE JEWELERS, 259 Pleasant Grove Shopping Center. This couple had yearbook ads every year — and they always looked pretty much the same. Which I’m fine with.

spruce-high-school_1964-yrbk_mckee-jewelers1964

spruce-high-school_1966-yrbk_mckee-jewelers1966

VAN VOAST SPORTING GOODS, 8208 Scyene Rd.

samuell-high-school_1960-yrbk_van-voast1960

RYLIE DRUG, Barker’s Shopping Center.

spruce-high-school_1966-yrbk_rylie-drug1966

BRAGG GUN SHOP, 1344 S. Buckner — D. E. Bragg, owner.

spruce-high-school_1968-yrbk_bragg-gun-shop1968

BUCK’S TV & RECORD SHOP, 1311 S. Buckner and 10910 Garland Rd. (and later 1927 S. Buckner) — Jimmy Huett, owner.

samuell-high-school_1959-yrbk_bucks-tv-and-record-shop1959

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And the always-popular “miscellaneous.”

BUCKNER BOWLING CENTER, 400 S. Buckner.

spruce-high-school_1966-yrbk_buckner-bowling-ctr1966

WEST-CRAFT, 1926 S. St. Augustine.

spruce-high-school_1964-yrbk_west-craft1964

ECONOMY MANUFACTURING CO., 5641 Military Parkway.

spruce-high-school_1966-yrbk_economy-manufacturing-co1966

THE SUBURBAN TRIBUNE, 8114 Lake June Rd. I will always love line drawings of the mid-century Dallas skyline.

spruce-high-school_1966-yrbk_suburban-tribune_dallas-skyline1966

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Part 2 coming soon….

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Sources & Notes

All ads are from the yearbooks of H. Grady Spruce High School and W. W. Samuell High School.

Other Flashback Dallas posts heavy on the Pleasant Grove can be found here.

spruce-high-school_1967-yrbk_pauls-florist_photo_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Dusty Hill, 1949-2021

zz-top_dusty-hill_woodrow-wilson_1965-yrbkDusty Hill on bass, Richard Harris on drums, 1965

by Paula Bosse

Dusty Hill, the legendary bassist of the legendary ZZ Top, died today. Born Joe Michael Hill in Dallas, Dusty lived in East Dallas and attended Woodrow Wilson High School. He dropped out before graduating and pursued a career as a musician, a decision which seems to have worked out pretty well for him. 

Above is a photo from the 1965 Woodrow yearbook when Dusty would have been 15 years old. The caption reads “The disappointment of the Bryan Adams loss was lessened by the lively music of Richard Harris and Dusty Hill.”

At the time of these photos, Dusty and Richard were playing around town in a band called The Dead Beats, a trio which also included Dusty’s older brother, Rocky Hill, who is seen below in a photo from the same yearbook, with the caption “At the homecoming dance, Rocky Hill and his date prove their skill at a modern dance called ‘The Dog.” Dusty, Rocky, and Richard would go on to form the band American Blues.

rocky-hill_woodrow-wilson_1965-yrbkRocky Hill, 1965

Dusty played cello in the Woodrow orchestra, so I went looking through the yearbook to see if I could find him. I think I might have — could this be him in an awkwardly cropped photo?

zz-top_dusty-hill_woodrow-wilson_1965-yrbk-celloYoung man with cello, 1965

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RIP, Dusty. Thanks for the great music.

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UPDATE: Thanks to reader Steve Roe who sent me an Oct. 29, 1964 clipping of “Dallas After Dark” (the Tony Zoppi column in The Dallas Morning News devoted to the city’s nightclub scene) which mentioned all three of the Woodrow boys seen above in photos which were taken at the time they were playing around town with their band The Dead Beats:

There’s a swinging new group in town billed as The Dead Beats, and they’ll be appearing through Sunday at the Jungle Dream on North Henderson. Rocky Hill plays lead guitar and Dusty Hill is the bassist. Little Richard Harris is a torrid drummer. The trio recently returned from Nashville and appeared at Louanns. The youngsters say they are America’s answer to The Beatles. How about that?  (Dallas Morning News, Oct. 29, 1964)

How about that?! Talented and apparently aggressively confident teenagers! (Jungle Dream was located at 1823 N. Henderson, just north of Ross — a couple of doors from the old Louie’s — managed by Pat Carpenter.) 

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Sources & Notes

Photos from the 1965 edition of The Crusader, the yearbook of Woodrow Wilson High School.

Obit from The Dallas Morning News is here.

Obit from Rolling Stone is here.

zz-top_dusty-hill_woodrow-wilson_1965-yrbk_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Pleasant Grove Eat Spots, including El Charo and the Vel-Mar — 1950s & 1960s

vel-mar_samuell-high-school_1959-yrbk_detVel-Mar, 8516 Lake June Rd., 1959

by Paula Bosse

Here are a whole bunch of ads for Pleasant Grove dining establishments, most with photos, thanks to the intrepid advertising staff of the yearbooks of H. Grady Spruce High School and W. W. Samuell High School. (Most ads are larger when clicked.)

You gotta start with Dairy Queen. I’m not sure how many DQs were in the Pleasant Grove area, but here are a couple.

Benson Dairy Queen, 1238 S. Buckner Blvd.

samuell-high-school_1958-yrbk_benson-dairy-queen1958

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Wicker’s Dairy Queen, 7636 South Loop 12.

spruce-high-school_1967-yrbk_wickers-dairy-queen_full1967

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Gene’s Hitching Post, 223 Pleasant Grove Center. “Good barbecue is no accident.”

spruce-high-school_1964-yrbk_genes-hitching-post-bbq1964

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Piedmont Drive-In & Steak House, 6855 Scyene Rd.

samuell-high-school_1959-yrbk_piedmont-drive-in1959

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Underwood’s Bar-B-Q, 7828 Lake June Rd. Odell Chism, manager.

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A & W, 623 S. Buckner.

spruce-high-school_1967-yrbk_a-and-w1967

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Apache Drive-In, 316 South St. Augustine. “Around the Bend to the Apache Den.” (The Spruce High School mascot was the Apache.)

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El Charo, 263 Pleasant Grove Shopping Center. The owner of this Mexican restaurant in the first ad (from 1958) is Mona Parish, whose husband Carl “Jake” Parish had died the previous year. From 1959, the owner was Marion Martinez, whose son, Mariano, went on to great acclaim with his own restaurant where he invented the frozen margarita (based on his father’s margarita recipe). The younger Martinez almost certainly worked at this Pleasant Grove restaurant.

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el-charo_plano-star-courier_nov-1962Plano Star-Courier, Nov. 1, 1962

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I have to admit, I’d never heard of the Vel-Mar drive-in, located at 8516 Lake June Rd., but I understand it was something of a Pleasant Grove fixture during the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, and into the ’80s. According to a newspaper article which chronicled the history of the Vel-Mar and its then-recent sale by Robert Schweder to James and Sharon Harris (“Drive-In Shrine Alive and Well” by Steve Blow, Dallas Morning News, June 15, 1980), the small chain of root-beer-stand drive-ins was founded by three couples — including a Velma and a Marie (the third, Thelma, wasn’t lucky enough to get her name into the business name). Eventually, the Pleasant Grove location was the last remaining Vel-Mar.

Vel-Mar tidbits:

  • It always closed for the winter, from October to March.
  • Other than its root beer, it was known for its “Dixie Burger” which was a loose-meat sandwich.
  • It was a Pleasant Grove high school hangout, and it had special drinks for students of Spruce and Samuell: a blue and red drink was called “The Sprucette” (also “Spruce Juice”), and a blue drink was called “The Spartini” (for the Samuell Spartans). 

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Sources & Notes

All ads from the yearbooks of H. Grady Spruce High School and W. W. Samuell High School (unless otherwise noted).

More on Pleasant Grove can be found in the Flashback Dallas post “Life in The Grove: Pleasant Grove — 1954-1956,” with material gleaned from Pleasant Grove High School yearbooks.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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