Snider Plaza filling station, 1934
by Paula Bosse
Another year comes to an end. I have posted so little in 2022! I miss posting more frequently, but life has thrown a few unexpected obstacles in my path this year. I hope to get back to writing more in 2023, because I miss it when I don’t do it. (If you, dear reader, know how I can make a living doing this sort of thing full-time, I’m all ears!) Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read what I’ve written. (If you’d like to receive notifications about new posts, click on the “Follow” button at the bottom of the page — you’ll then be prompted to enter an email address.)
Below are some of my favorite posts of 2022. I’ve singled one out as maybe being my favorite — the rest are in chronological order. Click titles to see the original post.
1. “THE UNIVERSITY PARK BROWN BOOKS — AN UNBELIEVABLE RESOURCE!” (March)
This post was the result of learning about the most exciting Dallas-history-related thing I came across this year: the University Park Brown Books, city records which contain a staggering amount of information about individual homes and commercial buildings in University Park, from at least the early 1930s to the early 1970s. And almost all contain at least one photograph of the house or business. So. Many. Photographs. And all of this is fully digitized. I can’t tell you how wonderful this is. …But now, after bathing in that giddy happiness, I’m plunged into dark despair, because it appears that this amazingly helpful online resource is no longer available to the general public. I’m guessing you have to be a resident of University Park to access these online records now. Please say it isn’t so, UP Public Library! It appears that my links still work to see individual pages, but gone is my ability to happily wander down residential streets, or around Snider Plaza, or along the Miracle Mile to just see what everything used to look like. I’ve tried several times to access the Brown Books again, but… no luck. But please check out this post to see the sorts of things available to those who know the secret handshake. (Below, Luby’s on Hillcrest, 1948; above, a Sinclair gas station in Snider Plaza, 1934.)
2. “WHEN SMU THEOLOGY STUDENTS WERE SPRAYED WITH INSECTICIDE AT A UNIVERSITY PARK LUNCH-COUNTER SIT-IN — 1961” (January)
This was an interesting post to research and write because my mother actually participated in this event in 1961 — and because she is in the film footage! The lunch-counter sit-in was originally organized by SMU theology students after a Black classmate was not allowed to sit at the drug store’s lunch counter. When the peaceful (in fact, silent) protesters would not leave, the owner called in an exterminator to fill the store with a cloud of insecticide in an attempt to get them to leave. It’s such a crazy, hateful, inhumane thing to do. My mother had recounted this event several times when I was a child, and it was sobering to watch it actually happen.
3. “‘NO MICE, NO FLIES, NO CAFFEINE, NO COCAINE’ — 1911” (January)
Advertising sure has changed a lot over the years. There really was a time when consumers weren’t sure whether their refreshing carbonated soft drinks contained bits of vermin and/or cocaine. This post has interesting info on the Pure Food and Drug Act and contains several ads which show how companies like Dr Pepper responded to an in-the-news trial involving a deceptive-advertising lawsuit brought by the U.S. Government against Coca-Cola. (I admit, though, that the title of this post is one of the reasons I like it so much.)
4. “THE GASTON-CARROLL PHARMACY — ca. 1929” (February)
This post was the direct result of someone sending me an email and asking a question about the building she works in (and which, miraculously, I had a photo of). I’ve passed this building many times over the years but never really even noticed it. It was a lot of fun to research.
5. “3635 BEVERLY DRIVE, THE RESIDENCE OF ARCHITECT ANTON F. KORN — 1926” (March)
I stumbled across this ad for windows on eBay. It shows a beautiful house identified only as being a residence in Dallas designed by architect Anton Korn. I was proud of myself for eventually figuring out where this house was (and still is). Best of all was that a woman who grew up in the house (and whose family still owns it) replied — her comment is my favorite thing about this post.
6. “DALLAS SKYLINE MOSAIC MURAL, PRESTON FOREST SHOPPING CENTER — 1960“ (April)
I love this large tile mosaic mural which is hidden away in a nondescript shopping center office building at Preston and Forest. I took these photos in 2014, and I was surprised to find it, because it’s completely hidden. It’s even more hidden these days — I’ve been informed by several people who went to see it after I wrote this post that it is no longer in a public place. So this cool piece of local artwork is only viewable in photos (and it’s in a cramped hallway, so it’s very difficult to photograph). Come on, Preston-Forest Shopping Center — open this up again! It’s great!
7. “BETTY AND BENNY FOX, SKY-DANCING IN DALLAS — ca. 1935” (April)
I really loved researching this. I still get queasy thinking about what these fearless daredevils did for a living.
8. “AUTOS, AUTOS EVERYWHERE, AND NOT A PLACE TO PARK — 1971” (June)
This is a topic that, on the surface, seems dull and dry, and why in the world would anyone write about parking problems in downtown Dallas? I know! Dullsville! But I really enjoyed writing this. Somehow, I managed to include the new Earle Cabell Federal Building, “people-moving” systems like the vaguely futuristic-looking AirTrans (then in development in Garland), and, yes, Lee Harvey Oswald into a post about the pressing problem of there not being enough parking spaces in the Central Business District in 1971. I contend that just about anything can be made interesting and entertaining. Even this.
9. “S. MAYER’S SUMMER GARDEN, EST. 1881” (July)
This is one of the first photos I remember seeing when I started to become really interested in Dallas history. I saw it several times, but I didn’t know what it was or where it had been located. I just never got around to finding out more about it. …Until I was looking for something to write on July 4th — that’s when I came across an ad I had clipped years ago but had forgotten about. The ad, from 1882, was for a July 4th celebration at Mayer’s beer garden. It was a pretty impressive ad! That place had everything (including a ZOO). So I wrote this post and had a great time doing it. (I’m still wondering what a 19th-century “illuminated Chinese balloon” resembling a porcupine looked like….)
10. “CLAES OLDENBURG IN DALLAS — 1962” (July)
I loved writing this one. I was an Art History major, and I’m always happy when I’m able to write about Dallas art. For me, the generally unseen 1962 WFAA news film footage I write about here — showing Pop Art icon Claes Oldenburg and his wife, Patty Mucha, cavorting at the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts — is historically important, and I was very excited when I first saw it. Unfortunately, it took Oldenburg’s death this year to get me to finally write about it. RIP, Claes.
BONUS: “HIGHLAND PARK HIGH SCHOOL RODEO CLUB — 1973” (November)
My weird “bonus” fave — I still can’t get over the fact that HPHS had a RODEO CLUB!
Those are my Top 10 personal favorite posts for 2022. Coming next… the most popular posts of the year.
Sources & Notes
See all three 2022 Year-End “best of” lists (as they’re posted) here.
See all Flashback Dallas Year-End lists — past and present — here.
Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.