Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Ewing Avenue, Oak Cliff

oak-cliff_ewing-avenue_flickr_colteraStately and serene Oak Cliff… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Another lovely hand-colored postcard from the C. Weichsel Co. — this one shows a sleepy, gauzy-looking Ewing Avenue in Oak Cliff, probably around 1910. According to the 1910 Dallas directory, Ewing Avenue stretched from S. Jefferson (now E. Jefferson) to 18th Street (it may have extended beyond that, but 18th Street was, apparently, the city limits).

If anyone knows the location of this view or the owner of this house, please let me know. I don’t think any part of Ewing — North or South — looks like this anymore!


Postcard found on Flickr, posted by Coltera (sorry, did not note the link).


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Wide Open Spaces Northeast of Central and Lovers — 1957

central_north-from-mockingbird_060657_squire-haskins_UTAUTA Libraries, Special Collections

by Paula Bosse

Here’s another great aerial photo by Squire Haskins, taken on June 6, 1957 — sixty years ago. The view is to the north, from a little south of Mockingbird. Mockingbird runs from left to right at the bottom of the photo; at the far right you can see the still much-missed Dr Pepper plant, which stood at the northwest corner of Mockingbird and Greenville Avenue. The only “tall” structure north of Mockingbird is the Meadows Building, at Greenville and Milton, just south of Lovers Lane. North and east of Lovers and Greenville is … pretty much nothing. The old Vickery community was north on Greenville, around what is now Park Lane. To the east? I don’t know … lots of open land and then … Garland?

Let’s turn it around and look south, toward downtown, from just north of Lovers Lane, with the Meadows Building in the foreground. Greenville is at the left, Central Expressway at the right. This photo, also by Squire Haskins, was taken on June 20, 1956.


If, like me, you’ve always wondered where the legendary Louanns nightclub was, it was just out of frame at the bottom left of the photo above — at the southeast corner of Lovers and Greenville, where Central Market sits these days. You can see it below, in a detail of another great Squire Haskins photo (click on the thumbnail of the photo on this page to see the full photo) — it was taken on Dec. 4, 1953 and shows the Meadows Building under construction. In this detail you can see a slightly blurry Louanns, with what looks like an unpaved Lovers Lane at the bottom and Greenville Avenue at the right. I’d always  heard that Louanns was way out in the sticks in its heyday in the ’40s and ’50s. And looking at the top photo, I can see how true that was — especially before the arrival of the Meadows Building, which was, I believe, the largest “suburban” office building in Dallas beyond the downtown Central Business District. And for those who went out “parking” along Lovers Lane back then, you can see how the street got its name.



Here is a clipping from the 1957 Dallas city directory showing the businesses along East Mockingbird — between Airline, west of Central, and Greenville Avenue.

1957 Dallas directory

See the Greenville Avenue businesses from the same 1957 directory here (the directory is scanned in its entirety on the Portal to Texas website here).

Here’s a map showing what this same area looked like a few years earlier, in 1952, when Mustang Airport was still out there (between Lovers and Northwest Highway, and between about where Skillman would later extend to and Abrams). (On the map below, Central Expressway is red, Greenville Avenue is blue, East Mockingbird Lane is purple, and Lovers Lane is green.)

1952 Mapsco

Today? The area looks like this.


Top two photos by Squire Haskins, from the Squire Haskins Photography, Inc. Collection, UTA Libraries, Special Collections. Additional information on the first one, looking north, is here; additional info on the second one, looking south, is here. (To see HUGE images of both photos, click the thumbnails on these linked pages.)

Images are larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

From the Vault: KRLD’s Beautiful Art Deco-Style Transmitter Building — 1939


by Paula Bosse

When even industrial buildings were aesthetically pleasing. See the original post — “KRLD’s Beautiful New Transmitter — 1939” — here.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Happy Mother’s Day from Mrs. Baird’s Bread — 1949


by Paula Bosse

Sure hope Mom can handle all that gluten!

Happy Mother’s Day!


Newspaper ad from 1949. The “Freshie” ad campaign — featuring a Mrs.-Baird’s-Bread-obsessed kid — ran in Texas newspapers from about 1945 to 1953. More of the ads can be seen in the post “The ‘Freshie’ Ads for *-@!!@!* Delicious Mrs. Baird’s Bread — 1945-1953,” here.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

A Bird’s-Eye View of the Central Business District

skyline_aerial_flickr_colteraThe Statler Hilton and the Merc at dusk… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I’ve recently experienced a long, long involuntary separation from my beloved laptop (the welling anxiety! the withdrawal pangs!), but now it’s back home from the shop, resting comfortably and ready to go back to work.

Here is a “welcome back” shot of the Dallas skyline, with a view to the southwest: the neon begins to come on in the CBD as “magic hour” arrives.


Postcard image posted on Flickr by the ever-reliable Christian Spencer Anderson (aka Coltera), here.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Roth’s, Fort Worth Avenue

roths_cook-collection_smuSign me up, Mr. Roth… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

When I see a building like this, I always hope I can find a photo of it somewhere, but all I’ve been able to come up with is this energetic rendering from a 1940s matchbook cover. Roth’s (which was advertised variously as Roth’s Cafe, Roth’s Restaurant, and Roth’s Drive-In) was in Oak Cliff, on Fort Worth Avenue. It opened in about 1940 or ’41 and operated a surprisingly long time — until about 1967. When Roth’s opened, its address was 2701 Fort Worth Avenue, but around 1952 or ’53 the address became 2601. (I think the numbering might have changed rather than the business moving to a new location a block down the street.)

During World War II, Mustang Village — a large housing development originally built for wartime workers (and, later, for returning veterans) — sprang up across Fort Worth Avenue from the restaurant. It was intended to be temporary housing only, but because Dallas suffered such a severe post-war housing shortage, Mustang Village (as well as its sister Oak Cliff “villages” La Reunion and Texan Courts) ended up being occupied into the ’50s. Suddenly there were a lot more people in that part of town, living, working, and, presumably, visiting restaurants.

As the 1960s dawned, Mustang Village was just a memory, and Roth’s new across-the-street neighbor was the enormous, brand new, headline-grabbing Bronco Bowl, which opened to much fanfare in September, 1961. I don’t know whether such close proximity to that huge self-contained entertainment complex hurt or helped Roth’s business, but it certainly must have increased traffic along Fort Worth Avenue.

Roth’s continued operations until it closed in 1967, perhaps not so coincidentally the same year that Oak Cliff’s beloved Sivils closed. Ernest Roth, like J. D. Sivils, most likely threw in the towel when a series of “wet” vs. “dry” votes in Oak Cliff continued to go against frustrated restaurant owners who insisted that their inability to sell beer and wine not only damaged their own businesses but also adversely affected the Oak Cliff economy. The last straw for Sivils and Roth may have been the unsuccessful petition drive in 1966/1967 to force a “beer election” — read about it here in a Morning News article from Aug. 17, 1966).

As far as that super-cool building seen at the top — I don’t know how long it remained standing, but when Roth’s closed, a mobile home dealer set up shop at 2601 Fort Worth Avenue, and mobile homes need a lot of parking space….

The building on the matchbook cover above is, unfortunately, long gone (as is the much-missed Bronco Bowl); the area today is occupied by asphalt, bland strip malls, and soulless corporate “architecture” (see what 2701 Fort Worth Avenue looks like today, here).


The man behind Roth’s was Ernest W. Roth, a Hungarian immigrant who had worked for many years as maître-d’ at the Adolphus Hotel’s tony Century Room. He decided to go out on his own, and around 1940 he and his business partner Joseph Weintraub (who was also his brother-in-law) opened the Oak Cliff restaurant which boasted two dining rooms (with a seating capacity of 350, suitable for parties and banquets), fine steaks, and a live band and dancing on the weekends. Ernest’s wife Martha and their son Milton were also part of the family business. When the restaurant opened, there wasn’t much more out there on the “Fort Worth cut-off,” but the place must have been doing something right, because Roth’s lasted for at least 27 years — an eternity in the restaurant business. It seems to have remained a popular Oak Cliff dining destination until it closed around 1967.


The real story, though, is the Roth family, especially Ernest’s mother, Johanna Roth, and even more especially, his older sister, Bertha Weintraub.

Johanna Rose Roth was born in 1863 in Budapest, where her father served as a member of the King’s Guard for Emperor Franz Josef. She and her husband and young children came to the United States about 1906 and, by 1913, eventually made their way to San Antonio. In the ’40s and ’50s she traveled by airplane back and forth between San Antonio and Dallas, visiting her five children and their families — she was known to the airlines as one of their most frequent customers (and one of their oldest). She died in Dallas in 1956 at the age of 92. (Click article below to see larger image.)

Dallas  Morning News, Sept. 27, 1953

Johanna’s daughter Bertha had a very interesting life. She, too was born in Hungary — in 1890. After her husband Joe’s death in the mid ’40s, a regular at her brother’s restaurant, Abe Weinstein — big-time entertainment promoter and burlesque club empresario — offered Bertha a job as cashier at the Colony Club, his “classy” burlesque nightclub located across from the Adolphus. She accepted and, amazingly, worked there for 28 years, retiring only when the club closed in 1972 — when she was 82 years old! It sounds like she led a full life, which took her from Budapest to New York to San Francisco to San Antonio to Austin and to Dallas; she bluffed her way into a job as a dress designer, ran a boarding house in a house once owned by former Texas governor James Hogg, hobnobbed with Zsa Zsa Gabor and Liberace, was a friend of Candy Barr, and, as a child, was consoled by the queen of Hungary. She died in Dallas in 1997, a week and a half before her 107th birthday. The story Larry Powell wrote about her in The Dallas Morning News (Nov. 17, 1987) is very entertaining (you can read it here).

Bertha Roth Weintraub

I feel certain that the extended Roth family found themselves entertained by quite a few unexpected stories around holiday dinner tables!


Matchbook cover (top image) is from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more info is here.

Photo of Bertha Weintraub is from The Texas Jewish Post (Feb. 15, 1990), via the Portal to Texas History, here.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The G. B. Dealey Library and Reading Room at the Hall of State

hall-of-state_dealey-library_entrance_042517A quiet place to read or study… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I spent time this week walking around the G. B. Dealey Library and Reading Room at the Hall of State in Fair Park. It is part of the Dallas Historical Society, and it is a quiet, high-ceilinged, airy-but-cozy Western-themed oasis filled with lots of warm wood and featuring two large murals by legendary El Paso artist Tom Lea. If you haven’t seen it, I highly encourage you to go take a look.

What we now call the Hall of State was the architectural jewel in the crown of the Art Deco splendor created throughout Fair Park for the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936. The room now housing the Dealey Library was originally the West Texas Room — one of four geographically-specific rooms in the Hall of State. The two Tom Lea murals (one depicting a cowboy, the other, pioneers) are on opposite walls (walls finished with an adobe-like plaster, decorated with famous Texas brands, in relief). One wall is covered with cowhide. There are painted ceramic tiles set into both the walls and the floor (the ones on the floor decorated with images of cactus are great!). There is a wood sculpture of a cowboy, carved by Dallas artist Dorothy Austin, who was only 25 years old when the Centennial opened. And … well — like everything in the Hall of State — everywhere you look you see incredible attention to detail. Every fixture, grating, knob … everything is absolutely wonderful.

In 1989, after a two-and-a-half-year renovation, the West Texas Room became the home of the G. B. Dealey Library (named in honor of the former publisher of The Dallas Morning News). The project was headed by architect Downing Thomas who took great care in choosing the Arts and Crafts-style furniture (the chairs, tables, and bookcases were handmade by Thomas Moser in Portland, Maine, the chairs emblazoned with bronze Texas stars and upholstered in tanned leather), reading lamps with mica shades (made by Boyd Lighting of San Francisco), and a woven rug by Sally Vowell of Fort Worth (I don’t recall seeing a rug, but there’s a lot to take in and I might have missed it). I really love this room.

When the library opened in November, 1989, the first guest through the doors was Tom Lea who had been shocked to learn that his then-53-year-old murals were still in place. And they’re still there, 81 years after Lea created them. And you should go see them.

The library and reading room is open Tuesday-Sunday, same hours as the Hall of State. If you are interested in researching materials from the collection of the Dallas Historical Society, you are encouraged to contact the staff in advance of your visit and make an appointment; though the room is open to the public, research hours are limited. More about this and the hours of operation can be found here.


Below, one of the Tom Lea Murals can be (partially) seen above the cowhide wall-covering and above Dorothy Austin’s cowboy sculpture. (Click photo to see a larger image.) That light fixture is fantastic! (See the full Tom Lea mural here.)


Here’s the view from the back corner looking toward the entrance, over which can be seen Lea’s second mural.


In the photo at the very top, you can see the floor, which is studded with all sorts of cactus-themed tiles. Here are examples of four of them.


My absolute favorite of the cactus tiles is this one, in a very Japanese-like rendering.



That’s what the room looks like today. Here are a few photos of the West Texas Room under construction in 1936 (photos from the Dallas Historical Society’s Centennial Visual Collection). The first one shows Dorothy Austin standing below the Tom Lea mural, about where her cowboy statue would be placed. Those ceilings are pretty high.


And here’s the statue. (See Austin’s statue close up, here, in a 2014 photo by Carol M. Highsmith, from the Library of Congress.)


And here is a look into the room from the entrance, showing a construction crew at work.


Below are 28-year-old Tom Lea’s thoughts on being informed of his important commission, from the El Paso Herald Post, March 24, 1936.  (Click to see larger image.)


It seems strange that Lea was only in the preliminary-drawing stage of the murals’ creation in March — the Centennial was scheduled to open in June, less than three months away. (It’s worth noting that even though the Centennial — which ran for almost six months — opened in June, the Hall of State did not open to the public until September, three months behind schedule and the only Exposition building that did not meet its deadline. It was finally dedicated on September 5, 1936, the 100th anniversary of Sam Houston’s election as the first President of Texas.)

Below, a photo of Mr. Lea at the 1989 opening of the Dealey Library, with his 1936 mural behind him.

via Tom Lea Institute


To read more details on the 1989 opening of the G. B. Library and the renovation of the West Texas Room, I have collected several articles from The Dallas Morning News in a PDF, here. The articles contained therein are:

  • “A Rare Blend — Art Deco, Western and Shaker Unite for a Modern Adaptation at the Hall of State” by Mariana Greene (DMN, Nov. 12, 1989)
  • “G. B. Dealey Library Dedicated at Fair Park — Center Will House Texas Documents” by Todd Coplivetz (DMN, Nov. 13, 1989)
  • “How the West was East at the Hall of State Redo”  by Alan Peppard (DMN, Nov. 14, 1989)
  • “An Old Friend Triumphs Anew: The Hall of State Redo Affirms the Power of Great Architecture” by David Dillon (DMN, Nov. 14, 1989)
  • “Reviving a Cultural Paean to Dallas — Fair Park Changes Designed to Restore Centennial’s Glory” by David Dillon (DMN, April 9, 1986) (this article concerns Fair Park as a whole)


Photos of the Dealey Library and Hall of State door (below) are by me.

Photos of the West Texas Room from 1936 are from the collection of the Dallas Historical Society. You can search through low-res thumbnails of some of the images from their very large collection here.

As mentioned above, if you plan a trip to the Dealey Library in order to inspect or research items from the DHS collection, these materials must be requested in advance and an appointment must be scheduled (info here).

More on Tom Lea (1907-2001) can be found at the Tom Lea Institute website, here (with specific information on the Hall of State murals here); a profusely illustrated blog post with an emphasis on his time as a WWII artist-correspondent can be found here.

Obituary for Dorothy Austin Webberley (1911-2001) can be found on the Dallas Morning News site, here; family obituary is here.

Detailed info on the architecture and design of the Hall of State can be found in a Dallas Historical Society PDF, here. The Wikipedia entry is here (someone please correct the erroneous info that the Dealey Library is in the “East” Texas room!), and the always informative Watermelon Kid site has information on the East Texas and West Texas rooms here.

A series of photos of Fair Park, taken in 2014 by Carol M. Highsmith, can be found at the Library of Congress website, here. Her photo of the Hall of State is below.


And, lastly,  a photo I took showing one of my favorite elements of a building packed with aesthetically pleasing details (seriously, everywhere you look): one of the doors of the main entrance to the Hall of State, designed by Houston architect Donald Barthelme, honoring Texas industry (ranching, timber, oil, agriculture, etc.). That sawmill blade gets me every time. And the aerial perspective of oil coming up through a derrick (middle right) is pretty cool, too. (Click to see a larger, more exciting image!)



Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #5

main-poydras_squire-haskins_utaThe Do-Nut Merchant, holding down the fort… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Another round of photos I’ve come across recently and have added to previous posts. (All are larger when clicked — to see original posts, click the titles linked in blue.)

Above, a great photo showing Main Street, looking east from Poydras toward Lamar. It’s been added to the post “900 Block of Main, South Side — 1950s” which already contained a head-on view of this block. (Source: Squire Haskins Collection, UTA Special Collections, here. I saw it when Peter Kurilecz posted it to the Dallas History Guild Facebook group and I recognized the block by the “Do-Nut Merchant” sign — because who can forget a business called the Do-Nut Merchant?)


Here’s an aesthetically pleasing (if crooked), quaintly drawn plan of Tietze Park; I’ve added it to the post titled, well, “Tietze Park.” (Source: This is a screenshot from my phone — I think it was posted somewhere on Facebook, and I swore I would remember the source, but, of course, I do NOT remember the source.)

tietze park_plan


This is a very similar photo of the Municipal Building I posted last year in “Home Sweet Home at Commerce & Harwood,” but this one shows more of Commerce Street (seen at the right) looking east — I don’t see a lot of photos from this period showing the blocks immediately east of Harwood. (Source: George W. Cook Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU)



Six blocks west on Commerce is the Adolphus Hotel. This is another similar photo to one already posted, but different enough to be interesting. I’m adding this ca. 1913 view of the Adolphus (straight ahead) and the Oriental Hotel (at the right, middleground), seen looking north on Akard, to the post “The Adolphus, The Oriental, The Magnolia” — the only difference between the two is that this one was taken before the Magnolia Petroleum Building was built. (Source: Dallas Public Library, Texas/Dallas History Division, via D Magazine)



In what seems like another universe, this 1945 photo showing the SMU campus looking north shows mostly open Caruth farmland above Northwest Highway (the Caruth Homestead is at the far right). There are two non-farmland landmarks seen here: just right of the top middle is Hillcrest Mausoleum in Hillcrest Memorial Park (now Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park); to the left of center (just west of Hillcrest) is the Northwest Hi-Way drive-in theater, which is why I’m adding this photo and detail to the post “Dallas’ First Two Drive-In Theaters — 1941.” (Source: Highland Park United Methodist Church Archives, reprinted in Diane Galloway’s book The Park Cities, A Photohistory)




Last summer I wrote about the “Couch Building” — which most people remember as being the University Park home of Goff’s Hamburgers (which burned down last year) (and which can be seen in the aerial photo above if you whip out a magnifying glass). I was happy to see it in the 1947 photo below (behind and to the left of the “Highland Park/SMU” streetcar which is sitting at the end of the line, just south of Snider Plaza). I’ve added this to the post “University Park’s ‘Couch Building’ Goes Up In Flames (1929-2016.)” (Source: eBay photo, posted in the Retro Dallas, Texas Facebook group by Dallas historian Teresa Musgrove Gibson)



Over past White Rock Lake, this 1957 view of the Casa View Shopping Center has been added to “Shopping at Sears in Casa View.” (Source: Dallas Morning News photo blog)



This Jack Patton cartoon from The Dallas Morning News (May 18, 1933) looks back at the incredible civil engineering feat of straightening the Trinity River in the late 1920s and building the levees; I’ve added it to the post “The Trinity River at the City’s Doorstep.” (Source: The Dallas Morning News)



Here’s a great photo of the former Union Depot Hotel in Deep Ellum, where Central Ave. and Pacific Ave. (or the H&TC and T&P railroads) crossed — the automobiles are parked on Pacific, and the view is to the southwest. When this photo was taken sometime in the early 1920s, it was occupied by the Tip-Top Tailors and the Bowman Drug Co. I’m adding it to “The Union Depot Hotel Building, Deep Ellum — 1898-1968.” (Source: The Dallas Morning News; I found it in the book Deep Ellum: The Other Side of Dallas by Alan Govenar and Jay Brakfield)



And, finally, I’m adding this link to the post “The Shooting of ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ — 1966.” It shows (silent) news footage from WBAP-TV (Ch. 5) of the Southwestern premiere of the movie Bonnie and Clyde at the Campus Theater in Denton, featuring stars of the movie Warren Beatty, Michael J. Pollard, and Estelle Parsons riding around the square in September, 1967. Below is a screen capture. The Bonnie and Clyde footage starts at about the 4:41 mark. (Source: KXAS-NBC 5 News Collection, UNT Special Libraries Collections, via the Portal to Texas History)



Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Even Lower Than Lowest Greenville

greenville-ave_lindell_bryan-pkwy_sears-parking-lot_squire-haskins_UTAWhere Greenville begins to peter out… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The photo above shows the lowest part of Greenville Avenue, between Lindell and Bryan Parkway, almost down to where Greenville turns into Munger. It was taken from the parking lot of the Sears store at Ross and Henderson (a shopping center now anchored by a Fiesta grocery store), a place where I spent many hours as a child. I have vivid memories of that store, especially the intense smell of popcorn that hit you like a buttery thunderclap as you entered from the parking lot.

I love that fact that a couple of the buildings seen in this photo (including the Munger Place Church, seen partially at the far right) are still standing.

That cool Fina station seen in the top photo — at the corner of Greenville and Bryan Parkway — has been “modified” somewhat under the thatched hut roof of the Palapas Seafood Bar, but it’s definitely still recognizable. And Fina’s next-door neighbor, the Minute Service Garage, is still alive, too, looking a little less garage-y these days, but still looking pretty good.

greenville_google-street-view_feb-2017Google Street View, Feb. 2017

Then and now:


Keep on keeping on, Greenville Avenue!


Top photo by Squire Haskins from the Squire Haskins Photography, Inc. collection, University of Texas at Arlington Libraries, Special Collections; more info on the photo is here — click the thumbnail on that page to see a very large image.

More Squire Haskins photographs taken around the perimeter of this Sears store (which opened in September, 1947) are here, here, here, and here.

Click pictures to see larger images.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

From the Vault: The Early Days of the Police Crackdown on “Loco Weed” in Dallas

marihuana-film_poster“The weed with roots in hell…”

by Paula Bosse

Read about the demon weed when it first began making headlines in the Dallas papers in the 1920s and ’30s in my post from last year, “‘Delusions of Affability’ — Marijuana in 1930s Dallas,” here.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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