Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

“A Woman Knows Real Live News When She Sees It” — 1915

womens-news_dmn_070815_knott-cartoon“Oh goody!” (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

This editorial cartoonist’s take on a what was really important to Dallas women is one that probably caused some Dallasites to chuckle and some to fume. The date of this Dallas Morning News cartoon was July 8, 1915. In 1915 women had no constitutional right to vote in the United States and were barred from voting in local, state, and national elections. The Nineteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution (which gave women the right to vote) was ratified in Texas in June, 1919.

The woman’s suffrage movement in Dallas had been active since at least the 1890s, but it really began to catch fire in the early ‘teens when the Dallas Equal Suffrage Association (DESA) was formed in 1913. The second president of this organization (who was one of the state’s leading suffragists when this cartoon appeared) was Texas Erwin Armstrong (Mrs. Volney E. Armstrong). (Yes, her first name was “Texas” — her friends called her “Tex.”)

I have to admit, I was not aware of Mrs. Armstrong until today, but she was one of many laudable women who helped forge the way for those of us who followed. I like this quote of hers from 1918, commenting on the support (or lack thereof) of politicians during the slow but sure path to ratification:

“Any Democrat who failed to vote for this measure is a man without a party and soon will be a man without a country.” (DMN, Jan. 12, 1918)


Dallas Morning News, March 15, 1915 (photo and profile)


More suffrage news from Dallas (click articles to see larger images).

DMN, Nov. 11, 1915

DMN, March 8, 1918


Mrs. Texas Erwin Armstrong (1878-1960).

DMN, March 7, 1960


For more on the history of Dallas women and women’s causes, check out the book Women and the Creation of Urban Life: Dallas, Texas, 1843-1920 by Elizabeth York Enstam (College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1998); a large portion of the chapter “Suffragists and the City” can be read here.

The history of the women’s suffrage movement in Texas can be found at the Handbook of Texas site, here.

Click clippings and pictures to see larger images.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Stage Door Restaurant: Elm Street’s “Home of Lox and Bagels” — 1965-1968

stage-door_youtube_1966A Reuben sandwich sings to me, like a siren to a sailor… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Why does Dallas have so few delis? Here’s one that seemed to be pretty popular in the 1960s: the Stage Door Restaurant and Delicatessen (and bakery), located at 1707 Elm, between the Palace Theater and the Dallas Athletic Club. It opened in June, 1965 and lasted until the end of 1968 (when it was replaced by a restaurant called King Beef). I doubt there was any connection with the famous Stage Deli in New York, but manager Milton Stackel certainly had kosher cred of his own, having worked for twenty years at Grossinger’s, the legendary Jewish resort in the Catskill Mountains. I’m not sure how he found himself operating an eatery in downtown Dallas, but I’m glad he was here.

To any Milton Stackel-like entrepreneurs out there reading this:


Authentic Jewish delicatessens!



Dallas Morning News, June 3, 1965

DMN, June 3, 1965 (click to see larger image)

DMN, June 4, 1965

Texas Jewish Post, Dec. 23, 1965

DMN, Nov. 24, 1965

DMN, Nov. 25 1964

Texas Jewish Post ad detail, Dec. 23, 1965

The restaurant and the bakery had different addresses — the restaurant was at 1707 Elm and the bakery was at 211 N. Ervay. The old five-point Live Oak intersection (seen here a dozen years earlier — the Stage Door would later be between Lee Optical and Haverty’s) confuses things a bit, but it appears that these businesses were in two separate buildings.

1952 Mapsco

1966 Dallas directory

Elm Street, 1966 Dallas directory


Top image is a screengrab from a YouTube video, here, containing footage shot downtown by Lawrence W. Haas on Memorial Day, 1966.

Click pictures and clippings to see larger images.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The White Rock Lake District: “Where Life Is Worth Living!” — 1926

white-rock-lake-district_dmn_050226_detThe idyllic view from an East Dallas villa…. (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

In 1926, East Dallas was in a frenzy of development. There were so many new neighborhoods: Gastonwood, Country Club Estates, West Lake Park, Forest Hills, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Parks Estates, Munger Place Heights, Pasadena, Camp Estates, Hughes Estates, Temple Place.


The New East Dallas
Where living is delightful and where life is worth living!


The article below — which appears to have been written by the realtors selling the property — is actually very informative. (Click to see a larger image.)



Ad and article appeared in The Dallas Morning News, May 2, 1926. Click that ad. It’s big!


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

When the Circus Came to Town — 1886

cole-circus_dallas-herald_101586-detI’m exhausted just looking at this…. (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

W. W. Cole brought his unbelievably jam-packed circus to Dallas at the end of October, 1886. That would have been big news all on its own, but also going on at the exact same time were two fairs. TWO! (This was when Dallas had competing state fairs battling each other across town.) I’m not sure how people handled all that entertainment. Circus attendance alone was reported at more than 16,000 for the Dallas engagement. That’s a lot.

One thing the Cole organization knew about was the power of adjectives. I can’t even begin to take apart this ad, so run your eyeballs over the intense, pop-eyed text and imagine what frontier Dallasites thought. Sit back and enjoy the “vast transcendental splendor” that was W. W. Cole’s extravaganza. (Click to see a larger image.)

ad_cole-circus_dallas-herald_101586Dallas Herald, Oct. 15, 1886

The circus appeared in Austin a few days later. This ad is also great.

Austin Weekly Statesman, Oct. 14, 1886

Dallas Morning News, Oct. 24, 1886

Dallas Herald, Oct. 25, 1886

The review:

DMN, Oct. 26, 1886

Not everyone was impressed:

Dallas Herald, Oct. 26, 1886

And then there was this weird little story. (I think the ending was tacked on by the writer as a joke. …I think.)

Dallas Herald, Oct. 26, 1886

After all that excitement, it was probably a relief when the circus left town!

coles-circus-in-austin_dmn_110186DMN, Nov. 1, 1886



W. W. Cole’s Circus lasted forever — up until, apparently, last year! More here.

I’m never sure how much weight to give to the estimates of the Inflation Calculator, but when you plug the numbers into it, a dollar ticket for adults and a fifty-cent ticket for children would today equal somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty-five and thirteen bucks, respectively. That can’t be right, can it? You can’t argue that there was a lot going on in those French waterproof tents, but I can’t imagine people forking over that much when penny-candy was considered extravagant! But apparently 16,000 people happily forked! (W. W. Cole died a very, very, very wealthy man: when he shuffled off his moral coil in 1915, he left an estate of more than five million dollars — or, per the Inflation Calculator, more than 120 million dollars in today’s money.)

Click clippings to see larger images.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“Howdy from Dallas, Texas” … and An Announcement About Bookmarked Files


by Paula Bosse

“Howdy,” from the home of the Republic Bank Building, SMU, North Central Expressway, the Statler Hilton, the Majestic Theatre, and the Cotton Bowl.

Also, “howdy” from me, along with a notice that I have begun the long, arduous task of migrating files from one big cloud to another big cloud. This will be a problem only for those who might have bookmarked PDFs or some of the photos or files I’ve linked to. This won’t change URLs for individual posts, because if that were the case, I’d be sobbing uncontrollably in a padded cell, trussed up in a straitjacket, unable to do necessary things like TYPE. So … it could be worse.

This will probably affect very, very, very few of you — I, on the other hand, will be absorbed in this tedium for quite a while, rushing against a deadline.

Please don’t hesitate to bring broken links, etc., to  my attention. And if you’ve lost something formerly bookmarked, let me know, and I’ll help you find out where’s it’s living these days.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“Classified System” Parking Stations — 1930s

classified-system_colteraIs that a ship? And an iceberg? (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Here’s a cool little ad for what was basically a parking garage that also sold gas and tires (and which seems to have had a ship on top of its building … a building which might be shaped like … an iceberg?). This snazzy-looking garage was at 501 N. Akard (at Patterson) — it was one of several “Classified System” garages that dotted downtown from the early 1930s until at least the early ’70s. The Akard location was station No. 1.

Below, an ad from 1935 informing patrons that they could drive in, have tires installed, and pay for them sometime in the future — for as little as 50 cents a week (which would come out to about $35 a month in today’s money). “YOU DON’T NEED CASH.” (Click ad to see a larger image.)

Dallas Morning News, June 15, 1935


I love the kooky design of the building, but that ship is just … odd. I like it, I just don’t get it. Maybe that’s the “classified” part.


Color image is a matchbook cover found on Flickr, here.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


oak-cliff_wynnewood_looking-south_1950_ebayS. Zang and a brand new Wynnewood… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Enjoy these photos of the early days of Oak Cliff’s Wynnewood development. (And for an in-depth history of this 820-acre planned community, see Ron Emrich’s Legacies article “Wynnewood: ‘A Tonic to the Shelter-Hungry Nation,'” here.)


Above, looking south down Zang Blvd. in 1950 — see the same view 60-some-odd years later via Google, here (the “current” satellite view is pretty out-of-date, but you get the idea).


Below, Wynnewood — 1961. (All photos larger when clicked.)



Wynnewood Garden Apartments — 1954, the year “Father Knows Best” debuted.



Wynnewood Garden Apartments.



Birds-eye view of a neighborhood in Oak Cliff that is probably Wynnewood — 1954.



Wynnewood North, residential street — 1961.



Wynnewood Theater — 1950.



Wynnewood Theater — 1951.



Wynnewood Shopping Village — 1954.



The “Wynne” behind “Wynnewood” (and the man who, a few years later, brought us Six Flags Over Texas) — Angus Wynne, Jr., 1946.



Watch a great little 22-minute film from 2013 on the development, rise, fall, and rebirth of Wynnewood North, “Neighborhood Stories: Wynnewood North,” here, produced by the Building Community Workshop (make sure to watch the video in full screen). There is an impressive companion booklet with more photos, here, which you can browse through page by page (hover over the cover and click on the “full screen” icon).


Top photo from eBay. The only description was the one taped to the photo: “Oak Cliff, looking south over Wynnewood, 1950.”

1961 aerial shot from the short film linked above, “Neighborhood Stories: Wynnewood North”; photo provided by resident Janice Coffee.

Wynnewood apartment buildings: with bike, taken by Squire Haskins on March 4, 1954, from the Squire Haskins Collection, UTA — more info here (click thumbnail on that page to see huge image). Second photo of Garden Apartments is a screenshot from the “Wynnewood North” film; Dallas Public Library photo.

“Birds-eye view” of neighborhood taken by Squire Haskins on March 4, 1954 (described as “possibly Wynnewood” by UTA) — more info from UTA here (click that thumbnail for BIG image). More Wynnewood photos from UTA here.

Photo of 1961 residential street from the “Wynnewood North” film, provided by Janice Coffee.

1950 photo of Wynnewood Theater is also from “Wynnewood North” film (Hayes Collection photo, Dallas Public Library).

1951 photo of theater from the article “Wynnewood: ‘A Tonic to the Shelter-Hungry Nation'” by Ron Emrich (Legacies, Fall 2002) — GREAT history — read it here.

Angus Wynne, Jr. photo from Pinterest.

More photos from the Dallas Public Library, here.

More about Wynnewood from Wikipedia, here.

Even more from this Oak Cliff Advocate article by Gayla Brooks, here (this is an instance where I would encourage people to read the comments!).

All photos are larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Let the McClure Electric Co. Solve Your “Current Problems” — 1952

mcclure-electric-company_flickr_colteraThe lightning bolt on the sign is a nice touch… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

This is one of those idealized postcards from the ’40s and ’50s in which everything looks more pristine and perfect than was ever possible in real life. I love the postcard-version of this building, located at 2633 Swiss Avenue. And, glory be, it’s still standing — it just doesn’t look anywhere near as nice as it does in this postcard. (Why must people paint brick buildings? It looked so much better in 1952 when it was brand new. Today it looks like this.)

The McClure Electric Co. — which started life as the Emerson-McClure Electric Co. in 1922 — moved into their swanky new digs at Swiss and Cantegral in early 1952 and remained in business there until at least 1966. In the early ’70s, the building was home to Jim Dandy Fast Foods/Jim Dandy Fried Chicken for several years. Later, it appears that it might have been split up into office space. Currently it seems to be a fruit and vegetable produce company.

And that poor building has lost all its character.


mcclure-ad_dmn_020152Dallas Morning News, Feb. 1, 1952

(click to see larger image)

Photo and article: DMN, Feb. 1 1952

Swiss & Cantegral, 1952 Mapsco


Top postcard found on Flickr.

All images are larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“Dallas’ Dependable Business Climate” — 1959

ad-business-in-dallas_1959_photo-detThe “D” in “Big D” stands for “dinero”… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The booming Dallas skyline, captured by Squire Haskins on September 10, 1959, was used in a boosteriffic Chamber of Commerce-y statistics-filled ad.

“It’s exciting to live, do business, make money and grow in Dallas.”



I didn’t note where I found this ad — but it seems like an eBay kind of thing. UPDATE: Found it. This ad appeared in the January, 1960 issue of Fortune magazine. I found it on eBay, here.

As I noted in the comments below, it’s interesting to note that Dallas’ business climate might have been TOO good in 1959/1960. There was such a glut of new office space downtown that developers were having a very, very difficult time finding tenants to fill their shiny new buildings. By September of 1960, The Dallas Morning News estimated that more than one million square feet of empty office space was bedeviling developers. (Click to see larger image.)

DMN, Sept. 11, 1960

All images larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Year-End List! Most Popular Posts of 2016

bonnie-parker_wikipediaHometown gal Bonnie Parker tops the 2016 Flashback Dallas charts

by Paula Bosse

2016 will be over in a matter of hours, and 2017 is barreling straight at us like a freight train that can’t be stopped. At the end of the year, we are besieged by “Best Of” lists — and, hey, here’s another one! It’s also a time to reflect and, I don’t know … ponder and nod knowingly about all that’s happened.

Flashback Dallas has been monopolizing my time for almost three years now. I’ve written over 800 Dallas history posts — which is shocking even to me. (Where did I find the energy?) The blog has gotten over half a million page-views and has over 7,000 followers across the hills and dales of social media. No one is more surprised by these numbers than I am. I’m so happy that there are other people out there who seem to be as interested in the history of Dallas as I am!

I’ve posted my personal favorite Flashback Dallas photos and posts over the past few days, and now it’s time to post the readers’ favorites. As always, I appreciate everyone who reads and comments, here and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Let’s all have a happy and productive 2017! (To see the original full-length posts, click the links highlighted in blue.)



People will never tire of reading about Bonnie & Clyde. This post — which was basically just a transcription of a handwritten account by a Dallas mortician detailing how he prepared Bonnie Parker’s badly disfigured body for public viewing — was far and away the top (new) Flashback Dallas post of 2016. The account — on Adolphus Hotel stationery — is from the George W. Cook Collection at SMU’s DeGolyer Library. And it really is great.



Everyone loves aerial photos that show what the city looked like before endless asphalt sprawl hit us over the head and stole our souls. And this view of what would soon become LBJ Freeway was incredibly popular. I tear up a little every time I see it.



3. “4th OF JULY AT WHITE ROCK LAKE — 1946”
This wonderful photo of White Rock picnickers and swimmers, taken near the Bath House on July 4th, 1946, is so jam-packed with interesting little vignettes that it was a perfect candidate to zoom in on (see all the magnified details at the link above). Great photo!


1962_before-school_ndhs_1962-yrbk4. “NORTH DALLAS HIGH SCHOOL, THE PRE-BEATLES ERA”
This post, which featured lots of photos from the 1960, 1962, and 1963 NDHS yearbooks, was shared all over the place. NDHS grads are a proud people. (The companion post — here — contained ads from these same yearbooks.)



5. “NORTHPARK — 1965”
There’s nothing like a good series of photos about the nostalgic memories of shopping to get Dallasites’ pulses racing. NorthPark seems to rank pretty high in the heart-cockle-warming department.



6. “VALDI WILCOX (1948-2004)”
This was a story I stumbled on completely by accident. I saw a full-page photo in a 1948 issue of The Dallas Morning News of an attractive young couple and their baby out for a stroll in Lake Cliff Park. They seemed so happy and full of hope. I thought it would be interesting to trace the life of the unseen baby in the baby carriage. Her story was unexpectedly tragic.



High school yearbooks are a great source of photos, ads, and pop culture. Oak Cliff nostalgia is always popular.


central-expwy_forest-ave_092955_squire-haskins_UTA8. “SOUTH CENTRAL EXPRESSWAY UNDER CONSTRUCTION — 1955”
I love this photo, and I hate this photo. On one hand, it’s kind of cool-looking, on the other, it shows the absolute devastation inflicted upon South Dallas by the construction of South Central Expressway. See the original post for the charming fire station that was demolished along with huge swaths of a once-vibrant neighborhood.



A research-heavy post I’m happy to see on this list. A look at the history of one block in Lower Greenville.



If I had a “viral” post this year, it was this one. This completely innocuous post featuring a very un-Dallas-looking postcard was posted as a joke. But, lo and behold, it began to be shared all over Facebook and Twitter and caused a surprising amount of discussion. There were a lot of people who were insistent that this Colorado-looking image was taken in the DFW area. Somehow the story was picked up by The Dallas Morning News and was printed in the actual newspaper edition! Crazy man.


Speaking of viral posts, the granddaddy of them all in Flashback Dallas-land is “CARHOPS AS SEX SYMBOLS — 1940” — it is the most-viewed post I’ve ever written, and, in fact, this 2015 post was this year’s top post. Seems people can’t get enough of male carhops in satin short-shorts and cowboy boots.


Again, thank you to everyone who has read, is reading, will read, will have read, and has considered-but-never-really-gotten-around-to reading anything I’ve written. It’s always more fun when you can share fun and unusual Dallas factoids with other like-minded people! Let’s hope 2017 is packed with more good stuff!


See all three 2016 “Best Of” Flashback Dallas lists here.

See all Flashback Dallas Year-End lists — past and present — here.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

%d bloggers like this: