Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

“You Can Get That Famous Marathon Gasoline in Oak Cliff” — 1930

marathon_transcontinental-oil_gas-station_smithsonian_1930Somewhere in Oak Cliff, 1930, via Smithsonian Inst.

by Paula Bosse

Rejoice, Oak Cliff residents of 1930: you’re getting five Marathon gas stations! I’m not sure why these stations were only in Oak Cliff and no other part of Dallas, but they were (a sixth station joined this elite group a year or so later).

I have a fascination with old gas stations, but I have to admit I’m not familiar with Marathon Gasoline or Marathon Oil products or the Transcontinental Oil Co. (they  had a refinery in Fort Worth), but for whatever reason, the Marathon stations in Dallas — all emblazoned with an image of the Greek runner Pheidippides — appear to have faded away by about 1942 when I guess the last straggler finally crossed the finish lane, collapsed, and died. Farewell, Pheidippides.

The photo above shows one of those first 5 stations in Dallas. The location is not specified. 

Marathon stations in the O.C. in 1930:

marathon_transcontinental-oil_gas-station_050430_ad_det

  • No. 1: Jefferson & Llewellyn Sts. (539 W. Jefferson)
  • No. 2: Zangs Blvd. & Beckley Ave. (1111 N. Zang)
  • No. 3 Jimtown Rd. & Montreal Ave. (2120 W. Clarendon Dr.) (in 1931, residents petitioned the city to change the name of the street to “Clarendon” because they thought “Jimtown” was too déclassé)
  • No. 4: Zangs Blvd. & Davis St. (137 W. Davis — this was the station that lasted the longest, appearing to have closed by the time the 1942 city directory was published)
  • No. 5: Polk & Davis Sts. (938 W. Davis)
  • (No. 6: 1804 W. Jefferson)

It doesn’t look like any of the old buildings are still standing, but there IS one of the exact same design still standing in Miami, Oklahoma — a group restored it and even added period gas pumps (which someone later stole) — see it below. 

marathon-station_miami-okla_google-street-view_2016Miami, OK, Google Street View July 2016

Not all of the Dallas stations had the same design — a press release describes the stations of possessing “distinctive architecture.” Another of the Oak Cliff locations looked very different (and certainly more distinctive):

marathon_station_oak-cliff_1930
Somewhere in Oak Cliff, 1930

The one above is the same design seen in this local ad:

marathon_transcontinental-oil_gas-station_042730-adApril 1930

marathon_transcontinental-oil_gas-station_050430_adMay 1930

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Sources & Notes

Top photo is from the American Petroleum Institute Photograph and Film Collection, National Museum of American History, Archives Center, Smithsonian Institution — more info can be found here.

I seem to post a lot about gas stations. Here are a few notable posts:

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Copyright © 2023 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Bullen Store, Exposition Avenue — 1896-1936

bullen-store_exposition-avenue_ca-1905Exposition Ave., ca. 1905 (photo: Bullen family, used with permission)

by Paula Bosse

If you’re reading this, you probably have a fascination with old buildings. When was it built? What had it been? How has it not been torn down? One such building — which, though interesting, doesn’t really strike one as particularly old — is the small building at 507 Exposition Avenue, a few blocks from Fair Park. Actually, the thing that jumped out at me was the sign on the building reading “J. M. Hengy Electric Co.” — back in 2015 I wrote a long post about the exceedingly litigious Hengy family (“F. J. Hengy: Junk Merchant, Litigant”) (J. M. was the grandson of F. J.). The Hengy Electric Co. was in business at that location from at least the 1930s until at least the 1960s. I’m not sure why the current owners kept this sign, but I’m glad they did, because it’s why I noticed it.

This building was most likely built in the 1890s, and it was home to a grocery store owned by J. W. Bullen (John Wesley Bullen Sr.), a Tennesse native who came to Texas in the late 1870s and, after a few years of farming in the area, settled in Dallas. He worked for the Santa Fe railroad for a while before opening this grocery on Exposition Avenue in the 1890s — easy to give directions to because the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe (GC&SF) Railway tracks ran right alongside the store. Bullen’s grocery was a neighborhood mainstay for at least 40 years. He retired in 1936, and he and his wife, Mary, eventually moved to California to live with their daughter. J. W. Bullen died in California in 1948, at the age of 89 — his life spanned the Civil War to the advent of television.

Below, J. W. Bullen is shown with his brothers, Thomas, James, and Joseph — he is at the bottom right.

bullen-j-w_sitting-right_ancestryvia Ancestry.com

I came across the photo at the top of this post on the Dallas Historical Society discussion forum (“The Phorum”) back in 2017 (it’s taken 5½ years for me to finally write this!) — the thread is here. A Bullen relative posted this photo, and I was ecstatic to see it! It’s such a great image — I have never seen a photo of Exposition Park from this period. (I asked Mr. Bullen — the man who posted this photo — if I could reproduce it, and he very nicely gave me permission.)

I would guess that the photo dates from sometime around 1904-1906, when the Glenn Brothers meat market occupied the space next door (originally 214 Exposition and later 505 Exposition).

1905-directory_bullen-glenn-bros1905 Dallas city directory

The Hengy business originally occupied the Glenn Bros. space for several years, from at least 1930. After Bullen’s retirement, Hengy moved into the larger space at 507 Exposition. Today it is occupied by Big Sky Construction.

507-exposition_google-street-view_may-2022
Google Street View, May 2022

The railroad tracks have been pulled up, but below are two Google Street Views from 2012 showing where they once were — they couldn’t have been much closer to Bullen’s store! That’s got to have rattled the merchandise (and the store’s occupants) several times a day.

507-exposition_google-street-view_sept-2012Google Street View, Sept. 2012

507-exposition_google-street-view_sept-2012_bGoogle Street View, Sept. 2012

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The address of Bullen’s store was originally 216 Exposition Avenue. After the citywide address change in 1911, it became 507 Exposition Avenue. The store was in business by at least 1896, but a newspaper article on the 62nd wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Bullen says that the business began in 1893. At this time, development of Exposition Park was exploding (see the 1889 ad I posted yesterday, here).

expo-park_ad_dmn_1012891889

If you look at Sanborn maps of this area (the 1899 map is here, the 1905 map is here, and the 1921 map is here) you see that almost all of the buildings in the area are houses (designated by the letter “D,” for “dwelling”). Having only ever known the area in recent times, it’s hard to imagine this ever having been an almost entirely residential neighborhood. And, back in the 1890s, it was also full of livestock.

bullen_dmn_120397_stolen-horsesDallas Morning News, Dec. 3, 1897

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Here’s a map of Dallas from 1898, with Bullen’s store way on the edge of the world, under the star.

1898-map_bullen-store_expositionvia Portal to Texas History

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Sources & Notes

Photo is from the family collection of Joseph Bullen II, used with permission.

I would LOVE to see historical photos of the Expo Park area — from any time, really, but especially from the time it was primarily residential. If you have any photographs, please let me know!

See this building today on Google Street View, here.

Biographical information on J.W. Bullen from “J. W. Bullens Observe Their Anniversary” (Dallas Morning News, Nov. 22, 1942).

More Flashback Dallas posts on Exposition Park can be found here.

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Copyright © 2023 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Exposition Park: No Swamps, No Malaria — 1889

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by Paula Bosse

In 1889, Parry Bros. were developing 80 acres of Capt. William H. Gaston’s old stomping grounds — aka the Gaston Homestead. The ads came fast and furious. One sentence stands out:

The natural drainage of Exposition Park, under the guiding hand of our civil engineer, has become practically perfect. There are no swamps or other sources of malaria contiguous to this property. 

Sounds good to me!

(I always thought the Fair Park area was prone to flooding, but perhaps the area I’m thinking of is not “contiguous to this property.”)

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Sources & Notes

Ad from The Dallas Morning News, Oct. 24, 1899.

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Copyright © 2023 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Businessmen’s Lunchtime Mobilization Drills — 1917

wwi_businessmen_noon-drills_dmn_040117_photoDrilling behind the depot, March 1917

by Paula Bosse

In March 1917, just days before the United States entered World War I, it was announced that there would be lunchtime military training drills in downtown Dallas for any man who wished to participate. This was part of the “Preparedness Movement” which was sweeping the country, in which citizens readied themselves for war. The idea for these drills came from Oswin K. King, a Dallas sportswriter, and they were organized and conducted by Capt. M. G. Holliday, with help from other officers of the Texas National Guard. The drills were held “in the rear of the old Santa Fe station, Murphy and Commerce streets. There is a vacant block there and the central location makes it ideal for the purpose” (“Military Drills for Business Men Planned,” Dallas Morning News, March 25, 1917). (See this location on a 1905 Sanborn map, here.)

Seems like a good time to insert a photo of the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe depot (when it was still in operation), behind which all this drilling activity was taking place:

santa-fe-depot_ca-1899_fire-dept-souvenir-bk_portalca. 1899, via Portal to Texas History

Military-style drills involving local civilians hadn’t really been done like this before, and news of this swept the country’s newspapers. It was a BIG story. Dallas became the city everyone copied. Cities all over the United States began their own drilling exercises, and Capt. Holliday was kept busy traveling around Texas to advise towns on how to establish such civilian units for themselves. There was a lot of marching in formation going on in April 1917.

Two weeks in, drill-mania had taken over Dallas. It was estimated that 600 men were showing up daily for the downtown noon drills, and that many more — perhaps as many as 2,000 — had joined smaller groups and clubs which were drilling on their own all over town. There was a large contingent in Oak Cliff, lots of students in high schools and at SMU, policemen, letter carriers, businessmen, etc. There was even a suggestion that women should form their own groups. Any way you looked at it, the endeavor was a success (or at least fervently supported). Capt Holliday said that, should the need arise, a large body of troops could be immediately organized in Dallas — perhaps two regiments’ worth. 

This training lasted about a month, which seems like sufficient time for bank clerks and grocerymen and automobile mechanics and upholsterers to get the hang of doing whatever this was. By the spring of 1917, Dallas was prepared.

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The April 1, 1917 Dallas Morning News article accompanying the photo above is transcribed here:

DALLAS BUSINESS MEN MOBILIZE FOR MILITARY TRAINING

First City in United States to Start New Drills in Rudiments of Soldier Knowledge

From Few Dozen the First Day to 600 or More Saturday, Shows Rapid Increase of Interest in the Noon Drills. Captain in U.S. Cavalry and Number of Non-Commissioned Officers Instructing Men and Rudiments of Knowledge of Soldier Life

Dallas enjoys the distinction of being the first city in the United States to inaugurate the new mobilization of business men for the purpose of learning the rudiments of military training. There were those who said it could not be done, but the movement has gotten under full swing and the attendance is increasing daily.

Oswin K. King, of the Evening Journal, originated the idea, and becoming enthused of the possibilities, Mr. King suggested the matter to Captain M. G. Holliday of the 12th United States Calvary. Captain Holliday at once took up the plan as suggested by Mr. King and agreed to supervise the work. 

For several days now, hundreds of Dallas business men have been in line on the spacious vacant property to the south of the Commerce Street station of the Santa Fe Railroad. The site is convenient to hundreds of business offices and not over five minutes’ walk from the skyscraper district.

That interest is increasing in the movement is evidenced by the number of business men who are enrolling. From a few dozen on Wednesday, last, to 400 on Thursday, and probably 200 more Friday and Saturday, shows that Dallas men are anxious to learn the rudiments of military training.

The idea is to teach the rudiments of close-order formation, including everything in what is known as the “Soldier’s School Without Arms.”

The instruction will continue indefinitely. Captain Holliday is assisted by several non-commissioned officers and civilian military experts.

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WWI_noon-drills_dmn_032517DMN, Mar. 25, 1917 (click for larger image)

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wwi_businessmen_noon-drills_dmn_041317DMN, Apr. 13, 1917

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Sources & Notes

Top photo from The Dallas Morning News, April 1, 1917, sent to me by Julia Barton (thanks, JB!).

Photo of the Santa Fe depot is from a Dallas Fire Department publication from 1899, provided by the Dallas Firefighters’ Museum to the Portal to Texas History — more information is here.

More Flashback Dallas posts on the WWI era can be found here.

wwi_businessmen_noon-drills_dmn_040117_photo_sm

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Copyright © 2023 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Year-End List: Most Popular Posts of 2022

williamson-store_4207-w-clarendon_1915_ebay_rppc_cCockerell Hill, we salute you!

by Paula Bosse

2022 will soon be history, and I can’t say I’ll be sad to see it go. These recent years have been trying times for many of us. I feel I’ve just been slogging through, hoping that “normal” times will return soon (I implore you, 2023!). 2022 saw the fewest number of new posts from me since I created this blog, a fact which kills me, because I would love nothing more than to do this every day, all day long. (As I mentioned in my previous post: if you know how I can earn a living doing just that, please let me know. Or if you are seeking a Dallas-history researcher (etc.), please contact me!) It’s hard to believe, but I am about to embark on my 10th year of writing about Dallas history here at Flashback Dallas. I’ve really loved it, and I truly appreciate all of you who stop by to read! 

This final post of 2022 showcases the year’s Most Popular Posts, determined by page-views, clicks, likes, shares, etc. These are the most-read Flashback Dallas posts of 2022, starting with the most popular. To see each full post, click on the title; to see larger images of the thumbnails, click on the picture.

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williamson-store_4207-w-clarendon_1915_ebay_rppc_c1.  “THE SUNNY SIDE GROCERY — 1915”  (May)

I’m kind of stumped by this one. It was hugely popular when I posted it back in May, and it just keeps getting hits. I have no idea why. I thought the photo was interesting when I saw it, but it’s not that interesting. Perhaps this is just the world’s way of telling me that I need to post more Cockrell Hill content. Represent!

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2.  “TRIPLE UNDERPASS — ca. 1936”  (December)

Wow. This was posted only about a week ago — and it has rocketed all the way up to the #2 spot … for the year. But it totally deserves it. It’s a great photograph. 

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snider-plaza_brown-bks_university-park_6600-1934_sinclalir

3.  “THE UNIVERSITY PARK BROWN BOOKS — AN UNBELIEVABLE RESOURCE!”  (March)

See my previous post where I listed my personal favorites of 2022 to read my teardrop-dabbing bittersweet overview of this indispensable and amazing resource. …I enjoyed it while I could. 

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4.  “CEDAR CREST, L. O. DANIEL’S COUNTRY HOME”  (SEPTEMBER)

The high ranking of this one surprised me. Perhaps it’s because I am not as familiar with Oak Cliff history and its landmarks as I should be. When I started writing this, I had never heard of this beautiful, historic house (which is still standing). But now I’m a fan.  

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5.  “OLD LAKE HIGHLANDS”  (August)

Team Oak Cliff vs. Team East Dallas. I’m not sure which is more fervent in neighborhood pride, but it’s clear that those groups really love where they live. O.C. just nosed out East Dallas in this list (even though both trailed Cockrell Hill significantly!). The great bird’s-eye-view photo of Old Lake Highlands and White Rock Lake helped rack up strong numbers.

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6.  “WHEN SMU THEOLOGY STUDENTS WERE SPRAYED WITH INSECTICIDE AT A UNIVERSITY PARK LUNCH=COUNTER SIT-IN — 1961”  (January)

This post has shown up in all three “best of” lists this year. In a nutshell: angry man fills his drug store with clouds of bug spray in an attempt to chase off peaceful students protesting his refusal to serve non-white customers at his lunch counter. And there’s film of it. Despite the subject matter, I enjoyed writing this.

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7.  “BETTY AND BENNY FOX, SKY-DANCING IN DALLAS — ca. 1935”  (April)

This post about people doing crazy things in the name of entertainment is also represented in all three “best of” lists. This was a lot of fun to research. (I never did find out how many “Bettys” there were.)

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international-casement_ad_anton-korn_1926-det

8.  “3635 BEVERLY DRIVE, THE RESIDENCE OF ARCHITECT ANTON F. KORN — 1926”  (July)

The popularity of this post also surprised me. I was determined to find out the location of this house, but all I had to go on was a grainy photo from an ad for metal window casements. I tracked it down and ended up with something very interesting. Thank you, eBay, for the useful ephemera.

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elm-and-ervay_looking-north_squire-haskins_DPL9.  “ELM & ERVAY — EARLY ’60s”  (June)

I love these photos, but I wish I had higher resolution copies. I almost didn’t post these because the image quality isn’t great. (I’m sure the Dallas Public Library originals — by the fantastic photographer Squire Haskins — are crisp and wonderful.) Lack of sharpness notwithstanding, I love these photos (especially the second one).

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fountain_resort-for-gentlemen_john-h-senchal_postmarked-1911_ebay

10.  “THE FOUNTAIN: ‘A RESORT FOR GENTLEMEN’ — ca. 1911”  (August)

I’ve looked at SO MANY postcards of Dallas that it’s always a bit of a shock when I come across one I’ve never seen before. Like this one. I love the fact that people were mailing picture-postcards of bars to the fam back home. “Wish you were here!”

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SPECIAL MENTION: Two old posts had more hits than any of the posts above, one of which is a bit sobering: “‘DALLAS IS A MAJOR TARGET AREA! — KNOW WHERE YOUR NEAREST FALLOUT SHELTER IS.” Interest in this post on the threat of nuclear war exploded (as it were) in February, when Russia invaded Ukraine. That post received more hits this year than it has cumulatively in all the years since I originally wrote it in 2018.

The overall most popular post of the year is the perennial #1 Flashback Dallas post of every year since it was originally posted in 2016, “BONNIE PARKER: ‘BURIED IN AN ICE-BLUE NEGLIGEE’ — 1934,” a detailed description of the preparation of Bonnie Parker’s body for burial/viewing.

Top post of all-time remains “HOW TO ACCESS THE HISTORICAL DALLAS MORNING NEWS ARCHIVE,” which, after years of updating, has gotten a bit bloated and is probably quite confusing at this point — it needs to be pared down substantially. Raise a glass, because within the next month or so, this evergreen will finally be toppled from its reign as All-Time Most Popular by memories of Bonnie Parker’s mortician.

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And that wraps it up for 2022, Thank you so much for reading!

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Sources & Notes

See all three 2022 Year-End “best of” lists here.

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

williamson-store_4207-w-clarendon_1915_ebay_rppc_sm

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Year-End List: My Favorite Posts of 2022

snider-plaza_brown-bks_university-park_6600-1934_sinclalirSnider 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.

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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.) 

6407-hillcrest_brown-bks_univeristy-park_1948_lubys

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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.

university-drug-store_strike_DPL-exhibit_apr-2017

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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.)

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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.

gaston-carroll-pharmacy_1929_joe-windrow_dallasFB_2

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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.

international-casement_ad_anton-korn_1926

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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!

preston-forest-mosaic_1_wide_paula-bosse_june-2014

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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. 

fox-betty-benny_princeton-univ_nd

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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.

airtrans-prototype_garland_wfaa_SMU_dec-1970

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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….)

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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.

oldenburg-claes_dallas-museum-for-conteporary-arts_april-1962_WFAA_jones-film_SMU_posters

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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! 

rodeo_HPHS-yrbk_1973

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Those are my Top 10 personal favorite posts for 2022. Coming next… the most popular posts of the year.

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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

snider-plaza_brown-bks_university-park_6600-1934_sinclalir_sm

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Year-End List: My Favorite Images Posted in 2022

tx-centennial_stereoview-S131_ebay_hall-of-stateJust out of frame, Miss Crabtree…

by Paula Bosse

Time again to look back through a year of posts and pick out some of my favorite photos/images. They’re in no order. The pictures are larger when you click them. To see the posts they appeared in, click the titles; for information on image sources, scroll down to the bottom of each post to “Sources & Notes.”

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Above, this 1936 photo of kids and their dogs at the Hall of State during the Texas Centennial Exposition is so “Little Rascals” it hurts. I love this photo! It’s in the post “Stereoview Souvenirs of the Texas Centennial — 1936” (a post which has tons of great photos!).

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Below, a photo of the way-way-WAY-over=the-top decoration of The Dallas Morning News Building (northwest corner of Commerce and Lamar) to welcome the huge Elks convention to town, I mean… it’s a lot. There are little elks everywhere you look (one in every window!). I love this. It’s so ridiculously excessive. From a post where I zoomed in to look at all the crazy details, “Elks-a-Plenty — 1908.” 

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Fair Park is such an amazing place. Color photographs from 1936 showing the new buildings which were built for the Centennial are pretty unusual (are there any?) ( I discovered one a few years ago in an ad for linoleum, but I’m not completely sure the photo wasn’t colorized). For color images you pretty much have to rely on old postcards with their postcard colorization magic (like here) to try to imagine how fantastic that bright, new, vivid color must have been in real life. This postcard shows the Praetorians Life Insurance exhibit inside the Varied Industries building. Those are some pretty bold color choices. From the post Miscellaneous Postcards.” 

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From that same “Miscellaneous Postcards” post, this image of the Magnolia Building. As I said in that post, looking at this building never gets old.

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I love these two dreamy images of the interior of the brand-new Union Staton, taken by Frank Rogers, featured in the post “Union Station Interiors — 1916.” 

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This photo shows what I’ve called the “Pacific Avenue Warehouse District — an area woefully undocumented by urban photogs (and it took me a while to figure out the exact location). I think I like this early-1930s image because it’s such an odd area to photograph, and it was completely new to me as part of the historical landscape. Found it on eBay — just an old random snapshot taken by an unknown person. Thank you, eBay.

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Looking at this photo of “Betty and Benny Fox, Sky-Dancing in Dallas — ca. 1935” makes me feel a little lightheaded and queasy. It took me forever to figure this one out. I found it in one of those circuitous and impossible-to-retrace internet journeys which had me, somehow, rummaging through the digital collection of Princeton University! I loved writing this post, and the photo is exactly what it looks like: two crazy daredevils waving at the camera from way up in the sky.

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Just this week I posted a few favorite screenshots from the work I’ve been doing in the WFAA Collection at SMU. I’ll narrow it down a bit more and put my 3 favorites here. From the post “No-Context Channel 8 Screenshots: 1970-1971.” The first one shows the 1500 block of Commerce on a rainy afternoon, April 1971.

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Another shows a boy in Old East Dallas holding a paper sack, staring directly into the camera, looking a little shell-shocked — he had apparently witnessed a fatal traffic accident. (November 1970)

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And then there’s this one. I can’t get over this bank interior: marble and wall-to-wall green shag carpeting. The FBI is there investigating a bank robbery. (That’s not the only crime that’s been committed on these premises!) (December 1970)

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There were a few images I really liked in “Photo Additions To Past Posts — #18,” including a color photo looking north up Akard from Commece, the construction of the Dallas Athletic Club (1925), and a wholesome ad for roller skating at the Fair Park Skating Rink.

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I’ve really slacked off on posting ads, which saddens me, because I really love old advertising. The one that I perhaps got most enjoyment from this year was this 1911 ad from the fine folks at Dr Pepper, found in the winsomely titled post “‘No Mice, No Flies, No Caffeine, No Cocaine’ — 1911.”

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I posted a photo from a collection I had catalogued a few years ago as a volunteer for the Dallas Historical Society which shows the “1400 Block of Main Street, ca. 1946.” It was taken by James Bell, an amateur photographer who took a lot of interesting photos of what probably seemed like mundane things at the time, but which seem kind of magical when you look at them 75 years later. I love this photo but had some image-quality issues with it, so I posted only a detail (directly below) — but it’s the end of the year, so what the heck, the full, wonky, super-low-resolution photo which widens out the view a bit is posted below it. 

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There are so many photos I love in the post “The University Park Brown Books — An Unbelievable Resource!”, but I’ll limit myself to three. First, the old Couch Building at Hillcrest and McFarlin, seen in 1931 (I wrote about this building here when it was destroyed by a fire in 2016).

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And this building at 6601 Hillcrest, which is still standing and is instantly recognizable. In 1931 it was the Mustang Garage.

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And who wouldn’t love a cute little barbecue joint called the Beef Bar? Snider Plaza, undated.

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Lastly, I posted this just a few days ago — it’s such a great photograph. I wish I had a better copy to share! It shows the brand-new “Triple Underpass — ca. 1936,” looking toward Oak Cliff.

It. Is. Fantastic. And it might be my favorite photo posted in 2022.

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BONUS IMAGE: Okay, I do have a bonus image, because it shows my mother (!). It’s from the post “When SMU Theology Students Were Sprayed with Insecticide at a University Park Lunch-Counter Sit-In — 1961.” I’d heard about this awful event since childhood because my mother had been there. When I showed the news footage to her, she found herself in it. Sadly, there’s no view of her face, but I recognize the back of her head! I was surprised to see that there was footage of this sort-of “famous” historical event, but I was shocked to learn that my mother was actually in it! Here’s a very grainy screenshot from old Channel 8 news footage. She is seen taking part in a peaceful civil rights protest in a drug store which refused to serve Black customers at its lunch counter — in an attempt to run out the protesters, the owner sprayed them with insecticide. My mother is sitting at the lunch counter as the thick cloud of bug spray fills the room — she is second from the right, wearing a white coat. Pretty cool.

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And those are my favorite images that appeared in Flashback Dallas posts in 2022. 

Coming soon: my personal favorite posts and the most popular posts of the year.

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Sources & Notes

See all three 2022 Year-End “best of” lists here.

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

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

No-Context Channel 8 Screenshots: 1970-1971

sols-turf-bar_commerce-st_apr-1971_WFAA SMUSlip into Sol’s for a quick one on a rainy afternoon

by Paula Bosse

I’ve mentioned that I have been working in the WFAA Newsfilm Collection, which is part of the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection at SMU’s Hamon Library. It’s a lot of fun going through all this footage (even though I have to grin and bear it a bit through all the sports and Commissioners Court meetings!). I thought I’d compile a bunch of random screenshots I’ve collected over the past few months of images I’ve found interesting. They are all from 1970 and 1971. (The link to the YouTube video the screenshot comes from is at the end of the paragraph. Each of these YouTube videos has a description of what’s going on in the clips — click “Show More” to see the full description.)

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Above, a rainy day on Commerce Street, looking east toward Ervay. Sol’s Turf Bar (great sign!) is seen at 1515 Commerce, next to The Copper Cow. (Apr. 17, 1971)

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Below, Medallion Center, at Northwest Highway and Abrams. I posted this on the Flashback Dallas Facebook page and on Instagram and was surprised by how enthusiastically people responded to it. I was really happy to see this brief shot show up in news footage. Instant nostalgia. I remember being in that store a LOT. (Dec. 20-21, 1970)

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Texas Autorama. Pink car! (I wrote a bit about this fab powderpuff of a car, customized by Arlington’s Bill Meador, here.) A short “curated” clip of cars from this show is here. (The footage is also part of the full collection of that day’s clips here: Jan. 18-19, 1971)

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And speaking of pink, while slogging through footage of a boxing match, I really enjoyed this glimpse of the fashionably dressed crowd, especially the guy wearing the pink suit. It takes a secure man to wear a pink suit to a boxing match in Texas. (Feb. 23, 1971)

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And, on the topic of fashion, there were few other Dallasites who were as strikingly put-together as community activist Al Lipscomb, frequently seen looking cool and wearing shades. Here are a few shots from a 1971 press conference during the time he was running for mayor (Lipscomb was Dallas’ first Black mayoral candidate). Lipscomb lost the mayor’s race in 1971 but later served for several years on the Dallas City Council. (March 3-4, 1971)

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Far beyond what should have been aesthetically acceptable can be seen in this shot of FBI and police investigating a robbery at the downtown Main Street National Bank. As I watched the footage, all I could think about was the WALL-TO-WALL GREEN SHAG CARPETING. …In a bank. Oh dear. The 1970s was not a good decade for interior design. (Dec. 15-16, 1970)

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I love this very “400 Blows” shot of a boy at the scene of traffic fatality on Collett near Reiger in Old East Dallas. (Nov. 3, 1970)

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Another child, this is 13-year-old Cecile Richards (daughter of future governor Ann Richards), who had recently moved from Dallas to Austin. She had been named an “honorary girl page,” and in the clip, she is seen being led across the floor of the Texas Senate by State Sen. Mike McKool (her sponsor and a close friend of the Richards family). Cecile was the first girl in the history of the Texas legislature to be named an “honorary” legislative page at a time when all pages were boys. Cecile grew up to be a firebrand of a women’s rights activist, much like her mother. (Jan. 12, 1971)

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Skillern’s drug store in Lakewood (which I wrote about here). Streets have been rerouted over the years, but this is now near-ish to the site of the Lakewood Whole Foods parking lot. (Nov. 26-28, 1970)

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A quick hop over to Lower Greenville, where the Wilson Food Store stood at the corner of Greenville and Goodwin (in the Terilli’s block, seen here several years before the terrible fire hit that block — see a then-and-now comparison here — they did a really good job reconstructing that building). (Dec. 3-4, 1970)

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Brock’s produce stand, 2803 S. Lancaster, a former 7-Eleven. (Mar. 10-11, 1971)

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Northlake Center sign, E. Northwest Highway and Ferndale. (Sept. 3-4, 1970)

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The Palace Theater’s last movie. (Nov. 20-21, 1970)

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Occasionally on the Flashback Dallas page I will post images of locations I don’t recognize to see if anyone can help — and they usually can. I posted this image of row houses, not even completely sure it showed a place in Dallas. I didn’t really expect anyone to know this, but very, very quickly, Don A. replied that it showed apartments in the 1500 block of Holly, in Old East Dallas (a street I’d never even heard of). Not only did he recognize the location, he actually lived there at one point — it was across the street from his grandparents’ house. And the cars seen in this screenshot belonged to family members! That’s pretty amazing. I found the comments in the Facebook thread very entertaining — you can read them on my public Facebook page here. Thanks, Don! (Mar. 3-4, 1971)

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I posted another mystery image just yesterday, and it was identified in minutes by Jim P. This shows the Southwestern Bell Telephone Federal Exchange Office at 2400 S. Westmoreland. Thank you, Jim! (Apr. 18-19, 1971)

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This could go on for days. And it DOES! Check out the SMU Jones Film YouTube page. There’s a lot of stuff there, and new stuff is posted daily. I personally have dealt with only about a year and a half of this collection (so far, 1970 and the first few months of 1971). There’s so much that I haven’t seen yet, and I look forward to finding out what’s there (…except for all the sports and Commissioners Court meetings…).

wfaa_skyline_march-1971The WFAA antenna, downtown Dallas, Mar. 1971

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Souces & Notes

All images are screenshots from footage available on YouTube from the WFAA Newsfilm Collection, G. William Jones Film and Video Collection, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University. 

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Santa Claus Visits Fair Park — 1969 and 1970

santa_4_WFAA_SMU_122069
The list is ready…

by Paula Bosse

Check out two charming film clips of Santa visiting kids in Fair Park on Dec. 20, 1969 and Dec. 23, 1970 (the links to the clips are below). He arrives, of course, in a helicopter. These events were sponsored by the Negro Chamber of Commerce.

From this clip’s YouTube description:

A Black Santa Claus lands via helicopter in Fair Park as a large crowd of predominantly African American children rush to meet him; children are seen on Santa’s lap as parents stand by; a box of wrapped apples is seen. (A “Black Santa” was an unusual sight in the 1960s, and the concept was much in the news in the 1969 Christmas season as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) had issued a demand that department stores in Cincinnati hire African American Santas or face a boycott, and the story was widely covered around the country.) (Silent)

Watch the full 38-second (silent) clip on YouTube here. Below are some screenshots.

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Santa made a return visit the next year — again via chopper — on Dec. 23, 1970. An article appeared in The Dallas Morning News revealing Santa’s helper to be Issac Debois who was quoted as saying with a chuckle, “I’m the only black Santa Claus from the South Pole.” Watch the full 38-second (silent) clip here.

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Merry Christmas!!

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Sources & Notes

All images are screenshots from WFAA-Channel 8 news stories — from the WFAA Newsfilm Collection, G. William Jones Collection, Southern Methodist University.

The first clip (from 1969) is contained in the larger video on YouTube here — the specific short clip is here.

The second clip (from 1970) is contained in the larger video on YouTube here — the specific clip is here.

Read the Dallas Morning News story about the second visit in the DMN archives: “Santa Enjoys Happy Visit, With Gifts” (DMN, Dec. 24, 1970).

Find more Flashback Dallas posts on Christmas here and Hanukkah here,

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Triple Underpass — ca. 1936

triple-underpass_ca-1936_us-bureau-public-roadsThe Gateway to Dallas, or the the Gateway to Oak Cliff?

by Paula Bosse

Above, a fantastic photo showing the new Triple Underpass, about 1936, with the view toward Oak Cliff. (Compare this with a similar view, from the 1950s, here.)

Below, a little earlier, with the view to the east, back toward town.

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The triple underpass was built by the Austin Bridge & Road Company between 1934 and 1936, finishing up just in time to welcome the onslaught of visitors to the Texas Centennial Exposition. I encourage you to visit the company’s public Facebook post here, which includes these and other great photos of this Dallas landmark (including a “then and now” comparison and a history of their involvement in the project). Below is an excerpt from that post:

Once called the “Gateway to Dallas,” the triple underpass near Dealey Plaza was built by Austin Bridge Company and Austin Road Company starting in 1934. The underpass, a joint project with the Texas Highway Department and City of Dallas, created access to the western edge of downtown Dallas under the Union Terminal tracks. Contending with up to 80 trains a day complicated the job, requiring close cooperation with the railway companies. The triple underpass was hailed as a modern marvel, built of concrete with square balusters in a handsome art-deco style. It was unveiled with great excitement in 1936, during Texas Centennial celebrations.

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Sources & Notes

Top image is a U.S. Bureau of Public Roads photo showing the new underpass, looking to the west.

Both photos and the excerpt are from a post on the Austin Bridge & Road Facebook page, which you can find here.

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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