Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Simms Super Service Station, Cedar Springs & Maple — 1930

simms-super-service-station_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_ca-1930Let us vulcanize your tires!

by Paula Bosse

If you call yourself a “Super Service Station,” you’d better be pretty super. And the one in the photo above is pretty super. It opened in 1930 at the intersection of Cedar Springs and Maple (on the northernmost tip of the land now occupied by the Crescent). 

Construction of the station and attached retail spaces was announced in 1929 by the Dallas-based Simms Oil Company (headquartered in the Magnolia Building, with a refinery on Eagle Ford Road in West Dallas) — it was reported that the impressive building would cost about $40,000 (about $615,000 in today’s money). It would be the 34th Simms service station in the city but it would be the first SUPER service station. Its grand opening at the end of April, 1930 was a big event, broadcast over KRLD radio, with singers, music, and flowers for the ladies. No business was conducted during the grand opening — it was strictly an open house, offering prospective customers the opportunity to walk among the gas pumps and admire what the company called “the last word in service station art.”

simms_cedar-springs-maple_grand-opening_043030_detDetail from grand opening ad, April, 1930

The filling station will be equipped with ten electrically operated gasoline pumps. Every kind of automobile repairs and battery and tire vulcanizing service will be offered. (Dallas Morning News, Oct. 20, 1929)

The building is of terra cotta in modernistic design with the well-known Simms color scheme of blue, white and red used. […] On top of the structure is a beacon bearing the Simms triangle. It will revolve with flood lights playing on it all the while. (DMN, April 27, 1930)

I never think of businesses of that period being open 24 hours a day, but this one was. Super!

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Here are a few zoomed-in close-ups of the top photo, which shows the Cedar Springs side of the building. (Click pictures to see larger images.)

At the left of this detail you can see a glimpse of Maple Avenue, which, at the time, was still lined with large, expensive homes.

simms_det_to-maple

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In the shadows, a man who no doubt has prodigious vulcanizing skills.

simms_det_emp

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In addition to housing a gas station, the building had 6 retail spaces — 3 on Maple and 3 on Cedar Springs. One of the businesses seen here places the date of this photo at 1930, when The Radio Shop was located at 2304 Cedar Springs (the next year it appears to have moved around to the Maple side of the building). Next to it is the Fishburn Oriental Cleaners at 2308 Cedar Springs. (The official address of the Simms station was 2623 Maple, but it was usually just listed as being at the southeast corner of Maple and Cedar Springs — after Simms, the building’s address was 2312 Cedar Springs.)

simms_det_truck_oriental-cleaners_radio-shop

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Here’s a close-up of the company truck and an easy-to-remember number when you needed to call for help with a broken-down vehicle.

simms_det_simms-truck

And here it is in an ad. That motorcycle is cool. For some reason I really want that sidecar to be filled with sloshing gasoline.

simms_ad_082630_detAd detail, Aug. 26, 1930

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And here’s the revolving rooftop beacon. (What looks like a spray of water is just damage to the surface of the photograph.) (…But a fountain on top of a gas station would be pretty amazing.)

simms_det_tower-cu

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You know you’ve got a cool building if you can include an instantly recognizable line drawing of it in your ads.

simms_cedar-springs-maple_060330_detAd detail, June 3, 1930

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I think the company might have disappeared before the 1930s ended. Because this is the only “old” “modern” map I’ve got, here’s where the Simms gas station had been located, courtesy of a 1952 Mapsco.

cedar-springs-maple_1952-mapscoMapsco, 1952

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Here are a couple of later photos of the building, post-Simms. The first one is from a grainy Shook Tires ad from 1938. The color postcard is from the 1960s when it was the C. S. Hamilton Chrysler dealership. The beacon is still there but, surely, it was no longer beaconing (unlike the Republic Bank “rocket” seen in the background, which was beaconing big-time). (See below in the comments for a 1940s photo of the building.)

shook-tires_ad_2312-cedar-springs_051338Shook Tires, 1938

hamilton-car-dealership_cedar-springs-at-maple_ca-1962_ebayC. S. Hamilton Chrysler, ca. 1962

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Sources & Notes

Photo — titled “Simms Oil Station (Dallas, Tex.): exterior view of front entrance, corner perspective” — is from the Atlantic Terra Cotta Company Architectural records and photographs, 1914-1941, Architectural Terra Cotta, Alexander Architectural Archives, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin; more info can be found here

simms-super-service-station_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_ca-1930_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

From the Vault: Dallas, Center of the Universe — 1920s

ad-dallas-chamber-of-commerce_tx-almanac_1929-det“I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille…”

by Paula Bosse

If you’ve noticed I’ve been posting very, very little over the past few weeks, it’s because I’ve been dealing with medical issues of a family member, and it’s pretty much taken over my life at this point. I hope to get back to regular posting soon. 

Here is a Dallas Chamber of Commerce ad from 1929 which pretty much tells you all you need to know about how the city of Dallas sees itself in the grand scheme of things. See another very booster-y ad from the same period in the Flashback Dallas post from 2015, “‘A City Built On the Solid Rock of Service’ — 1927.”

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

State Fair of Texas, From Above — 1959

sfot_dallas-magazine_sept-1959A bird’s-eye view of the Great State Fair

by Paula Bosse

I think I see Waldo.

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Sources & Notes

Front cover of Dallas magazine, Sept. 1959.

sfot_dallas-magazine_sept-1959_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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

crozier-tech_woodworking_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUAnyone for woodworking?

by Paula Bosse

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

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

From the Vault: Hangin’ at White Rock — 1972

white-rock_sunday_1972_EPA

by Paula Bosse

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

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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

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

by Paula Bosse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

linda_1961_band-detLinda Coffee, Woodrow band, 1961

miller-steve_WWHS_1961_srSteve Miller, senior photo, 1961

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

weddington-sarah_1972Sarah Weddington, 1972, via Glamour magazine

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

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Thank you, Linda. Thank you, Sarah.

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Sources & Notes

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

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

coffee-linda_WFAA_SMU_june-1970_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Casa View Hills/Casa View Village — 1955

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

by Paula Bosse

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

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

Caption of the drawing immediately above:

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

casa-view-shopping-center_dmn_100453Oct. 4, 1953

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

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

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Sources & Notes

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

casa-view-village-shopping-center_dallas-mag_april-1955_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Downtown Dallas in Color — 1940s & 1950s

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

by Paula Bosse

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

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

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

kodachrome_bryan-n-ervay_1954_shorpyvia Shorpy.com

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

kodachrome_main_1950_noah-jeppsonvia Noah Jeppson, Flickr

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

elm-street-color_1940s_jeppson-flickrvia Noah Jeppson

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

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

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

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Sources & Notes

Links to all sources can be found beneath the photos.

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

kodachrome_commerce-lamar_trolleydodger_twitter_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Soldier Fishing from a Viaduct — 1948

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

by Paula Bosse

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

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

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Sources & Notes

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

soldier-fishing-viaduct_feb-28-1948_DPL_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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

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

by Paula Bosse

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

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

samuell-high-school_1960-yrbk_baxley-cleaners1960

PLEASANT GROVE CLEANERS, 8011 Lake June Road.

samuell-high-school_1960-yrbk_pleasant-grove-cleaners1960

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

spruce-high-school_1966-yrbk_thomas-laundromat1966

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

spruce-high-school_1966-yrbk_campus-barber-shop1966

spruce-high-school_1968-yrbk_campus-barber-shop1968

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

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

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

spruce-high-school_1964-yrbk_ymca1964

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

spruce-high-school_1967-yrbk_pleasant-oaks-baptist-church1967

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

samuell-high-school_1959-yrbk_macon-holcomb-funeral-home1959

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

spruce-high-school_1967-yrbk_dudley-m-hughes-funeral-home1967

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

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

spruce-high-school_1964-yrbk_grove-state-bank1964

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

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

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

spruce-high-school_1964-yrbk_jerrys1964

JERRY’S FOOD MART, 1328 Jim Miller Road.

spruce-high-school_1966-yrbk_jerrys-food-mart1966

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

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

spruce-high-school_1968-yrbk_best-for-less1968

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

spruce-high-school_1968-yrbk_barnards1968

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

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

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Sources & Notes

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

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

spruce-high-school_1965-yrbk_jerrys-food-mart_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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