Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

The Dallas Skyline: Spot the Landmarks

skyline_from-swMid-Century Big D… (click for much larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The Dallas skyline is always changing, and it’s always been impressive. The late-’50s/early-’60s version above looks quaint by today’s standards, but it’s one of my favorite skyline periods. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Convention Center, but the rest of it? Pretty great.

As a bonus, here’s an interesting Dallas Morning News photo showing the early days of the construction of the George Dahl-designed Dallas Memorial Auditorium/Dallas Convention Center (which opened in 1957). (The “Cumberland” school mentioned in the caption is an error. The school demolished to make way for the convention center had actually been the Columbian School/Royal Street School, built in 1893. At the time of its razing, it had most recently served as the city’s school administration building and as a book warehouse. The Cumberland Hill School building — which was built in 1888 — is still standing at 1901 N. Akard.) (Click for larger image.)

DMN, Feb. 20, 1955

Here it is, long before the bulldozers.

via James Edwards Flanders site

Also interesting was that this land — which the city had been buying up for many years (some as a result of condemnation/eminent domain) also included four pioneer cemeteries. Read more about what happened to those cemeteries here.


Top photo is from a site containing several photos relating to early KRLD radio and TV, with the occasional shot of Dallas streets and buildings, here.

Images are larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Esquire Club, The Charm Club, and The Riflettes: James Madison High School — 1970

madison_1971-yrbk_exteriorPhoto op on the front steps…. (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Browsing through high school yearbooks (as one does), one always finds images of teenagerdom from yesteryear that are charming. I’ve never been a huge fan of the 1970s, but 1970 was still hanging onto the ’60s for dear life before polyester and disco competely took hold and refused to give up.

These photos are from the 1970 yearbook of James Madison High School (the top photo is from 1971, but … close enough). Here are a few tidbits from that annual. Enjoy.

First, the Esquire Club. ‘Nuff said.


And the Charm Club:


And the crème de la crème of Madison’s fashionable young men and women, Eddie Laury and Carolyn Lester, the “Best Dressed” of 1970. (Eddie, are you wearing ruffled satin and velvet? You win the ’70s!)


(All the class favorites were photographed in front of confusing background dioramas. Was it … a wax museum?)

The winsomely named “Riflettes”:


The dreaded taking of the SAT (under Mrs. Penn’s watchful eye):


The fun of marching band:


And my favorite of almost any Dallas high school yearbook photo I’ve seen, the ROTC “Sweethearts”:


Best. Photo. EVER.


Photos from James Madison High School’s 1970 and 1971 yearbook, The Trojan Archives.

All photos are larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Adolphus, The Oriental, The Magnolia

Akard looking north… (click me!!)

by Paula Bosse

This is just great. I’ve never seen this photo, which was taken sometime between 1922 and 1924. Dallas has never looked more … architectural. (Click that photo — it’s worth seeing it bigger.)

The view is looking north on Akard toward Commerce, from some building on or near Jackson Street. The Adolphus Hotel (built in 1912 and still standing) is straight ahead, the shorter Oriental Hotel (1893-1924) is in the middle, and the Pegasus-less Magnolia Petroleum Building (built in 1922 and still standing) towers above both of them.

I don’t think I’ve seen the Oriental from this angle. And I’ve never noticed all those windows in the Magnolia Building that look directly across into other windows. (That must be … strange.) And since I recently posted photos of this same block of S. Akard, I immediately recognized the short building with the odd-shaped cut-out/crest-like decoration in it opposite the Oriental.

I love this photo. And how nice that two of these landmark buildings are still alive and kicking!


Photo appeared in the program for the 1977 Texas State Historical Association Annual Meeting of 1977 (held, appropriately enough, in the Baker Hotel, which was built on the corner previously occupied by the Oriental); I found it on the Portal to Texas History site, here. (Dear printers of things like this: please never EVER use brown ink to print photographs. If anyone knows of a cleaner, sharper copy of this great photo, please let me know!)


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #2

flippen-auto_park-cities-photohistory_gallowayLooking west on Ross from Harwood (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I have so much stuff crammed into overflowing digital files that it’s a bit overwhelming. Time to chip away at some of these odds and ends. Here are a few photographs that I am adding to previous posts.

The photo above shows Ross Avenue from N. Harwood. The Flippen Auto Co. and the former Conway house once stood on land now occupied by the Dallas Museum of Art. I’ve just added this to my post “The Beginning of the End of Ross Avenue’s Downtown Mansions — 1925.” (Photo from The Park Cities, A Photohistory by Diane Galloway.)


This view of Elm Street has been added to “Elm Street, Looking West From Griffin.” (Photo from the University of Texas at Arlington Special Collections; link here.)



A Pinterest board maintained by the DISD allowed me to grab this not-great-but-still-better-than-I’ve-been-able-to-find-elsewhere photo of my grade school alma mater, Stonewall Jackson. My favorite hard-to-see detail is the Piggly Wiggly grocery store in the distance. This is where my family shopped. I can still remember the layout of the inside of that store at Mockingbird and Matilda. I’ve added this photo to my 2014 post “Happy 75th Anniversary, Stonewall!”



Another image I found on some random Pinterest page while looking for something else, is this Neiman-Marcus postcard, one of several promotional cards. I’ve added it to two others in the post “Luncheon at The Zodiac Room, Darling.”



Not great resolution in this postcard photo of the huge NCR cash register at the Texas Centennial, but it’s a cool view, across the lagoon (the attendance-counting cash register is right of center, next to the pagoda). I’ve added it to “The Giant Cash Register at the Texas Centennial — 1936.”



This is a fantastic photo of the somewhat notorious Zoo Bar on Commerce Street, taken by Dallas Times Herald photographer Bill Bell on November 22, 1963, at the end of an exhausting day following the Kennedy assassination (photo from the Sixth Floor Museum Collection, Portal to Texas History, here). I have added this photo to the post “Gene’s Music Bar, The Lasso Bar, and the Zoo Bar.”



I’ve added this photo of the Oak Cliff streetcar stop at E. Jefferson Blvd. and Addison St. to the post “Waiting on a Streetcar on a Sunny Winter Day in Oak Cliff — 1946.”



Here’s a charming little matchbook from the 1950s, advertising the Dallas Athletic Club’s golf club, which opened up near Mesquite in the ’50s (matchbook from the George W. Cook collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU, here). I’ve added it to the post “The Dallas Athletic Club Building, 1925-1981.”




I’ve added the photo below (from Diane Galloway’s The Park Cities, A Photohistory) to the post “An Afternoon Outing with SMU Frat Boys and Their Dates — 1917.” I’m not sure why this group of young people was photographed so extensively that day, but I really love this series of photos.



And, lastly, I’ve added this photo to a post from a just a few weeks ago — “‘Greetings From Dallas, Texas’ — 1955.”  This was one of those strange posts that ended up taking on a life of it own across the internet, with people arguing vehemently for and against whether the photograph on a postcard was actually taken anywhere near Dallas. Somehow The Dallas  Morning News got ahold of it and published an online article about it. That was weird enough, but then it actually appeared in the newspaper itself! Ha!

DMN_080316DMN, Aug. 3, 2016


All images larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“Magnolia Building by Night”


by Paula Bosse

Still standing. Still beautiful.

See a similar postcard, with a wider view — and a blobbier Pegasus — here.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

J. L. Long, Woodrow Wilson — 1958

woodrow_long_022758_squire-haskins_UTA_smBuccaneers, Wildcats: represent… (click for B-I-G image)

by Paula Bosse

Another fab aerial photo from Squire Haskins: a 1958 southwesterly shot of J. L. Long Jr. High School (on the left) and Woodrow Wilson High School.

…I am not unfamiliar with these East Dallas institutions. 


Photo taken above Lakewood by Squire Haskins on Feb. 27, 1958. From the Squire Haskins Photography, Inc. Collection, UTA Libraries, Special Collections — more info here. To see UTA’s super-gigantic image, click the photo!


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Pacific Avenue: Watch for Trains! — ca. 1917

pacific-akard_park-cities-photohistory_frank-rogersToo close for comfort… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Some people don’t realize that Pacific Avenue used to be lined with the railroad tracks of the Texas & Pacific Railway (hence the name “Pacific”). When trains weren’t barreling down Pacific regularly, the thoroughfare was used by non-locomotive traffic like pedestrians, bicycles, horses, and automobiles. When a huge cinder-spewing train screamed through, everything came to a resigned halt until it passed by. I can’t even imagine what that was like. I wonder how many times people, horses, vehicles, etc. didn’t manage to get out of the way in time?

When Union Station opened in 1916, trains that had previously run through the central business district now went around it (which probably cut the number of people rushed to the hospital with train-related injuries substantially).

The photo above shows Pacific looking east from N. Akard, as a blur of a train whooshes by. The Independent Auto Supply Co. (300 N. Akard) is at the left, and, at the right, the back side of Elm Street businesses, including Cullum & Boren and, to its left, the Jefferson Theater, with “Pantages” painted on the side. (The Jefferson was the Dallas home of the Pantages Vaudeville Circuit from 1917 until 1920, the year the Pantages people bugged out for the greener pastures of the Hippodrome, leaving the Jefferson to start a new relationship with the Loew’s circuit people. At the end of 1925, the Jefferson Theater was actually renamed the Pantages Theater. …Kind of confusing.)

Below, Elm Street in 1918 — what the other side of those buildings looked like. Cullum & Boren’s “CB” logo can be seen painted on the side of its building. (Click photo for much larger image.)


But back to Pacific in its scary, sooty, T&P-right-of-way days. This is what things looked like in 1909.


Fast-forward to 1920 — the trains had long stopped running, but the tracks remained, an eyesore and an impediment to traffic. (Cullum & Boren, again, at the right.)


Thanks to the Kessler Plan, those unsightly tracks were finally removed from Pacific in 1923. Below, a photo from 1925. Big difference. Thanks, George Kessler!



Top photo (by Frank Rogers) from the book The Park Cities, A Photohistory by Diane Galloway (Dallas: Diane Galloway, 1989). The photo is credited to John Stull/R. L. Goodson, Jr., Inc./Consulting Engineers.

More info on the 1918 photo of Elm Street, which was featured in the post “Dallas’ Film Row — 1918,” here.

More info on the super-sooty Pacific Avenue photo, here.

More on the de-track-ified Pacific, here.

Not sure of the source of the 1920 photo.

Four of these photos are really big when clicked. One is not.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

University Park’s “Couch Building” Goes Up In Flames (1929-2016)

goffs_fire_dmn-081216_ashley-landis-photoPhoto: Ashley Landis/DMN (click for huge image)

by Paula Bosse

Yesterday, fire erupted in the old University Park building at the northwest corner of Hillcrest and McFarlin. The building — which housed Goff’s Hamburgers and several other businesses — is, today, a pile of rubble. I’ve always loved this building — every time I’d drive past it I’d smile, happy that the only truly distinctive non-SMU building along that part of Hillcrest was still standing. And now it isn’t.

The building — which was built in 1929 across Hillcrest from McFarlin Auditorium — had a rocky start. SMU really, really didn’t want it to be built.

A. B. Couch (1895-1970) came to Dallas around 1914 from Waco to attend pharmacy school. In 1921, a few years after becoming a pharmacist, he opened his own drugstore, the University Pharmacy, at the southwest corner of Hillcrest and Roberts avenues (Roberts was renamed McFarlin Boulevard in 1928). Business must have been good, because in February of 1923, Couch bought the vacant property across the street. Three years later, he applied for a permit to build a business on the property, and that’s when the Robitussin hit the fan.

Dallas  Morning News, June 20, 1926

It’s a bit confusing, but, basically SMU, the original owner of the property (and all that surrounded it), put their land west of the campus (west of Hillcrest) on the market, and it could be sold only with specific restrictions — there were several restrictions, but the two cited most frequently were that land in this University Park Addition was to be developed solely for residential purposes, and these homes were to be occupied only by white people. Somehow, in transferring property and re-deeding and re-re-deeding — and all sorts of other real estate transactions I don’t understand — the contract for the large lot purchased by Mr. Couch was drawn up with the restrictions omitted (“an oversight”). Couch was insistent on building businesses on the land he’d purchased, and SMU was adamant that he not be allowed to. Cue the lawsuit. (An overview of this case — in the appeals court — can be read here. It’s interesting, if confusing.)

The court case dragged on and on, through injunctions and appeals, and, finally, in December of 1928, the Supreme Court of Texas ruled in favor of Couch. (Click articles and pictures to see larger images.)

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dec. 6, 1928

In April, 1929, a drawing of the F. J. Woerner-designed building Couch planned to build appeared in the paper.

6401-hillcrest_dmn_042829DMN, April 28, 1929

ALSO appearing in the paper that day — in fact on the same page, right next to this drawing — was another announcement.

DMN, April 28, 1929

A Mustang Theater? At what appears to be the exact same location? A drawing of the theater appeared the next day — it was designed by the very busy architect W. Scott Dunne (who also designed the Texas Theatre, the Arcadia, the Melba, and the Dal-Sec).

mustang-theater_dmn_042929DMN, April 29, 1929

DMN, April 29, 1929

It doesn’t appear that the Mustang Theater was ever built, probably because the Varsity Theater in Snider Plaza (a stone’s throw away) had been announced that very same week, on April 25th (it opened that fall).

So forget the Mustang. Couch’s building — which was called, yes, “The Couch Building” — opened in 1930 or ’31. Its official address was 3402 McFarlin, but the address of the new location of the University Pharmacy was 6401 Hillcrest. There were a couple of stores next to the pharmacy, and offices upstairs (it seemed a popular location for doctors and real estate agents). Mr. Couch lived next door, at 3404 McFarlin (in a house which was, ironically, destroyed by fire in 1932).

That simple but lovely building stood on that corner for almost 90 years. Until yesterday. Sorry about that, A. B.

Andrew Bateman Couch, DMN, Dec. 28, 1947


Below, a view of Hillcrest looking south, from the 1965 SMU Rotunda yearbook. (Note that the University Pharmacy had moved back to the southwest corner of Hillcrest and McFarlin. Couch sold the drugstore business in 1943, and the new owner opened it across the street in a new building, back in its original 1921 location.)

drag3_smu-rotunda_19651965 SMU Rotunda

goffs_google_november-2015Google Street View, Nov. 2015

goffs_google_nov-2015_frontGoogle Street View, Nov. 2015

goffs_rubble_dmn-photo_081316_ting-shen-photographerDMN photo, Aug. 13, 2016 — Ting Shen, photographer

Google Maps, Aug. 13, 2016 


Top and bottom photos are from the Dallas Morning News; see their coverage here, here, and here. That top photo is VERY large on The News’ website — look at all the detail of the brick and decoration.

Footage of the fire and its aftermath, from WFAA, can be watched here (scroll down to see all video footage).

Take a look at the 1921 Sanborn map, here. This building would be built at what is the northwest corner of Roberts (later McFarlin) and Hillcrest. University Park is pretty wide open in 1921.

All photos and clippings are larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Neiman-Marcus Expands — 1927

n-m_construction_1927_pioneers-of-dallas-co-FB-page_coll-frances-jamesThe first addition under construction, 1927 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

In 1927, construction began on Neiman-Marcus’ first expansion. The addition was adjacent to the famed department store, which had occupied its spot at Main and Ervay since its construction in 1914. (This was the company’s second location – their original store, which opened in 1907 at Elm and Murphy, was destroyed by fire in 1913.) The store had outgrown its old building, and expansion was deemed necessary. The new addition was designed by the Herbert M. Greene architectural firm, led by George L. Dahl. While the new building was going up, the old building was being renovated and updated. 

The photo above shows the construction of the addition, which extended the store’s footprint from Main all the way to Commerce. One of the interesting features of this construction was the look of the site itself.

One of the features of the Neiman-Marcus project is the ornamental barricade, containing window boxes and fashionable silhouettes, which has been put up around the new construction. (Dallas Morning News, May 8, 1927)

It’s the nicest-looking hard-hat area I’ve ever seen!

The new building (which was four floors, but was designed so that sixteen additional stories could be added if needed) opened in October, 1927. Less than a month after the formal opening of this new building, another addition was announced — it opened the following year. With that “third unit” opening in 1928, Neiman-Marcus had increased its size by 50%, and its sales were the highest in the company’s history. Also, notable at this time was the fact that a full 40% of the store’s sales were to people who lived “in other cities of the Southwest.”

Below, some photos (some rather dark and muddy, unfortunately) and clippings surrounding this 1927-1928 expansion (there would be further buildings built later). (Click to see larger images.)

Dallas Morning News, May 8, 1927

DMN, Aug. 21, 1927


The beautiful finished building, days before its formal opening on October 3, 1927.



A view of the first floor looking toward the Main street entrance; at left in the foreground is the underwear department; just beyond is the perfumery department.



The Empire Room on the second floor, “an elegantly furnished room, in which patrons of the store may examine merchandise undisturbed and make their selections in comfort and at their leisure.”



“Looking across the dress salon on the second floor toward the Empire Room. Merchandise is kept in the cases of inlaid woods on either side.”



Second floor, the “sports wear department.”



Third floor foyer, looking toward the misses’ department, “as seen on emerging from the elevators.” (This series of photos from the Oct. 2, 1927 edition of The Dallas Morning News.)


n-m_new-addition_dmn_100427_formal-openingDMN, Oct. 4, 1927

The formal opening on Oct. 3, 1927, which attracted a crowd estimated at more than 25,000 people. Invited guests wore gowns and tuxedoes.


DMN, Oct. 2, 1927 (full-page ad)

DMN, Oct 2, 1927

DMN, Oct. 2, 1927

N-M Graham Bros. delivery truck (DMN, Oct. 2, 1927)


DMN, Oct. 30, 1927

n-m_dmn_120928DMN, Dec. 9, 1928


Top photo was posted in the Facebook group Pioneers of Dallas County; it is from the collection of Dallas historian Frances James.

All photos and articles dated October 2, 1927 are from a special section of The Dallas Morning News which coincided with the opening of the expanded store.

Read more about the history of the Neiman Marcus building on Wikipedia, here.

Click images to make them bigger. A couple of them are crazy-big.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Thank You, Preservation Dallas!

wilson-house_FB-page_cover-photoThe historic Wilson House, home of Preservation Dallas (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I was invited by the nice people of Preservation Dallas to be part of their Summer Sizzlers Series and to present my first-ever lecture/talk: on how I write the blog and what resources I use. Somehow I managed to stand in front of a packed roomful of people (one of my greatest fears) and talk for 90 minutes (!) — and, surprisingly, I think my presentation was mostly coherent. I have to admit, a lot of it’s a hazy blur, but I was happy to find that it was an enjoyable experience. I had a great time, and it was nice to talk to so many people who are as interested in Dallas history as I am.

Thank you Irene Allender, David Preziosi, and Donovan Westover for inviting me and for hosting such a nice event!




Photo at top shows the beautiful Wilson House, built in 1899 at the corner of Swiss and Oak and current home of Preservation Dallas. Read more about the house here; read about the Wilson Block Historic District here. Take a virtual Google Street View tour of the wonderful two blocks’ worth of historic houses here. (Photo from the Preservation Dallas Facebook page.)

After the lecture, I had several people ask about the PowerPoint 2016 presentation I’d made. This was the first time I’d ever used PowerPoint, and it worked really well for showing many (MANY!) photographs to the audience. For those of you who came up and asked me about it, the very, very well done YouTube tutorial I used to teach myself PowerPoint is here. It’s in 10 segments — about 3 hours in all — you might not need everything in it, but I found it very helpful.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


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