Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Meet Your City of Dallas Flag, 1916-1967

Oh dear, no….

by Paula Bosse

This was the official flag of the City of Dallas, from 1916 to 1967. Um … ick.

The flag of Dallas County, adopted in 1975 and seen below, is actually worse.



More Texas flags can be seen here.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Sheraton Dallas, Original Version — 1959

Sheraton Hotel front


by Paula Bosse

I love this somewhat fauvist depiction of Dallas in 1959 — it’s exactly what I wish the city actually looked like, yellow sky and all. All those clean, sharp lines and wide-open sidewalks! The foreshortening is completely out of whack here, with enormous cars and ant-size people — perhaps it’s a metaphor for the dismissive Texan view on pedestrian transport. (What are the two flags to right of the Texas flag?)


My knowledge of certain aspects of Dallas can be surprisingly spotty sometimes. I’ve seen the Sheraton building all my life, but I knew nothing of its history, or its connection to the Southland Life company (both were part of a complex of buildings, which, during construction, was being compared to Rockefeller Center). The inevitable Wikipedia page is here.

What the heck — here’s another angle: the mighty Southland Life building taking center stage this time, with the Sheraton standing in the wings, spear in hand, waiting to go back on.



Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Celery Cola: “It Picks You Up!” — 1909


by Paula Bosse

When you think of Dallas and soft drinks, you probably think Dr Pepper. But back in 1909, Dallas was the main office for the Western division for the Birmingham, Alabama fizzy drink Celery Cola (containing, one presumes, delicious celery-flavored syrup). Their offices were in the somewhat low-rent stretch of Exposition while rival Coca Cola was snugly housed at the cushy southeast corner of N. Akard and Ross.

Only a couple of weeks after an official state charter was granted to local aspiring soda tycoons W. A. Massie, E. O. Massie, and J. B. Green to start officially producing the elixir in Dallas, this ad — a bit on the defensive side — appeared in the Dallas Morning News (click to see larger image):

celery-cola-AD_dmn_022809DMN, Feb. 28, 1909

Not so much an ad as testimony. Ads are usually more like this:


As it turns out, Celery Cola ceased production in 1910 after repeated findings of the presence of cocaine and large amounts of caffeine by the Pure Food and Drug Administration. Let’s hope Messrs. Massie, Massie, and Green bounced back from their ill-advised investment. The owner of the Celery Cola Company certainly bounced back — he continued to create soft drinks such as — no kidding — “Koke” and “Dope.” Dallas is better off with Dr Pepper. The only whispered allegation that’s dogged them is prune juice — and that stuff is 100% legal.


Top ad from a Celery Cola site here.

Third ad, with the word “its” misspelled (*sigh*) from the comments section of a Shorpy post here.

Best overview on the history of Celery Cola and its creator, James Mayfield, is here.

My favorite part of this story was reading the long list of Dallas-area “illegal” soft drinks (and other oft-tampered-with foodstuffs) in J. S. Abbott’s First Annual Report of the Dairy and Food Commissioner of Texas (Austin, 1908). The soft drink list begins on p. 46 after an interesting prologue here. Celery Cola was not alone! (And, if I’m reading this correctly, Messrs. Massie, Massie, and Green were fully aware of what was going on, having provided the food cops with cocaine-laced samples several months before they bought into the company.)


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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