“How to Use Central Expressway” — 1949

by Paula Bosse

by Paula Bosse

It got only to Fitzhugh from downtown at this point, but the freeway concept was new enough that Dallas drivers needed some instruction on how to use Central Expressway. Cute.

Cuter still, the dedication ceremony. It included the singing of — what else? — “Old Man River,” the Pledge of Allegiance, some sort of aerial fly-over, and, of course, square dancing (two square dances, one for white dancers, one for black). Oh, and the mayor’s wife christened the expressway with a bottle of cologne. (How much more Dallas can you get?) (Many of the images and articles below are larger when clicked.)

Here is the DMN coverage of the ceremonies. My favorite line from the article is a quote by the mayor on how the new highway will psychologically benefit the city’s drivers. His hope and expectation is that driving along Central Expressway will make drivers “more relaxed when they get home from the office, and in a better mood when they get to the office from home.” Again, cute.

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Neal Mancill, Chairman of the Highway Committee of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Squire Haskins.

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The segregated celebration had black celebrants in one area and white celebrants in another. Photo by Squire Haskins.

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Mrs. Fred Wemple, wife of the Chairman of the Texas Highway Commission, cutting the ribbon on a miniature replica of Central Expressway. Photo by Squire Haskins.

But back to the lesson. THIS is how you use Central Expressway — just follow the arrows! The two halves of the larger map above are here magnified (click!) to more easily facilitate wistful inspection of an artifact from a simpler time when the city looked forward to experiencing a calm, restful, non-stop drive along the Central Expressway.

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To peruse the entire pamphlet titled Central Expressway… San Jacinto to Fitzhugh, Dedication August 19, 1949 (Dallas: Dallas Chamber of Commerce, 1949), click here.

Newspaper photos and article from the Dallas Morning News, August 20, 1949.

Photos by Squire Haskins from the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

Postcard from a photo by Squire Haskins (click to see GIGANTIC image).

If you think it might get bigger or sharper if you click it, then click it!

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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