U.S. Revenue Cutter “Carrie Nation” Successfully Navigates the Trinity In Valiant Effort to Keep Dallas Dry! — 1931

by Paula Bosse

The ship’s arrival, passing under the streetcar viaduct (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I spent a couple of hours looking through the archives of The Dallas Morning News this morning, hoping to find a nice juicy April Fools’ prank from the past. Everything was fairly run-of-mill. Until I came across this. THIS is great. I don’t know who wrote the story, but there is, at least, acknowledgement for the wonderfully weird photo above — the photo credit reads: “Perpetrated by C. J. Kaho, News Staff Photographer.”

Below is the accompanying story about the United States Revenue Cutter Carrie Nation and the news of its journey up a surprisingly navigable Trinity River in order to anchor itself beneath the Commerce Street viaduct and make sure that the rum-runners in the Gulf don’t gain a foothold in bone-dry Prohibition-era Dallas. The photo and report appeared in the pages of The Dallas Morning News on April 1, 1931, beneath the headline “Lots of Dallas People Failed to See This.”

Unwilling to let such an important story fade away — and with a few more good lines left to get into print — this appeared the next day, on April 2, 1931: “Navigation Assured!”

Then some killjoy editor probably insisted on this, which also appeared on April 2, 1931:


Rev. J. B. Cranfill was a Baptist leader and a noted Prohibitionist. I love the line “Dr. J. B. Cranfill was so overcome with joy that he wept copious tears, taking care to shed them into the canal, so as to increase its depth.”

And I laughed out loud at the “where the West begins” dig at Fort Worth.

But, seriously, that photo is great. The little streetcar chugging over the viaduct is just the perfect garnish.

Read about the famed, notorious Bonehead Club of Dallas in a 1991 Texas Monthly article by Helen Thompson, here. Thank you, Boneheads!


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.