Industrial Blvd. Congestion — 1952

by Paula Bosse


by Paula Bosse

This photo of Industrial Boulevard is from Our City — Dallas by Justin F. Kimball. Below, a few of his paragraphs on Leslie Stemmons’ vision of what we now know as Industrial Boulevard. (Mr. Stemmons most likely did not foresee the tackiness and bail bonds emporia which now line this “boulevard.”)

Starting at the south end of the levee district, running north the whole length of the district with branches opening to Irving, to Wichita Falls, and to Denton and Gainesville, Industrial Boulevard, 130 feet wide, was dedicated for future traffic use at a time when there was no traffic at all.

One of those present at this stage of the district tells this story: “While the levees were being built and plans being made for the development of the properties, Mr. Stemmons took a group of railroad officials, including Mr. Upthegrove of St. Louis — a Dallas boy, then president of the Cotton Belt Lines — on an inspection tour through the area. There was then no such thing as Industrial Boulevard; Commerce Street west of the river was a narrow road which overflowed whenever the river reached flood stage. The surrounding land was covered with cockleburs, blood weeds and willows. On reaching the site of the present intersection of the Triple Underpass and Industrial Boulevard, Mr. Stemmons remarked, ‘Gentlemen, in twenty years this will be the busiest intersection in Dallas.’ Mr. Upthegrove, an old friend, looked up and said, “Les, you don’t mean that?’ ‘I was never more serious in my life,’ was the reply. Mr. Upthegrove looked around him and shook his head, ‘Gosh,’ he remarked, ‘from cockleburs to congestion.'”

Such is progress! In less than twenty years this intersection was reported to be the busiest intersection of vehicle traffic in the state. Planning, hard work, and faith bring wonders to pass.


Photo and text from Justin A. Kimball’s Our City –Dallas; Yesterday and Tomorrow (Dallas: Dallas Independent School District, 1954 — 2nd edition).

More on Leslie A. Stemmons here.

And an article from the months preceding the name-change from Industrial to Riverfront, here.

And if you, like I, wondered if “Mr. Upthegrove” was some sort of contrived Pythonesque name a la “Mr. Smoketoomuch,” it is, apparently, an actual surname. Good to know.

Click photo for larger image.