SMU’s First Year: The Dinkey, Campus Hijinx, and the Basket Ball — 1915-16

by Paula Bosse


by Paula Bosse

As a companion to my previous post on the first year of classes at SMU, here are a few more photos from the yearbook, these documenting the less studious side of campus life.

The most interesting thing about these photos, for me, is the SMU trolley, nick-named “The Dinkey” (or “The Dinky”). When SMU opened in 1915, it was waaaaaaaaaay outside the city limits, and the rail line extended only as far north as Knox. In order to get to and from downtown (and points beyond), one had to board the Dinkey near Hillcrest and McFarlin and ride to Knox, then change to an official city streetcar and head into civilization.

This reminiscence appeared in a 1984 issue of Park Cities People:

The first time Manning saw the campus was from the wooden seat of the Dinkey, an electric streetcar built for SMU in 1915.

“I told Dad Johnson, the conductor, as I boarded in Highland Park, I wanted to get off at SMU,” Manning said. “He said, ‘That’s as far as it goes.'”

“‘When we got there, I said, ‘Where’s the campus?’ He said, ‘There’s only two buildings. Dallas Hall is the one with the columns.'”

Manning couldn’t see the building from the Dinkey for the four-foot-tall Johnson grass and had to follow a travel-worn path to Dallas Hall.

2dinkey-hpcentennial“The Dinkey ran from Dallas Hall to Knox Street on tracks in the middle of Hillcrest. This photo taken at McFarlin.”

3smu-rotunda-1916_dinkey-stopThe “depot” where the Dinkey picked up and dropped off SMU students, faculty, and visitors.

4smu-rotunda-1916_dinkeyThe Dinkey, garnished with co-eds.


6smu-rotunda-1916_cosmopolitan-univ“Cosmopolitan University” horsepower.


8smu-rotunda-1916_footballBad season?

The inaugural football season started tentatively. The 1915 schedule:

  • Oct. 9th: SMU vs. TCU at Fort Worth
  • Oct. 14th: SMU vs. Hendrick College at Dallas
  • Oct. 27th: SMU vs. Austin College at Dallas Fair
  • Nov. 4th: SMU vs. Dallas University
  • Nov. 12th: SMU vs. Daniel Baker at Brownwood
  • Nov. 19th: SMU vs. Southwestern University at Dallas
  • Nov. 25th: SMU vs. Trinity University at Waxahachie

9smu-rotunda-1916_basketballThe men’s “Basket Ball” team.

10smu-rotunda-1916_girls-basketballThe girl’s “Basket Ball” team.



All images (except the second) from the 1915-1916 edition of SMU’s “Rotunda” yearbook.

Photo (and caption) of the “Dinkey” trolley at Hillcrest and McFarlin from Highland Park Centennial Celebration site, here.

Quote about traveling to the campus from Park Cities People (March 15, 1984).

“Dallas Hall and the Hilltop” by Tom Peeler, an entertaining  1998 D Magazine article on the first days of SMU, is here.

My previous post containing more photos from this first yearbook, is here.

Several photos larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.