Year-End List! Most Popular Posts of 2014

by Paula Bosse

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by Paula Bosse

I’m so happy that so many people have found their way to Flashback Dallas in its first year! I knew that Dallasites were interested in the history of their city, but I had no idea how many were! Thank you!

These are the posts that you, the readers, clicked on, shared, and “liked” the most in 2014. To see the original posts, click the titles.

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Top 10 Most Popular Photo-Based Posts of 2014

1. “Henry Stark’s ‘Bird’s Eye View of Dallas’ — 1895/97.” This one was so far ahead of the other posts that there’s no contest in its being the #1 post of the year. Thousands and thousands of people have clicked on and shared this post — in one day alone, it was viewed over 3,000 times! Thanks, Houston Public Library, for scanning this photo at such a high resolution — that was what made it possible for me to zoom in on the otherwise easily-overlooked details contained in this great photo!

2. “‘A Cavalcade of Texas’ — Dallas, Filmed in Technicolor, 1938.” Another post that got a HUGE number of hits. “A Cavalcade of Texas” was a feature-length, full color documentary filmed around Texas in 1938, with two scenes filmed in Dallas. When I wrote this post at the end of September, the YouTube video had about 1,000 views — today it has almost 4,500 views. It’s pretty amazing (and pretty weird…) seeing Dallas from this period in color.

3. “I-35E Looking South: A Landscape Blissfully Free of Cars and Strip Malls — 1964.” The popularity of this one comes almost entirely from a mention on Reddit. If I could harness the power of the Redditor army, I could — dare I say — rule the world! (Even though one of them snippily dismissed the post’s title as “Luddite nostalgia.” What can I say? I love the surreal sight of empty highways.) This is one of those incredibly large photos I try to post whenever I can — this one is almost alarming in its enormity!

4. “The Dallas Morning News Building, Inside and Out — ca. 1900.” I love these photos. I have a particular fondness for office furnishings of this period. And that mail chute is COOL.

5. “Highland Park Methodist Church — 1927.” This one kind of surprised me. I’d never seen the main photo before and thought it was interesting, but I had no idea it would be so popular. Redditors may be a powerful bloc, but never underestimate the Methodists!

6. “Waiting on a Streetcar on a Sunny Winter Day in Oak Cliff — 1946.” I love this one, too. Especially since it contains my favorite photo of the year.

7. “Captain Marvel Fights the Mole Men in Dallas! — 1944.” Dallas gets the comic book treatment with all sorts of odd cameos by famous buildings and local celebs. This is GREAT. Shazam!

8. “University Park, Academic Metropolis — ca. 1915.” An almost-deserted Park Cities landscape, showing what the intersection of Hillcrest and University looked like in 1915 — the year that SMU opened. Scroll down the post to the link to another super-gigantic image that’s so big you can almost read the letters in the mailbox.

9. “The Oak Cliff Viaduct & The Weird Composite Photo — 1912.” Fun in the darkroom, or, early photo-shop. It takes a while to realize that what you’re looking at doesn’t exist. Check out all three cool photos — two are real, one is not.

10. “The Trinity River at the City’s Doorstep.” The second photo is fantastic. Go look at it NOW!

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Top 10 Research-Based Posts of 2014

1. “The World’s Largest Santa & The Christmas Tragedy — 1953.” Very popular. I just posted this last week and it’s already jumped up to the fifth overall most popular post of the year!

2. “The Old Union Depot in East Dallas: 1897-1935.” I kind of slaved over this one, so I’m happy it was so popular.

3. “The Elm Street Cave — 1967.” It’s hard to believe the city took so long to fix this giant hole in the middle of downtown. It became quite the running joke, sort of like the notorious “Hole on Cole.”

4. “Happy 75th Anniversary, Stonewall!” I actually went to Stonewall Jackson Elementary School, so the popularity of this post makes me very happy. I learned lots of things about a school I thought I already knew.

5. “Start Your Brilliant Career at Dallas Telegraph College — ca. 1900.” Forget “plastics.” Telegraphy is the future, young people.

6. “Send Your Kids to Prep School ‘Under the Shadow of SMU’ — 1915.” The Powell University Training School opened the same year as SMU, right across the street. The building is still there. The fields where the cash-strapped headmaster had his students harvesting wheat and vegetables to make ends meet are not. (Read the PDF linked at the bottom of the post to read about this unorthodox trading of farm labor for tuition.)

7. “The Marsalis House: One of Oak Cliff’s ‘Most Conspicuous Architectural Landmarks.'” A beautiful house built by (and abandoned by) the developer of Oak Cliff became a medical sanitarium and, later, a girl’s seminary before it unceremoniously burned to the ground.

8. “Little Peruna: He Died With His Mustang Bridle On — 1934.” The story of the sudden death of SMU’s first miniature horse mascot is not one I would have thought I’d enjoy writing, but the discovery of the wonderfully overwrought obituary penned by an unnamed Dallas Morning News writer (…who might have been imbibing at the time…) made this post one of my favorites of the year.

9. Dewey Groom and The Longhorn Ballroom.” The man who made the Longhorn Ballroom one of the premiere country dancehalls in the nation deserves more recognition than he gets. (Still hoping that “Dewey” makes its way back into the baby-name pool.)

10. “Wanted in Dallas: Refugee Children — 1940.” There was a movement during World War II to bring child refugees from Europe to Dallas where they could live in safety for the duration of the war.

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Thanks again for reading, and I wish everyone a Happy 2015!

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For all the “Year-End Best of 2014” lists, click here.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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