A Post Office on the Fairgrounds?

by Paula Bosse

tx-state-fair_post-office_postcardTeeny-tiny post office at Fair Park… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I’m not really sure about this. It’s a postcard with a photograph captioned “Post Office — Texas State Fair” on the front, and “Missouri, Kansas & Texas Ry. Co.” printed on the back.

mkt_post-office-back

Was there a post office on the fairgrounds? After much googling, I came across a photo of a huge statue atop an arch in the book Fair Park by Willis Cecil Winters. Winters writes that this masonry arch […] served the fairgrounds as a post office.” I’m not sure how that worked, but it’s interesting.

fair-park_arch_statuary_post-office_dallas-rediscovered

I did find a few mentions of a post office on the grounds of the state fair. Seems that it was a fairly standard temporary fixture on the fairgrounds — not only was it a post office branch that served those who worked the fair, it was also a one of the many features (along with huge steam-powered engines, restaurants, and telegraph and telephone service) that made the fairgrounds a self-contained mini city of sorts:

[I]t is no longer necessary for those doing business at the fair grounds to come down town, as the grounds constitute a completely appointed modern city, with all connection with the outside world. (Dallas Morning News, Sept. 25, 1901)

(Click clippings to see larger images.)

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DMN, Sept. 17, 1899

post-office_fairgrounds_dmn_092501
DMN, Sept. 29, 1901

post-office_fairgrounds_dmn_091103
DMN, Sept. 11, 1903

state-fair_post-office_dmn_100408
DMN, Oct. 4, 1908

And now I know.

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Top photo is from eBay (where this postcard is currently waiting for bids, here).

Photo of the Fair Park sculpture was taken in 1910. The Dallas Historical Society photo is captioned thusly by William L. McDonald in his book Dallas Rediscovered: “‘Progress,’ a sculptural monument to the promise of the age of technology which disappeared mysteriously just before the 1936 Centennial.” (THAT sounds like an interesting story!)

About the only mention I could find of the “colossal statuary that spans the driveway near the grand stand of the race track” (DMN, Oct. 15, 1905) was this short mention in a News article:

fair-park_arch_statuary_dmn_091505
DMN, Sept. 15, 1905

Want to know what the “Act of Congress” mentioned on the back of this “privately printed” postcard means? See here. Kind of interesting. And the info seems to indicate that the postcard above was printed between 1898 and 1901.

Click pictures and clippings to see larger images.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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