Views From a Passing Train — 1902

by Paula Bosse

edmunds_pacific-bryan_free-lib-phil_1902Pacific, looking west toward Bryan, 1902 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Franklin Davenport Edmunds (1874-1948) was a Philadelphia architect whose hobbies were travel and photography. A 1902 train trip to Mexico took him through Texas, during which there as a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it stop in Dallas.

edmunds_whos-who-philadelphia_1920Who’s Who in Philadelphia, 1920

On the way to Mexico, he stopped in St. Louis for a while (where he took several photos on Feb. 12), passed through Arkansas (on Feb. 13), apparently saw very little of Dallas as he rolled through, and then took a lot of photos when he reached San Antonio (by Feb. 14). He then continued on to a vacation of at least two or three weeks in Mexico, where his camera was never far from his side.

The two photos that were taken as he passed through Dallas (which I’m assuming were snapped from the train) were probably taken on Feb. 13 or 14, 1902.

The location of the photo above is not noted, but it appears to be Pacific Avenue looking west. Peter S. Borich’s sign-painting business was on the northeast “corner” of Bryan and Pacific (at the point of the diagonal intersection). The photo shows the back and side of his building. It’s hard to see them, but there is a wagon with a team of horses at the Bryan St. intersection. Behind Borich’s is a blacksmith shop, and across the street, there are several furniture stores. Straight ahead is an almost mirage-like smoke-spewing locomotive heading toward the camera. (Unless Edmunds was standing in the middle of Pacific, I’m guessing he was taking the photo from the rear of the train.)

Seconds later, the train would have pulled into the old Union Depot (located about where Pacific would cross present-day Central Expressway).

edmunds_old-union-stn_free-lib-phil_1902(click for larger image)

Even though not identified in the photo description, the distinctive old Union Depot is instantly recognizable (an unrelated photo taken from about the same spot can be seen in this one from the George W. Cook collection at SMU’s DeGolyer Library). Again, the photo appears to have been taken from the train.

Edmunds took a ton of photos on this trip, but, sadly, he seems to have merely passed through Dallas without wandering around to explore its streets (which I would think would be interesting — if not downright exotic — to a Philadelphia architect) — I’m not sure he even got off the train to stretch his legs! But I’ve never seen these two photos, and they’re pretty cool. So, thanks, Frank — you should have hung around a little longer.


Both photos by Franklin Davenport Edmunds are from the Free Library of Philadelphia. The Pacific Avenue photo can be accessed here; the Union Depot photo, here. Other photos he took in Texas during the 1902 trip (and a few from a previous 1899 trip) can be viewed here.

A biography of Edmunds can be read at here.

A detail from the 1905 Sanborn map showing the businesses located at Pacific and Bryan, with Borich’s business circled in red and the camera’s vantage point in blue, can be seen here.

Below, a detail from a map (circa 1890-1900), showing the locations of the two photos, with the Pacific Ave. location circled in green and the Union Depot location in yellow.

dallas-map_ca1900(click for larger image)

And, lastly, a present-day image showing the same view as the top photo (from Google Street View).


My previous post, “The Old Union Depot in East Dallas: 1897-1935” — a history of the station with several photos — can be found here.

Images larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.