The Allen Street Taxi Company

by Paula Bosse

allen-st-taxi-co_cook-degolyerAllen St. Taxi Co. (click for larger image) Cook Collection, SMU

by Paula Bosse

This has to be one of my favorite “unknown Dallas” photographs that I’ve come across. It shows the Allen St. Taxi Co. — in the State-Thomas area — at 1922 Allen Street (now pretty much vacant land under the Woodall Rodgers freeway). My ability to date cars is not good, but from city directory information, it seems that this photo might date from somewhere between the mid-1920s to around 1930. The owners/proprietors of the company were listed as John Leonard and Andrew Short in the 1929 telephone book. I wonder if they are in this fantastic photo? Let’s look a little more closely at some of the details. (All pictures larger when clicked.)

allen-st-taxi-co_cook-degolyer_det2Those phones!

allen-st-taxi-co_cook-degolyer-det4I love these guys. All business.

allen-st-taxi-co_cook-degolyer_det5“Bullweed.” What is all this writing? I love the guy’s face looking out of the window.

allen-st-taxi-co_cook-degolyer_det1“Dallas.” Car-people know exactly what make and model this vehicle is. …I am not one of these people.

allen-st-taxi-co_cook-degolyer_det3

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Top photo, titled “Allen Street Taxi Co.,” is from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; it can be viewed here.

The first “official” listing of the Allen St. Taxi Co. was in the 1929 city directory. The address at that time (which usually reflected information supplied the previous year) was 1907 Allen St. It didn’t appear again in the directory until 1932 when it was listed at 2816 Juliette St. In 1933 and 1934 it was listed at 2114 Hall St. In 1936 and 1937 it had moved to 2217 Hugo. And in 1938, the taxi part of the business seems to have fallen by the wayside, and it became Allen St. Transfer.

In 1925 there were only three official cab companies listed in the city directory. But the rough-and-tumble world of taxi cab service in the unregulated ’20s and ’30s was pretty intense. There were a lot of unlicensed jitneys rolling around town, especially, one would assume, in the segregated black neighborhoods of the city unlikely to be served by white-owned companies. My guess is that this might have been how the Allen St. Taxi Co. began.

For more on the go-go-go competitive world of taxi service at this time, see my previous post, “Washington Taxi Company: ‘Call George!'” here.

Click pictures for larger images.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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