The Allen Street Taxi Company
by Paula Bosse
Allen St. Taxi Co. / George W. 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.)
I love these guys. All business.
“Bullweed.” What is all this writing? I love the guy’s face looking out of the window.
“Dallas.” Car-people know exactly what make and model this vehicle is. …I am not one of these people.
Sources & Notes
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.
Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.
Thanks so much for sharing your amazing research. It is helping me have a much better perspective on our town.
I hope to meet you in person one day.
Warmly, Jaynie Schultz
Thank you, Jaynie! I’m learning more about my hometown every day, myself!
Paula, the badge on the radiator shell looks like it’s a Studebaker.
A close-up is here: http://bit.ly/1BoF5du
I looked at a couple of web sites that’ll tell you more than you want to know about Texas license plates and came away with the idea this car has a 1929 Texas license plate.
Sounds about right. Thanks, Bob!
That is a great find, good too have this era now be online, note the old Victorian house, that is what Dallas was in the 1920’s and 30s…..everywhere, and the crowds of men waiting for the call
….figure out what block it is near Pearl st or Hall in that area and you know that is the community, Freedman town was divided up into two areas in that era, and divided by the Dallas Branch now the Woodall Rodgers Freeway…Allen street is over by Hall and McKinney,which was an old row of shotgun houses,
you know that was a very fun place of character then it became a very dangerous place, the Allen street and State an Thomas Area….It is fun too look at an old photo, sad to know the full facts of what went wrong…..or how they died or moved away…….the fun part is the image survived…..and it is a gift…….to know, and how we came from here…..
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The taxis are Cadillacs. The one on the left is a 1926 and the two on the right are 1927s. All three have interesting hood ornaments/radiator caps. The dog bone design makes it easier to remove and I think there is a Boyce MotoMeter to read the temperature of the radiator. Also, it is hard to make out but the ornament is an airplane engine and propeller where the propeller rotates: https://i.imgur.com/1WkvUBY.jpg
The address on the sign is confusing. As best I can tell there never was a 1922 Allen Street. The 1930 directory shows a jump from 1920 to 2018 across Cochran and Allen Street Taxi was at 1907: https://i.imgur.com/2KzHrgM.jpg
The 1921 Sanborn maps corroborate this and show 1920 on the very corner of Allen and Cochran:
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