Akard Street Looking South, 1887-2015

by Paula Bosse

akard_from-pacific_cook_degolyer_smu_ca1898-detAkard Street from Pacific, ca. 1898, via Cook Collection, SMU

by Paula Bosse

I realized the other day that I have an inordinate number of photographs and postcards showing Akard Street looking south — usually taken from Pacific or Elm, so I thought I’d collect them all together. Some of these aren’t dated, so they’re not in strict chronological order, but I’ve made a half-hearted attempt to make sure horse-and-buggy photos are before the men-in-straw-hat-boaters, which are before the women-in-Miss-Crabtree-dresses, which are before the cars-with-rounded-bodies. It might be easiest to just assume they are not in chronological order. (All photos are larger when clicked — a couple are really  big.)

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The oldest is from 1887, when North Akard was still called Sycamore Street, and before the Oriental Hotel was built at Commerce and Akard in 1895. This unfortunately grainy newspaper photo was printed in The Dallas Morning News in 1925 — a portion of the caption read:

“[The photograph] shows the present site of the Queen Theater at the left in the foreground where the wooden awning posts and gas street light may be seen. The site occupied by the building to the right across Elm street, the one with the cloth awnings and with the sign on the side reading, ‘Douglas & Danover, Real Estate,’ is on the property recently purchased by the American Exchange National Bank for $8,000 a foot. It was then occupied in part by the Glen Lea branch chop house. South of the Douglas & Danover place is the Rowan Building site. To the west on Elm street may be seen the sign, ‘Fellman, Grumbach & Harris, Dry Goods and Ladies’ Wear.’ This firm was the predecessor of A. Harris & Co. It is interesting to note the heavily loaded telephone poles.”

akard-looking-south-from-elm_dmn_100125_18871887 photo printed in the DMN, Oct. 1, 1925

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Next up, an incredible photo, taken around 1898, a detail of which appears at the top of this post. The Oriental Hotel can now be seen at the end of Akard, at Commerce, where Akard used to make a dog-leg turn before continuing south, giving the appearance of a dead-end street.

akard_from-pacific_cook_de-golyer_smu-ca1898via George W. Cook Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU

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Another, with the Adolphus Hotel (built in 1912) now on the right, across Commerce from the Oriental. The tall building across Akard from the Adolphus is the Southwestern Life Building.

akard_elm_jim-wheat-sepiavia Jim Wheat’s Dallas history page

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This photo from 1925 appeared next to the one above from 1887 to show the growth of Dallas in the intervening 38 years. The Baker Hotel was built on the site of the old Oriental Hotel and opened in 1925, so the Baker is the building is the one now seen at the end of Akard. This area was now being called “the canyon district” or “the canyon.”

akard-looking-south-from-elm_dmn_100125DMN, Oct. 1, 1925

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In this great Frank Rogers photo, the canyon walls are getting higher, with the Adolphus Hotel firmly anchoring the Commerce corner across from the Baker.

akard_baker-adolphus_postcard_rogers_ebayvia eBay

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By the time this photo was taken in about 1936, Pegasus had become a part of the skyline, perched atop the Magnolia Petroleum Building.

akard_pacific_1936_legacies-spring-1989via Legacies History Journal

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This photo is from about 1940 — LOOK AT ALL THOSE PEOPLE.

akard-canyon_municipal-archives_dma-uncratedvia the DMA’s Uncrated blog

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As opposed to this one, which has NO people in it.

akard-canyon_ebayvia eBay

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This candid photograph, a little deeper into the canyon, is one of my favorites. (Click to see a gigantic image.)

akard-looking-south_ebayvia eBay

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And, finally, today. Pegasus and the Adolphus are still there, but the Baker Hotel was demolished in 1980, replaced by the One AT&T Plaza/Whitacre Tower.

akard-looking-south_google_2015via Google Street View, 2014

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The photo dated by SMU as “circa 1898” is titled “Akard Street from Akard and Pacific Avenue Intersection”; it is from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University, and it can be viewed here.

The circa 1936 photo showing Pegasus is from the Spring, 1989 issue of Legacieshere; it is from the Hayes Collection, Texas/Dallas Archives Division, Dallas Public Library, and is attributed to Denny Hayes.

The 1940 photo from the Dallas Museum of Art’s Uncrated blog — here — is from the Dallas Municipal Archives.

Other sources as noted.

Click pictures for larger images — sometimes MUCH larger images.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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