Ervay, Live Oak, and Elm: Just Another Wednesday Night — 1953

by Paula Bosse

ervay-live-oak-elm_haskins_uta_010753“Tomorrow’s weather: warm & cloudy” (click for much larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Here’s what 7:18 PM looked like at the old five-point intersection of Ervay, Live Oak, and Elm streets on January 7, 1953, a Wednesday night. All that neon — especially that Coca-Cola sign, which was probably flashing and strobing like crazy — gives this scene a sort of mini-Times Square feel. Imagine this intersection on a Friday or Saturday night when the streets and sidewalks would have been packed with people heading to theaters, restaurants, and night clubs!

On the left, at the street light (I love those street lights!) and the Walgreen’s sign, is N. Ervay. To the left of the Coca-Cola sign is Live Oak, which used to come through to Elm. To the right, Elm Street, heading east.

So many interesting things here: the Mayflower Coffee Shop (with its “Anytime Is Donut Time” clock and its animated Maxwell House Coffee sign), that incredible neon sign above the Lee Optical store which gave the forecast, that Fred Astaire Dance Studios sign (with “Astaire” in a fantastic neon font), and the Tower and Majestic theater signs lit up for moviegoers who ventured to the movies on a school night. Unseen: the public restrooms (or “public comfort stations”) hidden beneath the street, with the entrance (I think) on the Lee Optical triangular “corner.”

I love all the neon, but this quiet little vignette of a woman carrying some sort of sack or parcel down a chilly downtown street is why I wish I had been around back then — it’s weird to feel nostalgia for a time and place you never actually experienced.



A map showing that this intersection once had five points.

ervay-elm-live-oak_1952-mapsco1952 Mapsco (click for larger image)

A listing of the businesses along Live Oak, between N. Ervay and N. St. Paul, from the 1953 city directory (click to read):


And the businesses along Elm, between N. Ervay and the old Dallas Athletic Club:



This photograph — an untitled night scene — was taken by Squire Haskins on Jan. 7, 1953; from the Squire Haskins Photography, Inc. Collection at the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries, Special Collections, accessible here.

See this same view during the DAY in the post “Tomorrow’s Weather at Live Oak & Elm — 1955-ish,” here.

All images larger when clicked; the top photo is very large.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.