Main Street — ca. 1942

by Paula Bosse

main-street-canyon_ebay_smallThe Merc, Titche’s, the White Plaza (click for much larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I love postcards like this. All signs of people, automobiles, and streetcars have been magically erased. Poof! This lunchtime scene of empty streets and sidewalks — looking west down Main from Harwood at 12:30 PM — was definitely a view never seen by a human being!

In trying to figure out the year of this image, I narrowed it down to about 1942 — that was the year the Mercantile Building was completed, and that was also about the time that Henry Pollock’s luggage store packed up (…as it were…) and vacated 1911-13 Main (the store was no longer listed at this address by the time the 1943 directory was issued). That’s not to say that the sign painted on the side of the building didn’t remain after Pollock had left, but later occupants would most likely have painted over it as soon as they moved in.

Speaking of directories, here’s a look at the businesses in the 1900 block of Main — between St. Paul and Harwood — in 1941. (Click for larger image.)

main-st_19411941 Dallas directory

For me, the interesting thing about this postcard is seeing the Titche’s building (at the corner of St. Paul) before it was expanded. The small buildings between Titche’s and the White Plaza Hotel (a hotel which was originally Dallas’ first Hilton — Conrad’s first-ever hotel to bear his name) were demolished sometime around 1952, and the expansion began that year, its 50th in business in Dallas.

The original building was built in 1929, designed by George Dahl (whose office was, a few years later, right across the street); the architectural firm responsible for the expansion was Thomas, Jameson & Merrill.

Here’s what the building looked like before the expansion (with another magic erasure — this time, the hotel at the end of the block has been removed to make way for an unobstructed view of the moon):


And here’s the building after its expansion:



Sources & Notes

More on the Titche’s expansion in the Dallas Morning News article “Titche’s Reports Plans to Double Present Size” by Edd Routt (Sept. 7, 1952).

Present-day photo of the Titche’s building, from Wikipedia, is here.

Present-day street view showing roughly the same vantage point as the postcard at top, can be seen on Google Street View, here.

A previous Flashback Dallas post — “George Dahl’s Titche-Goettinger Building” — is here.

All images larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.