Commerce & Record Streets — 1946

by Paula Bosse

streetcar_commerce-record_051046_ceraCommerce St. looking east from Record (click for huge image)

by Paula Bosse

If it’s a photo of downtown in the ’40s, with people on the streets, retail storefronts, and streetcars, I’m going to love looking at it. Like this one. A lot of people might be hard-pressed to identify the location of this photograph, even if they were standing in the exact spot the photographer stood in. If you look at today’s view from the same vantage point (here), just about everything in the immediate foreground (west of the Pegasus-topped Magnolia Building) is gone — except for, most notably, the beautiful MKT Building at Commerce and Market, one of my favorite downtown buildings.

This is the intersection of Commerce and Record streets, when Record still extended from Elm to Jackson; the Old Red Courthouse was behind the photographer, to the left. Today, the Kennedy Memorial is at the left where the people are waiting for a streetcar; the George Allen Courts Building is across the street — at the right, in the block with the travel bureau; and the block containing the Willard and Davis Hat building — across Commerce from the Katy Building — is now a parking lot.

As with every photograph like this I see, I wish I could step into it and walk around the downtown Dallas of 1946. Maybe pop into Ma’s Cafe for a Dr Pepper before I hop on a streetcar and just ride around on it all day until someone kicks me off.

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Below are a couple of magnified details (both are much larger when clicked).

streetcar_commerce-record_051046_cera-det1

streetcar_commerce-record_051046_cera-det2

Below is a listing of the businesses in this 600 block of Commerce, between Record Street and the MKT Building.

600-block-commerce_1945-directory1945 Dallas directory

(The tall building on the right with the travel bureau on the ground floor is the Plaza Hotel at 202-204 Record Street. The Yonack Liquor Store on the corner is at 200 Record, with entrances on both Commerce and Record.) 

Here’s a detail of a photo taken about the same time, showing an aerial view of Commerce Street.

aerial_commerce-st_1940s_foscue-lib_smuFoscue Map Library/SMU

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Top photograph was taken on May 10, 1946 by Richard H. Young; it can be viewed on the CERA (Central Electric Railfans’ Association) website, here. (If you’re interested in Dallas streetcars, this page has some GREAT photographs!)

The caption of the photo from the above website: “May 10, 1946 — New Dallas Railway & Terminal Co. double-end PCC car 620, at speed, southbound, turning into Record St. from Commerce St. (Ervay-7th Line).”

The aerial photo was taken by Lloyd M. Long in the 1940s and is titled “Downtown Dallas looking east (unlabeled); it is from the Edwin J. Foscue Map Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University. This is only a small portion of the full photograph — the full photo is here.

Since there is an exact date for this photo, here is a large Skillern’s ad from that day’s newspaper. Coincidentally, there was a  Skillern drugstore on the northeast corner of Commerce and Record — it is in this photo, behind the lamppost at the bottom left. Let’s see what was on sale that day. (I would kill for a set of those Pyrex bowls!)

skillerns-ad_dmn_051046Dallas Morning News, May 10, 1946

And, lastly, who doesn’t love a map?

map_commerce-and-record_1952-mapsco 1952 Mapsco

Everything is bigger when clicked!

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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