“Melons on Ice” — 1890s
by Paula Bosse
by Paula Bosse
It looks hot in this photo from the 1890s. I bet those “Melons On Ice” in front of Wiley’s grocery store really hit the spot.
I love this photo. The Wiley Cash Grocery was in business for only a few years — from about 1892 to 1896. It was located at 153 Commerce, one block east of the brand new county courthouse.
The business was owned by Anna E. Wiley (~1862-1930) and her husband Jesse P. Wiley (~1863-1942). When they arrived in Dallas around 1887 their address in the city directory was simply “¾ mile w of river.”
Even though the store seems to have been in Anna’s name, Jesse was forced to file a deed of trust in 1896 when the store was faced with crippling debt. The Wileys owed approximately $1,545 to creditors (about $45,000 in today’s money), but their assets were only about $1,500, plus $800 of “good accounts.” Unsurprisingly, the store was gone by 1897. (Click article below to see a larger image.)
This photo captures such an odd view of downtown Dallas — it’s hard to believe that the site once occupied by the Wiley store is now the site of the John F. Kennedy Memorial. A present-day view can be seen here.
The map is a detail from an 1893 map of Dallas from the collection of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission; see the full map here.
All pictures and clippings are larger when clicked.
Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.