Nighttime on Commerce Street — 1957
by Paula Bosse
by Paula Bosse
I love this photo showing Commerce Street, looking west from Akard — especially the green light on the walls of the Adolphus. And that heart-stoppingly beautiful deco “Walgreen” font and neon. Downtown Dallas in the ’40s and ’50s is a place I wish I had known, back when drug stores had soda fountains and hotels had “supper clubs.”
This photo was probably taken in March, 1957, when Ben Arden and His Orchestra “featuring Sylvia and her violin” were appearing at the Century Room in the Adolphus Hotel. Downtown Dallas looked pretty good in 1957.
Sources & Notes
Postcard photo — “Night view of Commerce Street in downtown Dallas, Texas” — by Leonard Raef; it is currently up for bids on eBay, here. (Thanks to Teresa Musgrove Gibson for posting this today in the Retro Dallas Facebook group!)
I don’t know if I’ve linked to this huge photo of the Adolphus on the Dallas City Hall website, but take a look at it here (then click again to make it really big). I have to say, I think I prefer that Commerce-and-Akard corner with the bright lights of the Walgreens to the more sedate, stripped-down look of the same corner today — it’s still a beautiful building, of course, but, man, that neon was just fantastic.
UPDATE: Some people who remember downtown at this time have thought this might show Main Street. As far as I know, Main has never been a one-way street (as seen in the photo above), but there was a Walgreen store at the northwest corner of Main and Akard, one block away. Seems counter-productive to have two drugs stores so close together, but there you are.
The color photo shows the northwest corner of Commerce and Akard, taken from the front of the Baker Hotel. The same corner can be seen at the right of this black-and-white photo from 1962:
Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.