Orphaned Factoids: Year-End Grab Bag, 2017

wigtons-sandwich-shop_flickr_colteraWith a name like “Wigton’s…” (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Time for another year-end collection of miscellaneous bits and pieces that don’t really belong anywhere, so I’m compiling them here in a weird collection of stuff. Enjoy! (Most clippings and photos are larger when clicked.)


Above, Wigton’s Sandwich Shop, owned by Charles J. Wigton. It looks like it was located near the dreaded East Grand-Gaston-Garland Road intersection. I found one listing in the 1932 city directory for this little “soft drink stand” which also served as the residence of Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Wigton. (Found on Flickr.) And somehow there’s a second photo of this place out there — the one below was found on eBay.



colors_ad_dallas-herald_112580Dallas Herald, 1880

You know, you just don’t see colors like “scared mouse,” “subdued moonshine,” and “sunset in Egypt” anymore. Pity. (Ad for A. A. Pearson’s millinery house.)


dancing_dallas-herald_1859Dallas Herald, 1859

“All those who are indebted to me for dancing lessons, MUST POSITIVELY SETTLE UP. I mean what I say.” Do not mess with dancemaster Howard. (I’m actually a little shocked someone was offering dancing lessons in Dallas, which, in 1859, was podunker than podunk.)


ad-debonair-danceland_ca19691969 Dallas directory

This is the only photo I’ve been able to find of Debonair Danceland (what a great, great name for a club). Depending on whether you were a regular, the adjectives generally used to describe the legendary dancehall are either “notorious” or “beloved.” It opened in 1967 and closed in 1995. As Bill Minutaglio wrote in The Dallas Morning News, it was “one of Dallas’ last rough-hewn links to the brawny honky-tonk highway” (DMN, July 25, 1995). It certainly had a colorful life. For starters there was a “suspicious” double bombing that ripped the place apart in 1968 (I don’t know if the photo in the ad above shows the place pre- or post-blast). There was a lot of … um … “activity” that went on at Debonair Danceland over the years which kept police-beat reporters busy. It was also apparently quite popular with bored housewives who tippled away their afternoons. (See a not-very-clear-but-at-least-larger grainy image of the photo in the ad here.)


ad-home-killed-beef_hillcrest-yrbk_19401940 Hillcrest High School yearbook

“Home-killed beef” is the best-killed beef.


weiland-funeral_1930-directory1930 Dallas directory



The Chas. F. Weiland Undertaking Co. was one of the city’s top funeral homes. They really promoted the fact that they had a “licensed lady embalmer” — I suppose some people preferred to have their mothers and other dearly beloveds tended to by a woman.


headcheese-poisoning_galveston-news_011994Galveston News, 1894

Beware the head cheese. …Always.


vegetarian_dallas-herald_050274Dallas Herald, 1874

Maybe even go cold turkey and completely ditch the head cheese for a diet consisting solely of “a salad of herbs.”


paper_houston-telegraph_121056Houston Telegraph, 1856

“The Dallas Herald is out of paper. It comes to us this week printed on wrapping paper. It is rather hard to read….”


police_dallas-herald_dallas-herald_050980Dallas Herald, 1880

I’m sure there is an interesting and most likely embarrassing story behind the implementation of this new police regulation.


kites-at-night_dallas-herald_072577Dallas Herald, 1877

This sounds wonderful.


ad-robertson-horseshoer_1900-directory1900 Dallas directory

Go to the M. O. Robertson, the expert horseshoer who will not fail to give satisfaction. Because all those others? They’re gonna fail. Not “if” but “when.”


ad-boedecker-bros_oysters-ice-cream_city-directory_18901890 Dallas directory

The sensation generated by seeing an ad with the words “oyster” and “ice cream” next to each other — cheek-by-jowl, as it were — is not a pleasant one.



Who knew? Ukulele-mania was alive and well in Big D in the ’20s.


sanger-bros_first-fashion-illus-in-ads-1881_centennial-ad-det_19721972 ad (detail)

A little tidbit on the history of commercial fashion illustration in Dallas, from a Sanger’s ad celebrating the company’s Centennial.



Another Sanger’s ad. This one with a, let’s say “more populist” example of the store’s fashion-illustration chops.


cat-wanted_dallas-herald_112387Dallas Herald, 1887

“WANTED—A good gentle well disposed cat to use in taking pictures. Apply to J. H. Webster, High Priced Photographer, 803 Elm or 804 Main streets.”

Okay, I’m a sucker. I love cats, and I love self-proclaimed “high-priced photographers.” Ergo, I must love this ad. I do. Seems like a good time to share a couple of 19th-century photographs of cats. 

cat_jones-coll_degolyer1860s, via SMU

cat_baby_degolyer1890s, via SMU


Sources & Notes

Dallas Herald clippings are from the Texas Digital Newspaper collection provided by UNT to the Portal to Texas History; you can peruse many scanned issues of The Dallas Herald (not to be confused with the later Dallas Times Herald) here.

“Cat Posed with Mexican Serape” is a cased ambrotype from the Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photographs collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more details on this photo can be found here. The article “Everyone Loves the Cat!” can be read on the SMU CUL blog “Off the Shelf,” here.

“Baby Seated with Cat” is also from the Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photographs collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU; more info on the photo is here.

Want more? See other “Orphaned Factoid” lists here.

Most images are larger when clicked. Click away!


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.