Year-End List! My Favorite Posts of 2017

by Paula Bosse

gill-well_highland-park_dallas-rediscoveredA Gill Well pagoda in Highland Park…

by Paula Bosse

Another year of Dallas-history immersion comes to a close — that can only mean that it’s time for the all-but-inevitable making-of-lists. I enjoyed writing all the Flashback Dallas posts that appeared in 2017, but these are the ones I had the most fun researching and writing. Those who think history is dull don’t dive in far enough! (To see the original full-length posts, click the titles; click the pictures to see larger images.)

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1. THE GILL WELL

Every once in a while, the words “Gill Well” would creep into Dallas history articles I’d read, but whenever I tried to find out more information on this once-very-well-known source of hot “medicinal” mineral water near Reverchon Park, I found almost nothing (even though we were “this close” to having our own Hot Springs-like resort in Oak Lawn). So I decided to write something myself and see if I could find any historic photos. I write most Flashback Dallas posts fairly quickly, but this one took ages to research and write. But it was fun. And now I know the who, what, when, where, why, and how of Dallas’ famed Gill Well and its legendary foul-smelling tonic water (which I’m glad I never had to drink).

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2. “ENEMY ALIENS” AND THE WWII INTERNMENT CAMP AT SEAGOVILLE

I had no idea there was a Japanese internment camp in Dallas County during World War II. This was really fascinating (and depressing) to learn about.

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3. NEWLY DISCOVERED FOOTAGE OF JACK RUBY — 1960

This is fantastic — and weird — and prosaic. Footage of Jack Ruby combing his hair (yes, combing his hair…) on a crowded Elm Street sidewalk during a Christmas parade came to light almost accidentally via an SMU social-media post. It’s all very cool, and I had a lot of fun trying to determine where the footage had been shot and what was going on. (There’s also a spy camera involved….)

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4. 1710 HALL: THE ROSE ROOM / THE EMPIRE ROOM / THE ASCOT ROOM — 1942-1975

I love reading about Dallas’ rich music history, and this “North Dallas” club hosted huge names in jazz, swing, and R&B.

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5. MOSAIC RESTORATION AT DOWNTOWN’S ST. JUDE CHAPEL

I went downtown to watch the progress of Julie Richey’s painstaking restoration of the giant mosaic (made from over 800,000 glass tiles) which has graced the exterior of the little chapel on Main Street since 1968. And I took a lot of photos. It was a great day.

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6. THE MOSQUITO BAR

I had never heard the term “mosquito bar” until I saw a painting of one by John Singer Sargent. Life would have been miserable without this essential household item.

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7. BISHOP COLLEGE — 1969

The 1961 arrival of Bishop College — founded in Marshall, Texas in 1881 — was an important chapter in Dallas’ history. And its 1969 yearbook was filled with some of my favorite photos of the past year!

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8. MIMI PAYNE ALDREDGE McKNIGHT

Mimi was a family friend who was instrumental in my father’s career. She passed away this year, and I wrote about a tiny portion of her very interesting life.

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9. WHEN THE CIRCUS CAME TO TOWN — 1886

W. W. Cole’s Circus … I can’t even. The troupe’s advertising mastermind was never at a loss for adjectives and superlatives.

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10. TINY TIM MOBBED AT THE MELODY SHOP — 1969

Ukulele-strumming Tiny Tim was set upon by a “human wall” of 5,000 teenage fans at NorthPark. Who knew?

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11. HISTORIC NEON: THE SUPER-COOL SIGEL’S SIGN

Who doesn’t love this sign? I wrote about the sign and its creator, Marvin Sigel (whom I was told enjoyed this post!).

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12. TWELVE PROMINENT BLACK BAPTIST CHURCHES — 1967

I will always love looking at pictures of old buildings. And most of these are still standing.

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13. THE PRAETORIAN BUILDING AND ITS 19th-CENTURY NEIGHBORS

Yeah, it’s kind of picture-after-picture of the same couple of blocks over the years. Even though the Praetorian has been erased from the skyline, a couple of those other older-than-you-realize Main Street buildings have managed to hang on by the skin of their teeth.

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14. DOWNTOWN DALLAS, LAST WEEK

I should get out and take photos more often. This was so much fun.

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15. STATE FAIR OF TEXAS MIDWAY — 2017

Photos taken while wandering around Fair Park during this year’s State Fair of Texas.

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Not a bad year (…Flashback Dallas-wise at least). I look forward to learning about all sorts of new things in 2018. Thanks for reading! Onwards!

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Sources & Notes

See all three 2017 “Best Of Flashback Dallas” lists here.

See all Flashback Dallas Year-End lists — past and present — here.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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