Random Photos of Turn-of-the-Century-ish Houses

lemmon-avenue_house_rppc_ebayLemmon Avenue home, horse included….

by Paula Bosse

I love looking at old houses — especially ones which once occupied parts of town which are definitely no longer residential areas. It’s always sad to realize that the beautiful house you’re looking at — one which you can imagine living in now, in the 21st century — has, almost always, been torn down decades ago and replaced with something much less interesting. Thankfully, people 120 years ago used to have their homes photographed in order to print up picture postcards which they would then send to friends and relatives. Most of the images below come from these “real photo postcards,” and all show nice little glimpses into Dallas homes from before 1910. Only one of these houses is still standing. (All photos are larger when clicked.)

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Sadly, the house above is not still standing. It’s a beautiful house. Even comes with a horse! The house was at 405 Lemmon Avenue in Oak Lawn. After the addresses in Dallas changed in 1911, the address became 3621 Lemmon (in the middle of the block between Welborn and Turtle Creek Park/Lee Park — apartments and a parking garage now occupy that whole block) — see it on a 1921 Sanborn map here. The owner was W. Leslie Williams, a real estate man. Family horses wandered off a few times, according to “strayed or stolen” ads placed in the paper, such as the one below.

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Nov. 1911

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Below, a house which once stood at 711 Travis (which later became 4627 Travis), between Knox and Hester (the Katy railroad tracks would have run right behind the house) — see it on a 1921 Sanborn map here. It was in the “Fairland” addition. The owner of the house was T. B. Baldwin, a traveling agent for The Dallas Morning News. The photo was on a postcard mailed in 1908.

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Now to South Dallas (The Cedars?). This house stood at 200 Cockrell Ave. (which became 2130 Cockrell), between Corinth and Montgomery, now part of a large swath of empty land almost certainly being developed in somebody’s head as I type this. See it at the very bottom of this 1921 Sanborn map. The house was owned by Horatio W. Fairbanks, supervisor of the Dallas Cotton Mills, and was later occupied by the Wesley Settlement House for several years. The photo below is from 1896.

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Now to four houses in Oak Cliff. The first stood at 107 10th Street (later 525 E. 10th St.), between Lansing and Marsalis — see it on a 1922 Sanborn map here. This was the home of Dr. William E. King, whom I presume is the man standing in front of the house — he died in 1909, a year after this photo was taken. The land now appears to be occupied by a body-shop parking lot. (This 1908 photo is from the Murphy Historical Society, via the Portal to Texas History, here.)

king-william_oak-cliff_1908_murphy-historical-society_via-portal

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The home of T. Henry Dorsey, a member of the family who founded the Dorsey Printing Co., a pioneer printing establishment in Dallas, was at 161 Grand Ave. (the name of the street was changed to Marsalis, and in 1911 the address of this house became 113 N. Marsalis), between 9th and 10th streets — see it on a 1905 Sanborn map here. The current occupant of this land is, I think, a trucking company. This house — which Dorsey moved into around 1900 — can be seen below from several angles (including one from the back which shows a fence running into part of the house which appears to be encroaching onto a neighbor’s property. 

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Before 1911, the address of the house below — a house I absolutely love — was 174 South Jefferson; after 1911, the address was, rather confusingly, changed to 516 East Jefferson (between Patton and Denver) — see it on a 1905 Sanborn map here. It was on land now occupied by Felix Botello Elementary School. This house was owned for several decades by Dr. William M. Lively. The image below is from a postcard dated 1909. (Great car!)

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Below is the only one of these houses still standing. It began life as 120 Madison Ave. (which later became 628 N. Madison), at the corner of W. Neely St. in the Kidd Springs neighborhood of Oak Cliff. See it on a 1922 Sanborn map here (bottom left corner). Claude Marcelle (C. M.) Crawford, a traveling salesman, lived here with his wife, Maud, and their infant son, Marcelle Crawford. Maud Crawford (who died in 1913, just a couple of years after this photo was taken) wrote: “What do you think of our ‘cosy corner.’ Every one tells us it is pretty so much until we almost believe it our selves.” Crawford eventually went to work for Bristol-Myers as a regional branch manager, and after 30 years, when he was in ill health, the company retired him on full pay (!) in gratitude for his service. When he retired, he owned a Beverly Drive home in Highland Park, apparently having done very well. His charming little starter-house in Oak Cliff still stands, having recently been remodeled. 

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about 1910

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2012, Google Street View

crawford-house_madison_google-street-view_20192019, Google Street View

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Claude Marcelle Crawford, Jr., Dallas Morning News, Aug. 13 1911

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And, lastly, the only house I wasn’t able to determine the location of — it also looks like the oldest. On the back is a faint penciled notation which appears to  be signed “G. P. Taylor.” In a more recent notation in ink, the family members in the photo are identified: “Made in Dallas, Tex. — Elm St. — Mother on porch, Mattie & I in window, Pearl & Joe in gate.” 1870s or 1880s? It’s a mystery!

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Sources & Notes

All images except the William E. King house are from eBay.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.