Year-End List: Most Popular Posts of 2020

neiman-marcus_preston-road_dallas-mag_feb-1949Proposed design of Preston Road Neiman-Marcus store…

by Paula Bosse

2020 is finally drawing to a close. And it can’t come fast enough! In this final post of the year, it’s a bit of a struggle to look back and recall good things in this remarkably difficult year, but they’re there. Having this blog has been something of a relief to turn to throughout the past few months — immersing myself in a subject which I love to be immersed in is a great distraction in the time of a global pandemic. So in this final post of the year, I share the most popular posts of 2020, determined by page hits, clicks, likes, shares, etc. Thank you, everyone, for keeping me company in this year of social distance!

Here are the most-read Flashback Dallas posts of 2020, starting with the most popular. To see each full post, click on the title; to see larger images of the thumbnails, click on the picture.

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1.  “NEIMAN’S FIRST SUBURBAN STORE: PRESTON ROAD — 1951-1965” (August)

Flashback Dallas readers love posts about Neiman-Marcus. I mean really love them! This post left all others from 2020 in the dust. I’m glad I got around to writing about this because even though I knew there had been a N-M store near Preston Center, I had no idea where it had actually been located. And now I know. I was also able to revisit this post a few weeks ago when Sotheby’s sold the store’s Alexander Calder mobile for $18.2 million (a lot more than Stanley Marcus paid Calder when he commissioned the piece!).

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2.  “MAGNOLIA GAS STATION NO. 110 — 1920” (March)

This post shows up on all three year-end “best of” lists. I loved it, especially all the zoomed-in close-ups, like the one seen here. Wouldn’t it be great if gas stations still looked like this? At least we still have the building, which stands at the edge of downtown, 100 years old this year.

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3.  “THE SOUTHLAND CENTER: MID-CENTURY COOL — 1959” (April)

So many fabulous John Rogers photos in this post! The Southland Center (the Southland Life Building and the Sheraton Dallas hotel) was planned with DESIGN in mind. There was a remarkable amount of attention paid to the aesthetics of architecture, interior design, and decorative art.

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4.  “LIVE OAK, FROM ELM AND ERVAY” (September)

The featured photo has absolutely everything: the Mayflower Coffee Shop, the Medical Arts Building, the Southland Life Building, the Sheraton Dallas hotel, the Mexico City Cafe, the Dallas Athletic Club, and even an entrance to an underground public restroom (!). How do things like this end up on eBay — posted by a seller in France? I’m glad I happened to see it — next day it was gone. You snooze, you lose!

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5.  “DALLAS — FROM ‘TEXAS, THE BIG STATE’ (1952)” (June)

A look at a 1952 Technicolor promotional film from Santa Fe Railroad which presents a travelogue of sights from a trip around Texas. The Dallas bit is less than 4 minutes long, but it packs a lot in. It’s always cool to see Dallas on film.

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6.  “RANDOM PHOTOS OF TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY-ish HOUSES” (July)

A look at eight photographs of Dallas homes, most taken before 1910, some with just an address, some with an owner’s name, and one with no information at all to give a clue of any history of the house. It was a fun research project, offering glimpses of neighborhoods which (mostly) no longer exist. Of the eight houses, only one is still standing — and I bet the Oak Cliff owner has no idea there’s a picture of it from 1910 on the internet.

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7.  “BEL-VICK’S ANCHOR: THE ANGELUS ARCADE AND THE ARCADIA THEATRE — 1920s” (January)

This was such an eye-opening look at the history of Lowest Greenville (the stretch of Greenville Avenue between Belmont and Ross Avenue). Back in the 1920s, developers were trying to get the public to call the Vickery Place-adjacent area “Bel-Vick” (for “Belmont” and “Vickery Place”), but that seems to have faded after the initial burst of development. This is the second post to make all three year-end “best of” lists, and it’s a nice companion to the post “Belmont & Greenville: From Caruth Farmland to Hub of Lower Greenville” (if I do say so myself!).

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8.  “ADS FROM ST. MARK’S YEARBOOKS — 1960s” (November)

I wrote a clump of St. Mark’s posts this year, with photos and ads gleaned from yearbooks, and they were all pretty popular. St. Mark’s families are a boosterish bunch! Yearbook ads are always a great source of nostalgia. This 1965 St. Mark’s-specific Neiman-Marcus ad is a personal favorite.

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9.  “HIGHLAND PARK’S AZALEAS” (April)

Driving around the Park Cities and along Turtle Creek to view the azaleas was an annual event in my family. I’m not sure people do that anymore, but they should — it’s always thrilling to see those sudden splashes of color. The history of azaleas in Dallas is an interesting one, and we should give thanks every spring to Joe Lambert Jr. and the Lambert Landscape Company for encouraging the planting of a crazy amount of azaleas over the decades, and for making Dallas a much, much prettier place. 

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10.  MISCELLANEOUS DALLAS” (August)

A grab-bag of photos, including a shot of the entrance to the club at Wah-Hoo Lake, the Coca-Cola HQ on McKinney, a horse-drawn hearse in Oak Cliff, the construction of LBJ Freeway, and a lively strip of businesses along 2nd Avenue in South Dallas.

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I usually post the top three all-time most popular Flashback Dallas posts, so here they are — it’s been these same three posts for years now, with all three continuing to rack up thousands of hits each year:

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That’s it for 2020. Thank you for spending some of it with me! On to 2021!

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Sources & Notes

See all three 2020 Year-End “best of” lists here.

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

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.