Year-End List: My Favorite Images Posted in 2021

kodachrome_commerce-lamar_trolleydodger_twitterThe downtown Dallas I wish I’d known…

by Paula Bosse

As another year comes to a close, it’s time to dig through images I’ve posted over the past 12 months and share those which I’ve particularly liked. They’re in no particular order. The images are larger when clicked; see the linked articles in the descriptions for more info and for image sources.

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The photo above, from 1950, is probably my favorite of the year. Kodachrome slides make everything 10 times better. It’s a great, nostalgic, lively, perfect photo, showing Commerce Street looking east from Lamar. It will shock you to see what this exact same view looks like today, which you can take a look at — if you dare — in the original post, “Downtown Dallas in Color — 1940s & 1950s.”

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This aerial view of White Rock Lake in winter (taken by Squire Haskins) is just beautiful. It can be seen in “Snow at White Rock Lake: The Bath House and Winfrey Point,” which I posted in the midst of the historic deep-freeze of February, during a brief window of opportunity in which I had power. 

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Speaking of WRL, I really like this postcard showing “A Drive in White Rock Valley,” which has a postmark of 1912 — before the lake, and before paved roads in the area. The scenery might have been pretty, but this would not have been a smooth, relaxing Sunday drive for vehicle occupants or for axles. This postcard appeared in the post “Miscellaneous Dallas #2.”

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The image below is a screenshot from a fantastic 7-minute piece from KERA, filmed in 1973 and showing the predominantly African-American neighborhoods of South Dallas and “North” Dallas (around Hall Street and the State-Thomas area) — many of the places seen in the film no longer exist, such as the Royal Cafe, which once stood at 2726 Forest Avenue (now Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.). I love all the signs in the cafe’s window, including a poster for a show at the Longhorn Ballroom. I could have chosen most of the screenshots from the film as favorites — see all of them (and the film itself) in the post “Black Dallas — 1973.”

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The photo below showing the Neiman’s facade decorated for the first French Fortnight was a new addition to Flashback Dallas in 2021 (it appeared in “A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #17”), but it has ended up in a post I wrote all the way back in 2014, “Neiman-Marcus Brings France to Big D — 1957,” where it replaced a black-and-white version of the photo which I had originally posted. I love this.

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I really like this view of the Municipal Building that I posted recently. I try to avoid posting images with watermarks, but I’d never seen this before, and it’s cool. From “Municipal Building — Bird’s-Eye View.”

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Another bird’s-eye view of downtown (including the Municipal Building) is this “Aerial View: Movie Row from the Rear.” I think it was a screenshot from a film I came across somewhere, but my notes are shockingly incomplete. Whatever, it’s great, and it’s a view you don’t see very often.

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I’ve loved Snider Plaza since I was a child. It’s a bit much these days, but I have such fond memories of it that I will probably always put it in the “love” category. Here’s what the Varsity Theater stretch looked like in its earliest days (1929) — from the post “Snider Plaza & The Varsity Theater — 1920s.”

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This postcard showing swimmers at the Gill Well Natatorium (once located along Maple Avenue near Reverchon Park) was included in the post “A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #16 and was then added to the 2017 Flashback Dallas post “The Gill Well,” which remains one of my all-time personal favorite posts.

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I love this color photo of a “Belmont” streetcar which would have traveled up and down the tracks on Matilda, a block from where I grew up. It’s a little like seeing an old photograph of a relative you’ve never met. The photo originally appeared in “A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #15 and was then added to another of my favorite posts, “Ghost Rails of the Belmont Streetcar Line, from 2018.

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Another great photo shows the Palace Theatre (Elm and Ervay) — as well as the U.S. Coffee & Tea Co. — from the post “Art Landry Is At The Palace — 1927.” 

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I will never tire of seeing glamorous photos of downtown, especially at night when it was lit up like Broadway. This photo is fantastic. From “Showtime on Elm Street.”

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I’d never heard of it, but I’ve become quite enamored of the long-gone Vel-Mar drive-in (8516 Lake June Road, in Pleasant Grove). I really want some of that root beer. From the post “Pleasant Grove Eat Spots, including El Charo and the Vel-Mar — 1950s & 1960s” (there are several other photos of the Vel-Mar in that post).

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“Soldier Fishing from a Viaduct — 1948.” Say no more.

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Next up: softball girls. This photo of (Fort Worth, shhhhh…) softball players appeared in the post “A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #16” and was then added to the 2016 Flashback Dallas post “Girls’ Softball in Dallas, Hugely Popular.”

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Also appearing in “A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #16” were these two postcards showing the fabulous light display at Fair Park during the Texas Centennial in 1936. They were added to the 2016 post “Albert Einstein ‘Threw the Switch’ in New Jersey to Open the Pan-American Exposition in Dallas — 1937,” which has several other images of the incredible Fair Park lighting display which continued into 1937.

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This shot of the Dallas skyline is wonderful. From “Nighttime Skyline — 1965.”

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More Dallas-at-night in this completely unexpected painting by Dallas art legend Jerry Bywaters, featuring the Kip’s on Northwest Highway — from “Jerry Bywaters: ‘City Suburb at Dusk’ — 1978.”

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I was very taken with one Ursuline girl who posed saucily for the school annual in 1921 — Velma Rich is front-row-center in her class photo, and she is undeniably the center of attention. That photo was included in the post “Ursuline Academy — 1921.” (The group photo is followed here by the pertinent detail.)

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And, lastly, just because it might have been a “discovery,” I found a photo which I think might show ZZ Top member Dusty Hill at 15 or 16, pictured with the Woodrow Wilson High School orchestra, holding his cello. He’s not identified, but Dusty did play cello in the Woodrow orchestra, and this looks like him to me. This awkwardly-cropped photo from the 1965 WWHS yearbook can be found in the post “Dusty Hill, 1949-2021.”

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And those are my favorite images that appeared in Flashback Dallas posts in 2021. 

Coming soon are my personal favorite posts and the most popular posts of the year….

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Sources & Notes

See sources for the images by clicking the linked posts in which they originally appeared.

See all three 2021 Year-End “best of” lists (as they’re posted) here.

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

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.