by Paula Bosse
Wandering around the eBay “sold” archives, I came across this unusual photo taken in a not terribly scenic part of town. After checking addresses of these businesses in the 1932 city directory, it looks like the photographer (who appears to have been seated in a car) snapped this shot on N. Pacific Avenue, a block or so west from Good Street (now Good-Latimer). Deep Ellum-adjacent. The view is southwesterly, toward downtown. The businesses are mostly warehouses. See what this view looks like today, 90 years or so later, via Google Street View, here.
I was excited to see two familiar 19th-century buildings which I’ve written about and feel a weird kinship with: the abandoned and shuttered old Union Depot (which I wrote about here) and the Union Depot Hotel (which I wrote about here) — located about where Pacific takes a slight jog to the right. It’s like seeing old friends.
Here are some rather grainy magnifications of the eBay “snapshot” (click to see larger images).
Below: the Western States Grocery Co. was located at the southwest corner of Hawkins and Pacific. The Home Furnishings Co. was at 2301-2311 Elm Street (at Preston). Many of the buildings in this view (except for the 5-story-ish tall building straight ahead and to the right) can be seen in this 1921 Sanborn map. (Is that the pre-Pegasus Magnolia Building seen in the distance behind the 5-story building at the right? If so, that would mean that this photo was taken before 1934.)
The building seen below in the foreground at the left is the old Union Depot. I’ve seen so many photos of this building — but it looks TINY here! Just across the street (railroad tracks) from it (in the building seen immediately below the “Radios” sign) is the old Union Depot Hotel. The H&TC railroad used to run between them — Central Avenue later (basically) became Central Expressway. I was really excited to see these two buildings.
The taller building seen in the background, behind the Hart Furniture sign, can be seen in this 1921 Sanborn map — the 5-story building at the southwest corner of Pacific and Preston was home to the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills (another story was added around 1935).
The Combs Transfer & Storage Co., the Packer Transfer & Storage Co., and the Baldwin Piano Ware Room were all at 2507-2509 Pacific. It looks like the two buildings seen in this detail (the short one and the taller one) have somehow miraculously survived the insane redevelopment of everything on all sides of it (I’ve haven’t been to Deep Ellum in a few months, but these two buildings seem to be the ones which you can see in the most recent Google Street View). Also, looming like a ghostly whisper in the background (above “Combs”) is the Medical Arts Building.
I wonder why someone decided to take this photo? I’m glad they did, because it’s not a view I’ve ever seen. I love finding photographs taken in places that most people wouldn’t think were interesting enough to document for posterity. Like this one. Thanks, anonymous photographer!
I just picked the closest historical map I had easy access to — the 1952 Mapsco. My guess is that the photograph is from the 1930s. The star is about where the photo was taken — just west of what is now Good-Latimer, just before Pacific becomes Gaston — with a view to the west.
Sources & Notes
Photo found on eBay — it looks like the item sold a couple of weeks ago, in Sept. 2022.
Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.