Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: 1900s

Worth Street, A Century Ago

worth-street_461_rppc_1908_ebay“A hearty welcome awaits…” (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Above is a photograph of the new home of traveling salesman Everett F. Bray (1873-1915) and his wife Erminia Connor Bray (1874-1962); they had moved to Dallas in 1907 with their young children Everita and Melville. The picture-postcard is dated Aug. 28, 1908 and was sent to a friend with Erminia’s message:

Dearie, I hope it won’t be very long before I can have the pleasure of entertaining you in my Dallas home. […] A hearty welcome awaits you at 461 Worth St. Dallas any old time.

worth-street_461_rppc_1908_ebay_msg

The 1905 Sanborn map of this Old East Dallas neighborhood (which, more specifically, is in OED’s Peak’s Suburban Addition) can be found here (461 is an empty lot, near the upper right corner). After the city-wide address-change of 1911, the 400 block of Worth became the 4400 block. As is the case with many of the houses in this neighborhood, Erminia’s house still stands. …But with a whole lot more vegetation.

worth-street_google-street-view_20162016 Google Street View

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Worth Street — which stretches through Junius Heights, Munger Place, and Peak’s Suburban Addition — may be a bit funkier these days, but there are still many beautiful homes lining the street. Below are a couple of postcards from a century ago, well before the “funky” era.

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After I posted the top image on Instagram, a person (whose handle is @uneik_image_inc) made this interesting comment:

We have painted quite a few houses on Worth Street! Interesting fact: lots of these homes are built on Bois D’Arc tree stumps for foundation piers and a solid 85% are still standing and being lived in!

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Sources & Notes

All postcards are from eBay.

The Brays had moved from their Worth Street home by 1915 when 41-year-old Everett Bray was killed in an automobile accident. Erminia — known as “Minnie” — lived almost 50 years longer than her husband, dying in Duncanville in 1962 at the age of 88.

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Beautiful Lake Cliff — ca. 1906

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by Paula Bosse

Enjoy these images of Lake Cliff, which, 100 years ago, was “the greatest amusement park in the Southwest.” The slogan “It’s in Dallas” should really have read “It’s in Oak Cliff” — and back then Oak Cliff had everything!

  • Mystic River
  • Shoot-the-Chutes (read this!)
  • Open-Air Circus
  • Roller Coaster
  • Casino
  • Natatorium
  • Carousel
  • Tennis Courts
  • Restaurant
  • Baseball Grounds
  • Skating Rink
  • Trolley Cars
  • Penny Vaudeville
  • Casino Band and Orchestra
  • Circle Swing (see it here)
  • Japanese Village
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Ferris Wheel

Whew.

Below, some wonderful postcards and photos. (Click to see larger images.)

lake-cliff_c1910_postcard_degolyervia DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

lake-cliff-bathing_1910s_postcard_degolyervia DeGolyer Library, SMU

swim_lake-cliff-pool_ca-1907_flickr_coltera

lake-cliff_flickr_coltera

lake-cliff_postcard

lake-cliff_shoot-the-chutes_1908

skating-rink_lake-cliff_cook-colln_degolyer_1via Cook Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU

lake-cliff_sunday-afternoon-concert_1906_portal

lake-cliff-park_rose-garden

lake-cliff-pavilion_oak-cliff-high-school-yrbk_1925Oak Cliff High School yearbook, 1925

lake-cliff_clogenson_1908_LOCPhoto by Clogenson, ca. 1908, via Library of Congress

lake-cliff_1906_portal_attractions-1

lake-cliff_1906_portal_attractions-2From 1906 promotional brochure, via Portal to Texas History

Jump forward to the 1940s — when it was more of a big pool, without all the flash and filigree:

swim_lake-cliff-pool_1947_flickr_coltera

Take a look at it now in this stunningly beautiful drone video by Matthew Armstrong:

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Sources & Notes

Top image is from a postcard in the George W. Cook Collection at SMU’s DeGolyer Library, here.

Most other uncredited images were found around the internet, several from Coltera’s Flickr stream.

More on Lake Cliff can be found in this article by Rachel Stone from the Oak Cliff Advocate (be sure to click the link to see the full 1906 promotional brochure on “the Southwest’s greatest playground” (it’s “Clean, Cool, Delightful”)).

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Wilson Building and the *New* Wilson Building — 1911

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Elm and Ervay… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

This beautiful postcard shows the original eight-story Wilson Building, built by J B. Wilson in 1902-1904, and its twelve-story companion, which was known as both the “New Wilson Building” and the “Titche-Goettinger Annex” when it was built in 1911. Remarkably, both buildings are still standing at Main-Ervay-Elm. (The view above is looking southwest, with Ervay at the left, and Elm at the right. See this view today on Google Street View here.)

The original building — surely one of Dallas’ most beautiful landmarks — was the home of the Titche-Goettinger department store (which occupied the first two floors and the basement) as well as an important downtown office building. Until seeing this postcard, I had no idea there was a porte-cochère facing Ervay (it can be seen above at the left, under the parasol-like canopy).

By 1910 Titche’s was so successful that it needed to expand, and it was decided that a new “skyscraper” would be built right next door — the department store would continue to occupy its space in the “old” Wilson Building but would also take over the new building (occupying all twelve floors!). According to The Dallas Morning News, the new building would be “the tallest structure in the South occupied exclusively by a mercantile establishment. There are only four store buildings in the United States higher than four stories” (DMN, Nov. 13, 1910).

Below are a couple of details from a “coming soon” ad from Titche-Goettinger in September, 1903, showing a drawing of the building (still under construction) from the Fort Worth architectural firm Sanguinet & Staats. (All images are larger when clicked.)

wilson-bldg_titches_092703_coming-soon_ad-det_1DMN, Sept. 27, 1903

wilson-bldg_titches_092703_coming-soon_ad-det_2DMN, Sept. 27, 1903

titche-goettinger_wilson-bldg_postcard_postmarked-1912

The two photos and article below ran in The Dallas Morning News on March 13, 1904 under the headline “Completion of the Great Eight-Story Wilson Building in Dallas.” The caption of the photo immediately below read “This view was taken from the postoffice, and is the first to show the entire Ervay street front.”

wilson-bldg_dmn_031304_newly-completed_clogenson

Although the quality of the image below isn’t great, it’s interesting to see this “grand marble stairway,” a feature which was removed in 1911 while the new “annex” was under construction, in order to give Titche’s even more room. The grand staircase was replaced by elevators. (The “rest rooms” referred to in the caption were more “lounge” than bathroom — a place where ladies could sit, relax, and even jot off a few letters as they recovered from their bout of intense shopping.)

wilson-bldg_dmn_031304_grand-stairway_clogenson

The accompanying article (click to read):

wilson-bldg_dmn_031304_completed_textDMN, March 13, 1904

Jump forward six years to the announcement of the “new” Wilson Building:

wilson-bldg_expansion_dmn_111310DMN, Nov. 13, 1910

Here it is under construction:

wilson-bldg_expansion_dmn_032811_clogensonDMN, March 28, 1911

They rushed to be ready to open in time to dazzle State Fair of Texas visitors — and they made it:

wilson-bldg_titche-annex_101411DMN, Oct. 14, 1911

And, below, the completed building, in a photo looking east on Elm (this photo shows one of the brand new street lights written about in the post “The Grand Elm Street Illumination — 1911”). (See this view today on Google Street View, here.)

wilson-bldg_expansion_dmn_121611_clogensonDMN, Dec. 16, 1911

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wilson-bldg_titches_postcard_sm

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Sources & Notes

See photos of the original building under construction in the Flashback Dallas post “The Wilson Building Under Construction — 1902.”

I love looking at Sanborn maps. See what was going on at Main-Ervay-Elm in 1899 (before any Wilson buildings), in 1905 (one year after the arrival of the first one), and in 1921 (ten years after the annex went up).

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Majestic Hotel/The Park Hotel/The Ambassador Hotel: R.I.P. — 1904-2019

majestic-hotel_portal_postcard

by Paula Bosse

The historic Ambassador Hotel at 1312 S. Ervay in the Cedars was destroyed by fire this morning — the building was 115 years old and was under renovation. Watching news footage of flames engulfing the South Dallas landmark is heart-wrenching.

Built in 1904 alongside City Park, the Majestic Apartment Hotel opened in early 1905. It was designed by popular local architect Earle Henri (E. H.) Silven (who, incidentally, was arrested on suspicion of setting fire to the then-historic Knepfly Building in 1906, a fire which resulted in two deaths, but a grand jury declined to prosecute because of insufficient evidence — I actually wrote about this fire in passing a few years ago in a completely unrelated post).

The Majestic was originally an “apartment hotel” which was more apartment house than hotel, intended for long-term residents. Financial backing of this endeavor was shaky, and the Majestic soon fell into receivership; after a change of owners, the newly renamed Park Hotel opened in 1907. Several years later, in 1933, it became the Ambassador Hotel. Over the 115-year life of the building, these various incarnations came with a dizzying number of owners and operators, and news of its impending renovation and rebirth was heard frequently over the past 20 or 30 years. Recent plans, though, seemed like they were actually going to finally happen. …And now, unfortunately, they won’t.

Below are several images of the hotel, beginning back when Dallasites were still using a horse and buggy to get around. (All images are larger when clicked.)

majestic-apartment-hotel_dmn_010105

Majestic Apartment House, Dallas Morning News, Jan. 1, 1905

majestic-hotel_1905-directory

Majestic Hotel, 1905 Dallas directory (ad, detail)

majestic-hotel_come-to-dallas_degolyer_SMU_ca1905

Majestic Hotel, 1905 (via DeGolyer Library, SMU)

I’m not sure which iteration of the hotel is seen in this postcard, but here it is viewed from City Park, with the Confederate Monument in the foreground:

confederate-monument_city-park_majestic-hotel_cook-colln_degolyer_smu

(via DeGolyer Library, SMU)

The Park Hotel opened in September, 1907.

1907_park-hotel_dmn_081107

Park Hotel, August 11, 1907

1907_park-hotel_dmn_100107

Park Hotel, Oct. 1, 1907

One of my favorite views of the hotel is this one, from City Park, with the Hughes Candy factory at the left (the original photo is here):

park-hotel_hughes-brothers_flickr_coltera

park-hotel_postcard

In 1933 the hotel got a new stucco exterior and tile roof and was renamed the Ambassador.

ambassador_dallas-friendly-city-invites-you_1930s_degolyer-library_smu

(via DeGolyer Library, SMU)

Ambassador Apartment Hotel Dallas

For a while the hotel served as a retirement community — here is an odd, incredibly wordy ad, beckoning retirees with prospects of late-life romance, while also sharing (somewhat) accurate local history:

ambassador_013072_ad

Ambassador Retirement Hotel ad, Jan. 30, 1972

ambassador-hotel_historic-dallas_fall-1982_portal_photo

ca. 1982

This morning:

ambassador-on-fire_DFR_twitter_052919

Dallas Fire Rescue, via Twitter

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Sources & Notes

Top image from the Portal to Texas History.

Read a comprehensive history of the building in an article by Harvey J. Graff in Historic Dallas here and here.

Read the City of Dallas Designation Report from 1982 seeking Landmark Status here.

Read the 2018 application for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places (with MANY pages of photos) here.

Coverage of today’s fire can be found on the NBC-DFW site here; a 2017 video walk-through of the Ambassador in happier, more optimistic times can also be found on the Channel 5 site, here.

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Spring, Brought to You by The Texas Seed & Floral Co.

1913_tx-seed-floral_1913_rosesThe Texseed Home Collection, 1913

by Paula Bosse

In honor of Spring’s arrival, I give you a collection of lovely illustrated covers from the Texas Seed & Floral Company’s seed catalogs. The company was established in Dallas around 1885 and was located for many years at the northwest corner of Elm and N. Ervay, with offices and a warehouse opening onto Pacific’s railroad tracks. (See photos of the interior of the business — later renamed Lone Star Seed & Floral — in the post “Next-Door Neighbors: The Palace Theater and Lone Star Seed & Floral — 1926.”)

Happy Spring! (All images are larger when clicked.)

1896_tx-seed-floral_1896_flowers1896

1906_tx-seed-floral_1906_stores1906

1911_tx-seed-floral_1911_roses1911

1912_tx-seed-floral_1912_roses1912

1913_tx-seed-floral_1913_store1913

1915_tx-seed-floral_1915_roses1915

1916_tx-seed-floral_1916_roses1916

1917_tx-seed-floral_1917_flowers1917

1917_tx-seed-floral_1917_flowers_a1917

1917_tx-seed-floral_1917_roses1917

1920tx-seed-floral_1920_flowers1920

1920_tx-seed-floral_1920_daisies1920

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Below is the citation for the company from the book Greater Dallas Illustrated, published in 1908.

Texas Seed & Floral Co.

The great progress which has been made in agricultural and horticultural lines in the southwest has resulted in an ever increasing demand for a high quality of seeds, and to meet this demand many reliable seed houses have been established, among which is the Texas Seed & Floral Co., whose retail store is at 387 Elm street, and whose office and warehouse department is at 311-313 Pacific avenue. The line of seeds carried in stock includes all kinds of garden and flower seeds as well as field seeds, their leading brand being known under the name of “Texseed,” and they have the exclusive right to sell this brand in the southwest.

The company was established in 1885 and it is recognized as the largest seed house in the southwest, and its beautifully illustrated catalogue, which tells all about the best seeds for the southwestern planter, can be had upon request. R. [Robert] Nicholson is the secretary of this company, and the active manager of its affairs. He is of Scottish birth and has resided in Dallas for thirty years. He is a member of the Commercial Club, and is an Elk. Ably assisting him is F. J. Poor who comes to this firm from Kansas City.

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Sources & Notes

All images from the Internet Archive.

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Rugged Highland Park

highland-park_charles-arnold_postcard_postmarked-1909

by Paula Bosse

Two views of Turtle Creek, wending through Highland Park. The view above is from a postcard mailed to East Hampton, Long Island in 1909 (“Haven’t seen this but it must be true. Pretty good for Texas…”); the view below is from about 1915, the year Highland Park was incorporated (the photo appears to show the same three children seen in my earlier post, “Wading in Turtle Creek, 100 Years Ago”). (Both images of the bluff-lined creek are larger when clicked.)

dallas-educational-center_turtle-creek_ca-1916

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Sources & Notes

Top image is from a C. Weichsel postcard titled “Woodland Scene. Highland Park. Dallas, Tex.” (photo possibly by Charles A. Arnold). Another image of this postcard can be seen on the cover of the Fall, 2015 issue of Legacies (here); the story it illustrates is “Attempts to Annex the Park Cities,” here.

The black-and-white photo (captioned “Highland Park”) is from a booklet on Dallas education, published around 1916.

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

John H. Reagan Elementary, Oak Cliff’s “West End School” — 1905

west-end-school_come-to-dallas_degolyer_SMU_ca1905Class picture in front of the new school… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

In 1904 things were getting really crowded in schools in recently-annexed Oak Cliff. The school board agreed that Dallas’ new Ninth Ward needed at least one new school, and they voted to build a four-room primary school — initially referred to as the “West End school” — at 9th and Llewellyn. After a delay in construction because of a shortage of bricks, the two-story schoolhouse opened in February, 1905. (Click photos and clippings to see larger images.)

west-end-school_reagan-elementary_dmn_021805
Dallas Morning News, Feb. 18, 1905

The following month the school was named for a Confederate hero of the Civil War, John H. Reagan.

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DMN, March 14, 1905

As the population of Oak Cliff grew over the years, so did the school, which expanded with additions beyond those original four rooms in order to accommodate the continual growth of the neighborhood. The building had a good run and stood for 76 years — until it was demolished at the end of 1981 (or the beginning of 1982) to make room for a new building at the same  location. The new school retained the Reagan name, which has become a point of controversy in recent years.

reagan-elementary_education-in-dallas

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Sources & Notes

Top photo is from the promotional booklet “Come To Dallas,” from the collection of the DeGolyer Library, SMU Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more here.

Bottom photo is from the book Education In Dallas, 1874-1966, Ninety-Two Years of History by Walter J. E Schiebel.

More on the history of Reagan Elementary and the recent controversy over whether the school should be renamed can be found in the Dec. 27, 2017 Oak Cliff Advocate article “Backstory: One Low-Income School in Oak Cliff Bears the Name of a Confederate Leader” by Rachel Stone.

For more on the then-impending demolition of the original school building, check out the Dallas Morning News archives for the story “Graduates Come to Visit School On Its Deathbed” by Keith Anderson (DMN, Sept. 14, 1981).

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The State Fair of Texas Over the Decades

state-fair-of-tx_midway_kodachrome_1961_ebaySFOT midway, 1961… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The history of the State Fair of Texas is also the history of Dallas — if you live in Dallas, you know a lot about the fair, if only by osmosis. Here are a few images from the decades since the fair began in 1886.

Below, from 1889, a sedate advertisement for the Texas State Fair and Dallas Exposition (from The Immigrant’s Guide to Texas, 1889). (All images are larger when clicked.)

state-fair_imm-gd_1889

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A great-looking poster from 1890, colorful and exciting:

sfot_poster_1890

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A midway in its infancy, in the aughts. (I wrote about the “The Chute” water ride, here.)

shoot-the-chute_postcard_ca-1906

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Here’s a group photo showing the food vendors at the 1910 fair. No corny dogs in 1910, but plenty of candy, peanuts, popcorn, ice cream, and, sure, why not, cigars and tobacco.

state-fair-concessionaires_1910_cook-colln_degolyervia George W. Cook Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU

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In the 1920s, Fair Park looked a lot smaller:

fair-park_mcafee_degolyer_SMU_ca-1920s
via George A. McAfee Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU

Here’s a handy 1922 map of the grounds, from the fine folks at Caterpillar (don’t miss those tractors!) — you can see where the people in the photo above are walking.

state-fair-map_caterpillar_ad_1922

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If it’s 1936, it’s gotta be the Texas Centennial — and here’s an exhibit I’d never heard of: Jerusalem, The Holy City. This was one of many exhibits at the Texas Centennial previously seen at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, where it apparently had attracted more than one million visitors. In the weeks leading up to the Centennial’s opening, it was described thusly: “The Holy City will contain a collection of religious artworks and other material. The entrance will represent the Damascus gate of Jerusalem. No admission will be charged but donations will be asked visitors” (Dallas Morning News, May 17, 1936).

tx-centennial_jerusalem-the-holy-city_postcard

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The State Fair of Texas was not held during much of World War II, but it was back in 1946, with Tommy Dorsey, Gypsy Rose Lee, and Jackie Gleason.

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Sept., 1946

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Neiman-Marcus was at-the-ready in 1950 with suggestions on stylish footwear for ladies wanting to trudge around the Fair Park midway in heels.

For the Million-Dollar Midway — For taking in this famous “main drag” of the State Fair — get into our famous-maker midway heel shoes. Most everybody — after walking a block or two in them — says they’re worth a million! Have all the comfort of low heels, plus the high-heel’s way of making your ankles look prettier.

sfot-neiman-marcus_ad_101650October, 1950

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The 1960s were certainly colorful, and this is a great color photo from 1961 (currently available on eBay as a 35mm Kodachrome slide) — it’s the photo at the top of this post, but in order to cut down on unnecessary scrolling, I’ll slide it in again right here:

state-fair-of-tx_midway_kodachrome_1961_ebay

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The 1970s was a weird decade, and what better way to start off a weird decade than with 80-something-year-old oil tycoon (and eccentric Dallas resident) H. L. Hunt handing out cosmetics at a booth at the State Fair? Hunt — whom Frank X. Tolbert described as “probably the world’s only billionaire health freak” — manufactured a line of cosmetics and other products containing aloe vera, the wonder elixir. Imagine seeing the world’s richest man handing out plastic goodie-bags to awe-struck passersby. Like I said, weird.

h-l-hunt_state-fair_1971

hunt_state-fair_pomona-progress-bulletin_CA_111471Pomona (CA) Progress-Bulletin, Nov. 14, 1971 (click to read)

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And, finally, the 1980s. A century after the State Fair of Texas began, the X-Men came to Big D to do whatever it is they do — and The Dallas Times Herald got a cool little advertising supplement out of it. (If this appeals to you, check out when Captain Marvel came to Dallas in 1944, here, and when Spider-Man came to Dallas in 1983, here.)

sfot_xmen_comic-book_1983

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Sources & Notes

Sources (if known) are noted.

All images are larger when clicked.

I wrote a similar State-Fair-of-Texas-through-the-ages post a few years ago: “So Sorry, Bill, But Albert Is Taking Me to the State Fair of Texas,” here.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

10th and Lancaster, Oak Cliff — ca. 1902

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_mcafee_degolyer_SMU_ca-1902Lancaster, intersecting Jefferson & E. 10th… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

This photo, taken around 1902, shows a northward-view of an intersection of the soon-to-be-annexed (or a just-annexed) Oak Cliff: Lancaster (the dark road running at a slight diagonal to the upper left of the photo), E. 10th St. (crossing Lancaster behind the “Eselco 10¢ Cigars” sign and running horizontally in the middle of the photo), and Jefferson, which contains the double tracks of the then-new Dallas-Fort Worth interurban railway.

The location of this photo can be seen on a 1905 Sanborn map here (in that map, 10th St. is at the right edge — to see the area just south of Jefferson — where the photographer snapped his photo — that map is here). The view today? Lancaster (which became N. Lancaster just north of E. 10th) no longer exists immediately north of 10th — that land is now occupied by Hector P. Garcia Middle School  — the location seen in the 116-year-old photo above can be viewed on Google Street View, here.

Let’s zoom in on this photo. Though grainy, it’s still really exciting to see views of Oak Cliff, just after the turn of the century (Oak Cliff was annexed by Dallas in 1903 but had been a thriving community for many years before that). Below, a couple of men are seated on a bench beneath a sign that says “Interurban Ticket Office,” a bicycle lies at the curb, men stand on the corner, and a horse-drawn buggy is parked underneath a sign that says “drugs.” Eselco brand cigars were ten cents apiece at the time (about $3.00 in today’s money). The “ticket office” sign helps date this photo, as the Dallas-Fort Worth interurban service (through Oak Cliff) began in July, 1902.

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_mcafee_degolyer_SMU_ca-1902_det-1

On the east side of Lancaster, a two-story building with “Britton & Collins Drugs” painted on the side dominates the block. The drug store was owned by T. Jefferson (“Jeff”) Britton and J. Willie Collins. Tennessee-born Britton (1874-1926) had opened a well-known drug store in downtown Dallas at the southeast corner of Elm and Akard in the late 1890s (seen here in 1900) — this attempt at an expansion into Oak Cliff does not seem to have lasted long: I find listings for this OC location in only the 1902 and 1903 city directories.

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_mcafee_degolyer_SMU_ca-1902_det-2

britton-and-collins-drug-store_1902-directory1902 Dallas city directory

Back to the interurban service (the arrival of which was, no doubt, both a welcomed convenience as well as a financial boon to Oak Cliff residents and businesses): here are the double tracks of the Northern Texas Traction Co.,  running along Jefferson. (More on this interurban line is at the bottom of this post.)

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_mcafee_degolyer_SMU_ca-1902_det-3

Below is a detail from a 1905 map showing this confusing intersection of E. 10th, Jefferson, N. Lancaster, and S. Lancaster. (As with all images in this post, click to see a larger picture.)

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_worleys-map-greater-dallas_1905_det

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Sources & Notes

This photo — titled “10th and Lancaster, Oak Cliff, 1900” — is part of the George A. McAfee photographs collection, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University; more information about this photo can be found here.

According to the DeGolyer Library, the photo has the following notation written on the back: “10th & Lancaster. Oak Cliff — looking toward Dallas. Taken 1900.” I think the photo was taken a little later — somewhere between mid-1902 and very early 1904: the Britton & Collins drug store was listed in only two Dallas directories (1902 and 1903), and the interurban service from Dallas to Fort Worth (which passed through Oak Cliff and past the “Tenth St. Station”) did not begin until July, 1902.

Everything you could possibly want to know about the Dallas-Fort Worth interurban line, including mechanical specs and several photographs, can be found in a PDF of the July 18, 1903 issue of the Street Railway Journal, here (the 10-page article “The System of the Northern Texas Traction Company” begins on p. 82). (Lots on “Lake Erie” at Handley can also  be found in this article.)

A few newspaper snippets from the first month following of the launch of the Dallas-Fort Worth interurban service.

oak-cliff_interurban_dmn_070102Dallas Morning News, July 1, 1902 (click to see larger image)

oak-cliff_interurban_dmn_070702_first-week-operationDMN, July 7, 1902

The one-way fare to FW from Dallas was 70¢, and a round-trip fare was $1.25 (a rather hefty $20 and $36, respectively, in today’s money, adjusted for inflation).

oak-cliff_interurban_tenth-station_dmn_071702DMN, July 17, 1902

oak-cliff_interurban_tenth-station_dmn_071102DMN, July 11, 1902

oak-cliff_interurban_el-paso-herald_072102El Paso Herald, July 21, 1902

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Dallas Is For Lovers

fair-park_lovers-lane_postcard

by Paula Bosse

The postcard above shows “Lovers’ Lane, Fair Grounds Park,” and contains the following message to the card’s recipient:

I will have you a fellow this summer & you all can visit this place.

Aw. That’s a true friend.

Below, another postcard from about the same time (around 1910), this one showing “Lovers’ Retreat, Near Dallas, Texas.”

lovers-retreat_postcard_ebay

This might be any old “romantic” place called “Lovers’ Retreat,” but at the time of this card’s publication, Lovers’ Retreat in Palo Pinto County, near Mineral Wells, was a well-known destination for Sunday drives, picnics, camping, church retreats, and family reunions. At 100 miles from Dallas, it would be stretching things to say this view is “near Dallas,” but postcards are sometimes not completely truthful.

And for postcards that just strip away any confusion about local flora and fauna, let’s just cut to the chase. “Please let me tell you in Dallas, Tex.”

lovers-two_cook-collection_degolyer_smu

“Oh! How I love it here in Dallas, Tex.”

lovers-four_cook-collection_degolyer_smu

Speaking of lovers’ lanes, I’m not sure where that one at Fair Park (in the top postcard) was, but there were several “lovers’ lanes” around the city. The thoroughfare we know today as Lovers Lane was apparently known for years as a secluded place popular with couples looking for places in which to “spoon.” In a Dallas Morning News article, writer Kenneth Foree reminisced about the days when “it was nothing but a narrow black dirt road winding between two rows of bois d’arc trees.” He commented that “at times you could find lovers under nearly ever tree in Lovers Lane. They would park there in buggies in the early days, later in cars.” In the same article, Margaret L. Pratt, head of the Dallas Public Library’s Texas history department, remembered that “when Southern Methodist University was young and virtually treeless, students would often walk to nearby Lovers Lane for a shady hand-in-hand stroll” (“Walk a Miracle Mile” by Helen Bullock, DMN, Sept. 10, 1961).

When the 1920s hit, “lovers lanes” around the country became hot topics of conversation. This was the “Jazz Age” and the era of the outrageous flappers — a time which an older, disapproving generation saw as scandalous and lacking in respect for propriety or morals. They felt that young women, in particular, were not acting at all “ladylike.” Suddenly the term “petting parties” was all over the newspapers. Young people (…and older people) were making out at parties, in movie theaters, and, especially, in cars parked at night along out-of-the-way country roads. Things were heading to hell in a handbasket.

petting-parties_dmn_022222DMN, 1922

When a Dallas deputy sheriff commented to the local newspapers in 1924 that these open-air necking sessions were out of control, the mayor, Louis Blaylock, said, “It’s getting so a man can not take his sweetheart out on the country road to court her or to propose to her…. Most of the folks celebrating their silver and golden anniversaries in Dallas can look back upon the time when the Lemmon avenue road and Mocking Bird Lane were the causes of all the trouble…. Things aren’t so much worse now than when I was a boy” (DMN, May 23, 1924). Mayor Blaylock — who was born in 1849 — was 74 years old at the time. The deputy sheriff was Not Amused (read his response, reprinted in the Sulphur Springs Daily News-Telegram, here). The mayor laughed off the deputy’s concerns, saying, “I believe that most of [this] talk is purely political and if my memory serves me right we experience this epidemic about every two years, just about election time,” (DMN, May 30, 1924).

primrose-path-lovers-lane_may-1924(click to see larger image)

Despite the mayor’s pooh-poohing of the situation, petting-party outrage remained in the headlines throughout the ’20s … until the public’s attention turned to the next thing to be outraged about. Good for those scandalous pre-Code movies, though!

children-of-jazz_dmn_july-1923“Children of Jazz” at the Palace, 1923

Below is a clever promotion for a movie called “Girl Shy” in which Harold Lloyd played a character named Harold Meadows (“who knows all about women”). It is addressed to the “spooners” of Dallas and is not identified as being an ad for movie.

lovers-lane_dmn_052024May 20, 1924

lovers-lane_dmn_052324
“Girl Shy” at the Old Mill, May 23, 1924

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Sources & Notes

Top two postcards are currently for sale here and here.

The two postcards featuring amorous couples are from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more information on these postcards can be found here and here.

A photo of young frolickers frolicking at Lovers’ Retreat in Palo Pinto County can be found on the Portal to Texas History website here.

Read about petting parties in an article from NPR, here.

Speaking of amorous activities in automobiles, check out my previous Flashback Dallas post, “No Necking Along Country Roads Until Bonnie & Clyde Are Killed or Captured — 1934.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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