Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: 1910s

Lutheran Ministers Visit Dallas — 1911

open-streetcar_rppc_1911_ebayBest way to see the sights of 1911 Dallas…

by Paula Bosse

I’m always a sucker for photos of streetcars. I’m not sure I’ve seen one quite as open as this one.

This image was featured on a real-photo postcard — below the photo, the sender had written “Conference at Dallas, Texas. Sept. 8-12, 1911.”

The card was addressed to Miss Sidonie Wissmann in Matson, Missouri and was mailed from Palacios, Texas on Oct. 11, 1911.

Dear Sidonie,

Here you have a postal of Dallas, Tex. We are all on that “special” car taking a trolley ride through Dallas on a hot afternoon. If you wish to see me, look at the sixth seat from the front end of the car.

You must have some pretty cold weather up there. Saturday at about noon, the wind began to blow from the north. It grew stronger, and Sat. night it was pretty cool. I was at Francita’s [?] staying with Mr.  Luebben.  My bed was just before the north window. The wind blew with great force. The window was open. Instead of closing the window, I clung to the covers that were there (a thin quilt and a white spread) to keep them from flying away. I put everything but my face under the covers. So I lay in the north wind all night. Those “Northers” are feared by these southern people. I did not take cold. But several people were holding their nose the next day. When I left for Blessing in the P.M. I saw one man at the depot have a bad cold. Monday night I closed my windows in Palacios.

Some curious news!! Here you are: On account of the bad connections, I walked from Blessing to Palacios Monday A.M. 8:30-11:30. Twelve miles!! Hard work.

–Fred–

I checked The Dallas Morning News to see what kind of conference was held in Dallas in September, 1911 — it was the Texas State pastoral conference of the Missouri evangelical Lutheran synod. One of the 60 Lutheran ministers in attendance was Rev. F. H. Stelzer (Fred Stelzer), fresh out of seminary in Missouri — in fact, he was so fresh out of seminary that he had been ordained for only two weeks when he visited Dallas and wrote his sweetheart this card.

Fred Stelzer (1888-1978) and Sidonie Wissmann Stelzer (1888-1950) eventually married and had 8 children. They lived in Thorndale, Texas where Fred was the pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church for 40 years. But when he was a newly ordained 23-year-old minister, he visited Dallas where he rode a cool “special” streetcar to see the sights,and spent a miserable night trying to sleep in a freezing-cold room with an open window, under nothing more than a thin quilt and a white spread.

lutheran-tour_dmn_091111Dallas Morning News, Sept. 11, 1911

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Sources & Notes

Real photo postcard found on eBay.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Thompson’s, 1520 Main — 1916

thompsons_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_frank-rogers_XLOpen for business…

by Paula Bosse

Above, the newly constructed building at 1520-1522 Main Street, between Akard and Stone, home to Thompson’s, a national chain of restaurants owned by John R. Thompson of Chicago. It was built and opened in 1916.

thompsons_dmn_071615Dallas Morning News, July 16, 1915 (click for larger image)

The site had previously been the location of the Happy Hour Theater (which can be seen in this photo), the demolition of which was announced in January, 1916. 

1520-main_dmn_010416DMN, Jan. 4, 1916

And it was a beautiful building!

thompsons_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_frank-rogers

Thompson’s remained in this location until the 1930s. When Bond Clothes took over the space in 1938, news accounts rather ominously mentioned that the building would be completely remodeled, inside and out.

Workers are engaged in ripping out the front of the building. An all black glass front will be installed on most of the building and near the top of the second floor glass brick will be featured. Bronze trim will be used throughout. (DMN, Feb. 13, 1938).

All that beautiful glossy white terra cotta “ripped out”!

But things got worse. Much worse. It’s hard to believe, but this is the same building:

1520-main_selzer-assoc_facebook_crop_campisisPhoto from Selzer Associates Facebook page

In recent years, though, Selzer Associates Architects and Nedderman & Associates worked some absolutely stunning restoration magic. (Read the story of the restoration in Texas Architect magazine here, starting on p. 36.) I mean, look:

iron-cactus_google-street-view_feb-2020Google Street View, Feb. 2020

It’s beautiful again! Thank you, magic-workers!

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Sources & Notes

The circa-1916 photograph by Dallas photographer Frank Rogers is from the Alexander Architectural Archives, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin — more info on this photo can be found here.

See an interior shot of a Thompson’s restaurant in a 1927 photo here.

Read more about the Thompson’s restaurant chain in the following articles:

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

World War I Cadets, Commerce Street — 1918

ww1_cadets_commerce-street_1918_natl-archives_fullStanding at attention in the 2100 block of Commerce

by Paula Bosse

Great photo by John J. Johnson showing high school cadets standing in formation in the 2100 block of Commerce Street — the view is to the west (the Adolphus Hotel can be seen all the way at the end of the street, on the right). Here are a couple of zoomed-in details (click to see larger images).

ww1_cadets_commerce-street_1918_natl-archives_det-1

ww1_cadets_commerce-street_1918_natl-archives_det-2

ww1_cadets_commerce-street_1918_natl-archives_det-3

The official Records of the U.S. War Department description of this photo:

ww1_cadets_commerce-street_1918_natl-archives_description

The buildings in the foreground are, amazingly, still standing — over a hundred years later (a rarity for downtown Dallas buildings). See the same view today on Google here.

The Ajax Rubber Co. building the cadets are standing in front of is the “Waters” building (2117 Commerce), which has been very nicely restored by the East Quarter people:

ww1_cadets_commerce-street_google-street-view_2020Google Street View, Feb. 2020

Below, a clipping from the 1917 Dallas directory, showing the businesses on Commerce between Pearl and Preston (now Cesar Chavez):

ww1_cadets_commerce-street_1917-dallas-directory

Two years after this photo was taken — in 1920 — the Magnolia gas station (better known as the KLIF building) was built on the spot the cadets were looking at. See that building in the post “Magnolia Gas Station No. 110 — 1920.”

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Sources & Notes

This photo, titled “Dallas High School Cadets,” was taken by Dallas photographer John J. Johnson (usually seen as Jno. J. Johnson) on June 11, 1918. It is from the American Unofficial Collection of World War I Photographs 1917-1918, Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs 1860-1952, National Archives — more info on this photo can be found on the National Archives site here.

Other Flashback Dallas posts on World War I can be found here.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Dallas Baseball Team — ca. 1910

dallas-baseball_1910_ebay_black-teammateTeam photo, circa 1910… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I came across this circa-1910 photo on eBay about a year and a half ago. I thought it was unusual because of the presence of an African American man posing with the team. Sports teams weren’t integrated at this time — was he part of the team but not a player? I don’t know what’s written on his shirt, but it doesn’t have “Dallas” on it like the ones the others are wearing. What do you think?

Happy Opening Day!

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Sources & Notes

Photo found on eBay. (I assume it’s Dallas, Texas….)

More Flashback Dallas posts on baseball can be found here.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Mother Hansen’s Home Cooking — 1913

mother-hansens-home-cooking_ebay_postmarked-1913Mother Hansen’s, 1814 Main Street… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

A popular restaurateur in early-20th-century Dallas was Ruth Hansen (1870-1947), known to most people as “Mother Hansen.” She maintained a restaurant in downtown Dallas from about 1910 until the early 1930s, moving between locations on S. Ervay and a couple of different addresses on Main Street. The cafe interior seen above was at 1814 Main Street, just west of St. Paul — the photo was taken in 1912 or 1913.

In a 1968 Dallas Morning News interview with Mr. and Mrs. D. L. Whittle, Mother Hansen’s eatery was still remembered. When the Whittles arrived in Dallas in 1912, their Western Automatic Music Co. was two doors from the restaurant — they were regular customers of Mrs. Hansen, and Mrs. (Elsie) Whittle “vividly” remembered the place:

“It was pretty expensive,” Mrs. Whittle said with a smile. “I remember that a T-bone steak dinner cost all of 25 cents.” (“Music Brought Whittle to the City” by Sam Acheson, DMN, Nov. 25, 1968)

(That 25 cents would be about $7.00 in today’s money.)

I love this era of cafes and restaurants — three others in downtown Dallas from this same era are:

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Notes & Sources

Postcard (with a 1913 postmark) found on eBay.

In addition to buying the Western Automatic Music Co. soon after his arrival in Dallas, D. L. Whittle was also a partner in the Crystal Theatre and, most famously, the founder of the Whittle Music Co.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Interurban Miscellany

interurban_dallas_photo_ebay_redWooden, red… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Just a few miscellaneous photos from the days of the Interurban, the electric railway which ran through Dallas from 1908 to 1948.

The photograph above has the following written on the back: “The Texas Electric has a whole flock of fast interurbans. Most are steel and painted blue. This older wooden car is red and was used on the Dallas-Denison run. Dallas, Tex.”

Below, “Evolution of Transportation,” a postcard featuring “Miniature Interurban Exhibit, Showing a Model Suburban Home and the Splendid Service Between Dallas, Fort Worth and Cleburne.”

interurban_evolution-of-transportation_postcard_ca-1916_ebayvia eBay

An Interurban mishap:

interurban_mishap_ebayvia eBay

A couple of pleasant waiting-shelters, circa 1925:

interurban-stop_neighbors-pamphlet_portal_1925via Portal to Texas History

interurban-shelter_neighbors_1925via Portal to Texas History

Another stop, with a sign (“ALL INTERURBAN CARS STOP ON SIGNAL”):

interurban-stop_flickr-lynneslensvia Lynne’s Lens Flickr photostream

And the Interurban Terminal, downtown, ca. 1925 (located at 1500 Jackson St. at Browder, still standing, converted to residences):

interurban-terminal_1925_neighbors-pamphlet_portalvia Portal to Texas History

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Sources & Notes

Top photo found on eBay. “Robert M. Hanft, Brainerd, Minn.” is printed on the back. Hanft (1914-2004) was a rail enthusiast and photographer — his obituary is here.

The Texas Interurban route connected with Dallas in 1908 and continued for 40 years until being discontinued in 1948. More at the Handbook of Texas here, and at Wikipedia here; a look at the stops can be seen in an illustration here.

Check out these two Interurban pamphlets with lots of great photographs, scanned in their entirety by UNT’s Portal to Texas History:

  • Making Neighbors of the People of Dallas and Kaufman Counties, and the Towns of Terrell, Forney, Mesquite and Dallas (20 pages, Texas Interurban Railway) — read it here.
  • Making Neighbors of the People of Dallas and Denton Counties, and the Towns of Denton, Garza, Lewisville, Carrollton, Farmers Branch and Dallas (24 pages, Texas Interurban Railway) — read it here.

More Flashback Dallas posts on the Interurban can be found here.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Influenza Pandemic Arrives in Dallas — 1918

influenza-epidemic_love-field_1918_natl-archivesIn line at the Love Field “spraying station” (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I write this as the U.S. is bracing for the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus which has just been declared a world-wide pandemic by the World Health Organization — this inescapable news item reminds me of a previous post I wrote about the local response to another major epidemic. In 2014, Dallas (of all unlikely places) was ground-zero in the U.S. for a feared Ebola outbreak — back then I wondered how Dallas had handled health crises in the past, specifically the spectre of the Spanish Influenza, which, like the coronavirus, swept around the globe. So I wrote “When the Spanish Influenza Hit Dallas — 1918,” and I have to say, it was pretty interesting. The flu first hit the regional military bases during World War One: Love Field, Camp Dick at Fair Park, and Camp Bowie in Fort Worth. It wasn’t long before people beyond the WWI camps were contracting the Spanish Flu, and then it just spread and spread and spread.

The photo above, from December, 1918, shows Love Field military personnel waiting in line to be “sprayed” — the caption reads:

Love Field, Dallas, Texas: Preventative Treatment against influenza.
The line at the spraying station.

influenza-epidemic_love-field_1918_natl-archives_INFO

Here’s the throat-sprayer waiting inside the tent:

spanish-influenza_love-field_otis-historical-archives_nmhm_110618Love Field, Nov. 6, 1918

spanish-influenza_dmn_100118_sprayingDallas Morning News, Oct. 1, 1918

I’m not sure how effective this spraying was, but the advice given to Dallasites in 1918 is still good today: wash your hands, keep your surroundings clean, and do not spit in streetcars!

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Sources & Notes

Top photo is from the National Archives at College Park; more info is here.

Second photo, showing the inside of the “spraying station,” is from the Otis Historical Archives, National Museum of Health and Medicine; more info is here

For a more detailed post about how Dallas dealt with the Spanish Influenza, read the 2014 Flashback Dallas post “When the Spanish Influenza Hit Dallas — 1918.”

influenza-epidemic_love-field_1918_natl-archives_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Marching to Mess — 1918

ww1_fort-dick_fair-park_marching-to-mess_roller-coaster_1918_natl-archivesNot your typical boot camp setting… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Above, Camp Dick, an Air Service training camp which took over Fair Park during World War I. The War Department caption of this 1918 photo:

Camp Dick, Dallas, Texas: Men marching to mess after evening parade. Roof in foreground is the Officers’ house.

At the right is a roller coaster, a popular ride when the State Fair of Texas (rather than the U.S. military) is occupying the park.

Here’s a photo from 1911:

state-fair_street-scene_john-minor_1911_cook-colln_degolyer

When Preston Sturges trained at Camp Dick — well before he became a legendary Hollywood writer and director — he and his fellow cadets did not let that roller coaster go to waste. He wrote this in his autobiography, Preston Sturges by Preston Sturges:

Out on the parade ground, boys fell over from [the intense heat] all the time and had to be revived with cold water and a sponge. Nights we would climb up the shaky apex of the large roller coaster in the corner of the fairgrounds to try to find a breeze.

An unexpected perk of basic training.

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Sources & Notes

Top photo is from the National Archives at College Park; more info is here.

State Fair photo is a real photo postcard, taken by John R. Minor, and is from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more info is here.

More Flashback Dallas posts on Camp Dick can be found here.

ww1_fort-dick_fair-park_marching-to-mess_roller-coaster_1918_natl-archives_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Crown Cork & Seal Co., Dallas Branch — ca. 1910

crown-cork-and-seal-co_cook-coll_degolyer-lib_SMUBicycle, boys, clerk, horse-anchor, horse, wagon…

by Paula Bosse

Above, the Dallas branch office of the Crown Cork & Seal Co. at 600 N. Akard (at San Jacinto), currently the location of the swank Dakota’s Steakhouse, across from the T. Boone Pickens YMCA.

The Baltimore-based Crown Cork & Seal Co. (their founder invented the bottle cap in 1892) opened its Dallas branch at this location around 1909 and remained in this building until about 1913 when they moved their plant to Pacific Avenue.

According to its Wikipedia entry, the company, now called Crown Holdings, manufactures “one out of every five beverage cans used in the world, and one out of every three food cans used in North America and Europe.” That’s a huge share of the market!

I don’t believe the company still has a Dallas branch — the last news I found was that the company was about to begin construction of a new building in the Trinity Industrial District in 1956 to house a regional office and warehouse.

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Sources & Notes

Photo is from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more info on this photo can be found here.

More on William Painter’s revolutionary bottle-cap invention (still in use today) can be found here.

crown-cork-and-seal-co_cook-coll_degolyer-lib_SMU_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Orphaned Factoids: Year-End Grab Bag, 2019

cyclone-twister_tornado_cigars_1928_ebay“Looks crooked but smokes straight…”

by Paula Bosse

As another year crawls to an end, it’s time to collect the odd bits and pieces that have  piled up over the past few months which struck me as interesting or funny or… whatever. I had nowhere else to put them, so they’re going here! (Most images are larger when clicked.)

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First up, the ad above for the “Cyclone Twister” 5-cent cigar, distributed by Dallas wholesaler Martin L. Richards in 1928. Note the shape of the cigar. “Looks crooked but smokes straight.” Probably looked a little strange when smoked. I guess it might help break the ice at parties. Found on eBay.

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Here’s a nice little crest for SMU I’ve never seen — I’m not sure how long this lasted. From the 1916 Rotunda yearbook.

smu_crest_1916-rotunda

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M. Benedikt & Co. was the “Headquarters for Hard-to-fit-men” — in other words, they specialized in “Right-Shape clothing for Odd-Shape Men.” Here are a couple of examples of what they might consider “odd-shape men” in an ad from 1899.

benedikt-clothiers_odd-shape-men_dallas-fire-dept-souvenir_1899_degolyer-lib_SMU

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This is an interesting selection of ads from a 1968 edition of the Yellow Pages: Dewey Groom’s Longhorn Ballroom, Louanns, El Zarape Ballroom, the It’ll Do Club, the Bamboo Room at the Tower Hotel Courts, the Chalet Club, and the Tamlo Show Lounge (a couple of these show up in the…um… informative story “The Meanest Bars in Dallas” (D Magazine, July, 1975).

clubs_yellow-pages_1968_ebay

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I’ve been working in the G. William Jones Film and Video Archives at SMU for the past few months, and this was something I came across while viewing a 1960 WFAA-Channel 8 News clip which made me really excited (it’s an awful screenshot, but, what the heck): while covering a car wreck at Corinth and Industrial, the Ch. 8 camera panned across the scene, and in the background, just left of center, was a very tall sign for the Longhorn Ranch, which I’d never seen before. Before it was the Longhorn Ranch it was Bob Wills’ Ranch House, and after it was the Longhorn Ranch it was the Longhorn Ballroom (more history of the legendary honky-tonk is in a Texas Monthly article here). So, anyway, it’s a fuzzy screenshot, but I think it’s cool. (The footage is from June, 1960 but the clip hasn’t yet been uploaded online.)

longhorn-ranch_wfaa-june-1960_jones-film_SMU

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Speaking of WFAA footage in the Jones Film collection, there was some sort of story about comely young women in skimpy outfits handing out samples of some sort of food to passing pedestrians on Commerce Street (the one-minute clip is here). In addition to seeing sights associated with downtown streets in 1962 (including businesses such as Sigel’s and the Horseshoe Bar, as well as a large sign advertising the Theatre Lounge), I was really happy to see a few Braniff Airways posters in a window — I love those late-’50s/early-’60s Braniff travel posters! So here’s another screenshot and, below that, the Texas-kitsch poster I was so happy to see in color.

braniff-poser_oil-well_jones-film_SMU_041262

braniff-poser_oil-well_ebayBraniff Airways, Inc., Copyright 1926 2019

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I don’t have an image for it, but I was amused to learn that in 1969 the powers-that-be at the Texas Turnpike Authority nixed the suggestion that the Dallas North Tollway be renamed in honor of president Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had recently died — the idea was turned down because 1) new signage would have been very expensive, and 2) officials were afraid that “irreverent motorists” would inevitably refer to the toll road as the “Ike Pike” (I know I would have!).

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Not Dallas, but there’s always time for a little love for Fort Worth: here’s a nice ad from 1955 for a 22-year-old Fort Worth DJ named Willie Nelson, back when he was gigging out on the Jacksboro Highway with his band the Dumplin’ Eaters.

nelson-wilie_FWST_090955Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Sept. 9, 1955

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Apparently there was a time when ladies were uncomfortable patronizing an establishment in which m*n served them ice cream, so this ad from 1899 made sure to note that “lady clerks” were in attendance. (See the back side of the Willett & Haney Confectioners parlor a couple of years before this ad, when the “cool and cozy parlor” was located on Main Street — it’s at the far left in this circa-1895 photo detail from this post.) The parlor was owned by John B. Willett and John S. Haney, and in addition to ice cream and candy, their specialty was oysters, and I can only hope that there was some experimenting with new food combos involving mollusks, ice cream sodas, and crushed fruit.

willett-and-haney_ice-cream-parlor_dallas-fire-dept-souvenir_1899_degolyer-lib_SMU

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This is an odd little tidbit from The Dallas Morning News about a couple of cadets from Camp Dick (at Fair Park) and what happened to them when they attended a lecture on “social diseases.” (The jokes write themselves….) Who knew singing and whistling were so therapeutic”

camp-dick_dmn_081718DMN, Aug. 17, 1918

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The caption for this photo (which appeared in the article “Going Downtown to Shop” by Jackie McElhaney, from the Spring, 2009 issue of Legacies): “In 1946, Sanger’s introduced a portable drapery shop. Two seamstresses sewed draperies in this truck while parked in the customer’s driveway.” Now that’s service!

sangers_drapes_legacies_2009

sangers_logo_1947_forward-with-tx
“Forward with Texas,” 1947 ad detail

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Two more. This first was a real-photo postcard I found on eBay. It shows the Pink Elephant cafe on Hwy. 80 in Forney (not Dallas, but pretty close!). I love the idea of Forney having a place called the Pink Elephant — it was quite popular and was in business from at least the 1930s to the 1950s. The card below was postmarked in 1936.

pink-elephant-bbq_forney_ebay_mailed-1936

This photo of the interior is from the Spellman Museum of Forney Museum Facebook page.

pink-elephant-bbq_forney_FB_spellman-museum-forney-history

I wondered if the place was still around (sadly, it is not), and in looking for info about it found this interesting article from 1934 about outlaw Raymond Hamilton, the escaped killer who grew up in Dallas (…there’s the Dallas connection!) and was notorious for having been a member of Bonnie and Clyde’s “Barrow Gang.” (Click to read.)

pink-elephant-bbq_forney_austin-american_102234Austin American, Oct. 22, 1934

pink-elephant_forney_matchbook_pinterest

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And, lastly, a photo of a young woman which appeared in a German-language magazine, captioned simply “Eine Texas Schönheit (A Texas Beauty).” Is the hair wearing the hat, or is the hat wearing the hair?

texas-beauty_1902

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Previous installments of Flashback Dallas “Orphaned Factoids” can be found here.

Until next year!

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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