Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: 1930s

Ghost Rails of the Belmont Streetcar Line

matilda-richmond_dan-parr-photo_FB-dallas-history-guild_april-2018Matilda & Richmond, April, 2018… (photo: Dan Parr)

by Paula Bosse

I grew up on Ellsworth, between Greenville Avenue and Matilda — just south of Mockingbird, just north of the M Streets. When I was a child, Matilda was only partially paved — in my neighborhood, maybe only from Mockingbird down to Kenwood? Otherwise, it was a dirt street (!) — and this was in the ’70s! Right around Kenwood was a weird mound which might not have looked like much to an adult, but to a child it was pretty strange. I can’t remember if the rails were visible — I’m pretty sure they were.

That line was the Belmont Line, which ended (began?) at Mockingbird (I think there was a later extension of sorts, but I think Mockingbird was the end of the line for streetcar passengers). As a kid, I knew that Matilda had been a long-gone streetcar line, but never having seen a streetcar outside of a movie, I couldn’t really imagine what it must have been like to have streetcars (and an interurban! — more on that below) moving up and down a street which was less than a block from my house.

A few years ago I stumbled across the YouTube video below and was surprised to see actual footage of that streetcar rolling up Matilda. The first five minutes of the video contains 16mm footage (both black-and-white and color) shot around Dallas in 1953 and 1954 by Gene Schmidt. It’s GREAT! You’ll see streetcars-galore moving past all sorts of familiar and vaguely familiar sights around the city, from Oak Cliff to downtown to way out to Mockingbird and Matilda. It ends with the Belmont-Seventh car (car 603) pulling to the end of the line — the view is looking south down an unpaved Matilda Street from Mockingbird, with a glimpse of the Stonewall Jackson playing field at the left, on the other side of the fence. (The Matilda footage begins at 4:17.)

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belmont-line_matilda-from-mockingbird_youtube-cap_ca1954Matilda, south from Mockingbird, ca. 1954 (Gene Schmidt)

Above, a screen capture from the video showing Matilda looking south from just south of Mockingbird. Stonewall Jackson Elementary School is at the left. Today the view looks like this.

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Before the streetcar arrived, Matilda was the artery that led the Texas Traction Company’s Sherman/Denison interurban into Dallas. This electric interurban service from the north, which closely followed the H&TC railroad line, arrived in Dallas in 1908, back when the official entry-point into the Dallas city limits was just off Matilda, near Greenville Avenue and Bryan Street.

1908_interurban_sherman-dallas_dmn_011608
DMN, Jan. 16, 1908 (click to read)

The interurban route connecting Sherman/Denison with Dallas opened on July 1, 1908 and lasted for 40 years, until its final run on December 31, 1948. (Read the Dallas Morning News article on the 1908 inaugural trip for big-wigs, “Many Make Trip Over Interurban,” July 1, 1908, here. Below is the accompanying photo. Image that running up and down Matilda — and, later, along other streets in Dallas — several times a day!)

interurban_sherman-dallas_dmn_070108
DMN, July 1, 1908

Dallas’ ever-increasing population began to move northward and eastward, necessitating public transportation which would connect these developing areas with the rest of the city. One of the early “suburban” lines was the Belmont Line, which branched off the Bryan Street line and served the Belmont Addition and beyond; it opened in 1913, but these early days appear to have been more of a private “dinky” service (see SMU’s dinky car on the beyond-the-city-limits tracks at Hillcrest and McFarlin, here). The Belmont line — as well as the Vickery Place and Mount Auburn lines — became part of the city’s official streetcar system in 1922.

Before the dinky service, riders were able to get on and off the large interurban cars at stops between Mockingbird and the area around Bryan and Greenville Ave. Even though interurbans and streetcars were able to travel on the same rails, it took years for dedicated streetcar tracks to be laid along Matilda.

This detail of a real estate ad shows that the Belmont line had reached at least as far as Richmond by 1914 (I felt I had to include this because the finger is pointing at the exact location of the exposed rails in the photo at the top!):

1914_matilda-richmond_lakewood-heights-ad_det_050314
May, 1914 (detail from Lakewood Heights real estate ad — see full ad here)

By 1922 the Belmont line had extended north to Velasco; by 1925 it had gotten to McCommas; by 1936 it had made it up to Penrose; and by 1939 it had finally reached Mockingbird (in time for the opening that year of Stonewall Jackson Elementary School, located at Mockingbird and Matilda).

Dallas streetcars began to be phased out in 1955, and the Belmont line was one of the first to go — its last run was March 6, 1955: “The Belmont-Seventh streetcar line will go out of existence Sunday to be replaced by service with new Diesel buses” (Dallas Morning News, March 6, 1955). The new bus route in the Lower Greenville area would, for the most part, be along Greenville Avenue, one block west of unpaved Matilda Street.

In March, 1955, it was reported that the abandoned Belmont-Seventh streetcar tracks were deeded to the city by the Dallas Railway and Terminal Co., with the understanding that they would eventually be paved over. The tracks were on Matilda, Bryan, Cantegral, Live Oak, St. Paul, King’s Highway, Edgefield, Seventh, Bishop, and Colorado. In April, 1956, it was reported that the City Council had approved the sale of the streetcar viaduct over the Trinity River and the Matilda street right-of-way.

But what about that paving of Matilda? Mrs. K. E. Slaughter had thoughts on the matter in a letter-to-the editor in April, 1955:

Since removal of the Belmont streetcar line in part — Matilda and Bryan streets — would it not be advantageous to develop this section into an important use to the heavy automobile traffic? Matilda now is no more than useless tracks built up between a cow path. (DMN, April 7, 1955)

“Cow path” — ha!

Another annoyed News reader wrote in 1963 — eight years after the tracks had been abandoned — about the useless unpaved thoroughfare:

The abandoned almost-private right of ways, such as Matilda, nearly two miles south from Mockingbird, received by the city in a deal to permit an all-bus operation, have not yet been paved or otherwise improved. (DMN, Oct. 21, 1963)

I’m not sure when that paving finally happened — early ’70s? — I think it must have been done in stages. I don’t remember a time when the stretch between Mockingbird and Kenwood wasn’t paved, but I do remember Matilda being a dirt road south of Kenwood. I don’t have a good recollection of the year, but kids remember all sorts of weird things, and those mysterious mounds were pretty memorable. (UPDATE: See photos of Matilda being paved at Goodwin in 1971 here.) I wish I’d known what an interurban was when I was a child. That would have made my neighborhood seem a whole lot more interesting! Heck, it used to the Gateway to Sherman!

I’ve long despaired of having missed the streetcar age. But it’s nice to know that one ran so close to the house I grew up in.

belmont-line_matilda-mockingbird_youtube-cap_ca1954End of the line, ca. 1954… (Gene Schmidt)

belmont-car_lakewood-heights-ad-det_050314

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Sources & Notes

Top photo taken by Dan Parr on April 15, 2018; it was originally posted to the Facebook group Dallas History Guild and is used here with permission. (Thanks, Dan!) The photo was taken at Matilda and Richmond, looking south on Matilda. See it on Google Street View, here. (Roadwork along Matilda is awful at the moment, but much-needed. Apparently it is being reduced to three lanes for automobiles with two bike lanes being added — read about it in the Lakewood Advocate, here.)

YouTube video shot by Gene Schmidt in 1953 and 1954; the direct link is here.

Another interesting video on YouTube was made by the City of Allen and contains period footage of the interurban that served North Texas. It’s a breezy 6-and-a-half  minutes, and it includes some cool shots of Dallas.

If you want to see a whole bunch of North Texas interurban photos, check out this great 83-page PDF compiled by DART, “History of the Interurban Railway System and Monroe Shops,” here.

Speaking of DART, they posted a cool 1925 map of streetcar and interurban lines, here — click the map to see a larger image. (In 1925, the Belmont line ended on Matilda at McCommas).

ALSO extremely cool is a Google map showing Dallas’ Historical Streetcar (and Interurban) Lines laid over a present-day Google map, here. Zoom in and out. Very useful!

Click pictures and clippings to see larger images.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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“The Cedars” Maternity Sanitarium, Oak Cliff — ca. 1923-1944

cedars-maternity-sanitarium_texas-state-journal-of-medicine_oct-1933_portalA “seclusion home for unwed mothers”… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The rather blurry photo above shows a “maternity sanitarium” for unwed mothers, where “unfortunate women” could spend their days in seclusion until their babies were born there on the premises. The home/sanitarium was called “The Cedars” and was located on N. Ravinia Drive in the Beverly Hills area of Oak Cliff; when it opened, it was just outside the Dallas city limits. (It has nothing to do with The Cedars area south of downtown; its name may have had something to do with the name of a nearby street which intersected Ravinia. …Or it might have been located near a cedar grove. …Or it might have been used to subliminally suggest famed Cedars-Sinai Hospital.)

The sanitarium was opened around 1923 by Mrs. Lillie Perry (1876-1929), a woman who might have had some personal experience with the “fallen women” she cared for, as it appears she might have had a child out of wedlock herself. When she died in 1929, her daughter Lillian Hanna took over the running of the sanitarium. Lillian died in 1938, and that seems to have been around the time that the home became part of the Volunteers of America organization, which, among its many social services, provided maternity care for women and also assisted in adoption placement. The last mention I saw of “The Cedars” was in 1944.

The photo above appeared in an ad placed in the Oct., 1933 issue of the Texas State Journal of Medicine with the accompanying text (for larger images, click pictures and clippings):

cedars-maternity-sanitarium_tx-state-journal-of-medicine_oct-1933_portal_text
1933

Another ad, featuring friendly-looking nurses, appeared in the same issue, a few pages earlier:

cedars-maternity-sanitarium_tx-state-journal-of-medicine_oct-1933_portal_nurses

cedars-maternity-sanitarium_tx-state-journal-of-medicine_oct-1933_portal_nurses_text1933

Below are a few discreet newspaper ads for The Cedars which appeared over the years in the “personals” section of the classifieds.

cedars-maternity-home_dmn_070623
1923

cedars-maternity-home_dmn_042724_westmoreland
1924

cedars-maternity-home_dmn_1006291929

cedars-maternity-home_dmn_0105311931

cedars-maternity-home_dmn_0418341934

1937_cedars-maternity-sanitarium
Listing from the 1937 Dallas city directory

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Sources & Notes

Ads from the Texas State Journal of Medicine appeared in the October, 1933 issue, which can be found scanned in its entirety on the Portal to Texas History site, here.

Homes for “unwed mothers”/”unfortunate girls”/”fallen women” were generally places families sent their daughters in order to avoid the social stigma that unmarried girls and women faced when pregnant. They just kind of “disappeared” for several months and had their babies in secret, often feeling pressured to put their children up for adoption. An interesting Salon article on the topic is “The Children They Gave Away” by Sarah Karnasiewicz.

More on the Beverly Hills neighborhood of Oak Cliff can be found in articles from Heritage Oak Cliff and Preservation Dallas.

Thanks to Patricia M. who wrote to ask me a question about this place. I’ve learned a lot of interesting things about Dallas I would never have thought to look into were it not for obscure questions from readers. Like this one! Thanks, Patricia!

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

The L. P. Sigler Jewelry Store, Peak & Elm

peak-and-elm_cook-collection_degolyer_SMUNorth Peak & Elm, southeast corner… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Dr. Lough Phillip Sigler (1884-1951) was an optometrist who moved to Dallas from Denton County in 1908; the following year he opened a jewelry and watch store inside an Old East Dallas pharmacy at 4301 Elm Street, at the northeast corner of Elm and North Peak, eventually expanding into the adjoining storefront. In 1930 he moved across the street into a brand new building at the southeast corner of Peak and Elm: 132 N. Peak, seen in the photo above.

This type of neighborhood retail strip of shops and cafes was a common site throughout the city, and there are several still standing, most of which I’ve seen in Old East Dallas and Oak Cliff. I love these strips, and, thankfully, the one seen in the photo still stands.

peak-and-elm_googleGoogle Street View, 2016

The jewelry company founded by Dr. Sigler had an amazingly long life: the store opened at Peak and Elm in about 1910 (at the northeast corner) and remained in business (at the southeast corner) until well into the 1970s. The business which currently stands at 132 N. Peak is a very charming Mexican restaurant called Peak & Elm Cocina y Bar (check it out!).

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Sources & Notes

Top image — “Peak & Elm Sts.” — is from a real photo postcard in the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more information on this photo can be found here.

If I had to guess the date of the image, I’d guess around 1930 when Sigler moved into the new location. The strip appears to have been built in 1929, with its first tenants showing up in the 1930 city directory. See it today on Google Street View, here.

Just as an interesting historical note, directly across Peak from Sigler’s jewelry store were car barns and machine shops for some of the city’s electric railway streetcars — they can be seen in a 1922 Sanborn map here. Those blocks are currently occupied by Dallas Area Rapid Transit facilities.

The 1922 map showing blocks occupied by Mr. Sigler’s store(s) is here (his first location at 4301-03 Elm is seen, but the building which housed his later store at 132 N. Peak is not seen as it would not be built for another seven or eight years). 

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Ray Hubbard Estate, Lakewood

ad-evervess_mrs-ray-hubbard_1948_detA country estate in the heart of Lakewood, 1948… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Lakewood has a lot of beautiful homes — large and small — but the (very large) Raymond E. Hubbard estate at the corner of Lakewood Boulevard and Brendenwood Drive is quite the show-stopper. Built in 1934, the two-and-a-half-acre property is about a mile from White Rock Lake and was known for years for its spectacular landscaping and gardens, much of which was the personal handiwork of owner Ray Hubbard (1893-1970). Hubbard amassed his wealth as an independent oilman during the boom years, but he was known in his later life for his lengthy tenure as president of the Dallas Park Board.

From a 1938 Dallas Morning News article:

Mr. Hubbard is that phenomenon known as a natural tiller of the soil. In the short space of two years he has taken a barren hill and transformed it into a blaze of beauty in the form of a rock garden he designed himself. In the symphony of color, he has even had the subtlety to plant a few onions because there is a blue-green cast to the leaves of the onion that is found in no other plant. Carnations, pansies and pinks mingle in profusion as well as a thousand other oddities you have never seen the likes of  before. (“Edens in Preview,” DMN, April 10, 1938)

In 1948, his wife, Janet Hubbard, was seen in an ad for Evervess Sparkling Water, with photos of both Mrs. Hubbard and a view of the impressive “backyard” of their Lakewood home. (Click ad to see larger image.)

ad-evervess_mrs-ray-hubbard_1948Saturday Evening Post, 1948

I came across this ad a few years ago but had no idea where the house was located or who Ray Hubbard was, other than the probable namesake of the lake which bears his name (the Rockwall-Forney reservoir was named Lake Ray Hubbard in January, 1967, in honor of Hubbard’s devotion to civic affairs and his decades-long service to Dallas parks). I was surprised to learn that this was the somewhat mysterious and foreboding-looking house I’d passed years ago, looking run-down and deserted, surrounded by overgrown shrubs and bushes. The 2012 Google Street View looked like this:

hubbard-house_google-street-view_oct-2012Google Street View, Oct. 2017

Back then the overgrown approach to the house looked like this, and was probably something of a thorn in the side of the Lakewood Boulevard residents.

Since Google Street View was so out-of-date, I decided to drive by the house today to see what it looked like in 2018. It’s beautiful!

hubbard-house_lakewood-blvd_031519_PBphoto: Paula Bosse

The reason for the transformation? The property was bought and restored by Hunter Hunt (grandson of one-time richest man in the world — and White Rock Lake resident — H. L. Hunt) and his wife, Stephanie Hunt. And they did a wonderful job! If I had some, I’d raise a toast to the couple with an ice-cold glass of Evervess Sparkling Water!

ray-hubbard-estate_google-earth_2017
Google Earth, 2017

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hubbard_ray-e-hubbard_find-a-grave

Even though I now know who Ray Hubbard was, I’ll probably still find myself unintentionally (and, okay, sometimes intentionally) calling the lake named after him “Lake Ray Wylie Hubbard” (another former Dallas resident of note, but we’ll leave that for another time…).

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Sources & Notes

Ad found on eBay. This image is from an item offered several years ago, but as luck would have it, another seller has it for sale right now, here. Perhaps if you’re friends with Hunter and Stephanie Hunt, this would make a nice stocking stuffer. (This Evervess advertisement seems to have been part of a 1948 ad campaign featuring society women, their homes, and their favorite sparkling water: another ad, featuring Mrs. Homer Lange and her Chicago home, can be seen here.)

Photo of Ray E. Hubbard is from Find-a-Grave; read a biographical sketch about Mr. Hubbard’s life on the site, here. Not included in this information was that during Hubbard’s 27 years heading the Park Board (1943-1970), the Dallas park system expanded from 4,400 acres to more than 15,000 acres, and the number of parks increased from 54 to 150.

Read about Stephanie and Hunter Hunt and their Hunt Institute at SMU, here.

If anyone knows the original architect of the Hubbard house, please let me know!

For more on Lakewood Boulevard, I really enjoyed the 1992 Lakewood Advocate article “Lakewood Boulevard’s First Resident Looks Back On the Area’s Development; Mrs. Barnett’s Late Husband, Marshall, Built the First House on Lakewood Boulevard in the 1920s,” here.

See a 1932 view of the 7100 block of Lakewood Blvd. (with White Rock Lake at the end of the street), here; this photo was taken two years before the construction of the Hubbards’ house, which would  be built three blocks to the west (Dines and Kraft photo from the Flashback Dallas post “‘Reminiscences: A Glimpse of Old East Dallas,'” here).

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Forest Avenue-Area Flooding, South Dallas — 1935

flooding_forest-avenue_lloyd-long_052035_ebayBeyond the levees… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Sometimes the Trinity River is a puny little trickle, sometimes it’s a raging torrent. Here are aerial photos taken from around Forest Avenue (now MLK Blvd.) by Lloyd M. Long, showing the major flooding of May, 1935.

Here is the lead sentence from The Dallas Morning News, May 21, 1935 (the day after these photos were taken):

With sections of South Dallas inundated for the first time since the record 1908 flood, numerous bridges and highways and thousands of acres of lowlands hidden by its swirling, muddy currents, the roaring Trinity slowly was receding Monday night at Dallas after reaching a crest of 42.10 feet at 11 a.m. (DMN, May 21, 1935)

flooding-levee-district-from-forest-ave_lloyd-long_052035_ebay

There was great rejoicing that that the new-ish levees had held the waters and prevented the wide-scale flooding seen in 1922. But once you got to the Forest Avenue bridge (which ran below the Corinth St. viaduct and the Santa Fe railroad trestle), things got real bad real fast. In the photo above, the levee protection ends exactly at the railroad trestle — the Forest Avenue bridge is mostly underwater. The river above the trestle: a beautiful feat of engineering; below: water, water everywhere.

Below the Forest Ave. bridge where the levee protection ended, flood conditions were far worse than those created by the 1922 inundation. (DMN, May 21, 1935)

Again, sometimes the Trinity is just a trickle….

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Sources & Notes

Both photos (by Lloyd M. Long) are from 2017 eBay auctions: the top photo here, and the bottom photo here.

More on Dallas flooding can be found in these Flashback Dallas posts:

  • “The Nellie Maurine: When a Pleasure Boat Became a Rescue Craft During the Great Trinity River Flood of 1908,” here
  • “One of the Victims of the Great Trinity Flood: The T & P Railroad Trestle — 1908,” here
  • “The Trinity River at the City’s Doorstep,” here
  • “Cole Park Storm Water Detention Vault,” here

Maybe it’s just me, but I was really taken with that little L-shaped building in the top photo which was, briefly, its own island. What was it? It was part of the Guiberson Oil Well Specialty Corporation, founded in 1919 at 1000 Forest Avenue — the building seen in the photo was built in 1926. It’s still standing (here) and appears to be part of Faubion & Associates, a manufacturer of retail display cases and store fixtures.

Click photos to see larger images.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Happy 4th Anniversary, Flashback Dallas!

tx-centennial_stamp_cook-coll_degolyer_SMU

by Paula Bosse

This weekend marks the fourth anniversary of this blog. It’s hard to believe, but, completely coincidentally, this is my 1,000th post! That’s a lotta Dallas. (Some might argue that’s too MUCH Dallas….) There are now just over 9,000 Flashback Dallas followers across various social media platforms, and it’s always nice to know there are others out there who share my interest in Dallas history. Thank you to all who read, follow, share, and comment. It wouldn’t be as much fun if I were just typing for myself.

Thank you! And now, Year 5!

–Paula

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Sources & Notes

“Texas Centennial Exposition Stamp” from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more information on this image can be found here.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Thompson & Swanson: “The Oldest Exclusive Optical House In Dallas”

thompson-swanson_1914-ad_erik-swansonDon’t blink… (1914 ad, courtesy Erik Swanson)

by Paula Bosse

Dr. Alfred F. Thompson (1862-1942) and Dr. Frank V. Swanson (1885-1949) opened their “manufacturing opticians” practice, Thompson & Swanson, in 1911. In addition to examining and treating patients, they also ground lenses and manufactured their own glasses, something which I gather was somewhat unusual in 1911 for such a small practice.

They first set up shop on Elm Street, and their ads — generally eyeball-themed — were always attention-grabbers: not only did they stare at you from newspaper pages, they also seemed to follow you around the room.

thompson-swanson_1911-ad1911 ad

They soon moved to the Sumpter Building, in late 1912 (ad at top), directly across from the brand new Praetorian Building. By February of 1916 they’d hit the big-time and were actually in the Praetorian Building, Dallas’ tallest building and its most impressive address. Not only were they in the building, they were at street-level, which guaranteed that practically everyone who spent time downtown was familiar with Thompson & Swanson, if only because they passed the Praetorian Building. The ad below, featuring the building, is fantastic, in a weird-fraternal-order kind of way. (The ad at the top is also kind of weird — you can practically hear the spooky theremin.) (Click ads to see larger images.)

thompson-swanson_1923-ad_erik-swanson1923 ad (courtesy Erik Swanson)

Thompson & Swanson’s business history:

thompson-and-swanson_erik-swanson(courtesy Erik Swanson)

Similar ad, but aimed at the Texas Centennial visitor. “Good glasses if you need them, good advice if you don’t.”

thompson-swanson_june-1936June, 1936

The successful partnership of Thompson and Swanson lasted into the early 1940s. After Dr. Thompson’s death in 1942, Dr. Swanson continued at the same address as “Swanson & Son,” a practice with his son, Dr. F. V. Swanson, Jr.

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Sources & Notes

The top ad, the ad with the Praetorian Building, and the “85 Years’ Experience in Optometry” ads were very kindly sent to me by Erik Swanson (grandson of Dr. Swanson); they are used with permission. I love old ads, especially ones that feature Dallas buildings. Regarding the location of his grandfather’s business in the Praetorian Building, Erik wrote: “Little did he know there would one day be a giant eyeball at the location where he had his optician shop.” Ha! Now when I see that giant eyeball I’ll think of Thompson & Swanson (and hear that spooky theremin).

I was doubly happy to exchange emails with Erik because I’ve been a fan of his Western Swing bands for many years. His current band is Shoot Low Sheriff (listen to them here), but I first became a fan when I heard his former band, Cowboys & Indians. Thanks for the ads, Erik!

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

“All the Beer You Can Drink In an Hour For 60 Cents” — 1935

beer_60-cents_AP_1935LOOK! (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Summertime in Big D. It’s hot. REAL hot. For some, the only way to properly slake that nagging thirst is with a tall frosty mug of beer. In the summer of 1935, the management of the Texan Hotel Drug Store (at the northeast corner of S. Houston and Jackson streets) decided to offer a headline-grabbing promotion: “ALL THE SCHEPPS BEER YOU CAN DRINK: 60¢ PER HOUR!” (60¢ in 1935 would be the equivalent of about $11.00 today.) Sounds like a bargain, right? Maybe. Depends on your constitution — it meant that you would have to consume over a gallon of beer in one hour to save any money. (Not a problem for some, I realize.)

This made national news — there’s even newsreel footage. The photo above is from an AP wire story, accompanied by this caption: “A Dallas beer parlor offered ‘all the beer you can drink’ for 60 cents an hour. There were plenty of takers, but the proprietor said none had beaten him. The drinker would have to consume more than nine pints an hour to show a profit.”

beer_scranton-PA-repubican_072935
Scranton (PA) Republican, July 29, 1935

Speaking of newsreel footage, you can watch it below. As you can see, there certainly were a lot of very enthusiastic Dallas beer-drinkers doing their very best to surpass that gallon hurdle in order to feel they’d spent their money (and their hour) wisely.

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Ah, back when you could guzzle beer in a drugstore. (Several drugstores that same year — including this one — were routinely getting busted for selling illicit whiskey.)

The promotion appears to have been a hit, both publicity-wise and beer-sales-wise. The Dallas proprietor said no drinker had managed to come out ahead, but in Fort Worth, men appear to be made of stronger stuff. Cafe operator Byron Gaines hadn’t anticipated Chauncey C. Brown, a hops-loving patron described as “heavy-set” and “amiable.”

beer_FW_olean-NY-times-herald_081235Olean (NY) Times Herald, Aug. 12, 1935

According to United Press reports (this made national news, too), Brown took 58 minutes (rather than 53), but that “seven minutes of that time was spent in playing a slot machine.” It’s good to have hobbies.

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Sources & Notes

AP photo, taken in July, 1935, from the Press of Atlantic City site, here

Newsreel footage is from Critical Past, on YouTube here, and, for sale, here.

The Texan Hotel Drug Store was located at 218 S. Houston St. (northeast corner of Houston and Jackson) — see what the corner looks like today, here.

texan-hotel_south-houston_1936-directory
1936 Dallas directory

And … Schepps Beer? I was familiar with Schepps dairies, but not a Schepps brewery. But, yes, the Schepps family produced highly guzzleable beer: the Schepps Brewing Co. launched in 1933 and lasted into the early ’40s. (Click pictures and clippings to see larger images.)

schepps-beer_nov-1933Nov., 1933

schepps-beer_aug-1934Aug., 1934

schepps-beer-bottle-cap

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

A Bird’s-Eye View to the North

downtown_fairchild-aerial-survey_lgAs the crow flies… (click for much larger image)

by Paula Bosse

This is a great view, produced by the Fairchild Aerial Survey Co., taken sometime between 1925 (when the Ferris Plaza waiting station was built) and 1934 (when the land between the Trinity and the courthouse began to be cleared to begin construction of the “million-dollar project” which would eventually be known as Dealey Plaza and the Triple Underpass).

UPDATE: Brian Gunn posted this fantastic now-and-then overlay on the Dallas History Guild Facebook page. I love this. Thank you, Brian!

downtown-aerial_fairhchild-survey_brian-gunn-overlay

These images are huge. Click ’em!

UPDATE #2: Such participation from Flashback Dallas readers! Eric Hanson has now animated Brian Gunn’s overlay. Watch Dallas shoot up! Thank you, Eric! (Click GIF to see it slightly larger.)

eric-hanson_GIF-overlay

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Sources & Notes

Photo found on eBay.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Our Lady of Good Counsel, Oak Cliff — 1901-1961

our-lady-of-good-counsel_1944-yrbkOur Lady of Good Counsel, 1944… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Talking to my aunt today reminded me that she briefly attended Our Lady of Good Counsel, the all-girls Catholic high school in Oak Cliff next to the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, at the northwest corner of North Marsalis (originally named Grand Avenue) and 9th Street. I’m still not sure why she went there (our family isn’t Catholic), but she seems to have enjoyed her time there for a year or two before she transferred to Crozier Tech.

The school building was the former palatial home of wealthy businessman James T. Dargan, a one-time partner of Thomas L. Marsalis. The house was built about 1888, and according to Dallas Rediscovered author William L. McDonald, it was designed by the Dallas architectural firm of Stewart and Fuller.

dargan_1889-directory1889 Dallas directory

The church was holding services in Oak Cliff as early as 1901, and an affiliated school was established by Rev. Francis P. Maginn in September of that year. It appears that the Dargan house was acquired in 1902, the same year that the (new?) church building was dedicated in ceremonies officiated by Bishop E. J. Dunne.

Below, the new church can be seen in a photo which appeared in The Dallas Morning News on the day of its dedication in June, 1902 (all images are larger when clicked):

church-of-blessed-sacrament_dmn_061502_photoDMN, June 15, 1902

The neighboring school can be seen in this photo, taken around 1905:

our-lady-of-good-counsel_ca-1905_dallas-rediscovered
Our Lady of Good Counsel, ca. 1905

The school’s founder, Rev. F. P. Maginn:

maginn-francis-p_dmn_061502_church-of-blessed-sacrament
DMN, June 15, 1902

OLGC_dmn_042302DMN, April 23, 1902

And an early ad for the school, from 1903 (“Discipline mild, yet firm”):

our-lady-of-good-counsel_1903-ad
1903

Here it is in 1942:

our-lady-of-good-counsel_1942-yrbk

And here are some of the LGC high school students from 1944, looking bobby-soxer-y (with another view of the augmented house in the lower left corner):

our-lady-of-good-counsel_1944-yrbk_candids

The newest additions to the building can be seen in the 1959 yearbook:

our-lady-of-good-counsel_1959-yrbk

In 1961, Our Lady of Good Counsel was a fast-fading memory: a new 32-acre campus had been acquired and on it had been built the new (coed) Bishop Dunne High School. Mr. Dargan’s old house-turned-school-building was torn down a few years later, and the land became a parking lot for the Blessed Sacrament church next door (which had also seen many changes and a new building over the years). Today, the view of the land the Dargan house sat on 130 years ago looks like this. (The church looks like this.)

The church in 1930:

church-of-blessed-sacrament_1930

And in 1958 (from the LGC yearbook):

blessed-sacrament-church_OLGC-yrbk_1958

This visual aid will help give an idea of the acreage of both the school (circled in red) and the church (circled in blue), via the 1905 Sanborn map:

OLGC_sanborn_dallas-1905_sheet-171

I’m still not sure why my aunt went there….

OLGC_address_1958
1958

UPDATE: For those who might have wanted to see some interior photos, I didn’t find many, other than typical classroom shots, but here are some additional photos, a couple of which show the hallway.

Between classes, 1959:

OLGC_1959-yrbk_hallway

Girls lining up to go into class, 1960:

OLGC_1960-yrbk_hallway

Girls outside playing volleyball, 1960:

OLGC_1960-yrbk_volleyball

I had erroneously assumed that LGC was an all-girls 4-year high school; I believe it was a 12-year school, with boys and girls up to high school level, when it became girls-only. This photo appeared in the 1960 yearbook with the following caption: “The safety of all LGC students is the responsibility of the school as long as the students are on campus. For this reason, Officer H. A. Baxtley is available every day as a gracious escort for our little ‘Lions’ across the busy Ninth and Marsalis intersection.”

OLGC_1960-yrbk_crossing-guard

And finally, because I’m such a movie nerd who loves character actors, I was happily surprised to see that the actress K Callan was a 23-year-old drama teacher (etc.) at the school in 1959. (Callan was born in Dallas as Katherine “Kay” Borman and attended Ursuline and North Texas.)

callan-k_our-lady-of-good-counsel_1959-yrbk_drama-teacher

callan-k_our-lady-of-good-counsel_1959-yrbk_drama-teacher_b

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Sources & Notes

All photos of the school (except the one from 1905) are from various editions of Reveries, the yearbook for Our Lady of Good Counsel.

The 1905 photo is from Dallas Rediscovered by William L. McDonald (p. 215), with the following credit: “Courtesy of Sister M. Adelaide Mars.”

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church still stands, at 231 N. Marsalis; their website is here.

All images are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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