Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: 1950s

Old Lake Highlands

white-rock-lake_old-lake-highlands_1956_don-jones1956, Room to spread out…

by Paula Bosse

The photo above — taken in 1956 — shows an aerial view of Old Lake Highlands, looking southwesterly toward White Rock Lake. The street in the foreground is Kirkwood Drive.

But for even older Old Lake Highlands, we need to cast our minds back to 1927, when W. H. Brouse began to advertise for one of his many East Dallas developments. One of the ads from the Lake Highlands Co. (W. McCarty Moore, President and H. W. Brouse, Director of Sales) read:

IN THE MAKING — LAKE HIGHLANDS, “THE INCOMPARABLE”

Another High-Class Residence  Section For Dallas on White Rock Lake

Believing in Dallas — believing in the continued rapid absorption of territory to the north and east for homes — and especially that beautiful terrain surrounding White Rock Lake, Lake Highlands was conceived and made possible by the owning company.

The tract — some 117 acres — is especially advantageously located in that it is right on the lake itself — just a short drive from the dam, and is bounded by water on three sides. A peninsular piece of ground, in fact.

The ad also noted that “lots will be large — prices low”: $1,100 and $1,200 (about $18,000-$19,500 in today’s money).

lake-highlands-co_dmn_100927_det1927

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And, in a Dallas Morning News real estate advertorial were these additional deets:

Lake Highlands is situated just beyond Dixon’s Branch, on the east shore of the lake, and is accessible directly from the downtown section by Swiss and Gaston avenues and the old Garland road, leading into the lake road. This, in turn, gives access to the 100-foot boulevard, which will circle the whole development, and from which lead streets seventy feet in width, reaching every lot in the development. Roadways and streets will be surfaced with white gravel, while curbs and sidewalks will be installed in advance of building development, as will all utilities, lights, water, gas and sewer facilities….

Construction will be restricted to homes to cost $5,500 to $7,500 minimums [$90,000-$122,000 today], depending on the location of the lots on which they are built. Materials will be limited to brick, hollow tile and stucco, so as automatically to eliminate the fire hazard and also to assure permanence.

I’m sure life on the lake in 1927 was worth every penny.

kirkwood_white-rock-lake_googleGoogle Maps

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Sources & Notes

I came across the photo at the top of this post several years ago in a photo blog hosted by The Dallas Morning News, but the blog doesn’t seem to exist any longer. The caption noted that the photo had been shared by Lynn Jones who had come across it when going through a collection of color slides inherited by her husband when Don Jones died in 2010.

Quotes from the real estate advertorial, “Plan Homes at White Rock” (Dallas Morning News, Oct. 9, 1927).

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Bud Biggs: 12 Watercolors of Dallas — ca. 1955

1-1956-january_dallas-mag_bud-biggs“Aerial View of Downtown Dallas” by Bud Biggs

by Paula Bosse

Back in 2018 I posted Christmas-themed magazine cover art by Dallas artist/illustrator Bud Biggs — it was one of my favorite images posted that year (see the post here). I knew that it had been one of the 12 monthly covers by Biggs used in 1956 for Dallas magazine, the Dallas Chamber of Commerce publication. Since then, I’ve managed to turn up all 12 watercolors. Some of them are going to look a little wonky with unfortunate glare patches — this is because I was unable to photograph them lying flat. I’ve done my best! I’ve paired them with the titles which were printed in the Dallas Morning News — I hope I’ve gotten the right titles with the right paintings. 

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Above, “Aerial View of Downtown Dallas” by Bud Biggs (this painting appeared on the cover of the January, 1956 issue of Dallas magazine).

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Below, “The Katy Round House” by Bud Biggs (February, 1956 cover)

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“Looking Up Pacific” by Bud Biggs (March, 1956 cover)

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“Ervay Street” by Bud Biggs (April, 1956 cover)

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“Ground-breaking, Dallas University” by Bud Biggs (May, 1956 cover)

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“Commerce Street” by Bud Biggs (June, 1956 cover) 

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“SMU Legal Center” by Bud Biggs (July, 1956 cover)

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“Central Expressway” by Bud Biggs (August, 1956 cover)

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Midway, State Fair of Texas” by Bud Biggs (September, 1956 cover)

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“Trinity Industrial District” by Bud Biggs (October, 1956 cover)

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“City Auditorium” by Bud Biggs (November, 1956 cover) — sadly, I was unable to find this one in color.11-1956-november_dallas-mag_bud-biggs_BW

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“Main Street, Christmas Night” by Bud Biggs (used for the cover of the December, 1956 issue of Dallas and for the cover of the Christmas, 1959 issue of the Shamrock Oil & Gas publication, The Shamrock)

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This series of 12 paintings won the “Best Covers of 1956” award from the American Association of Commerce Publications, and in 1958 all 12 of the original watercolors were purchased by Southwest Airmotive Company to be displayed in their new Love Field terminal. I have no idea where these paintings are today. I love them. 

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Dallas native Bancroft Putnam “Bud” Biggs (1906-1985) attended Forest Ave. High School, SMU, and the St. Louis School of Fine Arts. He was primarily a commercial artist, working for Dallas artist Guy Cahoon before opening his own advertising studio. He produced fine art as well, specializing in watercolors, and was a respected art instructor. Below is an ad placed in the publication La Fiesta of Art (1957) to coincide with an art show in Highland Park Village. He is seen sitting at an easel. I had never heard of Bud Biggs before that Christmas post in 2018 — someone needs to round up his works and publish them!

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Sources & Notes

Information on the 12 paintings is from the Dallas Morning News article “Art & Artists: Biggs Series Bought by Firm” by Rual Askew, Feb. 20, 1958.

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

State Fair of Texas, From Above — 1959

sfot_dallas-magazine_sept-1959A bird’s-eye view of the Great State Fair

by Paula Bosse

I think I see Waldo.

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Sources & Notes

Front cover of Dallas magazine, Sept. 1959.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Casa View Hills/Casa View Village — 1955

casa-view-village-shopping-center_dallas-mag_april-1955Casa View Village shopping area, April 1955

by Paula Bosse

I wrote about the rather confusing history of the shopping center in Casa View at Gus Thomasson and Ferguson in the post “Shopping at Sears in Casa View” — so this is something of a companion, showing architectural drawings (mostly parking spaces, but, still…). The original shopping center was called, somewhat whimsically, Casa View Hills, which opened in 1953 (the drawing seen below). In 1955, the center was bought by new owners who changed the name to Casa View Village and immediately began the second phase of construction (seen above), which expanded the center across Gus Thomasson (…I think). 

casa-view-hills-shopping-center_dallas-mag_march-1955Built as Casa View Hills (1953), w/ new 2-story addition (1955)

Caption of the drawing immediately above:

INSURANCE COMPANY BUYS SHOPPING CENTER
The $2,500,000 Casa View Hills Shopping Center has been acquired by the Lone Star Life Insurance Company for its home office property and general headquarters. The center, located on Gus Thomasson and Ferguson Roads in the northeast section of Dallas, is virtually completed except for final finishing on the two-story office building which will house the insurance company. W. H. Smith, president of the company, said the property was purchased from Clark and Smith, General Contractors. [Alexander and Russell, architects.] (“Dallas” magazine, March, 1955)

casa-view-shopping-center_dmn_100453Oct. 4, 1953

The caption for the very top image, showing the planned expansion:

CONSTRUCTION OF NEW CENTER STARTS JUNE 1
Construction of Casa View Village, a new shopping center at the intersection of Gus Thomasson and Ferguson Roads east of White Rock Lake, is scheduled to begin June 1, it has been announced by Avery Mays, Dallas real estate developer. Valued at $1,500,000, the 9-acre tract includes a 100,000 square foot building area which will include a Tom Thumb Super Market, Skillerns Drug Store and other stores and offices. Harwood K. Smith and Joseph M. Mills are the architects; Phillips, Proctor and Bowers, the land planners; and H. W. Meador Company, the leasing agent. (“Dallas” magazine, April, 1955)

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Sources & Notes

Architectural drawings and quoted text from Dallas magazine, March, 1955 and April, 1955.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Downtown Dallas in Color — 1940s & 1950s

kodachrome_commerce-lamar_trolleydodger_twitterColorful Commerce St. (via trolleydodger.com)

by Paula Bosse

After seeing so many pictures of historic downtown Dallas in black and white, it’s pretty thrilling to see color photos — even better, super-saturated Kodachrome slides. Here are a few.

Above, a photo taken on July 31, 1950: a view of Commerce Street, taken from Lamar looking east. I LOVE this photo! Sadly, I really don’t love what this same block looks like today: brace yourselves — click here! (For reference, Padgitt Bros. was at 1018 Commerce.) 

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Below, a photo from 1954: the 300 block of N. Ervay, taken from Bryan looking southeast toward Pacific. The Republic Bank Building (at the left) is still there, but those buildings on the right? Gone, gone, gone. That space is now taken up with Thanksgiving Square. I may be in the minority, but I would rather have those buildings back. That crazy-looking building housing businesses such as Arcadia Liquor (309 N. Ervay)? I have been all-but-obsessed with that weird building for years. Personally, I prefer its bizarro architecture to that of Philip Johnson. See what this block looks like now, here.

kodachrome_bryan-n-ervay_1954_shorpyvia Shorpy.com

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Below, from 1950: Main Street, looking east toward St. Paul (and Titche’s). This is fantastic! The view now is here

kodachrome_main_1950_noah-jeppsonvia Noah Jeppson, Flickr

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Another great photo from the collection of Noah Jeppson (seriously, check out his Flickr stream here!), this is one I’ve posted before — everyone posts this because it’s such an amazing photo, from 1945 (!): Elm Street, looking east from the 1400 block. See it today, here

elm-street-color_1940s_jeppson-flickrvia Noah Jeppson

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And lastly, despite the watermark, a cool September, 1940 view of the gas station/service station which once held down the Preston Road entrance to Highland Park Village: looking northwesterly toward Mockingbird. The view today is here

kodachrome_highland-park-village_gas-stations_sept-1940_color-slide_ebay_watermarkvia eBay

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If you’ve got color photos/slides from this era, I’d love to see them!

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Sources & Notes

Links to all sources can be found beneath the photos.

Special shout-out to Michael T. Jackson (@memj83) for tagging me on Twitter to a post by @Kodakforever — a heart-stoppingly great collection of Kodachrome photos where I first saw a few of the photos posted above.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Pleasant Grove Business Ads: 1959-1969 (Pt. 2)

spruce-high-school_1965-yrbk_jerrys-food-mart_lake-june-rdJerry’s Food Mart, 6416 Lake June Rd., 1964-ish

by Paula Bosse

This final installment of 1960s ads for Pleasant Grove businesses has even more more ads from the yearbooks of H. Grady Spruce High School and W. W. Samuell High School (a link to the previous posts is at the bottom of this page). (Click ads to see larger images.)

BAXLEY CLEANERS, 8117 Scyene — Murrill L. Baxley owner. This very cute little building still stands!

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PLEASANT GROVE CLEANERS, 8011 Lake June Road.

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THOMAS COIN-OPERATED SPEED QUEEN LAUNDRY, 11001 Seagoville Road. (Laundromats once offered the use of hair dryers?)

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CAMPUS BARBER SHOP, 9614 Old Seagoville Road. (1966: owner Ike Robertson pictured with Jack Kelley and “Red.” 1968: owner Keith Gibson.)

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NATALIE SCHOOL OF DANCE, 231 Pleasant Grove Center — Natalie Skelton owner. 

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SOUTHEAST YMCA, 2818 Prichard Lane. Still standing but now a church, I believe.

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PLEASANT OAKS BAPTIST CHURCH, 412 North Masters Drive. Still standing in what looks to be a remodeled building. 

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MACON-HOLCOMB FUNERAL HOME, 8142 Lake June Road. Still standing (as a different funeral home).

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DUDLEY M. HUGHES FUNERAL HOME, 2615 S. Buckner Blvd. Still standing (as a different funeral home).

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GROVE STATE BANK, 1520 S. Buckner Blvd. I’m kind of shocked to see that this once-cool mid-century building is actually still standing — as a Bank of America branch. Its exterior has been smoothed of most of its character, but the original building is still there.

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TRINITY SAVINGS & LOAN ASSOCIATION, 1838 S. Buckner Blvd. I think this original building is also still standing — now as a Chase Bank branch. 

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JERRY’S FOOD MART, 6416 Lake June Road and 10420 Second Ave. in Rylie — Jerry Smith owner.

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JERRY’S FOOD MART, 1328 Jim Miller Road.

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BEST FOR LESS FOOD MART, 1042 Second Ave. — E.R. Smith owner. “Where Ma saves Pa’s money.”

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BARNARD’S DRIVE-IN GROCERY, 136 N. Masters — O. L. (Leon) Barnard and Thelma Barnard owners. I love this couple!

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N. D. WHITTLE & SON POULTRY FARM, 2660 Dowdy Ferry Road. I’m happy to see this is an ongoing (and expanded) business!

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Sources & Notes

All ads are from the high school yearbooks of H. Grady Spruce and W. W. Samuell.

Other Pleasant Grove posts from Flashback Dallas can be found here.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Pleasant Grove Business Ads: 1959-1969 (Pt. 1)

spruce-high-school_1967-yrbk_pauls-florist_photo
South Buckner Blvd. doesn’t really look like this anymore…

by Paula Bosse

I love the ads in high school yearbooks, so here are a bunch of Pleasant Grove-area business ads from the pages of the Spruce and Samuell annuals. Click to see larger images. First up, all sorts of automotive-related establishments.

GROVE AUTO SUPPLY, 7930 Lake June Rd.

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KARSMITH, 7512 Second Ave. & Elam Rd., and 1952 S. Buckner Blvd. — Charles Smith and Wesley T. Smith, owners. “If you can’t stop, wave.”

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STOVALL’S CYCLE SHOP, 8152 Second Ave.

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HOLLEMAN ENCO SERVICE STATION, 300 S. St. Augustine.

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BARRETT MOTORS, 1514 S. Buckner — Big Billy Barrett, owner.

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HONDA SALES, 405 S. Buckner — Jack Poe, owner.

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TUCKER & SONS SHELL SERVICE STATION, 9606 Second Ave. “S&H Green Stamps… Hot coffee….”

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Next, various retail shops.

PAUL’S FLORIST & GREENHOUSE, 2017 S. Buckner — later at 8121 Bruton Rd. — Tommy Ochoa and Jean Ochoa, owners. If it’s a business in a little house-like building with metal or cloth awnings, I’m a fan.

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SKILLERN’S DRUG STORE, 1437 S. Buckner (Store No. 31).

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TURNER’S MENS & BOYS CLOTHING, 1317 S. Buckner.

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McKEE JEWELERS, 259 Pleasant Grove Shopping Center. This couple had yearbook ads every year — and they always looked pretty much the same. Which I’m fine with.

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VAN VOAST SPORTING GOODS, 8208 Scyene Rd.

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RYLIE DRUG, Barker’s Shopping Center.

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BRAGG GUN SHOP, 1344 S. Buckner — D. E. Bragg, owner.

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BUCK’S TV & RECORD SHOP, 1311 S. Buckner and 10910 Garland Rd. (and later 1927 S. Buckner) — Jimmy Huett, owner.

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And the always-popular “miscellaneous.”

BUCKNER BOWLING CENTER, 400 S. Buckner.

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WEST-CRAFT, 1926 S. St. Augustine.

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ECONOMY MANUFACTURING CO., 5641 Military Parkway.

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THE SUBURBAN TRIBUNE, 8114 Lake June Rd. I will always love line drawings of the mid-century Dallas skyline.

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Part 2 coming soon….

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Sources & Notes

All ads are from the yearbooks of H. Grady Spruce High School and W. W. Samuell High School.

Other Flashback Dallas posts heavy on the Pleasant Grove can be found here.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Pleasant Grove Eat Spots, including El Charo and the Vel-Mar — 1950s & 1960s

vel-mar_samuell-high-school_1959-yrbk_detVel-Mar, 8516 Lake June Rd., 1959

by Paula Bosse

Here are a whole bunch of ads for Pleasant Grove dining establishments, most with photos, thanks to the intrepid advertising staff of the yearbooks of H. Grady Spruce High School and W. W. Samuell High School. (Most ads are larger when clicked.)

You gotta start with Dairy Queen. I’m not sure how many DQs were in the Pleasant Grove area, but here are a couple.

Benson Dairy Queen, 1238 S. Buckner Blvd.

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Wicker’s Dairy Queen, 7636 South Loop 12.

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Gene’s Hitching Post, 223 Pleasant Grove Center. “Good barbecue is no accident.”

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Piedmont Drive-In & Steak House, 6855 Scyene Rd.

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Underwood’s Bar-B-Q, 7828 Lake June Rd. Odell Chism, manager.

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A & W, 623 S. Buckner.

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Apache Drive-In, 316 South St. Augustine. “Around the Bend to the Apache Den.” (The Spruce High School mascot was the Apache.)

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El Charo, 263 Pleasant Grove Shopping Center. The owner of this Mexican restaurant in the first ad (from 1958) is Mona Parish, whose husband Carl “Jake” Parish had died the previous year. From 1959, the owner was Marion Martinez, whose son, Mariano, went on to great acclaim with his own restaurant where he invented the frozen margarita (based on his father’s margarita recipe). The younger Martinez almost certainly worked at this Pleasant Grove restaurant.

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el-charo_plano-star-courier_nov-1962Plano Star-Courier, Nov. 1, 1962

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I have to admit, I’d never heard of the Vel-Mar drive-in, located at 8516 Lake June Rd., but I understand it was something of a Pleasant Grove fixture during the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, and into the ’80s. According to a newspaper article which chronicled the history of the Vel-Mar and its then-recent sale by Robert Schweder to James and Sharon Harris (“Drive-In Shrine Alive and Well” by Steve Blow, Dallas Morning News, June 15, 1980), the small chain of root-beer-stand drive-ins was founded by three couples — including a Velma and a Marie (the third, Thelma, wasn’t lucky enough to get her name into the business name). Eventually, the Pleasant Grove location was the last remaining Vel-Mar.

Vel-Mar tidbits:

  • It always closed for the winter, from October to March.
  • Other than its root beer, it was known for its “Dixie Burger” which was a loose-meat sandwich.
  • It was a Pleasant Grove high school hangout, and it had special drinks for students of Spruce and Samuell: a blue and red drink was called “The Sprucette” (also “Spruce Juice”), and a blue drink was called “The Spartini” (for the Samuell Spartans). 

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Sources & Notes

All ads from the yearbooks of H. Grady Spruce High School and W. W. Samuell High School (unless otherwise noted).

More on Pleasant Grove can be found in the Flashback Dallas post “Life in The Grove: Pleasant Grove — 1954-1956,” with material gleaned from Pleasant Grove High School yearbooks.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Texas Rasslin’ at the Sportatorium — 1959

sportatorium_wrestling_mclemore_radio-annual-television-yrbk_1959Heroes and villains, hillbillies and rasslers… (1959)

by Paula Bosse

Ed McLemore and the Sportatorium. It’s hard to imagine one without the other. McLemore owned the Sportatorium (at Cadiz and Industrial) and was a successful promoter of both professional wrestling and up-and-coming hillbilly and rock ‘n’ roll musicians. The wrestlers and the musicians all performed centerstage in the Sportatorium ring (on different nights, but I’m sure McLemore must have at least day-dreamed about having some sort of offbeat tag-team bout featuring all of his clients in the ring at the same time). The Sportatorium was very, very popular, with crowds showing up for both wrestling matches and the legendary Big D Jamboree music shows, as well as boxing matches and a variety of other events.

This 1959 ad mentions a few of the musicians McLemore managed at the time, the biggest of whom was Sonny James (read about Sonny James’ years in Dallas in the Flashback Dallas post “Sonny James: The ‘Shindig Heartbreaker'”). Also listed were Johnny Carroll, the Belew Twins, Rozena Eads, Eddy McDuff, and Bill Dane.

The ad appears to be urging people to head to the Sportatorium because it’s got way more going on than boring old television!

“TEXAS RASSLIN”

Have you noticed the swing is to “Texas Rasslin”

No Murders!! No Guns!! No Quizzes!!

We do have heroes and villains in terrific fast action!

New Lighting — New Angles — New Dimensions — First Runs & Reruns

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mclemore_radio-annual-and-television-yrbk_1959_bio1959

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Sources & Notes

Ad and bio of Ed McLemore from the 1959 Radio Annual Television Yearbook.

Check out some vintage wrestling footage from the Sportatorium in 1960 here.

Check out vintage footage of the Big D Jamboree here.

More on the Sportatorium can be found in various Flashback Dallas posts here.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Bird’s-Eye View Down Main Street — 1954

dallas_birdseye_1954_color_ebayMain Street, 1954

by Paula Bosse

A nice color photo showing Main Street, looking west from about Field. For reference, Hotel Southland was in the 1200 block of Main, at Murphy, and Turner’s Clothiers, across the street, was at 1113 Main.

There’s a lot to look at (click to see a larger image). It’s always nice to see a viaduct (top right).

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Sources & Notes

Photo found on eBay.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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