Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Architecture/Significant Bldgs.

Misc. Streetcars — ca. 1940s

municipal-bldg_streetcar-draughon_ebayStreetcar passing City Hall

by Paula Bosse

A bunch of photos of Dallas streetcars found currently (or recently) listed on eBay.

Above, Commerce and Harwood, looking toward the Municipal Building. Below, Commerce and Harwood, looking south toward First Presbyterian Church.

streetcar-harwood_draughon_ebay

“Main Street” car and “Highland Park-SMU” car, with Cokesbury Bookstore (at St. Paul) in the background:

streetcar_cokesbury_ebay

“Boundary-Union Station” car, heading west on Commerce, with the Baker Hotel in the background (back when it was still a two-way street). “Smash-Up” — the movie advertised on the side of the streetcar — was released in 1947.

streetcar_boundary-union-station_ebay

“Trinity Heights” car, heading west in the 1500 block of Elm:

streetcar_w-a-green_elm-st_ebay

 “Highland Park-SMU” car:

streetcar_hp_smu_ebay

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Sources and Notes

All photos from eBay seller “bksales” (current Dallas streetcar items available from this seller are here).

municipal-bldg_streetcar-draughon_ebay_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Ursuline Academy — 1921

ursuline_1921-yrbk_1-year-highVelma Rich and her classmates…

by Paula Bosse

I never tire of looking through old high school yearbooks. Here are some photographs from the 1921 edition of The Ursulina, the yearbook of the Ursuline Academy, the all-girls school located in the block bounded by Live Oak, Haskell, Bryan, and St. Joseph in Old East Dallas.

Above, the “I Year High,” which I gather would be the equivalent of the freshman class.  (I am transfixed by the girl in the center of the front row — I think she is Velma Rich — I bet she was a handful.) (Caption for this photo listing the girls can be seen here.)

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Below, the East View of the Academy. The caption reads: “A Famous Battlefield (the study hall) and the Porch of Dreams, where school girls congregate to discuss the latest bulletin board news while enjoying some toothsome dainty.” (All photos larger when clicked.)

ursuline_1921-yrbk_east-view

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The auditorium. “And this is where we treat our friends to music, play and dance.”

ursuline_1921-yrbk_auditorium

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The chapel. “‘Tis just the place to go for help when things are ‘up and down.'”

ursuline_1921-yrbk_chapel

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The dining hall. “You may live without learning/You may live without books/But show me the man/Who can live without cooks.”

ursuline_1921-yrbk_dining-hall

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The hall and stairways. “If these old stairs had power of speech, what girlish secrets they could tell!”

ursuline_1921-yrbk_hall-and-stairways

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The music room. “A spot where many young ladies are kept very busy, ‘Untwisting all the chains that tie the hidden soul of harmony.'”

ursuline_1921-yrbk_music-room

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The recreation room. “Just the spot where, nine months out of the year, you can always find ‘Jest and youthful jollity/Quips and cranks and wanton wiles/Nods and becks and wreathed smiles.'”

ursuline_1921-yrbk_recreation-room

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The campus. “What you and me/Were wont to ‘saw and see.'”

ursuline_1921-yrbk_campus_b

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The campus. “This is a gay spot at all times. It is kept alive in summer by games of roller skating, croquet and tennis; in winter, by ‘hikes,’ basket ball, races and, on rare occasions, old fashioned snowballing.”

ursuline_1921-yrbk_campus

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The grotto. “Somehow, all life seems much more sweet/When I take my old brown beads and kneel at Mary’s feet.”

ursuline_1921-yrbk_grotto

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The pecan grove. “Where nuts grow, and school girls go to while away the time.”

ursuline_1921-yrbk_pecan-grove

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“II Year High” (sophomore class).

ursuline_1921-yrbk_2-year-high

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“III Year High” (junior class).

ursuline_1921-yrbk_3-year-high

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The provincialate and novitiate. “Sweet secluded retreat where young Ursuline teachers are trained in the spirit of the Order to continue the work begun by St. Angela de Merici over three hundred years ago.” (Another, slightly more gothic image is here.)

ursuline_1921-yrbk_ext

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And because I love her attitude, another look at 15-year-old Velma Rich.

rich-velma_ursuline_1921-yrbk

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Sources & Notes

All photos from the 1921 edition of The Ursulina, the yearbook of the Ursuline Academy. Many (if not all) of the photos are by Dallas photographer Frank Rogers.

Other Flashback Dallas posts on Ursuline can be found below:

ursuline_1921-yrbk_1-year-high_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Holiday Greetings from Jefferson Tower — 1937

xmas_jefferson-tower_oak-cliff_portal_1937_bChristmastime in Oak Cliff…

by Paula Bosse

Jefferson Tower, on West Jefferson Boulevard between S. Bishop and S. Madison, looked pretty great in 1937 all decorated for Christmas. It was (and is) the tallest building on West Jefferson. This must have made quite the statement!

xmas_jefferson-tower_oak-cliff_portal_1937

Here’s a zoomed-in detail (all images are larger when clicked):

xmas_jefferson-tower_oak-cliff_portal_1937_det

And here’s the building a few years later — no Christmas-tree decoration and in the daytime, but still fantastic.

jefferson-tower_mccoy-collaborativevia McCoy Collaborative

And, I mean, look at how commanding this building is, even now:

jefferson-tower_google-maps

I’d like to see a 21st-century return of a Christmas tree to the exterior of this building — it would still be impressive!

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Sources & Notes

Christmas photos of Jefferson Tower are from the Private Collection of Mary Newton Maxwell, via the Portal to Texas History — more info may be found here and here.

Photo of Jefferson Tower in the daylight is from the McCoy Collaborative website — more on their work in rehabilitating this historic building may be found here.

See the building on Google Street View here.

More Christmas posts from Flashback Dallas may be found here.

xmas_jefferson-tower_oak-cliff_portal_1937_b_small

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Kennedy Memorial and the County Courthouses — Early 1970s

kennedy-memorial_courthouses_postcard

by Paula Bosse

A view of the new John F. Kennedy Memorial, the not-new Old Red Courthouse, and the not-old-but-not-really-new “new” County Courthouse, in a postcard photo by Bob Glander.

The text on the back of the postcard reads:

The old and the  new County Courthouses with the Kennedy Memorial. The new Courthouse was dedicated Feb. 4, 1966 and the Kennedy Memorial June 24, 1970, Dallas, Texas. Photo by Bob Glander.”

See the same view — from Main and Market — today, via Google Street View, here.

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Sources & Notes

Postcard found somewhere online.

Previous Flashback Dallas posts with images to compare imagined and actual views of the “Courthouse Complex”:

kennedy-memorial_courthouses_postcard_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

George Dahl’s Proposed Massive “Lone Star” Entrance to Fair Park

tx-centennial_proposed-lone-star_george-dahl_dma-catalog_1972_portalWhat could have been at Fair Park: a really, really big star…

by Paula Bosse

As this year’s State-Fair-of-Texas-that-wasn’t draws to a virtual end, I thought I would post this image I came across a while ago — I’d never seen it before, and it’s something of a mystery. It appeared in a 1972 Dallas Museum of Art exhibition catalog called “1930s Expositions” (link at bottom of post). One of the expositions covered in the catalog was the Texas Centennial Exposition held at Fair Park in 1936. Most of the buildings we see today were built in 1935/1936, and the entire sprawling project was led by visionary chief architect George L. Dahl of Dallas. The description of this image reads:

“The monumental scale of the central area of the Exposition was set by the massive pylons which formed the entrance to the Centennial. How even more heroic would have been George Dahl’s proposed ‘Lone Star’ entrance.”

Whoa! Can you imagine that gigantic star spanning the entrance? A sort of  Colossus of Rhodes for Big D! (Big Tex is as close to a Colossus as we’re going to get.)

I searched and searched but could find nothing more about this incredibly dynamic Dahl vision. The closest I got was not what I was looking for, but it was still pretty interesting.

“Erection of a star-shaped building at a cost of $1,000,000 will be asked of the Legislature… This structure would be administrative headquarters for the central exposition in Dallas.” (Dallas Morning News, Dec. 9, 1934)

My first thought was, “Is that thing a building?” And then I searched on “star-shaped building” and found that there had been an extremely controversial “star-shaped building” built as the “Texas Building” at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. Super-wealthy Texan E. H. R. Green was so appalled at the building’s design (by St. Louis-born Texas architect C. H. Page) that he resigned from the state commission in protest, saying this:

“I am not in any way to be identified with the official responsibility of the building that portrays Texas as a freak and that is what that star-shaped building does. No one ever heard of such a type of architecture before. I want a building that will impress those who see it with the idea Texas has some dignity.” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 12, 1903)

St. Louis built it anyway. It was kind of freaky — especially with a replica of the State Capitol dome awkwardly plonked down in the middle (gilding the lily, man…) — but it was, apparently, quite popular. See a ground-level photo of the Texas Building here — and here’s a drawing:

tx-bldg_st-louis-worlds-fair_FWST_013104
FWST, Jan. 31, 1904

That was an odd little detour. Anyway….

About that star over the Parry Avenue entrance to Fair Park — I’d love to know more about it. I’d love to see a better image. Anyone know anything? I wonder if Dahl’s plans and drawing for this giant Lone Star might be resting comfortably in the Dallas Historical Society archives?

Here’s the entrance design which was ultimately decided on — the one we still see today at Parry and Exposition. Yeah, there’s a star there, but now that I’ve seen what we could have had, it seems kind of puny. What it lost in overall heft it gained in height, I guess. But just imagine what it COULD have been!

fair-park_entrance_postcard_tx-centennial_1936_ebay_col

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Sources & Notes

Top image is from the 1972 Dallas Museum of Fine Arts catalog for the traveling show “1930s Expositions” (page 16); a scan of the catalog can be found at the Portal to Texas History here, and at the DMA website here.

Color postcard found on eBay.

tx-centennial_proposed-lone-star_george-dahl_dma-catalog_1972_portal_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Neiman’s First Suburban Store: Preston Road — 1951-1965

neiman-marcus_preston-road_dallas-mag_feb-1949Original design by DeWitt & Swank, 1949 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

In January, 1949, Neiman-Marcus announced they would soon begin construction of their very first “branch” store. It was to be built in the new “Varsity Village” shopping area on Preston Road, just south of Northwest Highway (on the east side of Preston, facing Preston Center). This store was referred to in early articles as their “town and country store.” The downtown store was running out of room (in fact the expansion and renovation of their downtown store was announced at the same time as this new “suburban” store) — and the new store was to provide 30,000 square feet of primo retail space.

The original idea for the store’s design is seen in the drawing above, which was accompanied by this caption in a Chamber of Commerce publication:

New suburban shop of Neiman-Marcus Company (pictured above in drawing by Roscoe DeWitt and Arch Swank, architects for the building) is scheduled for construction this year in Varsity Village on a plot 30,000 square feet facing Preston Road and extending from Wentwood to Villanova Drives. The store will conform to the general architectural plan of Varsity Village and will represent a total investment of about $1,500,000. (“Dallas” magazine, Feb. 1949)

I LOVE that drawing! Unfortunately, things changed between the time that DeWitt and Swank offered that initial drawing and the almost three years that passed before the store was actually completed. The store was expanded to two floors (with mezzanine and basement), and… I don’t know — it just lost all of its supercool sleekness. It went from mid-century-modern fabulousness to big boring blocks. I’m sure the interior was still fantastic (designed by Eleanor Le Maire), but that exterior is uncharacteristically (for Neiman’s) blah.

n-m_preston-center_1951_departmentstoremuseum
1951, via thedepartmentstoremuseum.org

But back to the decor. This store was aimed at suburban families — the shoppers were primarily stylish mothers with kids, so there was a lot of thought put into making the store appealing to children. The basement — which was home to the toy and nursery department — sounds pretty great, complete with a Willy Wonka-esque attraction: at the entrance was an enchanted forest mural and a giant cage filled with toy animals, and “in the toy shop there is a magic tree — one with a built-in dispenser that pours out an endless supply of orangeade” (Dallas Morning News, Oct. 14, 1951).

The store was designed in a Southwestern color palette, featured a glass mosaic, lots of Kachina dolls, a glass-walled landscaped patio, a specially commissioned Alexander Calder mobile, and it was an immediate hit. The denizens of the Park Cities and Preston Hollow would still have to make the trek downtown if they wanted a gown for that do at the country club, but for casual clothing for mom and a large selection of clothing for children and teens, the “town and country store” was perfect. And nearby.

It lasted until NorthPark opened in 1965. Realizing the Preston Road store would be unable to expand, Neiman’s decided to close the 14-year-old store and move into Raymond Nasher’s striking new NorthPark Center.

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n-m_preston_dallas-history-guildvia Dallas History Guild Facebook page

Below, two night-time photos by Squire Haskins, taken on May 23, 1952:

n-m_preston_night_squire-haskins_UTA_1952_bvia UTA Libraries

n-m_preston_night_squire-haskins_UTA_1952_avia UTA Libraries

Instead of placing a “Grand Opening” announcement, Neiman’s teased the public with a “we’ll be opening soon-ish” announcement (in fact, the store opened exactly one week after the appearance of this ad). This ad describes that the new location will be more geared to families — to children (“from pram to prom”), adult casualwear, and gift items. With a restaurant and salon. The more typical Neiman’s couture lines and more expensive items would be available only “in town.” (Click ad to see a larger image.)

n-m_preston_100851_adOct. 8, 1951 ad

In the “Wales” column — a regular feature of N-M ads, with chatty text written by Warren Leslie (“Wa” from “Warren” and “les” from Leslie), a Neiman-Marcus executive and spokesperson and, later, author of the controversial book Dallas Public and Private) — the store’s opening is discussed, including the unexpected appearance of John Wayne (in town for the “Movietime in Texas, USA,” a promotional Hollywood caravan tour through Texas, packed with movie stars (watch cool footage here). Too bad about that orangeade, kids.

n-m_preston_102351_ad-det

One of the features of the new store was a specially commissioned mobile by artist Alexander Calder which hung above the stairway (a bit difficult to see in the photo below, but it’s there!). This was the first permanent installation of one of Calder’s kinetic sculptures in Dallas. (The three photos below are by Denny Hayes.) The staircase was used for fashion shows (watch Channel 5 news footage from a swimsuit fashion show from April 25, 1958 here, via the UNT’s Portal to Texas History site — according to the news script, the last suit was priced at a whopping $500, which in today’s money, would be about $4,500). (UPDATE: Perhaps because of its current financial situation, Neiman’s decided to sell the Alexander Calder mobile, titled “Mariposa” — it was auctioned by Sotheby’s on Dec. 8, 2020 and sold for $18.2 million, far surpassing its high estimate of $8 million — more info and several photos of the sculpture can be found on the Sotheby’s site here.)

n-m_preston_DPL_1954_hayes-collection_calder1954, via the Dallas Public Library (PA76-1/5388.1)  

Those floor-to-ceiling windows and sheer draperies are wonderful.

n-m_preston_DPL_1951_hayes-collection1951, via the Dallas Public Library (PA76-1/5388.5)

n-m_preston_DPL_1954_hayes-collectionca. 1954, via the Dallas Public Library (PA76-1/5388.2)

The listing in the 1953 directory described the Preston store as “the New Preston Center Station Wagon Store.” That’s right, the “station-wagon store.”

n-m_preston_1953-dallas-directory1953 Dallas directory

In May, 1960 there was a relief drive throughout Dallas to send much-needed supplies to Chile, which had recently experienced almost simultaneous devastating earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tidal waves, and avalanches. Neiman’s coordinated with several agencies and the State Department to rush food and clothing to Chile. The view in the screenshot below shows Preston Road looking south (watch the 1-minute Channel 8 news footage, via SMU, here).

n-m_preston_SMU_053060_preston-road

After 14 years, the Preston location closed up shop in July, 1965. This coincided with the opening of the much larger Neiman’s store in NorthPark. Bye-bye, “suburbia”!

n-m_071565_preston-closingJuly 15, 1965 ad

The Preston Road building still stands, but it’s not very interesting-looking these days. I think I’d prefer the “blah” look from 1951.

n-m_preston_bldg_google-street-view_2017Google Street View, 2017

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Sources & Notes

Top image appeared in the Feb. 1949 issue of “Dallas,” a monthly magazine published by the Dallas Chamber of Commerce.

Photos by Squire Haskins are from the Squire Haskins Photography, Inc. Collection, University of Texas at Arlington Libraries, Special Collections.

Photos by Denny Hayes are from the Hayes Collection, Dallas Public Library.

Image of the 1960 Chilean American Red Cross relief drive is a screenshot from the WFAA Newsfilm Collection, G. William Jones Archive, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University.

neiman-marcus_preston-road_dallas-mag_feb-1949_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Texlite, Borich, Pegasus

texlite_feb-1949_ad_pegasus-det

by Paula Bosse

Texlite. If you’re a lover of all-things-Dallas, you should know that name. Texlite made many, many, many, many, MANY enamel, electric, and neon signs, including, most famously, the rotating Flying Red Horse — Pegasus — which arrived in Dallas in 1934 to sit atop the city’s tallest building, the Magnolia Petroleum Building, serving as a beacon, a landmark, and as a sort of city mascot.

Texlite’s  roots went back to 1879 when Italian immigrant Peter Samuel Borich (1849-1932) arrived in Dallas. His obituary noted that he was a graduate of the Royal Italian Naval School and that he served in the Italian Merchant Marine before he arrived in Dallas, where he established the Borich Sign Co. A very early site of his shop is said to have been either the current site of the Adolphus Hotel or the current site of the Magnolia Building (and Pegasus), on Sycamore Street (now Akard). He appears to have been the go-to sign-painter for decades and was a very successful businessman.

The Borich company eventually branched out (and eventually became Texlite, a separate entitity) to became a pioneer in electric and neon signs: in 1926 Texlite built and sold the first neon sign west of the Mississippi, in St. Louis (their first neon sign in Dallas was a sign for the Zinke shoe repair store (1809 Main) which depicted an animated hammer tapping on a shoe heel). 

The Borich sign company focused on painted or printed signs while Texlite handled the electric signs. P. S. Borich retired in the 1920s and moved to Los Angeles after the death of his wife. The last time the Borich company name appeared in the Dallas directory was 1930 (when it looks like it became United Advertising Corporation of Texas, owned by Harold H. Wineburgh, who was also a Texlite partner/owner). 

During World War II, Texlite, like many manufacturers, jumped into war-production work, making airplane and ship parts; during the Korean War they made bomber fuselages. 

I don’t know when Texlite went out of business (or was acquired and merged into another company). As successful as Texlite was (and it was incredibly successful), what more important achievement could it have had than to have been the maker of our iconic Pegasus? 

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Here are a few random images from the Borich/Texlite history. First, a great ad from 1949, when Pegasus was a fresh 15-year-old. “It’s Time For a Spring Sign Cleaning.” (Click to see a larger image.)

texlite_feb-1949-ad1949 ad

And another ad, this one with a wonderful photo, from 1954.

texlite_pegasus_ad_ca-1954_heather-david_flickr1954 ad, via Flickr

In 1949 Texlite built a huge new factory in an industrial area near Love Field, at 3305 Manor Way. Below is the architectural rendering. The caption: “New home of Texlite, Inc. is being completed at 3305 Manor Way at a total of $1,000,000. The new, two-story plant, providing 114,000 square feet of factory and office space, will provide facilities for trebling Texlite’s output. Grayson Gill is the architect, and O’Rourke Construction Company are the general contractors.” (Dallas magazine, Feb. 1949)

texlite-new-bldg_dallas-chamber-of-commerce-mag_feb-1949

Below, the previous factory, located at 2900 Factory Street, also near Love Field:

texlite-sign_1940

I assume this 1940 sign was made by Texlite. Below are a couple of details, showing playful hints of Pegasus.

texlite-sign_1940_det-1

texlite-sign_1940_det-2via Mecum Auctions

I wondered where Factory Street was — here it is on a 1952 map — it looks like it was absorbed into a growing Love Field.

texlite_factory-st_mapsco-19521952 Mapsco

One of Texlite’s many theater clients was the Palace Theatre for whom they designed and installed a new electric sign in January, 1929 (at which time, by the way, the theater’s name was “officially” changed — however briefly — to the Greater Palace; the theater was renovated and enlarged, with a new emphasis on the Elm Street entrance rather than the entrance on Pacific). 

texlite_palace_jan-1929Jan., 1929

Going back a couple of years, with the separate companies sharing ad space in the 1927 city directory:

borich-texlite_dallas-directory_19271927 Dallas directory

The first ad I found which had both the “Borich” and “Texlite” names together was this one from 1923 for the Cloud-George Co., a women’s clothing boutique (1705 Elm) run by the somewhat notorious Miss A. B. Cloud.

texlite_borich-sign_sept-1923Sept., 1923

The company occupied several locations over the years — the location in 1902 can be seen here, at the right, looking west on Pacific (from the Flashback Dallas post “Views from a Passing Train — 1902”).

edmunds_pacific-bryan_free-lib-phil_19021902, via Free Library of Philadelphia

borich_dallas-directory_1902Dallas directory, 1902

P. S. Borich’s sign-painting wasn’t restricted only to businesses — he was also regularly retained by the city to paint street signs.

borich_dmn_080686Dallas Herald, Aug. 6, 1886

And, below, the earliest ad I could find — from 1879, the year Borich arrived in Dallas. (Thanks to this ad, I can now add “calsomining” to my vocabulary.)

borich_nortons-union-intelligencer_110179Norton’s Union Intelligencer, Nov. 1, 1879

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Here’s an interesting little bonus: a Pegasus “mini-me” in Billings, Montana, created with help from the Pegasus experts in Dallas (click for larger image).

texlite_pegasus-in-montana_billings-MT-gazette_052255Billings Gazette, May 22, 1955

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Sources & Notes

Top image is a detail from a 1949 ad found in the Feb., 1949 issue of Dallas, the magazine published by the Dallas Chamber of Commerce.

Check out another Texlite sign which I wrote about in the Flashback Dallas post “Neon Refreshment: The Giant Dr Pepper Sign.”

I’m always excited to see places I write about show up in old film footage. Watch a short (20-second) silent clip of Texlite workers striking in June, 1951 at the 3305 Manor Way location in WBAP-Channel 5 footage here (the workers were on strike in a wage dispute — more info is in the news script here); film and script from the KXAS-NBC 5 News Collection, University of North Texas, via the Portal to Texas History.

The company made tons of signs and exteriors for movie theaters around the country, including the Lakewood Theater (whose sign was recently re-neonized!).

Thank you, Signor Borich!

texlite_feb-1949_ad_pegasus-det-sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“Guys and Dolls” at the State Fair Music Hall — 1951

sfot_guys-and-dolls_music-hall_1951_john-dominis_life-mag
Wearing the *dress* boots… (photo: John Dominis, © Time, Inc.)

by Paula Bosse

This is the most Texans-going-to-the-theater photo I’ve ever seen.

And this is the most Texans-selling-minks ad I’ve ever seen:

neiman-marcus_ad_guys-and-dolls_oct-1951

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Sources and Notes

Photo by John Dominis, taken in October, 1951 on assignment for Life magazine, ©Time, Inc.; more info is here.

Neiman-Marcus ad is also from October, 1951.

“Take Back Your Mink” is a song from “Guys and Dolls” (hear it here), the musical that played during the 1951 State Fair of Texas, starring Pamela Britton, Allan Jones, Jeanne Ball, and Slapsie  Maxie Rosenbloom.

sfot_guys-and-dolls_music-hall_1951_john-dominis_life-mag_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Southland Center: Mid-Century Cool — 1959

southland-ctr_john-rogers_1959-60_portal_interior-lobby_stairsWelcome.… (photo by John Rogers, via the Portal to Texas History)

by Paula Bosse

When it opened in 1959, the Southland Center (the Southland Life Building and the Sheraton Dallas hotel) boasted the tallest building west of the Mississippi. It was obviously a huge, multi-million-dollar construction project, but it was also a very costly decor project in which no expense was spared on the interior design of the buildings. An admirable amount of attention was paid to artistic elements such as site-specific commissioned artwork, and input from artists and designers was welcomed. It was an interior decorator’s dream job in which absolutely everything was NEW and modern. I love this period of design. Here are a few photos from the new Southland Center which I could look at all day.

I love all the glass and the sharp, crisp lines of the furniture. (All photos are by John Rogers — see the link below each photo to go to its Portal to Texas History page where you can zoom in and see details more clearly.)

southland-ctr_john-rogers_1959-60_portal_floor-lobbyvia Portal to Texas History

This is a fantastic shot  — you can see a couple of the commissioned artworks. At the left, extending from the ceiling of the second-floor lobby of the Sheraton to the ground floor is a “stamobile” kinetic sculpture titled “Totem” by Richard Filipowski. In the background at the top center of the photo, above the registration desk, is a Venetian-glass-and-broken-marble mural by Lumen Martin Winter.

southland-ctr_john-rogers_1959-60_portal_interior-with-stairsvia Portal to Texas History

Speaking of art, another commissioned work can be seen in this detail of a photo: at the back, barely seen, is “Texas Sunburst,” a glass-tile mosaic mural by Gyorgy Kepes with additional work by Robert Preusser, located on the second-floor lounge concourse. Kepes designed the vibrant tile mosaic on the St. Jude Chapel downtown (the recent restoration of which I wrote about here), and he was also a contributor another wonderful mid-century architectural landmark in Dallas, Temple Emanu-El. (I spotted a brief glimpse of a bit of this Sheraton mural in color in a WFAA clip from June, 1974 in a story about, of all things, an ESP convention.)

southland-ctr_john-rogers_1959-60_portal_stairs-escalators_kepes-detvia Portal to Texas History

Here’s a jewelry kiosk, which is sort of Deco-futuristic — like something you’d see in a 1930s movie set on a spaceship. (Is that the “rocket” of the Republic Bank Building seen outside the window at the right? It was practically right next door, as seen in this photo.)

southland-ctr_john-rogers_1959-60_portal_jewely-vendorvia Portal to Texas History

This shows a couple of ground-level retail shops, with more wonderful floor-to-ceiling glass “walls” (the glass-cleaning must have been an ongoing nightmare!). If you needed a stuffed tiger toy, a game of Risk, paint brushes, or stationery… this shop was made for you. (In the background is the entrance to the Minute Chef, an informal restaurant which also featured original artwork by Gyorgy Kepes.)

southland-ctr_john-rogers_1959-60_portal_ground-floor-stairs-shopvia Portal to Texas History

And, lastly, a shot of the neighboring Southland Center towers, high above everything else on the edge of downtown.

southland-ctr_john-rogers_1959-60_portal_southland-life-skyscraper-and-sheratonvia Portal to Texas History

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Sources & Notes

All photos are by John Rogers, from the John Rogers and Georgette de Bruchard Collection, provided to the Portal to Texas History by the UNT Libraries Special Collections, University of North Texas; see all 25 of Rogers’ photos of the Southland Center, taken in 1959/1960, here.

See a list of the permanent art as well as exhibited art at the Southland Life Building/Sheraton Dallas in the scanned 1959 catalog “Made in Texas by Texans.”

See photos of the Southland Center under construction in the Flashback Dallas post “On Top of the World: The Southland Center.”

southland-ctr_john-rogers_1959-60_portal_interior-lobby_stairs_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Architectural Crossroads: Commerce and Akard

dallas-postcard_adolphus_magnolia_baker_ebay

by Paula Bosse

In Dallas’ early days, Commerce Street was once considered so far off the beaten path that major businesses did not build there. By 1925, though, the intersection of Commerce and Akard streets boasted three Dallas showplaces: the Adolphus Hotel (still standing), the Magnolia Building (still standing), and the Baker Hotel (not still standing). (Before that, it was the Adolphus, the Magnolia, and Busch’s other hotel, the swanky Oriental.)

Ever noticed that the corner “turret” of the Adolphus looks like a traditional German beer stein? An ode to the source of namesake Adolphus Busch’s wealth? I certainly hope so!

adolphus_terracotta-detail_western-architect_july-1914

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Sources & Notes

Top image is from a pack of postcards, found on eBay.

Detail of the Adolphus is from the Flashback Dallas post “Dallas in ‘The Western Architect,’ 1914: The Adolphus Hotel.”

dallas-postcard_adolphus_magnolia_baker_ebay_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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