Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Charitable Organizations

Make Dallas the City of Mercy — 1919


by Paula Bosse

This seems to be a nice way to start the new year — by featuring a charitable appeal from a group called The Welfare Council of Dallas, which helped to raise funds annually for organizations in need of monetary assistance from the pubic.

Many are the appeals to our generosity today. Here, however, is our closest and deepest obligation. These represent the charity that begins at home. These are the forces that are driving misery and want from our city — building always a brighter and better future for Dallas.


The following nine groups — all of which aided needy children and families — were the ones chosen in 1919 as organizations which would be part of the city-wide “Welfare Week” appeal (the illustration above and the text below are from a large ad that appeared in Dallas newspapers in October, 1919):

THE UNITED CHARITIES during the last year have ministered to 12,226 individuals; 4,452 visits were made to homes to which their attention had been called; 734 cases for continued relief were opened; 152 such cases from the preceding year were given further aid; 562 destitute wanderers were furnished with homes, food and clothing, and suitable employment found for as many of them as possible; 834 cases of sickness or accident or taking care of, some for periods as long as six months; 116 persons were furnished transportation to their home or to places where their health could be restored ; 85 were aided in gaining admission to State institutions; 55 cases of tuberculosis were given extended relief; 82 wives, deserted by their husbands, and 37 widows with children were given food and shelter until proper arrangements for their care could be made by their relatives.

THE DALLAS GRADUATE NURSES’ BABY CAMP cared for and gave necessary medical and surgical attention to 178 babies during the last year. The mortality was 25, certainly a low figure, considering the uniformly serious nature of the cases treated. The Camp is under the direct charge of three doctors and seven nurses, and no baby is permitted to leave the Camp until permanently cured. The average stay of the little patients is five weeks. Besides the cases treated at the Camp over 100 formulae were furnished to outside cases. The Baby Camp is open to ALL Dallas babies who are in bad health. [Read a history of the Baby Camp here.]

THE DALLAS COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY is the founder and conductor of “Hope Cottage,” a home for illegitimate and deserted babies, where an efficient staff of nurses devote their time to providing these little ones with an opportunity to begin honorable lives. Hope Cottage averages from ten to twenty inmates all the time, as they are kept only until suitable homes for adoption can be found. The placing of orphaned children in private homes is another branch of the work. This agency also investigated 1,390 cases of reported abuses of children; 389 of these investigations were followed by prompt action: 299 homes were visited; 16 children were sent to the Detention Home, and 18 cases of delinquents received attention; 3,246 cases of abuse to dumb animals were investigated. [A similar “shelter for unfortunate women and children” was the Salvation Army’s Neighborhood Home on McKinney Avenue.]

THE DALLAS KINDERGARTEN AND NURSERY ASSOCIATION has conducted four stations during the year – the Clara Chaison Kindergarten at the Neighborhood House on Cedar Springs Road, the South Dallas Kindergarten near Trinity Play Park, the Cora Street Nursery, formerly under the supervision of the City Federation of Women’s Clubs, and the Alamo Nursery at Hickory and Alamo streets. The average enrollment at all stations was 205. In connection with each station a day nursery is maintained where mothers with employment may leave their young children from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. An average of fifty mothers take advantage of these nurseries each day, and a bath, wholesome dinner, nap and play constitute the day’s program. [A similar nursery, specifically for the black community, was the Dallas Day Nursery.]

THE INFANTS’ WELFARE AND MILK ASSOCIATION, striving for better health and cleaner living conditions for children, distributed 81,828 pints of milk; visited 7,885 homes; treated 3,489 children in medical and 469 in dental clinics. The nurses at the stations gave treatment to 1,160 cases. In addition to these, 202 prenatal cases were given attention, 31 obstetrical cases disposed of and 80 bacteriological examinations were made. Twenty babies were sent by the Association to the Baby Camp and 14 to the City Hospital, while co-operation was given to other organizations in 724 cases. [From another ad: “Sick babies of many races and creeds, but all future Dallasites, find new health in [these] clinics.” More on milk stations here.]

THE DALLAS STREET AND NEWSBOYS’ CLUB, “Big Brother Work” Headquarters, is the one bright spot in many a young Dallas urchin’s life. The club rooms, at 1907 Jackson street, half inexpensive, though adequate, equipment for sports and games, reading and like activities. There are dormitory rooms for boys temporarily “on their own,” which accommodations can be paid for according to the boy’s ability to pay. A few steps from the building is the back door at the Y.M.C.A., and three times each week the Club descends upon the swimming pool en masse. The directors of the Club do not confine their work to headquarters, however, but look to the welfare of its members at work, play, school and even in their homes. [The life of a newsboy — often an orphan under the age of 10 — was not an easy one.]

ST. MATTHEW’S HOME FOR CHILDREN, by placing its finances for the coming year in the hands of the Welfare Council, adds a valuable and deserving institution to the list of member agencies. Although the property is owned by the Episcopal Church, the managing board is non-sectarian, the Home is absolutely non–sectarian in its activities and no child is excluded on account of its faith or that of its parents. At present the capacity is limited to forty little ones, and any child between the ages of 4 and 12 years may be admitted.

THE DALLAS COUNCIL OF BOY SCOUTS is the other new member agency. The work done by this organization and developing manhood in boys of all classes of society entitles it to our fullest support. Its influence extends into every home, school, factory and business office in the city. Its nominal dues for membership permit any boy, no matter how poor, to join and take a full share in the activities and benefits of the organization.

THE EMPTY STOCKING CRUSADE is an organization whose year’s activities culminate in providing Christmas cheer – warm clothing, fruit, toys and other tokens of happiness for little ones. It carries cheer into homes of the city to whose children the season of universal good will would otherwise bring nothing, and into the orphanages. Last Christmas 6,902 children were provided for.



Sources & Notes

More on Dallas’ early charitable movements can be found in the article “The Forgotten Frontier: Dallas Women and Social Caring, 1895-1920” by Elizabeth York Enstam (Legacies, Spring, 1989), here.


Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Elks Lodge, Pocahontas & Park

elks-lodge_postcard1817 Pocahontas Street, 1914 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The postcard image above shows the lovely Dallas Elks Lodge No. 71 which once stood at 1817 Pocahontas, at the northwest corner of Pocahontas Street and Park Avenue in the Cedars area, just south of downtown — it had a spectacular view of City Park, which it faced.  Designed by architect H. A. Overbeck (the man behind the still-standing Dallas County Jail and Criminal Courts Building and the long-gone St. Paul’s Sanitarium), the lodge was built in 1914; the land and the construction of the lodge cost $45,000. Surprisingly, this lodge served the Elks for only six years — they returned downtown, where they took over and renovated the old YWCA building on Commerce Street.

The building on Pocahontas became another clubhouse when it was purchased in 1920 by a group of Jewish businessmen who opened the exclusive Progress Club/Parkview Club (read about the building’s acquisition in a May 14, 1920 article in The Jewish Monitor, here); in 1922 the 65 members of the Parkview Club presented the clubhouse to the Young Men’s Hebrew Association (YMHA). In 1927, use of the building had expanded, and it became the Dallas Jewish Community Center and the headquarters of the Jewish Welfare Federation — in fact, this was the home for these organizations for more than thirty years, until 1958 when the move was made to the new Julius Schepps Community Center in North Dallas. The building ultimately fell victim to the construction of R. L. Thornton Freeway and was demolished in the early 1960s.

But back to the Elks. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was a social club/fraternal order founded in New York in 1868. Dallas Lodge No. 71 was chartered on January 28, 1888 — it was the first Elks Lodge in Texas and one of the oldest clubs in Dallas. And, after 130 years, it’s still around, now located in Lake Highlands. There aren’t a lot of things that have lasted that long in this city!


Below, the Overbeck rendering of the Elks’ new home (click for larger image)

elks_dmn_120213_new-lodgeDallas Morning News, Dec. 2, 1913


A week before its official dedication on Sept. 7, 1914:

elks-lodge_dmn_083014DMN, Aug. 30, 1914


Colorized and made into an attractive postcard:



In the 1930s, when it was the Jewish Community Center:



Where it was:

elks-lodge_ca-1912-map_portal1912-ish map detail

Also, see it on the 1921 Sanborn map (as “B.P.O.E. Home”) here.


The announcement of plans for the construction of the Pocahontas Street lodge:

elks_dmn_112313_new-lodgeDMN, Nov. 23, 1913

And its dedication, on Sept. 7, 1914:

elks_dmn_090814_new-homeDMN, Sept. 8, 1914


Sources & Notes

Source of postcards unknown. Other images and clippings as noted.

The 1888 report of the first meeting of the Dallas Elks Lodge No. 71 can be read in the Dallas Morning News article “Order of Elks in Dallas; A Lodge Instituted Here Yesterday” (DMN, Jan. 29, 1888), here.

A history of the various Elks’ locations in Dallas between the 1880s and the 1920s can be found in the article “Elks Plan To Have Modern Club Home” (DMN, July 30, 1922), here.

elks_dmn_012903DMN, Jan. 29, 1903


Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Children and Cadets: Junior Red Cross Parade — 1918

wwi_jr-red-cross-parade_022218_camp-dick-soldiers_waruntold-siteCadets from Camp Dick march down Elm… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Today is Veteran’s Day, a national day of observance which originally began as Armistice Day in 1919 to mark the end of hostilities in World War I. I was thinking of posting something non-WWI-related, but I stumbled across this wonderful photo showing a WWI-era parade down Elm Street and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share it. The parade was comprised almost entirely of children who had contributed to the war effort through the Junior Red Cross. The parade was described as “the first parade of children war workers ever held in Dallas.” The number of children (said to represent every school in Dallas) was estimated at up to 8,000 marchers, from kindergarteners to high school seniors.

The parade — which took place on February 22, 1918 — also featured 1,000 or so men based at Camp John Dick, the Air Service training camp at Fair Park. Seeing this parade must have been quite a novelty for Dallasites, as cadets had begun to arrive at Camp Dick only 16 days previously (airmen had been stationed at Love Field a little longer, but only by a couple of months).

Below, I’ve taken the photo from the top and broken it into two halves and then magnified them. The parade was heading west on Elm Street and can be seen here passing Cullum & Boren (1509-1511 Elm), a downtown sporting goods mainstay just a few doors east of Akard. (See a similar view of Elm Street from later that year — in September — from a Dallas Times Herald photo, here.)



And the children.

wwi_jr-red-cross-parade_dmn_022318Dallas Morning News, Feb. 23, 1918

DMN, Feb. 22, 1918


DMN, Feb. 23, 1918, photo and article


Sources & Notes

Top photo titled “Cadets From Camp Dick in Red Cross Parade, Feb. 22nd, Dallas, Texas” found on the site War Untold, The Collection of Andrew Pouncey, here (click “continue reading” at  bottom of post).

More on the Camp John Dick Aviation Concentration Camp from The Atlantic in the article “What America Looked Like: Bayonet Practice During WWI” (with a great photo), here.

Other Flashback Dallas WWI-related posts here:

Armistice Day Wikipedia page is here.

All pictures and clippings are larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


2908 McKinney: The Emergency Home — 1912

emergency-home_dmn_031312_photo2908  McKinney Avenue, brand new in 1912… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Above, the brand new Salvation Army “Emergency Home” in 1912. The accompanying headline and caption, from The Dallas Morning News (March 13, 1912):

American Salvation Army Home for Destitute

This place has been secured as shelter for unfortunate women and children. It is centrally located on McKinney Avenue, near Allen Street.

This “haven for unfortunates” was established on McKinney Avenue to temporarily house those (mostly women and children) who needed a helping hand until they were able to secure work and a permanent home.

It appears that the home lasted only a couple of years. By the 1915 city directory, the house was vacant. It later became a private residence, a rooming house, a children’s clothing and furniture shop, a crime scene, a marble-top table emporium, a place to buy aquariums, a PR firm, the Dallas bureau of Texas Monthly, and a whole  bunch of bars and restaurants.

The 1912 house is still standing, and it’s currently a bar and restaurant catering to the young, Uptown party-set. Maybe the Salvation Army should set up a kettle out front this Christmas.


Below, a couple of articles about the first days of the “Emergency Home” (click for larger images):

DMN, Feb. 24, 1912

DMN, March 13, 1912

And a few photos of the house in recent years, showing a variety of paint colors and renovations.


pozo_dmn_eatsblog_062013Dallas Morning News/Eats Blog

2908-mckinney_google_jan-2015Google Street View

2908-mckinney_dcadDallas Central Appraisal District photo — see it HUGE here

2908-mckinney_then-nowThen and now-ish

next-door_d-mag_2016Bret Redman/D Magazine


Sources & Notes

Top photo appeared in The Dallas Morning News on March 13, 1912 (photo by Clogenson).

As of this writing, 2908 McKinney Avenue is the bar/restaurant Next Door.

A couple of other Flashback Dallas posts concerning surprisingly old buildings along McKinney Avenue which have been re-purposed to attract Uptown nightlife:

Click photos and clippings for larger images.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


The St. Joseph Orphanage — 1891

st-josephs-orphanage_dallas-rediscoveredThe new Oak Cliff orphanage, ca. 1891 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The St. Joseph orphanage was built in Oak Cliff in 1891 on 6-8 acres donated to the Catholic Diocese by Thomas Marsalis. The building was a large house, built and furnished with funds raised from local donations.

The house itself, consisting of two stories and a basement, is well finished throughout. Rooms are large and cool, the ceilings high and the entire building is capable of being made a model of comfort and elegance. A great many liberal donations have been received which have assisted largely in this work. (Dallas Morning News, July 16, 1891)

The orphanage was a Catholic institution — run at various times by the Sisters of St. Joseph, the Sisters of Mercy, the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, and the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word — but it was “non-sectarian” in that the children or families in need were not required to be of the Catholic faith.

Some of these children have one parent living, others are without parents or friends or, deserted by worthless parents, have been abandoned to the cold charity of the world and find parents and friends in the self-sacrificing sisters of charity…. (DMN, Feb. 9, 1902)

st-josephs-orphanage_smu_ca1913-1919DeGolyer Library, SMU

In the late ‘teens or early ’20s, the Catholic Ladies’ Aid Society of Fort Worth began an annual tradition of hosting a party for the children at Forest Park in Fort Worth. The 1923 picnic entertained 300 children. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram ran a story about the event under the unfortunate headline “It’s Not So Bad To Be An Orphan After All.” (Click article for a much larger image.)

st-josephs-orphanage_FWST_060123FWST, June 1, 1923

According to William L. McDonald in his book Dallas Rediscovered, “the orphanage was converted into a Carmelite convent and school in 1929 and demolished in 1945.” In December, 1930, the girls moved into their new (huge!) home in Oak Lawn (at Blackburn), in the old Dallas University building (later the Jesuit campus). The boys, I believe, moved to the Dunne Memorial Home. Here is a photo of the girls’ new home, which was taken over by Jesuit High School in 1941. (The impressive building originally built in 1906 was demolished in 1963.)



st-josephs-orphanage_dmn_042991Dallas Morning News, April 29, 1891

DMN, July 16, 1891

DMN, Feb. 9, 1902

DMN, Nov. 30, 1913



Sources & Notes

Top photo from Dallas Rediscovered by William L. McDonald, is from the collection of the Dallas Public Library.

Photo titled “Children and Nuns, St. Joseph’s Orphanage, Dallas, Texas” was taken by Frank Rogers and is from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University; more information can be found here.

Photo of the old Dallas University/University of Dallas/Trinity University is from the article “Jesuit High School” by Liz Conrad Goedecke, which appeared in the Fall, 2005 issue of Legacies.

Bottom photo of St. Joseph’s Orphanage is from a PDF titled “A Brief Visual History of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas,” here (p. 19).

More on the original St. Joseph orphanage can be found here (scroll down to the 1902 article, “Charities of Dallas”).

The original St. Joseph orphanage was at the southwest corner of West Page and South Adams, in Oak Cliff. See the 1922 Sanborn map, here. According to the Dallas Central Appraisal District website, the land is currently owned by the Dallas Housing Authority, which, as recently as 2014, had sought permission to build a new “home for the aged” on this property. The Bing Maps aerial view shows the Brooks Manor low-income housing project which had occupied this block for several decades before its recent demolition.


The Google Street view from Jan. 2016 shows an empty block.

orphanage_googleGoogle Maps

The original building at the top is not to be confused with the later St. Joseph home for girls (or the earlier Virginia K. Johnson home for unwed mothers), which was also on West Page, but a couple of blocks to the east. More on that can be found here. (It was at the Page and Madison, seen on the 1922 Sanborn map, here.) (Perhaps this was the campus the St. Joseph school moved to when Jesuit took over the campus in Oak Lawn in 1941?)

All photos and articles are larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Wanted in Dallas: Refugee Children — 1940


by Paula Bosse

In the summer of 1940, a group called The Children’s Evacuation Committee of Texas was organized to bring child refugees to Dallas, even if it meant sending a ship across the Atlantic Ocean to get them. Its chairman was local businessman George Edgley, a transplanted Briton who owned a music shop and performed around town as an actor and musician.

The group was formed in response to the heavily publicized plight of English children living under the constant threat of attack during World War II. The situation was of great international concern, and plans were drawn up to evacuate the children to safety. The United States had agencies working to bring some of the children to America, and communities around the country were organizing at a grassroots level.

George Edgley took up the cause in Dallas and was the driving force behind The Children’s Evacuation Committee of Texas. He worked day and night to sign up potential foster families, worked with American and British politicians and humanitarian relief agencies, and traveled to Washington, DC to petition for special immigration allowances. He even pleaded with Congress to authorize a special ship to carry children from the UK to the Texas Gulf.

Some Dallasites were adamant that only British children would be considered. One Briton living in Dallas made the following statement at an early meeting:

It’s the Anglo-Saxon race against the world, […] and we want Anglo-Saxon children brought over here  — not material for fifth columnists. We want English-speaking children. (Dallas Morning News, June 27, 1940)

Edgley disagreed vehemently, insisting that a humanitarian project such as the one under consideration should not be limited to British children.

Numerous Dallas families signed up to offer their homes to refugee children. Many were willing to take any child that needed a temporary home, and most were prepared to adopt the child should his or her parents be killed in the war. There was, though, this unsettling read-between-the-lines sentence in one of the reports in The Dallas Morning News:

A few stipulated that the children should be free of hereditary defects, should be from good families and of certain nationalities or have eyes or hair of certain color. (DMN, July 21, 1940)

A big supporter of this effort was Miss Ela Hockaday, who worked to get her school’s alumnae and patrons to offer their homes to the displaced children. She herself had adopted the children of British novelist Vera Brittain for the duration of the war.

After weeks of determined effort, though, the inability to find a way to safely transport children en masse from the UK became an insurmountable roadblock. The bureaucracy and logistics proved to be too big a hurdle. Edgley turned his attention to working one-on-one with Dallas families who agreed to be responsible for paying the transportation costs of a child and providing for all of his or her needs until the war’s end. It would cost a local family a substantial $188 to assure a child’s privately-arranged temporary adoption (equivalent in today’s money to just over $2,200).

I’m not sure how many children found shelter from the war in Dallas, but the tireless efforts of George Edgley on their behalf are to be admired.


Sources & Notes

Top photo and headline “America: Haven for Refugee Children?” from the February, 1940 issue of The Rotarian. You can read the magazine’s take on the issue here.

If you would like more information on George Edgley’s campaign to relocate refugee children from war-torn England, please contact me.

The Life magazine story “U.S. Opens Its Homes and Heart to Refugee Children of England” (July 22, 1940), can be found here.

Some background on the evacuation of British children during World War II can be found here and here.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


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