Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Churches

Allen & Cochran: Allen Street Drugs, St. Peter’s Academy, St. John Baptist Church — ca. 1946

Allen Street Drugs at Allen & Cochran… (photo: Dallas Public Library)

by Paula Bosse

Above, a group of men and boys gathered outside Allen St. Drugs — 1920 Allen Street, at the corner of Cochran — posing for famed Dallas photographer Marion Butts. Behind the group is St. Peter’s Church and St. Peter’s Academy, a Catholic church and affiliated school for black children (at 2018 Allen); facing St. Peter’s (but out of frame) is St. John Baptist Church (2019 Allen). This was a busy and well-traveled intersection for the African American neighborhood of “North Dallas.”

St. Peter’s Academy — which was still around into the late 1980s — was built in 1908, largely due to the urging of black entrepreneur Valentine Jordan and his wife Mary Jordan who were impressed with the education provided to the (white) students attending the Catholic Ursuline Academy; they requested that Bishop E. J. Dunne open a similar school for black children, and Bishop Dunne obliged. Before it was named “St. Peter’s Academy,” it was known as The Sisters’ Institute (named for the Sisters of the Holy Ghost). Elementary and high school classes were taught, and boarding options were offered to girls. In the mid 1960s the school had 600 (predominantly Protestant) students.

Dallas Express, Sept. 6, 1924

Dallas Express, Aug. 27, 1921

Dallas Express, Jan. 6, 1923

Dallas Express, Jan. 13, 1923

St. Peter’s Academy, circa 1935

The large St. John Baptist Church was a fixture of the community, led for many years by its pastor Ernest C. Estell.

Dallas, Texas Negro City Directory, 1946-47

Sadly, these buildings are no longer standing. St. Peter the Apostle is located in a new building at Allen and what is now Woodall Rodgers Freeway, and much of their congregation is of Polish ancestry, with services conducted in both Polish and English. The drugstore seen at the top sat on land razed for construction of Woodall Rodgers. The view today can be seen here.

Allen St., between Munger & Hallsville — 1944-45 Dallas directory

1952 Mapsco (star indicates location of Allen St. Drugs)


Sources & Notes

Top photo by Marion Butts, from the Marion Butts: Lens on Dallas Collection, Dallas Public Library. More information on the work of Mr. Butts may be found here.

Most images are larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Dallas in “The Western Architect,” 1914: City Buildings and Churches


by Paula Bosse

The 7-part Flashback Dallas series of buildings and houses featured in the Dallas issue of The Western Architect finally comes to an end! What I thought would be a quick and painless way to share tons of cool Dallas photos I’d never seen has turned into a seemingly endless dive into the research of a whole slew of buildings, most of which I knew very little (if anything) about. I feel like I’ve been through an immersive, three-week course in “Lang & Witchell”!

This final installment features buildings built by the city (mostly fire stations) and a few churches — six of these eight buildings are still standing. Today’s star architects are Hubbell & Greene.


1.  PARKLAND HOSPITAL (above), Oak Lawn & Maple avenues, designed by Hubbell & Greene. This new, sturdy, brick “city hospital” was built in 1913 on the beautiful park-like 20-acre-site of the previous city hospital (the old wood frame building — built in 1894 — was cut in pieces and moved farther back on the property, “across a ravine” — it was reassembled and for a time housed patients with chronic and contagious diseases and was the only institution in Dallas at the time that served black and Hispanic patients — part of this old building can be seen at the left in the background of the photo above). The new hospital was “entirely fireproof” and was built with very little wood  — other than the doors, trim, and banister railings, it was all steel, cement, reinforced concrete, plaster, and brick. The original plans called for two wings, but the city had to put construction of the second wing on the backburner until funds became available. As it was, this one-wing hospital (with beds for 100 patients) cost in excess of $100,000 ($2.5 million in today’s money). The building still stands but is barely visible these days behind a wall, trees, and dense shrubbery — it is surrounded by a huge, recently-built complex of similarly-styled buildings. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.) (All images are larger when clicked.)

postcard dated 1914, via Pinterest


2.  ART BUILDING, Fair Park, designed by Hubbell & Greene. Known as the Art & Ladies’ Textile Building when it was erected in 1908, this domed building gave Dallas its first public art museum. No longer would the 14 paintings owned by the Dallas Art Association (including works by Childe Hassam and Robert Henri) be relegated to being displayed (when staff was available) in a room in the public library. The building was initially built as a nod to “ladies” and was the place where textile crafts and artworks were displayed during the State Fair (Texas artist Julian Onderdonk was given the task of beating the bushes in New York City for works to be loaned for display in this building during the fair). The art gallery was set in the rotunda — a sort of gallery within a gallery — while textiles and other exhibits were shown in the outer area of the octagonal building. One interesting bit of trivia about the construction of this building is that it was built largely of cement blocks — 70,000, according to newspaper reports. In order to facilitate construction, a “cement block plant” was set up on the grounds in Fair Park, turning out hundreds of blocks a day, which were then laid out to “season” in the sun. (Incidentally, this building was under construction during the historic flood of 1908 — which the newspaper refers to as “the recent high water,” and the bad weather was slowing the construction process.) The building is no longer standing, but it seems to have lasted at least through the end of 1956. It stood just inside the Parry Avenue entrance, to the left, next to the Coliseum (now the Women’s Building) — the site is now occupied by a parking lot directly behind the D.A.R. house. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)



via Dallas Museum of Art blog “Uncrated”


3.  CENTRAL FIRE STATION, 2012 Main Street (adjoining the Municipal Building), designed by Lang & Witchell. When Adolphus Busch acquired the land Dallas’ City Hall and central fire station sat on (in order to build his Adolphus Hotel), there was a sudden springing to action to build new homes for both displaced entities. The new location for the firehouse was in an already-standing building facing Main, adjacent to the new Municipal Building — it became the new headquarters for the Dallas Fire Department in 1913. It was, I believe, the first Dallas firehouse built without horse stalls, as it housed only motorized firefighting vehicles. The building’s use as a fire station ended in the 1920s; it was thereafter used by other municipal offices: for a while in the 1930s its third floor was used as a women’s jail, and for many years it was the site of Dallas’ corporation court. It looks like the building is still there, but I’m unsure of its current use. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)


central-fire-station_dallas-firefighters-museum_portalDallas Firefighters Museum, via Portal to Texas History


4.  OAK LAWN FIRE STATION, Cedar Springs & Reagan, designed by Hubbell & Greene. This still-active firehouse (!) — Dallas’ first “suburban” fire station — was built in 1909 as the home of No. 4 Hook and Ladder Company. When construction of the building was announced, it was described as being a gray brick structure topped by a roof of “cherry red Spanish tiling.” It was — and still is — a beautiful building. (I’ve written about this firehouse previously, here.) (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)




5.  NO. 6 ENGINE COMPANY, Forest Avenue (now MLK Blvd.) & Kimble, South Dallas, designed by H. B. Thomson. This South Dallas fire station was built in 1913 and was in service until 1955 when it was demolished to make way for the “South Central Expressway” (see more photos in a previous post on this, here). (See it on a 1922 Sanborn map, here.)


fire-department_no. 6_forest-ave-mlk
Dallas Firefighters Museum, via Portal to Texas History


6.  FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, S. Harwood & Wood, designed by C. D. Hill. Built in 1911-12, this impressive building boasted “the largest monolith columns in the city” (a claim which might have been surpassed by architect Hill’s be-columned Municipal Building built soon after this church, two blocks away — and rivaled by Hubbell & Greene’s Scottish Rite temple, one block away). Still standing and much expanded, the church is still looking great. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)


first-presbyterian-church_dmn_032412Dallas Morning News, March 24, 1912


7.  WESTMINSTER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 2700 Fairmount (at Mahon), designed by Hubbell & Greene. Before looking this one up, I had no idea what part of town this church was in — I was surprised to see it was in the area now known as “Uptown” … and it’s still standing. This congregation (organized in 1892) had occupied churches in the McKinney Avenue/State-Thomas area for several years before this church was built in 1910-11. When the congregation moved to their current location on Devonshire in the 1940s, the building was taken over by Memorial Baptist Church. When that congregation was dissolved, the church was given — for free! — to the First Mexican Baptist Church (Primera Iglesia Bautista Mexicana). After several decades, they, too, eventually moved to a new location, and the old church has had a variety of occupants come and go. (Read about its recent past — and see tons of photos — at Candy’s Dirt, here.) (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)


westminster-presbyterian-church_websitevia Westminster Presbyterian Church website


8.  FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST, corner of Cadiz & Browder, designed by Hubbell & Greene. This Christian Science church was built in 1910 on the southern edge of downtown for $100,000 (over 2.5 million dollars in today’s money). Following its days as a Christian Science church, it has had secular and non-secular occupants. It still stands (as a lonely building in what is mostly a sea of parking lots), and it is currently a house of worship once again. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)






And that concludes this 7-part series featuring photos from the 1914 all-Dallas issue of the trade publication The Western Architect, which can be viewed in its entirety (with additional text), here (jump to p. 195 of the PDF for the July, 1914 scanned issue).


Sources & Notes

The Western Architect, A National Journal of Architecture and Allied Arts, Published Monthly, July, 1914. This issue, with text and critical analysis in addition to the large number of photographs, has been scanned in it entirety by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as part of its Brittle Books Program — it can be accessed in a PDF, here (the Dallas issue begins on page 195 of the PDF). Thank you, UIUC!

In this 7-part series:

Dallas Morning News, June 4, 1914


Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

NAACP Southwest Conference in Dallas — 1950

NAACP-conference_the-crisi_june-1950Top delegates of the NAACP regional conference in Dallas, 1950

by Paula Bosse

The third annual NAACP Southwest Region Conference was held in Dallas, March 24-26, 1950. Above we see the top delegates (out of about 200 attendees), standing in front of the Salem Baptist Church, then located at 710 Bourbon in South Dallas. One of their main objectives was to increase NAACP membership in order to more effectively tackle issues of civil rights and social injustice.

The conference’s main speaker was special counsel to the NAACP, Thurgood Marshall. During the conference, he stated that, although there was slow and steady progress being made by African-Americans in American society, he did not expect to see racial segregation abolished in his lifetime. 17 years after this statement, Thurgood Marshall was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to serve as a justice on the United States Supreme Court.

NAACP_thurgood-marshall_FWST_032750Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 27, 1950

Below, the review of the conference that appeared in the April, 1950 issue of the NAACP magazine, The Crisis (click to see larger image).

NAACP-SW-conference_the-crisi_april-1950The Crisis, April, 1950


Sources & Notes

Top photo from the June, 1950 issue of The Crisis, the magazine published by the NAACP. Many decades’ worth of scanned issues of the magazine are viewable via Google Books, here.

The Salem Baptist Church was, at the time of the photo above, located at 710 Bourbon in South Dallas. According to the church’s website, the church moved from that location in the early 1960s when the site was one of many purchased by the Texas Highway Department to be demolished for highway construction.

Click photo and news clippings for larger images.


Copyright © 2018 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 these two early photos:

Our Lady of Good Counsel, ca. 1902

Our Lady of Good Counsel, ca. 1905

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

DMN, June 15, 1902

OLGC_dmn_042302DMN, April 23, 1902

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


Here it is in 1942:


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):


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


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:


And in 1958 (from the LGC yearbook):


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:


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


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:


Girls lining up to go into class, 1960:


Girls outside playing volleyball, 1960:


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.”


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.)




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 1902 photo was posted in the Dallas History Guild Facebook group.

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.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Mosaic Restoration at Downtown’s St. Jude Chapel

st-jude-chapel_scaffold_052417_bosse_bosseTile by tile by tile… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

A couple of weeks ago I went downtown to check out the restoration of the large mosaic above the entrance to the St Jude Chapel on Main Street. The 1968 Gyorgy Kepes mosaic (which I wrote about here) is undergoing needed repair work, restoration, and cleaning, in preparation for next year’s 50th anniversary of the downtown chapel. The work on mosaics inside the chapel as well as the large one outside is being done by artist and preservationist Julie Richey of Julie Richey Mosaics in association with Art Restorations, Inc.

As you can imagine, the outdoor mosaic overlooking Main Street has, for 50 years, weathered everything from intense summer heat, freezing temperatures, automobile exhaust, slight shifting of the building’s structure, damage to individual tiles, mildew, grout decomposition, and a host of other factors, all of which led to the much-needed restoration work.

A couple of things that I found interesting, in talking with Julie Richey and Cher Goodson (of Art Restorations, Inc.) was that there are over 800,000 glass smalti tiles (or tesserae) forming the sunburst mosaic. 800,000! I had no idea it was so large until I was standing right below it. After missing or damaged tiles have been replaced, all 800,000-plus will be cleaned — by hand, I think — with, as Cher told me, Dawn dishwashing liquid (good for cleaning greasy dishes, oil-soaked waterfowl, and Venetian glass tiles). Speaking of those tiles, one of the most serendipitous moments in this project was when Julie was able to track down slabs of smalti in New York which were the very same smalti used in the original 1968 mosaic — they had been kept in storage for 50 years, and they look brand new. That means that the tesserae being used to replace the damaged or missing tiles are from the exact same batch as the originals, which means the vivid colors, the composition, the opacity, and the surface texture are the same. That is an incredible stroke of luck!

The work should be wrapping up soon — if you’d like to catch the last few days of this project, hop downtown and say hello to the women doing such great work! (UPDATE: The project actually ended Friday. But you should still go down and take a look at it!) While you’re there, you should step inside to see the little chapel, a calm and peaceful oasis in the heart of downtown. There are several other mosaics inside — Julie and company did work on some of those as well, most notably the very large, striking “Risen Christ” above the altar.

Below are some photos I took inside and outside the chapel on May 24, 2017 — most are larger when clicked.


St. Jude Chapel is in the 1500 block of Main, between Ervay and Akard.

Here it is, seen from Neiman’s, across the street.


Below is part of the mosaic by Gyorgy Kepes — seeing it up close, you begin to realize that, yeah, there probably are more than 800,000 glass tiles up there. (Definitely click the photo to see a very large image.)


The photo at the top of the post shows the lift used to tackle the job; looking on is Dallas filmmaker Mark Birnbaum who is documenting the project. Below, Julie Richey and Lynne Chinn are raised up on the lift to do their torturously tedious and very, very detailed work (imagine working on this huge thing using tweezers!). Julie can be seen snipping “new” smalti to replace the damaged or missing tiles, working from photos, diagrams, grids, graphs, and guides to make sure the restoration is as close as possible to the original mosaic: the colors must match, the shapes must match, the placement must match.


You really have to be focused to do work like this. Here, Julie is setting a tiny piece into that giant mosaic (the marked vertical strips of tape help map the mosaic and insure that everything goes back in exactly as it was originally placed in 1968.


Speaking of snipping the smalti (which sounds like a naughty euphemism used amongst naughty mosaicists), here’s what’s left over, below. I talked to conservator Callie Heimburger, who gave me a lot of interesting information on how the whole intricate process worked — she was set up at a table on the sidewalk and had containers full of these beautiful discarded glass shards in front of her. I really wanted to scoop up a handful and sneak them into a pocket, but I managed to control myself.


Everything is meticulously color-coded.



And smalti? Here are bags of “new” bagged tiles — not shown are the slabs or the larger pieces which look a little like brightly colored peanut brittle.


Julie asked if I wanted to go up on the lift and take a closer look. It was even more impressive (and a little overwhelming) to be right next to it. I also got to take a look over the top of the building. There Julie pointed out all that remains of one of downtown’s biggest and busiest retail stores, W. A. Green. I didn’t have the presence of mind to get a good photo up there, but here’s the “ghost sign,” seen from across the street.



Since I was there, I had to step inside to see what the little chapel looked like. It’s very charming. And the mosaics inside are also impressive.

Here’s what you see as you step in.


To your left is the altar. This lovely mosaic was also restored and cleaned. Also: curved walls, a stained glass skylight, and a light fixture that is one of my very favorite decorative elements of this chapel.


A closer look at “Risen Christ.”


Turn around, and from the pulpit you can see the choir loft.


A wonderful depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe.


A detail.


I’m afraid I’m not very well-versed on my saint iconography, but this might be St. Martin de Porres, with a broom, and mice at his feet.


Leave it to me to find these little mosaic mice, my favorite tiny discovery of the day.


And here’s the view from the chapel toward Main Street.


The St. Jude Chapel offers a nice, tranquil respite from a loud and busy downtown Dallas. You should visit sometime. All are welcome.



UPDATE: Dallas filmmaker Mark Birnbaum was working on a short documentary of the project when I stopped by the site (you can see the back of his head in the top photo). His 10-minute film, “Genesis Mosaic,” can be viewed here.


Sources & Notes

Thanks so much to Julie Richey, Callie Heimburger, Cher Goodson, and Lynne Chinn for taking the time to chat with me. Julie Richey Mosaics website is here; Art Restorations, Inc. website is here.

You can see more on this project (including photos and video) on Julie’s Facebook page, here, and Art Restorations’ Facebook page, here; see photos from the Risen Christ restoration on Julie’s blog, here.

The St. Jude Chapel (Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas) website is here; videos on the history of the downtown chapel are here.

All photos by Paula Bosse.

Images larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Twelve Prominent Black Baptist Churches — 1967

church_zion-hill-missionary-baptist_1967Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Flipping through the pages of the 1967 Souvenir Program of the 74th Annual Session of the Missionary Baptist General Convention of Texas and Its Auxiliaries (…as one does), I kept coming across ads featuring photos of Dallas churches and wondered how many were still standing. Out of the twelve I’m posting here, all but three are still standing. That’s a healthy survival rate!

All photos are from the above-mentioned program for the Missionary Baptist General Convention of Texas, which convened in Dallas, October 17-20, 1967. All photos (which are larger when clicked) appeared in this 1967 booklet, but a few were older photos taken in previous years or decades.



At the top, Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 909 Morrell Avenue, East Oak Cliff (Rev. A. F. Thomas, Sr., Minister). The church is still standing and is still cool-looking — see it on Google Street View here. (According to a history of the church, the building was designed by J. C. Hibbard, the Assembly of God preacher who designed his own Oak Cliff church, the Gospel Lighthouse Church, which I wrote about here — the two eye-catching buildings are only a mile apart.)



People’s Missionary Baptist Church, 3119 Pine Street, South Dallas (Rev. S. M. Wright, Pastor). Still standing, here



Allen Chapel Baptist Church, 2146 Overton Road, Oak Cliff (Rev. J. R. Allen, Pastor). Still standing, here.



Morning Star Baptist Church (photo circa 1947, the year the brick church was built), 2662 Anderson Street, South Dallas (Rev. Howard Gill, Pastor). Still standing, here.



Good Street Baptist Church, 902 N. Good-Latimer (between Live Oak and Bryan) (Dr. Cesar Clark, Pastor). No longer standing.



Oak Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 4440 S. Oakland Avenue (now Malcolm X Blvd.), South Dallas (Rev. M. G. Solomon, Pastor). Drawing of their “future church building.” Still standing, here.



Bethany Baptist Church, 6710 Webster Street, Love Field area (A. L. Schley, Pastor). Still standing, here.



Munger Avenue Baptist Church, 3919 Munger Avenue (not to be confused with N. Munger Blvd.), near Haskell and Washington, in what used to be the thriving African-American neighborhood of North Dallas (Rev. B. E. Joshua, Pastor). Still standing, here.



Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, 2525 Caddo Street, just a few blocks from Munger Avenue Baptist Church (Rev. G. B. Prince, Pastor). No longer standing. The property was sold to the Southland Corporation in 1983 — its location is now occupied by a Cityplace parking lot. According to the history of the church, Pilgrim Rest moved to 1819 N. Washington in 1985.



Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, 3611 Latimer Street, South Dallas (Rev. B. F. Briggs, Pastor). Still standing, here.



St. John Baptist Church, 2019 Allen Street, State-Thomas area (Robert H. Wilson, Minister). No longer standing.



New Zion Baptist Church, 2214 Pine Street, South Dallas (Rev. A. V. Voice, Pastor). Now Greater New Zion Church, this is my favorite of these twelve buildings, and it still looks good, here.


Sources & Notes

All photos from the Souvenir Program of the 74th Annual Session of the Missionary Baptist General Convention of Texas and Its Auxiliaries, which was held in Dallas in October, 1967.

Many thanks to George Gimarc for passing this wonderful little booklet on to me. I hope to share more from its pages in the future.

All photos larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Beautiful South Ervay Street — ca. 1910

ervay_coltera_flickrStreet life in South Dallas (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Today, a few hand-colored postcards from around 1910 showing the lovely houses that used to line Ervay Street in South Dallas. Hard as it is to believe today, the stretch of South Ervay from just outside the central business district down to its end at Forest Avenue (now Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.), was once a very nice area where many of the city’s most fashionable and well-to-do Jewish families (and, later, African-American families) lived. The intervening century has not been kind to South Dallas. I’m not sure of the location in the postcard above, but it certainly looks like a very pleasant neighborhood — one that no longer exists in this mostly blighted area.


Below, S. Ervay looking south. The rounded top of Temple Emanu-El can be seen at the left. The light-colored building in the next block was the Columbian Club. The hotel most recently known as the Ambassador (which is still standing) in set back on a curve of the street and is hidden by the Columbian Club. The red building is the Hughes candy plant (also still standing). A Google Street View of this area today can be seen here.



Below, we see a view still looking south, but now much farther down Ervay, almost to Forest Avenue (now MLK). The church on the left is the James Flanders-designed Ervay Street Methodist Episcopal Church (South), built in 1908 at the corner of corner of Ervay and South Boulevard — it’s interesting that a Methodist church was located in the center of Dallas’ largest Jewish residential neighborhood. (More on the church from a Dallas Morning News article from July 1, 1908, here. See this area on a 1922 Sanborn map here.)


Not seen in the view above is one house worth mentioning. The house — just out of frame at the left, with the steps leading up to it, was the home of Simon Linz, of Linz Jewelers fame. Here is what the Linz house looked like in 1908:

linz-house_dmn_010108Dallas Morning News, Jan. 1, 1908

Remarkably, this house is still standing. It is currently a funeral home at 2830 S. Ervay. The present-day image below, showing the pretty house and the neatly landscaped yard, is a little deceptive; see what the Google Street View looks like just south — where the Flanders church once stood — here. (If you’re up to it, reverse the Google view and move back toward town.)

Google Street View

Hold on, little house!

This was once such a beautiful part of Dallas….



Below, a detail of a 1919 map showing S. Ervay down to Forest. The purple star shows the location of Temple Emanu-El and the Columbian Club. The green star shows the location of the Linz house and the Ervay St. Methodist Episcopal church. (Click for larger image.)

1919 map via Portal to Texas History


First and third postcards are from Flickr: here and here. Others found on eBay.

All images are larger when clicked.


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.


Winnetka Congregational Church, Org. 1914

winnetka-congregational-church_tulane-universityThe Oak Cliff church’s first pastor? (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I stumbled across this photograph tonight and was really taken with it. It shows a man standing in front of the Winnetka Congregational Church in Oak Cliff, located at W. Twelfth and S. Windomere streets — on land now part of the property of the W. E. Greiner school. The church was organized in 1914, but by 1925 they were making plans to expand. A new church was built in 1929, just across W. Twelfth, facing Windomere.


The new building still stands, but Winnetka Congregational Church doesn’t seem to have made it past the 1950s.

Nice though that newer church is, I think I prefer the smaller one from 1914 with the uncomfortable-looking man standing in front of it.


Sources & Notes

Top photo from the Tulane University Digital Library (with the name of the church misspelled as “Winnietka”), here.

I love Sanborn maps. Here’s one from 1922 which shows what the neighborhood looked like then. The original small wood frame church can be seen just north of a neighborhood completely undeveloped, except for the Winnetka School. Check out the very large map, here.

Background on the church can be found on the Oak Cliff Yesterday blog, here.

If you REALLY want to learn about this church’s history, there is a book, History of Winnetka Congregational Church, Dallas, Texas by Sarah E. Johnson (1935). Looks like the Dallas Public Library has a copy, here.

And, lastly, here’s what the church built in 1929/1930 looks like today. (The original church was built in the area seen in the background, now part of the Greiner campus.)


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


The Beginning of the End for Ross Avenue’s Downtown Mansions — 1925

construction_jan-1925Mansions across from First United Methodist Church, Jan. 1925

by Paula Bosse

The First Methodist Episcopal Church, South (now First United Methodist Church of Dallas) was built in 1924 and 1925 at Ross and North Harwood. It was a large undertaking, and its construction meant that three of the four very large houses in the 1900 block of Ross Avenue, between North St. Paul and North Harwood, had to be demolished, including the house built by Mrs. Miranda Morrill in 1886 at the southwest corner of Ross and Harwood.


For many years, large houses like this — owned by the city’s wealthiest bankers, industrialists, and real estate men — lined Ross Avenue, just to the north of the central business district. But by the 1920s, more and more non-residential development began to encroach into this part of town.

The photograph at the top is pretty amazing, because it shows some of those grand houses in their last days. The north side of the 1900 block of Ross (the block now occupied by the Dallas Museum of Art) contained four lots. In the 1925 construction photo above, there are three houses and a business.


In the detail above, at the far left we see the home of land baron William Caruth (in the book Dallas Rediscovered, William L. McDonald called this little pied-à-terre his “townhouse”) — for decades it sat at the northeast corner of Ross and St. Paul (which had previously been named Masten). Next to it is something that looks like scaffolding or a tower (what is that? — is it a photographer’s perch to document the construction?). Next to it is another grand house, home of several wealthy occupants over the years. And then … a car dealership and garage. How this happened is a mystery, but this 1921 building — which replaced a beautiful house and which sticks out like a sore thumb — belonged to the Flippen Auto Co., complete with showroom on the ground floor and garage and repair facilities on the second floor — it may have had one of the first car elevators in town.

Next to the Flippen Auto Co. was the grandiose Conway House, with its columns and portico; it was built around 1900 at the northwest corner of Ross and Harwood and was the childhood home of pioneer female fashion illustrator Gordon Conway. In 1921 — after a few years as a music conservatory — it became the home of the Knights of Columbus.

conway-house_ross-harwood_ca1902_mcdonaldConway House, about 1902

And here’s a photo showing both the Flippen Auto Co. and part of the former Conway House.


On the northeast corner of Ross and Harwood, we can see a large house facing Harwood. Forget the house — on that corner was a tiny little gas station. And glory be, I stumbled across a great photo of the Acme Oil & Supply Co. complete with Texaco pump — probably from around 1919 or 1920.


But back to the construction of what is now the First United Methodist Church of Dallas — a lovely building which still stands and faces the Dallas Museum of Art. Here’s a photograph of the construction from May, 1925.


And here is the postcard filled with an artist’s conception of people to-ing and fro-ing.



And, finally, an aerial view taken above the church in the early 1980s, looking north, showing the same block once bookended by the Caruth and Conway mansions, now leveled to make way for the Dallas Museum of Art.


I think I prefer the view from 75 years earlier.



Sources & Notes

The two photos taken in 1925 during the construction of the church are from the book Church at the Crossroads, A History of First United Methodist Church, Dallas (Dallas: UMR Communications, 1997); the entire book has been scanned and may be viewed at Archive.org, here (all the photos are at the end).

The photo of the Morrill house is from Mark Doty’s book Lost Dallas (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2012).

Photo of the Conway House is from Dallas Rediscovered by William L. McDonald (Dallas: Dallas Historical Society, 1978).

Photo showing the Flippen Auto Co. and the Conway house from Diane Galloway’s book The Park Cities, A Photohistory.

Photo of the Acme gas station is from Dallas: The Deciding Years by A. C. Greene (Austin: Encino Press, 1973).

The construction of the First Methodist Episcopal Church, South was announced in a Dallas Morning News article on Oct. 5, 1924.


All that’s left of those grand homes is the Belo Mansion. It’s something!

Click pictures to see larger images.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


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