Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Dallas Fire Department

Dallas Fire Fighter Magazine — 1960s

dallas-fire-fighter-magazine_jan-1965_ebay

by Paula Bosse

I saw these covers of Dallas Fire Fighter magazine on eBay and thought they looked really interesting. I can’t find anything about this publication other than a one-sentence glancing mention in a Dallas Morning News article on fire prevention in January, 1962 — so it had been around at least since the early ’60s. Here are four covers — one from 1963, two from 1965, and one from 1966.

dallas-fire-fighter_magazine_july-1963_ebay_love-fieldLove Field engine, July 1963

dallas-fire-fighter_magazine_1965-ebay
Rescue of a toddler, April, 1965

dallas-fire-fighter_magazine_oct-1966_ebay
Aero-Unit inspection, No. 1 Station, October, 1966

The person listing these magazines on eBay included a few (very low-resolution!) photos of some of the pages inside. Below are a few interesting tidbits from the October, 1966 issue.

dallas-fire-fighter-magazine_oct-1966_ebay_fire-house-rhythm-kings_photo

The Fire House Rhythm Kings was a country band made up of Dallas firefighters, formed in 1956. They played well over 300 gigs a year (one article noted they sometimes performed at four venues in one DAY!), combining entertainment with education on fire prevention. The caption: “Fire House Rhythm Kings – left to right, Jack Mewbourne, Doug May, Les Wilson, Spurgeon Harris, Don Smith, ‘Big Ed’ Hunt, J. W. Hadaway, Don Spruell, and Leland Loggins. Members not present in the photo include Harvey Lanier, Troy England, W. T. Babb and Wendel Jenkins. Newest additions to the band include Larry Gotchel and Earl Rowe who have also joined since the photo was made.”

They also had a regular show on radio station KPCN (click to see larger image):

dallas-fire-fighter-magazine_oct-1966_ebay_fire-house-rhythm-kings
Dallas Fire Fighter, October, 1966

The department had recently acquired new equipment, including a heavy-duty rescue-salvage unit and an aero-unit (apologies for image quality!):

dallas-fire-fighter-magazine_oct-1966_ebay_heavy-duty-rescue-salvage-unit“New heavy duty rescue-salvage unit now in service at No. 3 Station”

dallas-fire-fighter_magazine_oct-1966_ebay_aero-unit
Aero-Unit

dallas-fire-fighter_magazine_oct-1966_ebay_new-equipment

And, lastly, an ad announcing a new section of Hillcrest Memorial Park created exclusively for fire-fighters and their families: “Firemen’s Rest.” This section of the cemetery featured a large marble statue by memorial sculptor Bernhard Zuckermann, which appears to be a copy of the bronze Firemen’s Monument dedicated in City Park in 1903 (the original bronze statue has been relocated to the Dallas Fire-Rescue Training Center on Dolphin Rd.). (See a transcription of the ad’s hard-to-read text here.)

dallas-fire-fighter_magazine_oct-1966_ebay_hillcrest-memorial-park_ad

Below, the original monument topped with the bronze likeness of Dallas fireman John Clark (who died fighting a huge East Dallas fire in 1902) honors Dallas firefighters who have died in the line of duty; it was dedicated on Nov. 26, 1903.

firemans-monument_dmn_112703_photoDallas Morning News, Nov. 27, 1903

***

Sources & Notes

Dallas Fire Fighter magazine (published by the Dallas Fire Fighters Association) found on eBay, here (now sold!).

An interesting article on the Fire House Rhythm Kings band can be found in the Dallas Morning News archives in the article “Firehouse Band Goes Like Blazes” by the always entertaining Kent Biffle (DMN, Dec. 13, 1965)

*

Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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

parkland-hospital_western-architect_july-1914

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.)

parkland_psotcard_1914_pinterest
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.)

fair-park_art-bldg_western-architect_july-1914

fair-park_textile_fine-arts-bldg_postcard

art-and-textile-bldg_dma_uncrated_interior
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.)

firehouse_central-fire-station_western-architect_july-1914

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.)

firehouse_oak-lawn_western-architect_july-1914

firehouse_oak-lawn_western-architect_july-1914_architectural-details_2

*

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.)

firehouse_no-6-engine_western-architect_july-1914

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_western-architect_july-1914

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_western-architect_july-1914

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.)

first-church-of-christ-scientist_western-architect_july-1914_exterior

first-church-of-christ-scientist_western-architect_july-1914_foyer

first-church-of-christ-scientist_western-architect_july-1914_readers-desk

christian-science-church-postcard

**

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:

western-architect-in-dallas_dmn_060414
Dallas Morning News, June 4, 1914

*

Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Dallas Fire Stations — 1901

fire-dept_engine-co-3_gaston-and-college_1901Fire horse in Old East Dallas relaxing between calls (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

A few turn-of-the-century photos of Dallas’ fire stations, from a 1901 photographic annual. These seven firehouses were built between 1882 and 1894. One of these buildings is, miraculously, still standing on McKinney Avenue, in the heart of Uptown.

*

At the top, Engine Co. No. 3, at Gaston and College Avenues. In service: January, 1892. Equipment: an Ahrens Steamer, capacity 750 gallons per minute, and a Cooney Hose Carriage. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the present location (Gaston and Hall) here. (And since I just used it a few days ago, here’s a 1921 Sanborn map, showing Mill Creek running right through the property.)

*

fire-dept_central-station_main-harwood_1901

Above, Central Fire Station, Main and Harwood Streets. In service: October, 1887. Equipment: a double-sixty-gallon Champion Chemical Engine and a City Hook and Ladder Truck. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the present location here (the site of the old City Hall/Municipal Building).

*

fire-dept_mckinney-leonard_engine-co-1_1901

Engine Co. No. 1, McKinney Avenue and Leonard. Equipment: an Ahrens Steamer, 750 gallons per minute, and a Cooney Hose Carriage. In service: August, 1894. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the present location here. NOTE: This is the only one of these firehouses still standing. I wrote about it here.

UPDATE: Well, sort of. Thanks to a comment on Facebook, I researched this station a bit more and found that it was rebuilt and modernized at the end of 1909 — using materials from the original building seen above, built on the same plot of land. So instead of being 122 years old, the building on McKinney today is a mere 106 years old.

*

fire-dept_commerce-hawkins_engine-co-2_1901

Engine Co. No. 2, Commerce and Hawkins Streets. In service: January, 1882. Equipment: an Ahrens Steamer, capacity 750 gallons per minute, and a Cooney Hose Carriage. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see a shot-in-the-dark guess at a present location here.

*

fire-dept_ervay-kelly_hose-co-2_1901

Hose Co. No. 2 and Chemical Co. No. 2, Ervay Street and Kelly Avenue. In service: September, 1894. Equipment: a Cooney Hose Carriage and double-sixty-gallon Champion Chemical Engine. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the present location here (right behind where the word “Cedars”).

fire-dept_bryan-hawkins_hook-and-ladder-1_1901

Hose Co. No. 1 and Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1, Bryan and Hawkins Streets. In service: January, 1893. Equipment: Preston Aerial Truck with 75-foot extension ladder, and a Cooney Hose Carriage. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the approximate present location here.

*

fire-dept_commerce-akard_engine-co-4_1901

Engine Co. No. 4, Commerce and Akard Streets, next door to the City Hall. In service: August, 1894. Equipment: an Ahrens Steamer, capacity 1,100 gallons per minute, and a Cooney Hose Carriage. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the present location here (just out of frame at the right was the City Hall; the block is now the site of the Adolphus Hotel).

*

city-hall_1901_fire-dept-annual_portal

City Hall, Commerce and Akard Streets, now the location of the Adolphus Hotel. Half of the shorter building to the left housed the police department and Engine Co. No. 4.

*

The “Historical” page from the book (click to read).

fire-dept-hist_dallas-fire-dept-annual_1901_portal

**

Since there is no sign of the actual equipment in these photos, here’s what horse-drawn steam engines (Ahrens steamers) looked like at this time. (Photo from the Wisconsin Historical Society).

fire-steam-engine_wisconsin-hist-soc

UPDATE: I found this photo on Flickr, showing equipment from those early days being driven through the streets of Dallas during a fire prevention parade.

fire-department_pumper_flickr_coltera

UPDATE: Lo and behold, a photo from 1900 of Old Tige, the 600 gallons-per-minute steam pumper, built in 1884, which was in service with the Dallas Fire Department until 1921. (Old Tige can be seen in the Firefighters Museum across from Fair Park.) Found at the Portal to Texas History.

old-tige_1900_fire-dept-bk_1931_portal

***

Sources & Notes

Photos by Clifton Church, from the Dallas Fire Department Annual, 1901, which can be viewed in its entirety on the Portal to Texas History, here.

A contemporary map of Dallas (ca. 1898) can be viewed on the Portal to Texas History site, here.

More Flashback Dallas posts on historic Dallas firehouses can be found here.

All photos larger when clicked.

*

Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

South Central Expressway Under Construction — 1955

central-expwy_forest-ave_092955_squire-haskins_UTAComing soon to a neighborhood near you…  (click for gigantic image)

by Paula Bosse

Behold, a photo of South Dallas on Sept. 29, 1955, showing a lengthy stretch of bulldozed land cleared for the imminent construction of South Central Expressway. We’re looking south, with Forest Avenue (now Martin Luther King Blvd.) running horizontally in the foreground. To the right is the Forest Theater (now playing: “Lady and the Tramp”). And if you zoom in, you can just see the post-Ross Avenue location of the famed Jim Beck recording studio to the right of the theater.

This great swath of land cut through an established tree-filled residential area — it ran alongside the once-swanky Colonial Hill neighborhood. Zoom in and take a last look at some of those straggler houses that haven’t yet met their maker. …But they will. …And they did.

I wondered what had been demolished on Forest between the houses to the left and the theater to the right. It was Fire Station No. 6, at 2202 Forest Avenue. I looked in my bulging file of miscellaneous photos and was surprised to actually find a couple of photos of that No. 6 Engine Company, which was built in 1913.

fire-department_no. 6_forest-ave-mlk

The station was on the south side of Forest Avenue, alone in a very short block. As we look at the station in the photo above, the H&TC railroad runs just to the right of the station, and Kimble Street runs along the left. See a Sanborn map of this area in 1922, here.

The photo  below shows what Forest Avenue once looked like, from the front of the firehouse looking east (the intersection with Kimble is on the other side of the firetruck — you can see the street sign). These houses are still standing in the 1955 photo at the top.

forest-central_fire-station_portal

When you know what this intersection looks like today (see this same view today, here), it’s hard to believe it ever looked like a cozy neighborhood. Progress is a helluva thing, man.

**

A couple of short articles for those who might want a little more info about the fire station, which was demolished sometime between April and September of 1955. (Click articles for larger images.)

forest-central_fire-station_dmn_070613
Dallas Morning News, July 6, 1913

forest-central_fire-station_dmn_072213
DMN, July 22, 1913

*

forest-ave-central_today_bing
Bing Maps

***

Sources & Notes

Top photo by Squire Haskins, from the Squire Haskins Photography, Inc. Collection, UTA Libraries, Special Collections, University of Texas at Arlington; it is accessible here.

The two fire station photos are from the collection of the Dallas Firefighters Museum, via the Portal to Texas History, University of North Texas. The first photo can be viewed here, the second photo here.

See an aerial photo of the same view seen in the photo at the top here. The Forest Theater is at the bottom, between the forks of S. Central Expressay on the left, and I-45 on the right.

Photos and clippings larger when clicked.

*

Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Volunteer Fire Department’s Early Days

sanger-bros_fire-department_dmn_030836aPumping water from an underground cistern (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Dallas was constantly catching on fire in its early days. According to this very informative advertisement, Alex Sanger was one of the Dallas businessmen responsible for organizing the city’s first volunteer fire department. Interestingly, the Sanger Bros. department store also had a volunteer fire department which not only protected the store, but also served as a special unit of the Dallas Volunteer Fire Brigade.

The drawing above and the text below are from a 1936 Sanger Bros. advertisement. (Click to see larger images.)

sanger-bros_fire-department_dmn_030836b1936

*

Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Highland Park’s Snazzy New Fire Engine — 1914

hp_fire-truck_1914Chief McGoldrick behind the wheel of HP’s new fire engine (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Above, Ed McGoldrick — who was both police chief and fire chief for Highland Park — sits behind the wheel of HP’s new fire engine. It even had a  name — “W. O. O’Connor,” after the mayor. Seated next to Chief McGoldrick is most likely Capt. Scott Hughes of the Oak Lawn fire station. The engine was tested, deemed satisfactory, and accepted into service on June 4, 1914 on the day the new Highland Park City Hall was officially opened. (Click article below to see larger image.)

hp_fire-engine_dmn_060514Dallas Morning News, June 5, 1914

J. E. McGoldrick was apparently something of a peace officer renaissance man. He was an officer on the Dallas Police force from about 1902 to 1912, and then became head police and fire honcho in Highland Park from 1912 to 1917 (where he was also the Street Superintendent). At the same time he was serving as HP Chief Peace Officer, he was also appointed to head the Game Commission of Dallas County. In 1917, he resigned his position in HP to accept a job at SMU where he “would have charge of buildings and grounds” (DMN, June 6, 1917). In 1924, he was appointed Chief Peace Officer of University Park.

That SMU move seems like a bit of a weird detour for a career policeman, but even weirder is the following sentence, which appeared in the blurb about his University Park appointment:

“[McGoldrick served as the chief peace officer of Highland Park] until 1917 and then undertook confidential duties for the United States Government. During the past two years he has been connected with Sanger Bros.” (DMN, Oct. 5, 1924)

James E. McGoldrick died in October, 1927 when he suffered a heart attack while eating his lunch in a drugstore at Main and Lamar. He was 54. His obituary mentioned that he had been “connected with a meat market” in his post-public-service life.

But back to the photo. It’s great. There’s nothing quite like the smell of a new fire engine. And Chief McGoldrick looks very proud.

***

Photo from a postcard issued as part of the Park Cities Bank “Heritage Series” in the 1970s; the credit line on the postcard reads “Donated by the Town of Highland Park.” Thanks to the Lone Star Library Annex Facebook group for use of the image.

Newspaper clipping as noted.

Click photo for larger image.

*

Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Preston Royal Fire Station — 1958

fire-station-41_royal-laneStation No. 41, 5920 Royal Lane (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Above, Dallas Fire Station 41 on Royal Lane, just west of Preston Road, about the time it opened (the back of the photo says service at the station began Jan. 16, 1958). It looks as if it’s been set down upon a bleak and barren piece of land in the middle of nowhere, but, actually, commercial development in this Preston Hollow-area neighborhood was … um … on fire in 1958. The large shopping centers at Preston and Royal were under construction at this time, and even though it was very far north, it was most certainly a desirable area in which to live (as, of course, it still is).

The station was designed by architect Raymond F. Smith who had previously designed a couple of other fire stations in town, but who was known mainly for his work designing movie theaters, such as the Casa Linda (1945), the Delman (1947), and — hey! — the (long-gone) Preston Royal Theatre, which opened in 1959 right across the street from this fire station (both of which were, rather conveniently, a mere four blocks away from Smith’s Royal Lane residence).

The station is still in operation, working to keep North Dallas flame-free — it just has a few more neighbors (and trees!) now than it did in 1958.

fire-station_royal_google

**

UPDATED Oct. 22, 2019: A powerful tornado hit northwest Dallas on Oct. 20, 2019 and devastated much of the Preston Hollow area. This fire station was hit hard, and it is currently out of commission. Below are photos from DFR’s Twitter feed.

preston-royal-fire-station_dfr-twitter_102119_int

preston-royal-fire-station_dfr-twitter_102119_ext

***

Sources & Notes

Photo from the Dallas Firefighters Museum, via the Portal to Texas History. It can be viewed here.

Second image of the firehouse from Google Street View.

Bottom two photos of the station post-tornado are from the Twitter feed of @DallasFireRes_q.

*

Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

No. 4 Hook and Ladder Company, Oak Lawn — 1909

fire-station_oak-lawn_clogenson_dmn_120509smOak Lawn Fire Station, 1909 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

This photograph appeared in The Dallas Morning News on December 5, 1909 under the headline, “Fire Station Lately Erected in the Oak Lawn District.”

“Hook & Ladder Company No. 4” (now known as the more prosaic “Station No. 11”), was designed by noted architects Hubbell & Greene. It was built at Cedar Springs Road and Reagan Street in 1909 as the first “suburban” fire station in Dallas. Still a working firehouse, the Mission Revival building is a designated historic landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

firehouse-oak-lawn_google

Another photo of the historic firehouse, from a 1931 publication, captioned “No. 11 Engine Co., Cedar Springs & Reagan”:

cedar-springs_fire-station_fire-dept-bk_1931_portal

***

Sources & Notes

1909 Dallas Morning News photograph by Clogenson.

Color image of the station as it looks today from Google Street View.

Second black-and-white photograph is from The Man in the Leather Helmet: A Souvenir Booklet of The Dallas Fire Department (1931), via the Portal to Texas History.

For more on the history of this historic fire station, see the page devoted to it on the Dallas Fire Rescue Department website, here.

Click pictures for larger images.

*

Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Always Have a Bucket of Water Nearby — 1890s

fire-dept_ervay-kelly_hose-co-2_1901Hose Co. No. 2, S. Ervay at Kelly, ca. 1901 (click for larger image.)

by Paula Bosse

fire-signals_souv-gd_1894

Dallas used to burn down a lot. Here is a handy tip sheet for residents and visitors printed in 1894, about the time the above photo was taken. I’m sure everyone in the city knew where the alarm boxes were and what the various signals meant. When to relax, and when to run. When to hold ’em, and when to fold ’em.

fire-boxes_fire-alarm-signals_souvenir-gd_18941894 (click for larger image.)

***

Top photo from The Dallas Firefighters Museum, found on the Portal to Texas History site.

List of fire alarm boxes from Souvenir Guide of Dallas. A Sketch of Dallas and Dallas County, their resources, business enterprises, manufacturing and agricultural advantages (Dallas: D.M. Anderson Directory Company, 1894).

A bit more on Hose Co. #2/Fire Station #12 (then, but mostly now) from the Dallas Fire-Rescue site, here.

*

Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Building Collapse on Elm Street — 1955

elm-st-collapse_1955
Aftermath… June 1, 1955 (photo by Gene Gauss)

by Paula Bosse

At 6:40 p.m. on June 1, 1955, a 3-story building in the process of being razed collapsed onto the smaller building next door at 1409 Elm St. The “story-and-a-half” building contained the Cline Music Company and Harry’s Fine Food, a bar and cafe. Four people were killed, and several people sustained major injuries; many were trapped for hours in the rubble.

The rousing report in The Dallas Morning News the next day described the scene as pandemonium. As emergency personnel arrived and rescue operations began, the street was roped off — there were fears a partially standing wall would topple at any moment. The Fox Burlesk house next door was quickly emptied of its 50-or-so patrons for safety concerns.

Witnesses said the building fell with a gigantic whoosh and spewed rubble about four feet deep across the sidewalk and into the street. Trolley wires were snapped and lay crackling sparks in the street for a while before the power was cut. A late-model station wagon parked at the curb was flattened under the rubble to a height of only about three feet. It belonged to [the owner of the music store]. (DMN, June 2, 1955)

Nine companies of firemen and several doctors — one of whom just happened to be passing by the scene — worked to rescue and treat the victims. A passing clergyman administered conditional last rites for those still trapped. A troop of Boy Scouts who had been nearby practicing civil defense drills, ran to help in the real-life emergency. And most cinematic of all, a Houston truck driver named Larry Ford — who just happened to be visiting Dallas and was standing in the crowd of spectators — was called in to help when someone noticed that he was wearing a truck drivers’ union insignia — authorities had obtained a winch truck to clear the heavy rubble but had been unable to find anyone to operate it. Ford sprang to action and worked through the night for 16 grueling hours. He was later hailed as a hero. Just like in the movies.

So what caused the collapse? The city manager was quick to say that the city was not to blame and, basically, had no responsibility to determine who WAS to blame.

City Mgr. Elgin Crull told The News an investigation by Chief Building Engineer Cecil A. Farrell has not been completed. “There won’t be anything on it for a long, long time — if ever at all,” Crull declared. “It’s not our responsibility to say why it fell or who was at fault. We’ll just seek to determine whether or not all the proper safety precautions were followed.” (DMN, June 3, 1955)

Well, all right, then.

As several people noted, had the collapse happened an hour earlier — in the midst of rush hour — many, many more people would have been killed and injured. I’m not sure if the cause was ever determined. The block (between Field and Akard) now contains the old First National Bank Building, built a decade later.

elm-st-collapse_060155

UPDATE: Just stumbled across this UPI photo, posted a few years ago by Robert Wilonsky on the Dallas Observer’s Unfair Park blog:

building-collapse_observer-090511

And below, a photo showing the 1400 block of Elm in the 1920s (looking west from Akard), with the “cafeteria” sign in front of the doomed building, to the left of the Fox Theater. The wall with what looks like the beginning of the word “Steinway” is the one that crushed its neighbor. (From Troy Sherrod’s Historic Dallas Theatres; photo from the Dallas Public Library.)

fox-theater_sherrod_dpl

***

Sources & Notes

The first two photos are from the collection of the Dallas Firefighters Museum, via the Portal to Texas History; they can be seen here and here.

The reports of the collapse that appeared in The Dallas Morning News are pretty exciting to read. You can find them in the newspaper’s archives.

  • “Three Killed, 10 Injured As Elm St. Building Falls” (DMN, June 2, 1955)
  • “Building Ruins Termed Clear Of All Victims” (DMN, June 3, 1955)
  • “Debris Yields Another Body” (DMN, June 4, 1955)

Click pictures for larger images (especially the first two, which are HUGE).

*

Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

%d bloggers like this: