Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Dallas Skyline

KRLD News Crews, At the Ready

krld_news-crews_early-1960s_akdartThey mean business: they’re wearing suits and ties…

by Paula Bosse

Early-’60s-era KRLD radio and TV mobile news crews are seen above, showing off their fleet and ready for breaking news. Behind them, the Dallas skyline, seen from an unusual vantage point: the Trinity levees. See this photo really big here, and explore the skyline, from the Republic Bank Tower on the northern edge of downtown, to the Dallas Morning News building on the southern edge.

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Sources & Notes

Photo is from an interesting collection of “very old pictures from KRLD radio and TV,” presented on the website akdart.com.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

La Reunion Tower

reunion-tower_skyline_091217Big D from inside the ball… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

On Tuesday night I gave a little talk on the history of the La Reunion colony as part of the Dallas Historical Society’s Pour Yourself Into History series. The event was held in the *very nice* Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck restaurant high atop Reunion Tower — right in the ball. I was a bit of a last-minute fill-in presenter, and I hesitated to accept the invitation because I always feel awkward talking in front of more than, say, two or three people, but I really, really wanted to go up to the top of Reunion Tower.

I hadn’t been to Reunion Tower since a family outing back around 1980 or so. Back then I was most fascinated by the fact that the restaurant slowly revolved to give diners a leisurely 360-degree view of the city (I always imagined it spinning out-of-control, pinning diners — and their meals — against the walls with centrifugal force, like a fine-dining version of the Spindletop ride at Six Flags, or The Rotor ride at the State Fair of Texas); but now, decades later, as an adult, the image of the spinning restaurant was eclipsed by the real star: the VIEW.

As you can imagine, the view is unbelievably spectacular — especially at night when Dallas is at its most glamorous. The ticket price is fairly steep to get up to the observation deck, and a meal and/or cocktails at the restaurant will set you back a goodly amount, but it is, without question, the most fabulous view of the city you’ll ever see. And you see all of it. When I started my talk about the history of the La Reunion colony of the 1850s (which was located about 5 miles due west of Reunion Tower, in West Dallas) the view was pretty much the one seen in the photo above; by the time I finished, we were, serendipitously, looking out over where the plucky colonists of “French Town” had toiled unsuccessfully 160 years ago. (Estimates on the boundary of La Reunion’s 2,000-acre land is the area now bounded by Westmoreland on the west, Hampton on the east, Davis on the south, and the Trinity River on the north — the southwest corner is marked here on Google Maps.)

It was a little noisy at the event Tuesday night, so if you were one of the very nice people who turned out, you might not have been able to hear anything I said! If you’d like to hear more about the history of La Reunion (and about Reunion Tower — and how, if a marketing agency had had its way, it might have been named “Esplanade” Tower), I enthusiastically recommend this very entertaining radio piece from Julia Barton (the La Reunion segment begins at about the 5:15 mark).

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I took photos, but they don’t do justice to the view. The really breathtaking vistas are at night, and, sadly, none of those photos came out. Seriously, if you’ve never been up Reunion Tower — or if you haven’t been since it was opened in 1978 — you should definitely go now. Better still, go at sunset and enjoy the best view in Dallas as you sip delicious cocktails.

The view stretches for miles. Here’s a cropped view of Dealey Plaza (click to see it really big).

reunion-tower_dealey-plaza_triple-underpass_091217a

And, at sunset, the jail has never looked lovelier.

reunion-tower_sunset_jail_091217

Back down on terra firma, looking up and saying “goodbye” to the ball.

reunion-tower_the-ball_091217

Thank you, Dallas Historical Society, for inviting me to be part of your event! And thanks to everyone who came out … and up!

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Sources & Notes*

Photos by Paula Bosse. Click ’em to see ’em bigger.

For more information of the La Reunion colony, see other Flashback Dallas posts here.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

A Bird’s-Eye View of the Central Business District

skyline_aerial_flickr_colteraThe Statler Hilton and the Merc at dusk… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I’ve recently experienced a long, long involuntary separation from my beloved laptop (the welling anxiety! the withdrawal pangs!), but now it’s back home from the shop, resting comfortably and ready to go back to work.

Here is a “welcome back” shot of the Dallas skyline, with a view to the southwest: the neon begins to come on in the CBD as “magic hour” arrives.

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Postcard image posted on Flickr by the ever-reliable Christian Spencer Anderson (aka Coltera), here.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

A Century of Growth: From Log Cabin to Skyscrapers

cityscape_cabin_so-this-is-dallas_ca-1943Ol’ JNB wouldn’t recognize the place… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

To think it all began with John Neely Bryan’s little log cabin on the banks of the Trinity…. 

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Photo from the booklet So This Is Dallas (Dallas: The Welcome Wagon, circa 1943); courtesy of the Lone Star Library Annex Facebook page.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“Dallas Skyline: Late Afternoon From Stemmons Freeway” by Ed Bearden — 1959

bearden_dallas-skyline-late-afternoon-from-stemmons-freeway_litho_1959Skyline and power plant… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I think the 1950s Dallas skyline is my favorite Dallas skyline. This lithograph by Dallas artist Ed Bearden shows all the usual superstars — the Southland Life Building, the Medical Arts Building, the Republic Bank Building, the Mercantile, the Magnolia — but it also shows a building that doesn’t often find its way into artistic renderings of the city’s skyline: the Dallas Power & Light plant (which was demolished several years ago and is now the site of the American Airlines Center). It looks really great here, with its familiar twin steamstacks and its oasis-like “spray pond” shimmering in the foreground. In fact, the presence of the DP&L plant is my favorite element of this artwork. The beauty of that workhorse industrial plant gives those fancy skyscrapers a run for their money!

This same view from the Stemmons of today looks like — brace yourself — this.

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Sources & Notes

Lithograph by Ed Bearden; image from an auction listing on the Live Auctioneers site, here. (Thanks, “Not Bob,” for alerting me to this great artwork!)

See another Bearden skyline seen from a similar vantage point, here.

More on the cool-looking DP&L plant and its twin smokestacks can be found in these Flashback Dallas posts:

  • “DP&L’s Twin Smokestacks,” here
  • “A New Turbine Power Station for Big D — 1907,” here

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved

Keeping Up With Busy Dallas — 1927

dallas-skyline_drawing_forest-avenue-high-school-yrbk_1927Spot the landmarks (click for much larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Here are two striking graphic depictions of the Dallas skyline, both of which appeared in the 1927 Forest Avenue High School yearbook. The skyline was impressive in 1927, but it would change a lot in the next few years. One important change would come with the addition of what became the unofficial symbol of Dallas: the Magnolia Building was already there in 1927, but Pegasus would not be installed on top of it until 1934.

Below, a drawing that appeared on the last page of the yearbook, showing a locomotive chugging away from the Big City, with the promise/threat “You may leave Dallas, but you’ll come back.”

dallas_you-may-leave_train_forest-ave-high-school-yrbk_1927

This is an interesting little tidbit from the same yearbook:

dallas-history_forest-ave-high-school-yrbk_1927

26.44 square miles in area?! Smallest of any major Texas city?! 42nd in U.S. population?! How times change. According to recent figures, the City of Dallas stretches across 385 square miles, is the third largest city in Texas, and is the ninth largest city in the United States. And the Magnolia Building — seen in both of the drawings above and once the tallest building in the state — is now dwarfed by taller buildings all around it. Dallas has been busy.

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Sources & Notes

Drawings from the 1927 Forest Avenue High School yearbook, The Forester. (Forest Avenue High School was the original name of James Madison High School. The all-white South Dallas high school became an all-black high school in 1956.)

The artist of the top drawing appears to be someone by the name of “Bond” (which may be Ashley Bond who drew a great birdseye view of the city in 1925 here). The bottom drawing is signed “GWH” — George W. Harwood, Jr. I think Bond might have been a professional artist affiliated with the printing company that printed the yearbooks, but here is the dashing photo of GWH, Class of 1930 (I believe he left Dallas and didn’t come back…).

harwood_forest-ave-high-school-yrbk_1930

Click drawings to see larger images.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

“Dallas/The Big D” by William E. Bond — ca. 1962

dallas-big-d_william-e-bond_business-week-collection_ca1962Yonder lies Big D… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

This print — titled “Dallas/The Big D” by native Texan William E. Bond (1923-2016) — is fantastic. I love everything about it. It was commissioned by Business Week magazine to be used as part of its “Business America” series, an advertising campaign showcasing fifteen American cities captured in woodcuts. Every element of this scene is great, but let’s look at a detail showing just the Dallas skyline, with a hard-to-miss Pegasus. I also see what looks to be the Mercantile Building and the Republic Bank Building in there. And … that sky!

bond_william-e_dallas-big-d_print_business-week_ca-1962_det

william-e-bond_sig

Bond’s homage to Dallas was reproduced in the 1963 book Woodcuts of Fifteen American Cities from the Business Week Collection. Below, text from the book (my assumption is that the first paragraph is the copy that appeared in a print advertisement for Business Week — it appears that the ad campaign used the artists’ works collected in this book to illustrate the ads, with each ad mentioning local companies with large BW subscribership).

Dallas … leapfrogging ahead commercially and culturally. Cotton, cattle, and oil put the Big D on the map. But aircraft, electronics and machinery keep it moving. Companies like Texas Instruments (682 Business Week subscribers), Ling-Temco-Vought (106), Collins Radio (135), Dresser Industries (123). In Dallas, and everywhere in business America, men who manage companies read Business Week. You advertise in Business Week when you want to inform management.

And this was Bond’s bio with a quote from him on “the Big D”:

“Dallas is a great many things. It is a giant of a city in the midst of a giant country – full of life and energy and the will to grow and keep growing. Anyone who knows Dallas feels this spirit. And it is this feeling that I have tried to capture.”

Born in 1923 in Crandall, Texas, Mr. Bond attended the Art Center School in Los Angeles. He has won many gold and silver awards in art director and illustrator shows, including a gold medal in the New York Illustrators Show in 1962. Mr. Bond uses a variety of media, including paper prints, sculpture, and painting. He has been an agency art director most of his career, and is now a free-lance designer.

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Bill Bond was born in Crandall, Texas in 1923, studied art at the Art Center School in Los Angeles, and spent several years as an award-winning commercial artist in Dallas. He worked as an advertising art director for The Dallas Times Herald, the Sam Bloom Agency, and Tracey-Locke; during this time he frequently participated in group art shows around the city. When he retired, he focused his creative talents on sculpture, becoming known for his wildlife pieces and Western bronzes. He died in Kerrville in 2016 at the age of 92.

william-bond_obit-photo

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Sources & Notes

The book that features a reproduction of this print is Woodcuts of Fifteen American Cities from the Business Week Collection (New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, Inc., 1963). From the introduction:

One of the principal methods of communication in the 20th century, and one of the biggest businesses, is advertising. Here, too, industry has regularly and effectively used fine art – in the creation of some memorable advertising campaigns.

From 1960 to 1962 Business Week commissioned fourteen prominent woodcut artists to illustrate its “Business America” series. Reproductions of the fifteen woodcut illustrations which were produced appear on the following pages.

Bill Bonds’ obituary is here.

Thanks to Bob Dunn for posting an image of Bond’s print in the Retro Dallas Facebook group. I liked it so much I went out and bought a copy of the (large) book! A few copies are available online here.

Images are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

“Dallas’ Dependable Business Climate” — 1959

ad-business-in-dallas_1959_photo-detThe “D” in “Big D” stands for “dinero”… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The booming Dallas skyline, captured by Squire Haskins on September 10, 1959, was used in a boosteriffic Chamber of Commerce-y statistics-filled ad.

“It’s exciting to live, do business, make money and grow in Dallas.”

ad-business-in-dallas_1959

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This Industrial Dallas, Inc. ad appeared in the January, 1960 issue of Fortune magazine. I found it on eBay, here.

Images larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Business District at Night

skyline_night_flickr_coltera

by Paula Bosse

If you squint, the Mercantile Building looks a little Statue-of-Liberty here.

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Postcard from Flickr.

Click for larger view.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Looking South from the Hilltop — 1966

skyline_smu-law-school-yrbk_1966Downtown, as seen from the SMU campus… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Yeah, the photo is pretty dark, and the image quality leaves something to be desired, but I like this unusual view of a dreamlike downtown skyline, as seen from the SMU campus. Hillcrest Avenue — the SMU drag — can be seen in the upper center; the large building on the west side of Hillcrest is the University House Motel (still standing, but expanded and massively renovated as Hotel Lumen). Right next to the motel is the excessively quaint windmill of the Little Red Barn restaurant.

It all seems very calm.

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Photo from the 1966 Southern Methodist University Law School yearbook.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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