Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Everyday Life

Highland Park High School: Photos from the 1964 Yearbook

girls-bikes_HPHS-yrbk_1964HPHS senior cyclists after school…

by Paula Bosse

A few random of photos of extra-curricular activities featured in the 1964 Highlander, the yearbook of Highland Park High School.

Above, the caption in the yearbook reads: “Senior cyclists Gay Crowell, Carol Webster, and Margaret Paxson prepare to pedal home.”

Below, “ROTC cadets salute the inspecting officers at the annual federal inspection.”

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Below, “Ralph Cousins gives Donna Guest and Rick Sable a doubting look as Eloise Hancock tells of her adventures on the Midway during High School Day at the State Fair.”

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Below, “Maintaining an international atmosphere, French teacher Neil Jarrett leaves his Volkswagen in the teachers’ parking lot.”

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“Early morning finds girls repairing damage caused by gusty March winds.”

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Below, a before-and-after photo featuring a student with the amazing name of “Kitten Quick” (!): “Vice-President Joe Tom Wood, Treasurer Kitten Quick, Sponsor Mrs. Rita Palm, Secretary Susie Urquhart, and President Lewis McMahon resist the temptation to play in the snow-filled schoolyard…”

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“…but finally succumb to testing the depth of Dallas’ record snowfall.”

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And, lastly, a huge snowman! “‘Seniors ’64’ marks the 14-foot snowman, built during Dallas’s record 7-inch snow.” (A record 7.4 inches of snow fell on Dallas in January, 1964.)

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Sources & Notes

All images from the 1964 Highlander, the yearbook of Highland Park High School.

Other Flashback Dallas posts featuring items from HPHS yearbooks can be found here.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Oak Cliff’s Star Theatre — 1945-1959

star-theatre_troy-sherrod-hist-dallas-theatres_DPLShow Hill, with the Star Theatre at right

by Paula Bosse

This is one of those photographs I could stare at all day long. It shows a shopping area in East Oak Cliff at the intersection of E. Eighth Street and N. Moore Street — this part of Oak Cliff was originally settled as a freedman’s town, and this photo shows an area between the Tenth Street Historic District and The Bottoms (or The Bottom) neighborhood (see a great map, here).

When these buildings were built in 1945 by I. B. Clark, it was an exclusively African-American part of Dallas. The anchor of this strip (which occupied what was described as both the 300 block of N. Moore and the 1400 block of E. Eighth) was the Star Theatre, which was, according to Mr. Clark, the only movie house for black customers in Oak Cliff).

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Boxoffice, April 28, 1945

star-theatre_oak-cliff_negro-directory-1947-48_adDallas Negro Directory, 1947-48

I. B. Clark was a white businessman who lived on a ranch in Cedar Hill; he had owned the Southern Fireworks Company before the war and had frequently battled with Dallas lawmakers about the constitutionality of banning the selling and shooting of fireworks within the city limits.

In the undated photo above, businesses in the retail strip are the Top-O-Hill Food Mart, the Ebony Cafe (Pit Bar-B-Q), the Easy-Wash laundromat, the second location of the Cochran Street Record Shop, the Star Theatre, and hotel apartments.

This hub of businesses was popular with neighborhood residents, who referred to this area as “Show Hill” (for the picture show). I stumbled across a really wonderful 2018 oral history of Margaret Benson, who, in 1944, moved with her family to Dallas and attended N. W. Harllee Elementary School and both Lincoln High School and Madison High School. She describes these shops and says that whenever black entertainers such as Dinah Washington or Sister Rosetta Tharpe came to town, they frequently stayed in the apartments above these businesses, as hotel accommodations for African Americans were few and far between. (I loved the entire recording of Mrs. Benson reminiscing about living for most of her life in this area of Oak Cliff — the part where she specifically talks about “Show Hill” is at the 8:25 mark in the recording at the link above.)

According to Dallas movie theater historian Troy Sherrod, the Star closed in 1959. Over time the area eventually declined and the remaining businesses closed. The strip, which was looking pretty down-at-its-heels in the 1990s, was demolished around 2000. The photo below shows the once-vibrant strip in its later days. (Three more photos, from 1999, can be found here — the addition of more apartments (the “Ebony Hotel Annex”) can be seen in the third one.)

star-theatre_mark-doty_lost-dallas
via Lost Dallas by Mark Doty

Here is what “Show Hill” vacant lot looks like today on Google Street View:

star-theatre_google-street-view-nov-2019Google Street View, 2019

star-theatre_bing-mapsBing Maps

star-theatre_cinematreasures_advia Cinema Treasures

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Sources & Notes

Top photo showing the Star Theatre is from the excellent book by D. Troy Sherrod, Historic Dallas Theatres (Arcadia Publishing, 2014); the photo is from the collection of the Dallas Public Library.

Second photo showing the dilapidated buildings is from another excellent book, Lost Dallas by Mark Doty (Arcadia Publishing, 2012).

The ad for the Star Theatre appeared in the Dallas, Texas Negro City Directory, 1947-1948 (many thanks to Pat Lawrence).  The address for the theater was listed in various places as both 300 N. Moore and as 1401 E. Eighth.

If you have access to the archives of the Dallas Morning News, I encourage you to read “Inner-City Secret — The Bottoms Residents Say They Are Forgotten” by Bill Minutaglio (DMN, Aug. 28, 1994).

Also worth a read is Texas Tribune article “Dallas Neighborhood Established by Freed Slaves Fights to Keep Its History Alive” by Miguel Perez of KERA News.

More on the Tenth Street Historic District can be found on the City of Dallas website here.

Check out photos of a pop-up market on Show Hill in 2014 here.

Also, of related interest is the Flashback Dallas post “Movie Houses Serving Black Dallas — 1919-1922.”

Thank you to reader Jerry Richburg for contacting me with a question about this old strip shopping area — he remembered attending church services in one of the buildings and asked if I knew more about what had been there and if I might have a photo. Thanks, Jerry! You led me down the path to discovering a little pocket of Dallas history I was completely unaware of!

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

August 20, 1945

langley_skyline-horseback_c1945_LOCAug. 20, 1945

by Paula Bosse

Back in 2014 when I started this blog, this is one of the first photos I posted. It is one of those Dallas photos that can actually be described as “iconic”: a cowboy on horseback watches over a herd of cattle grazing just beyond a vibrant mid-century skyline — old Texas meets new Texas. The photo is by Dallas photographer William Langley, and, according to the Library of Congress, it was taken on August 20, 1945. I am posting it again today, August 20, 2020 — 75 years to the day it was taken.

So what was happening 75 years ago today? Here are a few stories from the newspaper.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur was heading to Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been bombed within the past two weeks, effectively ending the war).

Wartime restrictions on the use of natural gas were lifted by the War Production Board.

Hollywood stars Dick Powell and June Allyson had gotten hitched.

LBJ was being touted as a possible candidate for Texas governor.

The average cost of a meal for a family of four before the war was $2.27 (or about $40 in today’s money); now, after the war, it had risen to $3.70 (about $50). Fruit preserves were almost impossible to find.

Dallasites were chomping at the bit to bid farewell to the war-ordered Daylight Savings Time and return to Standard Time — they wanted go to bed when it was dark outside. 

Annexation had meant that Dallas had increased in size over the past year from 51 square miles to 87 square miles.

Several Dallasites saw a “very large and very luminous” meteor.

Sgt. Jesse Curry, 31, of the Dallas Police Department, had been awarded a fellowship for an 18-week course in traffic administration at Northwestern University Traffic Institute in Chicago.

It was announced that improved trash pickup was on the horizon, as soon as new trucks became available.

War workers were being released from their war-work obligations, and the city’s businesses were beginning to hire, which was good news, except for many Dallas women who were still working but who were met with the announced closure of many “playschools” which were operated around the city on a 12-hour cycle to accommodate shift workers. 

The Texas League announced they would resume minor league play in the spring.

Hockaday would increase its staff from 83 members to 100 for the upcoming school year.

“The Three Musketeers” was opening at the Starlight Operetta in Fair Park. The State Fair of Texas would not resume until 1946.

“Thrill of a Romance” — with Van Jones and Esther Williams — was at the Majestic.

“Pillow to Post”  — with Ida Lupino and Sydney Greenstreet — was at the Palace.

“The Story of G.I. Joe” — with Burgess Meredith and Robert Mitchum — was at the Tower.

“Asi Se Quiere en Jalisco” — with Jorge Negrete — was at the Panamericano.

Interstate Theaters declined to respond to the rumor that a soon-to-be-built theater in Galveston was to be equipped to show television broadcasts. 

High temperature on the Monday Bill Langley took that photo was 92 degrees.          

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Sources & Notes

Photo by William Langley — titled “Skyline, Dallas, Texas” — is from the collection of the Library of Congress. Langley appears to have been positioned somewhere around the present-day Stemmons Corridor.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Random Photos of Turn-of-the-Century-ish Houses

lemmon-avenue_house_rppc_ebayLemmon Avenue home, horse included….

by Paula Bosse

I love looking at old houses — especially ones which once occupied parts of town which are definitely no longer residential areas. It’s always sad to realize that the beautiful house you’re looking at — one which you can imagine living in now, in the 21st century — has, almost always, been torn down decades ago and replaced with something much less interesting. Thankfully, people 120 years ago used to have their homes photographed in order to print up picture postcards which they would then send to friends and relatives. Most of the images below come from these “real photo postcards,” and all show nice little glimpses into Dallas homes from before 1910. Only one of these houses is still standing. (All photos are larger when clicked.)

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Sadly, the house above is not still standing. It’s a beautiful house. Even comes with a horse! The house was at 405 Lemmon Avenue in Oak Lawn. After the addresses in Dallas changed in 1911, the address became 3621 Lemmon (in the middle of the block between Welborn and Turtle Creek Park/Lee Park — apartments and a parking garage now occupy that whole block) — see it on a 1921 Sanborn map here. The owner was W. Leslie Williams, a real estate man. Family horses wandered off a few times, according to “strayed or stolen” ads placed in the paper, such as the one below.

williams_dmn_111211_strayed-horse
Nov. 1911

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Below, a house which once stood at 711 Travis (which later became 4627 Travis), between Knox and Hester (the Katy railroad tracks would have run right behind the house) — see it on a 1921 Sanborn map here. It was in the “Fairland” addition. The owner of the house was T. B. Baldwin, a traveling agent for The Dallas Morning News. The photo was on a postcard mailed in 1908.

travis-ave-house_fairland_1908_ebay_rppc

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Now to South Dallas (The Cedars?). This house stood at 200 Cockrell Ave. (which became 2130 Cockrell), between Corinth and Montgomery, now part of a large swath of empty land almost certainly being developed in somebody’s head as I type this. See it at the very bottom of this 1921 Sanborn map. The house was owned by Horatio W. Fairbanks, supervisor of the Dallas Cotton Mills, and was later occupied by the Wesley Settlement House for several years. The photo below is from 1896.

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Now to four houses in Oak Cliff. The first stood at 107 10th Street (later 525 E. 10th St.), between Lansing and Marsalis — see it on a 1922 Sanborn map here. This was the home of Dr. William E. King, whom I presume is the man standing in front of the house — he died in 1909, a year after this photo was taken. The land now appears to be occupied by a body-shop parking lot. (This 1908 photo is from the Murphy Historical Society, via the Portal to Texas History, here.)

king-william_oak-cliff_1908_murphy-historical-society_via-portal

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The home of T. Henry Dorsey, a member of the family who founded the Dorsey Printing Co., a pioneer printing establishment in Dallas, was at 161 Grand Ave. (the name of the street was changed to Marsalis, and in 1911 the address of this house became 113 N. Marsalis), between 9th and 10th streets — see it on a 1905 Sanborn map here. The current occupant of this land is, I think, a trucking company. This house — which Dorsey moved into around 1900 — can be seen below from several angles (including one from the back which shows a fence running into part of the house which appears to be encroaching onto a neighbor’s property. 

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Before 1911, the address of the house below — a house I absolutely love — was 174 South Jefferson; after 1911, the address was, rather confusingly, changed to 516 East Jefferson (between Patton and Denver) — see it on a 1905 Sanborn map here. It was on land now occupied by Felix Botello Elementary School. This house was owned for several decades by Dr. William M. Lively. The image below is from a postcard dated 1909. (Great car!)

lively-house_poss-oak-cliff_rppc_1909_ebay

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Below is the only one of these houses still standing. It began life as 120 Madison Ave. (which later became 628 N. Madison), at the corner of W. Neely St. in the Kidd Springs neighborhood of Oak Cliff. See it on a 1922 Sanborn map here (bottom left corner). Claude Marcelle (C. M.) Crawford, a traveling salesman, lived here with his wife, Maud, and their infant son, Marcelle Crawford. Maud Crawford (who died in 1913, just a couple of years after this photo was taken) wrote: “What do you think of our ‘cosy corner.’ Every one tells us it is pretty so much until we almost believe it our selves.” Crawford eventually went to work for Bristol-Myers as a regional branch manager, and after 30 years, when he was in ill health, the company retired him on full pay (!) in gratitude for his service. When he retired, he owned a Beverly Drive home in Highland Park, apparently having done very well. His charming little starter-house in Oak Cliff still stands, having recently been remodeled. 

crawford-house_madison_oak-cliff_ebay_cropped
about 1910

crawford-house_madison_google-street-view_2012
2012, Google Street View

crawford-house_madison_google-street-view_20192019, Google Street View

crawford-claude-marcelle_dmn_081311
Claude Marcelle Crawford, Jr., Dallas Morning News, Aug. 13 1911

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And, lastly, the only house I wasn’t able to determine the location of — it also looks like the oldest. On the back is a faint penciled notation which appears to  be signed “G. P. Taylor.” In a more recent notation in ink, the family members in the photo are identified: “Made in Dallas, Tex. — Elm St. — Mother on porch, Mattie & I in window, Pearl & Joe in gate.” 1870s or 1880s? It’s a mystery!

elm-street-house_ebay_taylor

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Sources & Notes

All images except the William E. King house are from eBay.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Happy Valentine’s Day from 1883

valentines_dal-herald_021483

by Paula Bosse

There was a lot going on around Dallas on Valentine’s Day in 1883. Here’s a round-up from The Dallas Herald, started off with the immortal pearl, “This is St. Valentine’s Day when people send tokens of love and sarcasm.”

valentines-day_dallas-herald_021483

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Sources & Notes

Clipping from the Feb. 14, 1883 edition of The Dallas Herald, courtesy of UNT’s Portal to Texas History. The scanned page may be found here.

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Main & Ervay, Pedestrians — 1970

DTC_pedestrians-2_main-ervay_1970_SMU

by Paula Bosse

The other day SMU released fantastic 35mm color film footage captured from a camera mounted atop a car cruising downtown streets in 1970. Today they released a little more, this time a short clip showing pedestrians walking across the intersection of Main and Ervay (be sure to watch this silent footage in full-screen mode).


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The Skillern’s drug store in this footage was at 1700 Main, on the southeast corner of Main and Ervay, in the Mercantile Bank Building complex; the building across Main on the northeast corner was Dreyfuss & Son Men’s Clothing, and the large building in the distance (at St. Paul) is the Titche’s department store. The end of the clip has shots of the (surprisingly red) (and no longer standing) Jefferson Hotel; sharing the frame is the fountain in Ferris Plaza (Union Station would be to the left of the camera operator, across Houston Street). This footage was shot for Dallas Theater Center productions, which I hope to write about soon.

Cool footage, SMU. Keep it coming!

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Here are a few screenshots. There were a lot of vivid colors being worn by downtown workers and shoppers in 1970. I’m so accustomed to seeing black-and-white images of Dallas, that all this color is a little startling!

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Below, a brief glimpse of the H. L. Green store, in the Wilson Building on the northwest corner of Main and Ervay. (And evidence that, yes, men also shop on their lunch hour.)

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DTC_jefferson-hotel_1970_SMU

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Sources & Notes

These screenshots are from 35mm color film footage owned by the Dallas Theater Center, held at Southern Methodist University (the direct link to the YouTube video is here). Again, thanks to SMU curator Jeremy Spracklen.

See more of this fantastic color footage of downtown in the Flashback Dallas post “A Drive Through Downtown — 1970.”

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

“There’s No Place Like Home … In Dallas” — 1940s

dallas-homes_so-this-is-dallas_ca-1943Dallas homes, ca. 1943 — from modest to palatial… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

These photos are from a Chamber of Commerce-like booklet intended to lure new residents to the city. The photo montage above is from about 1943, and the one below is from about 1946. There are some beautiful houses here. In the photo above, I recognize Highland Park in the center and possibly lower right (the lower right has a lot of empty space behind it — maybe Bluff View or Preston Hollow?). The top right might be Oak Cliff? The house that makes me swoon is the white house at the lower left. It and the house above it look as if they might have been in Lakewood. If anyone knows the location of any of these houses — and if they’re still standing — please let me know!

The text that accompanied the above photo montage (circa 1943):

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME … IN DALLAS

Visitors to Dallas invariably comment on its beautiful homes, both large and small, and the care with which they are kept modern and clean.

The women of Dallas have their garden clubs, which are organizations of flower lovers. They vie with each other in striving to make their homes attractive to the passerby and homelike to those who live within.

One reason for this is the high percentage of home ownership. A recent study indicates that 60 per cent of families living in one-family residences own their own home. This is far above the national average.

For several years Dallas has been on a truly remarkable building boom in its residential sections. New homes are springing up at the rate of 14 a day and new subdivisions are being opened as rapidly as others are sold out. The outer fringe of Dallas is, in effect, a brand-new city. Lots that were cotton fields a few years ago now contain beautiful new homes and landscaped gardens.

Any type of home plot is available to the prospective home builder here. If he desires a home in a close-in busy section, that can be found in many places. If he prefers a modest cottage on the outskirts, there are a dozen subdivisions where it can be found. If he is seeking a palatial residence or a rustic cottage on a country estate, he can find that too, and on short notice.

Dallas takes much pride in its wide recognition as a city of homes.

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dallas-home_so-this-is-dallas_ca-1946

The text that accompanied this photo (circa 1946):

HOMES MAKE A CITY

Dallas… Has Planned Beauty

The beauty of Dallas may be attributed to the wide awake and broadminded citizens of some 25 years ago, who at that time, engaged nationally known landscape artists to design and plan the future Dallas. So well was this done and so cooperative were the people of Dallas that in this short time Dallas is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the nation.

Dallas has attractive parks, driveways, public buildings and in fact hardly a house, no matter how humble, that is not improved with planting. As a city of homes the saying, “It is not a home until it is planted well” applies to Dallas. No tenant house is built today that is not surrounded by a setting of nature’s beauty. To the Garden Clubs and various women’s organizations much credit must be given for their untiring efforts to eliminate slum districts, unsightly streets and the planting of our highways.

Much credit is due the nurserymen and landscape architects, who are ever ready to give advice, planting instructions, and who have furnished shrubs, flowers and assistance to many charitable institutions and public places, as well as make talks to the clubs and organizations on when, how and what to plant in order to constantly improve Dallas. The Garden and women’s clubs annually stage flower shows and have garden contests.

All this has made Dallas today, a city beautiful – a place where you want to live.

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Sources & Notes

Photos are from the booklet So This Is Dallas, published by The Welcome Wagon. The top photo is from the circa-1943 edition, used with permission, courtesy of the Lone Star Library Annex Facebook page. The second photo is from the circa-1946 edition, from the author’s collection.

Photos are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Mosquito Bar

sargent_mosquito-nets_1908Relax without fear of being bitten by mosquitoes…

by Paula Bosse

The “mosquito bar” — the human’s defense against blood-thirsty mosquitoes (and other annoying pests) — had its heyday in the US in the second half of the 19th century and the first couple of decades of the 20th century, before screens for windows and doors were commonplace in American homes. They were particularly necessary in the hot and sweaty Southern US states which were routinely plagued with mosquitoes. A typical mosquito bar ad looked like this one from Dallas merchants Sanger Bros. (click ads and clippings to see larger images):

mosquito-bar_dallas-herald_080285_sanger-bros-ad-det
Dallas Herald, Aug. 2, 1885

(According to the Inflation Calculator, $1.00 in 1885 money would be worth about $27.00 in today’s money, adjusted for inflation.)

The first Dallas ad I found for mosquito bars was from 1877 — like the clipping above, it is also from a Sanger Bros. ad (in fact, Sanger’s seemed to be mosquito-bar-central for 19th-century Dallas).

mosquito-bar_sanger-bros-ad-det_dallas-herald_073177
Dallas Herald, July 31, 1877

mosquito-bar_sanger-bros-ad-det_dallas-herald_051478
Dallas Herald, May 14, 1878

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Dallas Herald, May 24, 1882

mosquito-bars_southern-mercury_070390Southern Mercury, July 3, 1890

screens_dallas-screen-co_1894
1894

Mosquito bars were usually draped over beds, canopy-style, but the painting above (“Mosquito Nets” by John Singer Sargent, 1908) shows “personal” net-covered armatures, perfect for genteel ladies to relax inside of and read (while trying to keep cool despite being weighed down by what must have been uncomfortably heavy clothing).

The mesh netting or fine muslin used to drape beds (and cover windows and doors) was generally white or pink, sometimes green. Once inside the canopied beds, the netting was tucked under the mattress in order to seal all potential entry points in the mesh-walled fortress and allow the thankful occupants inside to sleep unmolested by mosquitoes (or other biting and stinging insects).

mosquito-netting

These bars became fairly standard in hotels and in many homes of the time, but if one could not afford the luxury of sleeping inside one of these things, the sleeper would often resort to rubbing him- or herself with kerosene if they wished to avoid being bitten throughout the night.

mosquito-bar_dmn_100110_kerosene
Dallas Morning News, Oct. 1, 1910

As much of a godsend as the bars were, they had their problems. The fine material was easily torn, and sometimes the mesh was so tightly knit that ventilation (and breathing!) was not optimal. Also, it was not unusual for them to catch fire — there are numerous newspaper reports of the bars being ignited by candles or gas-burning lamps or by careless or sleepy smokers smoking inside the canopy.

mosquito-bar_dallas-herald_052481_fire
Dallas Herald, May 24, 1881

It was apparently a common precaution against midnight thievery for men who stayed in hotels to keep their money in the pockets of their pants and then fold the pants and place them beneath their pillows. The second line of defense was the mosquito netting tucked resolutely under the mattress of their canopied beds. The feeling was that a burglar would have to be pretty stealthy to breech a man’s mosquito bar and steal his pants from under his pillow without waking him. But never underestimate the Big City burglar (click article to see a larger image):

mosquito-bar_dmn_091088_theft
DMN, Sept. 10, 1888

After doors and windows began to be routinely covered with wire screens, the use of mosquito bars in homes and hotels waned, but their use continued in military encampments and hospitals, in recreational camping, and in swampy or tropical areas where the transmission of diseases like malaria and Dengue fever (transmitted by mosquitoes) posed health risks. Wire screens must have been a godsend.

ad-acme-screen-co_terrill-yrbk_1924Terrill School yearbook, 1924

And if you don’t think that the prospect of a night without a mosquito bar (especially in the bayous of Louisiana…) wouldn’t inflame usually calmer heads, here’s a news story from 1910 about a man who shot a co-worker three times at close range because of a heated argument over which of them owned a mosquito bar. And this was in February! Lordy. Talk about your crime of passion. The moral of this story: do not mess with another man’s mosquito bar.

mosquito-bar_town-talk_alexandria-LA_022210_deadly-dispute
Town Talk (Alexandria, LA), Feb. 22, 1910

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DMN, May 28, 1912

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Sources & Notes

The top painting by John Singer Sargent — titled “Mosquito Nets” (1908) — is from the Detroit Institute of Arts; more on the painting can be found here.

Photo of draped bed is from the “Mosquito Net” Wikipedia page, here.

Other clippings and ads as noted. Dallas Herald and Southern Mercury newspaper scans are part of the huge database of scanned historical Texas newspapers found at the Portal to Texas History (to see newspapers, click this link and filter by “Counties,” “Decades,” “Years,” etc. on the left side of the page, or search by keywords at the top).

This post was adapted from a post I wrote for my other (non-Dallas) blog, High Shrink — that post, “The Mosquito Bar,” can be found here (it includes additional photographs and illustrations).

Most ads and clippings are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

School Lunches of Yesteryear

lunch-ladies_frontier-top-tier_dplMorning prep work: the calm before the storm (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Above, Dallas lunch ladies shelling what looks like black-eyed peas for an unidentified school’s midday meal. I can’t say I’ve ever imagined lunchroom employees ever doing something like this. In the 1920s and ’30s, schools used fresh foods when they could, but they were definitely using a lot of canned fruits and vegetables, too. All this effort — and all these women — for peas.

In a quick search for what school lunch menus were like in the late ’20s and early ’30s, here were a few delicacies that would never be found in a school cafeteria these days:

  • Roast veal
  • Sardine sandwiches
  • Creamed onions
  • “Italian hash”
  • Banana and peanut salad
  • Salmon loaf
  • Tongue salad
  • Stuffed dates
  • Prune whip/prune salad/prune pudding

Yummy!

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Sources & Notes

Photo from the Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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