Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Miscellaneous

Paul Giraud’s 1892 View of Dallas with Trinity River “Improvements” Which Were Never Made

1892_map_birdseye_paul-giraud_wikimediaClick to explore a larger image…

by Paula Bosse

Above is a map titled “Dallas, Texas, With The Projected River And Navigation Improvements. Viewed From Above The Sister City of Oak Cliff.” It was a bird’s-eye view of the city drawn in 1892 by Dallas resident and businessman Paul Giraud.

If you click on the picture you will see a very large image which will allow you to look at all the tiny details. You’ll see a lot of stuff that never actually existed in Dallas, but which Giraud — an adamant and tireless proponent of a navigable Trinity waterway — hoped would become part of Dallas. It’s pretty cool and a lot of fun to wander through. (A good background history on Giraud’s “map” can be found on the Amon Carter Museum website here.)

Born in France in 1844, Paul Giraud settled in Dallas in 1890 where he worked both in real estate and as a draftsman while also acting as a booster of Dallas and Texas to anyone who would listen, especially to Europeans and fellow Frenchmen who were considering the possibility of emigrating to the United States. He was also an inventor and secured at least one patent.

Giraud’s enthusiasm and dedication for the Trinity River scheme could be found in the bird’s-eye view seen above, in a miniature three-dimensional model with working locks and dams which he constructed for the 1892 State Fair, and in newspaper articles printed across the state which he wrote to assure readers (and investors) of the feasibility of the project.

All that work, but, sadly, Giraud’s dream was never realized — the Trinity won. But he did leave us with that fantastic, partially realistic bird’s-eye view of the city.

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1892_map_birdseye_giraud_dmn_091892Dallas Morning News, Sept. 18, 1892

giraud_trinity-lock-and-dam-model_state-fair_dmn_102992
DMN, Oct. 29, 1892

paul-giraud-draughtsman_souv-gd_1894
Souvenir Guide of Dallas, 1894

giraud-paul_dmn_121117_obit_photo

giraud-paul_dmn_121117_obit
Photo and obituary, DMN, Dec. 11, 1917 (click to read)

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Sources & Notes

This map is in the collection of the Library of Congress, here; the picture at the top of this post links to the enlarged Wikimedia image here.

If you’d like to compare some of the buildings with Sanborn maps to see what was real and what was fanciful, you can find the 1892 Sanborn maps here (scroll down). It might be helpful to use Sheet 1 as a guide — if, for instance, you want to look at the area in the immediate vicinity of the courthouse (which was under construction at the time…), you see that you need Sheet 3, so you click on “Dallas 1892 Sheet 3” on the list of maps.

1892_map_birdseye_paul-giraud_wikimedia_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Orphaned Factoids: Year-End Grab Bag, 2019

cyclone-twister_tornado_cigars_1928_ebay“Looks crooked but smokes straight…”

by Paula Bosse

As another year crawls to an end, it’s time to collect the odd bits and pieces that have  piled up over the past few months which struck me as interesting or funny or… whatever. I had nowhere else to put them, so they’re going here! (Most images are larger when clicked.)

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First up, the ad above for the “Cyclone Twister” 5-cent cigar, distributed by Dallas wholesaler Martin L. Richards in 1928. Note the shape of the cigar. “Looks crooked but smokes straight.” Probably looked a little strange when smoked. I guess it might help break the ice at parties. Found on eBay.

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Here’s a nice little crest for SMU I’ve never seen — I’m not sure how long this lasted. From the 1916 Rotunda yearbook.

smu_crest_1916-rotunda

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M. Benedikt & Co. was the “Headquarters for Hard-to-fit-men” — in other words, they specialized in “Right-Shape clothing for Odd-Shape Men.” Here are a couple of examples of what they might consider “odd-shape men” in an ad from 1899.

benedikt-clothiers_odd-shape-men_dallas-fire-dept-souvenir_1899_degolyer-lib_SMU

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This is an interesting selection of ads from a 1968 edition of the Yellow Pages: Dewey Groom’s Longhorn Ballroom, Louanns, El Zarape Ballroom, the It’ll Do Club, the Bamboo Room at the Tower Hotel Courts, the Chalet Club, and the Tamlo Show Lounge (a couple of these show up in the…um… informative story “The Meanest Bars in Dallas” (D Magazine, July, 1975).

clubs_yellow-pages_1968_ebay

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I’ve been working in the G. William Jones Film and Video Archives at SMU for the past few months, and this was something I came across while viewing a 1960 WFAA-Channel 8 News clip which made me really excited (it’s an awful screenshot, but, what the heck): while covering a car wreck at Corinth and Industrial, the Ch. 8 camera panned across the scene, and in the background, just left of center, was a very tall sign for the Longhorn Ranch, which I’d never seen before. Before it was the Longhorn Ranch it was Bob Wills’ Ranch House, and after it was the Longhorn Ranch it was the Longhorn Ballroom (more history of the legendary honky-tonk is in a Texas Monthly article here). So, anyway, it’s a fuzzy screenshot, but I think it’s cool. (The footage is from June, 1960 but the clip hasn’t yet been uploaded online.)

longhorn-ranch_wfaa-june-1960_jones-film_SMU

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Speaking of WFAA footage in the Jones Film collection, there was some sort of story about comely young women in skimpy outfits handing out samples of some sort of food to passing pedestrians on Commerce Street (the one-minute clip is here). In addition to seeing sights associated with downtown streets in 1962 (including businesses such as Sigel’s and the Horseshoe Bar, as well as a large sign advertising the Theatre Lounge), I was really happy to see a few Braniff Airways posters in a window — I love those late-’50s/early-’60s Braniff travel posters! So here’s another screenshot and, below that, the Texas-kitsch poster I was so happy to see in color.

braniff-poser_oil-well_jones-film_SMU_041262

braniff-poser_oil-well_ebayBraniff Airways, Inc., Copyright 1926 2019

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I don’t have an image for it, but I was amused to learn that in 1969 the powers-that-be at the Texas Turnpike Authority nixed the suggestion that the Dallas North Tollway be renamed in honor of president Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had recently died — the idea was turned down because 1) new signage would have been very expensive, and 2) officials were afraid that “irreverent motorists” would inevitably refer to the toll road as the “Ike Pike” (I know I would have!).

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Not Dallas, but there’s always time for a little love for Fort Worth: here’s a nice ad from 1955 for a 22-year-old Fort Worth DJ named Willie Nelson, back when he was gigging out on the Jacksboro Highway with his band the Dumplin’ Eaters.

nelson-wilie_FWST_090955Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Sept. 9, 1955

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Apparently there was a time when ladies were uncomfortable patronizing an establishment in which m*n served them ice cream, so this ad from 1899 made sure to note that “lady clerks” were in attendance. (See the back side of the Willett & Haney Confectioners parlor a couple of years before this ad, when the “cool and cozy parlor” was located on Main Street — it’s at the far left in this circa-1895 photo detail from this post.) The parlor was owned by John B. Willett and John S. Haney, and in addition to ice cream and candy, their specialty was oysters, and I can only hope that there was some experimenting with new food combos involving mollusks, ice cream sodas, and crushed fruit.

willett-and-haney_ice-cream-parlor_dallas-fire-dept-souvenir_1899_degolyer-lib_SMU

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This is an odd little tidbit from The Dallas Morning News about a couple of cadets from Camp Dick (at Fair Park) and what happened to them when they attended a lecture on “social diseases.” (The jokes write themselves….) Who knew singing and whistling were so therapeutic”

camp-dick_dmn_081718DMN, Aug. 17, 1918

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The caption for this photo (which appeared in the article “Going Downtown to Shop” by Jackie McElhaney, from the Spring, 2009 issue of Legacies): “In 1946, Sanger’s introduced a portable drapery shop. Two seamstresses sewed draperies in this truck while parked in the customer’s driveway.” Now that’s service!

sangers_drapes_legacies_2009

sangers_logo_1947_forward-with-tx
“Forward with Texas,” 1947 ad detail

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Two more. This first was a real-photo postcard I found on eBay. It shows the Pink Elephant cafe on Hwy. 80 in Forney (not Dallas, but pretty close!). I love the idea of Forney having a place called the Pink Elephant — it was quite popular and was in business from at least the 1930s to the 1950s. The card below was postmarked in 1936.

pink-elephant-bbq_forney_ebay_mailed-1936

This photo of the interior is from the Spellman Museum of Forney Museum Facebook page.

pink-elephant-bbq_forney_FB_spellman-museum-forney-history

I wondered if the place was still around (sadly, it is not), and in looking for info about it found this interesting article from 1934 about outlaw Raymond Hamilton, the escaped killer who grew up in Dallas (…there’s the Dallas connection!) and was notorious for having been a member of Bonnie and Clyde’s “Barrow Gang.” (Click to read.)

pink-elephant-bbq_forney_austin-american_102234Austin American, Oct. 22, 1934

pink-elephant_forney_matchbook_pinterest

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And, lastly, a photo of a young woman which appeared in a German-language magazine, captioned simply “Eine Texas Schönheit (A Texas Beauty).” Is the hair wearing the hat, or is the hat wearing the hair?

texas-beauty_1902

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Previous installments of Flashback Dallas “Orphaned Factoids” can be found here.

Until next year!

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Orphaned Factoids: Year-End Grab Bag, 2018

primrose-petroleum-company

by Paula Bosse

Time for another end-of-the-year collection of odd Dallas-related bits and pieces that don’t really go anywhere, but which should go somewhere. So here they are. (Most images are larger when clicked.)

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Above, the Primrose Petroleum Company (later the Primrose Oil Company), founded in Dallas in 1916, led by brothers Herbert and Jesse Brin. I just checked, and the company is alive and well today, in business in Dallas for over a century!

primrose-petroleum_aug-1921
Aug., 1921

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pure-liquors_no-strychnine_dallas-herald_1858
Dallas Herald, 1858

PURE LIQUORS of all kinds — Apple, Peach and Cognac brandies of the best brands; Bourbon, Rye and Irish whiskeys; Wine of all kinds, all warranted to be pure and unadulterated, and to have NO STRYCHNINE, are for sale at my SALOON, on the East side of the Public Square. I have also on hand the best qualities of Cigars, and a choice lot of Confections, and articles usually to be found in a good establishment. — Those who ‘indulge’ are invited to take the pure stuff. — D. Y. Ellis, Dallas, July 13, 1858.

There used to be a time when foods and beverages were not always “pure.” Mr. Ellis assures his patrons that there is absolutely NO STRYCHNINE in his products. Or at least very little. …Hardly any. …Probably not enough to notice. …Some.

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croquet_dal-her_040874
Dallas Herald, April 8, 1874

Pierce & Lyle was a book store on Main Street, on the north side of the block just east of Austin (the block now occupied by the El Centro campus). I’ve never thought of croquet as being an activity indulged in by early Dallas settlers, but apparently it was. The earliest mention I found of croquet being played in Dallas was one year before the appearance of the above ad: in 1873 “an innocent game of croquet” was seriously irritating a snarky, unnamed Dallas Herald scribe:

croquet_dallas-herald_042673
Dallas Herald, April 26, 1873

A Letter to the Editor rolled in the next day, from the town marshal (which might explain the floridly apologetic editor’s response):

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Dallas Herald, April 27, 1873

Do not besmirch the reputation of a member of the constabulary enjoying a genteel activity when he’s off the clock.

And even though it’s not a Dallas photo, the one below seems like a nice photo companion: a weekly meet-up for a Sunday afternoon game of croquet in Shannon, Texas (near Henrietta).

croquet_shannon-tx_degolyer-library_SMU_ndvia DeGolyer Library, SMU

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bicycles_dallas_windsor-hotel_cook-collection_degolyerGeorge W. Cook Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU

The photo above shows a bunch of cyclists standing by their “wheels” in the dusty streets of Dallas (the Windsor Hotel can be seen at the right). This may have been a photo of the Dallas Wheel Club or the Dallas Bicycle Club (these might have been the same organization?) — the Wheel Club was organized in 1886 and was the first of its kind in the state; Hugh Blakeney was the captain of the Bicycle Club and T. L. Monagan was the lieutenant. In 1888 a one-way cycling ride to Fort Worth took 4 hours (the participants returned by train). Imagine that for a second: biking anywhere, much less all the way to Fort Worth (!), before the days of paved streets. Wagon-wheel-rut accidents could have ended a man’s cycling days!

Below is an ad for the ridiculous-looking “penny farthings,” sold by W. A. L. Knox. If the Inflation Calculator is to be believed, the first bicycle, which cost $100 in 1887, would cost almost $2,800 today. Also: “tandem tricycles”!!

penny-farthings_dallas-herald_041287
Dallas Herald, April 12, 1887

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Smallpox was a scary, scary, highly contagious virus. If you were unfortunate enough to come down with it, you’d probably be sent to the pest house. And your house might even be torched by the mayor.

smallpox_dmn_021489
DMN, Feb. 14, 1889

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DMN, March 14, 1889

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Here’s an interest-piquing classified ad from 1894 — the details of which I’ll sadly never know: “Wanted — Lady who plays the guitar to travel with gentleman. Address Box X. News office.”

lady-who-plays-guitar_dmn_090294
DMN, Sept. 2, 1894

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1912: “Commissioner Bartlett is pursuing a policy designed to prevent an increase in saloons in that section known as ‘Deep Elm.'” …That worked out pretty well.

deep-ellum_dmn_013012
DMN, Jan. 30, 1912

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“The car you have been looking for.” …If the car you’ve been looking for is a hearse.

hearse_dmn_061017
DMN, June 10, 1917

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Need a croquignole perm? Then hie yourself to F. E. Field’s Beauty School on Ross Avenue.

fields-beauty-school_tichnorBoston Public Library

fields-beauty-school_4921-ross_opening-ad_sept-1934
Sept., 1934

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Benny’s Drive-In had “carrettes” at 1425 Greenville (between Bryan Parkway and Lindell).

hillcrest-high-school-yrbk_1940_bennys-carrettes
1940 Hillcrest High School yearbook

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The Skillern’s Doubl’ Rich chocolate ice cream soda was “the most famous, most popular fountain drink in Dallas.”

skillerns_july-1949
July, 1949

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I’m a sucker for line drawings of the Dallas skyline. I think this one came from a Reynolds-Penland ad.

skyline_ad_1956_det
1956

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My father went to SMU in the ’50s, and while he was a student (and maybe a little while after he graduated) he worked as a bartender at a Greenville Avenue bar called The Kilarney Lounge at 5118 Greenville Avenue. He always talked fondly about the Kilarney, and I to think that short time as a bartender was one of the highlights of his life. I’ve never heard anyone else mention the place (which was around into the ’70s), but I gather it was something of an SMU hangout for a time. This ad is from the March, 1953 issue of an SMU student humor magazine called The Hoofprint.

kilarney_hoofprint_march-1953_degolyer_smu
DeGolyer Library, SMU

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Fab British actor and Swinging Sixties “it-boy” David Hemmings and his model/actress girlfriend, Fort Worth-born Gayle Hunnicutt, were a favorite subject of international media attention. The two beautiful people were photographed at Love Field in Oct., 1967 as Gayle was taking David home to meet her parents. (Gayle is holding Hemmings super-weird album David Hemmings Happens.)

David Hemmings And New Mate
Oct., 1967

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I grew up in the Lower Greenville area, and this Orange Julius was just a couple of blocks from my house. It was across the street from the Granada Theater — the building still stands and has been the home of Aw Shucks since about 1983. I loved that place. And I loved those Orange Juliuses!

orange-julius_smu-campus_092068
SMU Daily Campus, Sept., 1968

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And, lastly, an SMU student on a pogo stick, from a 1974 student handbook called “doing it.”


smu_pogo-stick_doing-it_student-handbk_1974
SMU Archives, DeGolyer Library

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Sources & Notes

Sources noted, if known.

For other installments of Flashback Dallas’ “Orphaned Factoids,” click here.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Orphaned Factoids: Year-End Grab Bag, 2017

wigtons-sandwich-shop_flickr_colteraWith a name like “Wigton’s…” (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Time for another year-end collection of miscellaneous bits and pieces that don’t really belong anywhere, so I’m compiling them here in a weird collection of stuff. Enjoy! (Most clippings and photos are larger when clicked.)

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Above, Wigton’s Sandwich Shop, owned by Charles J. Wigton. It looks like it was located near the dreaded East Grand-Gaston-Garland Road intersection. I found one listing in the 1932 city directory for this little “soft drink stand” which also served as the residence of Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Wigton. (Found on Flickr.)

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colors_ad_dallas-herald_112580Dallas Herald, 1880

You know, you just don’t see colors like “scared mouse,” “subdued moonshine,” and “sunset in Egypt” anymore. Pity. (Ad for A. A. Pearson’s millinery house.)

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dancing_dallas-herald_1859Dallas Herald, 1859

“All those who are indebted to me for dancing lessons, MUST POSITIVELY SETTLE UP. I mean what I say.” Do not mess with dancemaster Howard. (I’m actually a little shocked someone was offering dancing lessons in Dallas, which, in 1859, was podunker than podunk.)

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ad-debonair-danceland_ca19691969 Dallas directory

This is the only photo I’ve been able to find of Debonair Danceland (what a great, great name for a club). Depending on whether you were a regular, the adjectives generally used to describe the legendary dancehall are either “notorious” or “beloved.” It opened in 1967 and closed in 1995. As Bill Minutaglio wrote in The Dallas Morning News, it was “one of Dallas’ last rough-hewn links to the brawny honky-tonk highway” (DMN, July 25, 1995). It certainly had a colorful life. For starters there was a “suspicious” double bombing that ripped the place apart in 1968 (I don’t know if the photo in the ad above shows the place pre- or post-blast). There was a lot of … um … “activity” that went on at Debonair Danceland over the years which kept police-beat reporters busy. It was also apparently quite popular with bored housewives who tippled away their afternoons. (See a not-very-clear-but-at-least-larger grainy image of the photo in the ad here.)

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ad-home-killed-beef_hillcrest-yrbk_19401940 Hillcrest High School yearbook

“Home-killed beef” is the best-killed beef.

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weiland-funeral_1930-directory1930 Dallas directory

weiland_19291929

weiland_lady-embalmer_19411941

The Chas. F. Weiland Undertaking Co. was one of the city’s top funeral homes. They really promoted the fact that they had a “licensed lady embalmer” — I suppose some people preferred to have their mothers and other dearly beloveds tended to by a woman.

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headcheese-poisoning_galveston-news_011994Galveston News, 1894

Beware the head cheese. …Always.

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vegetarian_dallas-herald_050274Dallas Herald, 1874

Maybe even go cold turkey and completely ditch the head cheese for a diet consisting solely of “a salad of herbs.”

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paper_houston-telegraph_121056Houston Telegraph, 1856

“The Dallas Herald is out of paper. It comes to us this week printed on wrapping paper. It is rather hard to read….”

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police_dallas-herald_dallas-herald_050980Dallas Herald, 1880

I’m sure there is an interesting and most likely embarrassing story behind the implementation of this new police regulation.

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kites-at-night_dallas-herald_072577Dallas Herald, 1877

This sounds wonderful.

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ad-robertson-horseshoer_1900-directory1900 Dallas directory

Go to the M. O. Robertson, the expert horseshoer who will not fail to give satisfaction. Because all those others? They’re gonna fail. Not “if” but “when.”

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ad-boedecker-bros_oysters-ice-cream_city-directory_18901890 Dallas directory

The sensation generated by seeing an ad with the words “oyster” and “ice cream” next to each other — cheek-by-jowl, as it were — is not a pleasant one.

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ad-hawaiian-music_bryan-street-high-school_1927-yrbk1927

Who knew? Ukulele-mania was alive and well in Big D in the ’20s.

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sanger-bros_first-fashion-illus-in-ads-1881_centennial-ad-det_19721972 ad (detail)

A little tidbit on the history of commercial fashion illustration in Dallas, from a Sanger’s ad celebrating the company’s Centennial.

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ad-sangers_high-schools_dmn_1008481948

Another Sanger’s ad. This one with a, let’s say “more populist” example of the store’s fashion-illustration chops.

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cat-wanted_dallas-herald_112387Dallas Herald, 1887

“WANTED—A good gentle well disposed cat to use in taking pictures. Apply to J. H. Webster, High Priced Photographer, 803 Elm or 804 Main streets.”

Okay, I’m a sucker. I love cats, and I love self-proclaimed “high-priced photographers.” Ergo, I must love this ad. I do. Seems like a good time to share a couple of 19th-century photographs of cats. 

cat_jones-coll_degolyer1860s, via SMU

cat_baby_degolyer1890s, via SMU

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Sources & Notes

Dallas Herald clippings are from the Texas Digital Newspaper collection provided by UNT to the Portal to Texas History; you can peruse many scanned issues of The Dallas Herald (not to be confused with the later Dallas Times Herald) here.

“Cat Posed with Mexican Serape” is a cased ambrotype from the Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photographs collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more details on this photo can be found here. The article “Everyone Loves the Cat!” can be read on the SMU CUL blog “Off the Shelf,” here.

“Baby Seated with Cat” is also from the Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photographs collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU; more info on the photo is here.

Want more? See other “Orphaned Factoid” lists here.

Most images are larger when clicked. Click away!

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Dallas’ Population, Per the 1940 Census

census-1940_dmn_063040
Those numbers seem so quaint… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

For those who get excited reading census figures, I give you the results of the 1940 census as it pertains to Dallas County.

According to the Dallas Morning News article “12 Per Cent Gain Shown in City” (DMN, June 30, 1940), the population of Dallas County in 1940 was 398,049 in an area of 859 square miles; the density was 463 people per square mile. For some perspective, in 2010 the population of Dallas County was just under 2.4 million, with an area of 909 square miles — giving us a recent density of something like 2,700 people per square mile (and it’s only getting more cramped every day).

Dallas County was big, but it wasn’t the biggest in the state in 1940 — that honor went to Harris County, with a population of 529,479; Bexar County came in third with 337,557.

So which communities were the biggest winner and the biggest loser as far as population change since the 1930 census? They were the incorporated areas of University Park and Cement City. University Park had a whopping 243% gain in population since the 1930 census, and poor Cement City had a 200% plunge.

Another interesting statistic (from the Census of Agriculture) showed that in 1940 Dallas County had 3,522 farms; in 1930 the county had 5,106. In 2012, the Census of Agriculture (in a PDF here) showed 839 farms (which is actually more than I would have guessed).

The Dallas area was growing rapidly — even with a bit of a slow-down during the Great Depression — but the population growth following WWII was quite a bit more: the population in 1950 jumped to around 615,000 — an increase of more than 54%. After that, there was no looking back.

The map at the top is interesting. I love the fact that in 1940 Richardson was a teensy little town of 719 — smaller than the beyond-the-city-limits Preston Hollow which boasted a healthy 885 people. (And … Honey Springs? I’d never heard of it. But now I know the facts, from the Handbook of Texas, and I know the color, from the Dallas Trinity Trails blog.)

For those who want to go the extra mile, the full breakdown of the census numbers can be found in the Dallas Morning News archives in the article cited above.

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Sources & Notes

It looks like the official numbers might have been changed a bit after the article cited above was printed. The very informative chart of Dallas County’s population through the decades (seen here) has the population a bit higher, at 398,564.

More Dallas County stats — stats-a-plenty — at Wikipedia.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Orphaned Factoids: Year-End Grab Bag

ad-berwalds_forest-ave-high-school_1934-yrbkRiding habits, bike togs, slacks… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Another year is coming to a close — time to share a whole bunch of bits and pieces I’ve come across over the past year or so but haven’t found a home for.

My posting of vintage Dallas ads has been severely lacking this year. Enjoy the Berwald’s ad above, found in the 1934 Forest Avenue High School yearbook.

Let’s dive in to the rest of the potpourri of randomness. (Most clippings are larger when clicked.)

The Adolphus Hotel once had a bakery (located in Deep Ellum on what is now Clover Street, between Commerce & Canton, and between Crowdus & Malcom X). They produced products called the Adolphus Sr. (one-and-a-half-pound loaves) and the Adolphus Jr. (one pound loaves).

adolphus-bakery_hotel-monthly_june-1920
Hotel Monthly, June, 1920

adolphus-bakery_1921-directory
1921 Dallas city directory

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That uncooperative Trinity. This odd blurb made it into a small-town Kansas newspaper. Man, Texas sounds rough.

four-printers_great-bend-ks-weekly_072088
Great Bend Weekly (Kansas), July 20, 1888

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In 19th-century Dallas, things were forever erupting in flames.

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Dallas Herald, Feb. 15, 1882

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Dallas has always had a lot of bars. This newspaperman’s musing is from 1874. I don’t know what the city’s population was that year, but in 1870 it was 3,000.

bars_saloons_dal-herald_123174
Dallas Herald, Dec. 31, 1874

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Potholes have been a problem since there were roads. And people have been writing sarcastic letters to the editor almost as long. (Masten Street is now St. Paul.) (The man who wrote this letter — George Atkins — was a purveyor or medicinal rattlesnake oil. I wrote about him here.)

potholes_atkins_dmn_012990
DMN, Jan. 29, 1890

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Egg Phosphates, made from pure-dee Dallas rainwater.

cistern-milkshakes_dallas-herald_041487
Dallas Herald, April 14, 1887

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It’s 1907. You need a clairvoyant in a “refined parlor” STAT! Where do you go?

clairvoyant_dmn_083007
DMN, Aug. 30, 1907

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This is amusing.

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Fort Worth Daily Gazette, Nov. 25, 1887

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Wanted: orphan. (From The Dallas Express, the city’s long-lived African-American newspaper.)

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Dallas Express, Jan. 13, 1900

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Bazillionaire C. C. Slaughter’s tricked-out Packard (probably the one I wrote about here).

slaughter_packard_motor-age-magazine_052715
Motor Age Magazine, May 27, 1915

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How many times do we have to ask you people? Do NOT spit in the streetcars!

streetcars_dmn_121811
DMN, Dec. 18, 1911

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PSA: How to use your telephone.

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Dallas Herald, May 31, 1881

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I’ve run across a lot of articles about locally-made little movies like this one, which most likely no longer exist anywhere. It would be so great to be able to see things like this one, “Moonshine and Roses”!

movie-made-in-dallas_dmn_120220_moonshine-and-roses
DMN, Dec. 2, 1920

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Wolf on Live Oak!

wolf_dallas-herald_022874
Dallas Herald, Feb. 28, 1874

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Hot weather, gunpowder, English tea, and garbage in the streets.

garbage_dal-herald_082080
Dallas Herald, Aug. 20, 1880

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A  novel way of driving off rats.

rats-bells_pop-mechanics_june-1927
Popular Mechanics, June, 1927

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By 1931, the city was “relatively free of rat infestation.” No mention of small bells.

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Waxahachie Daily Light, July 14, 1931

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So there’s this parrot and an IRS man….

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Hammond Indiana Times, Aug. 3, 1939

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If the print is too small to read — click it!

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

A Few Photo Additions to Previous Posts

dallas-times-herald-bldg_squire-haskins_utaExterior of The Dallas Times Herald building (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

After doing a bit of digital housecleaning, I’ve added a few odds and ends to previous posts.

The top photo by Squire Haskins, from the Squire Haskins Collection, UTA, has been added to the post “‘The Times Herald Stands For Dallas As a Whole.'”

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This very early photo of the Junius Heights gate has been added to my recent post “The Gateway to Junius Heights.” (This photo was taken in the Lakewood restaurant The Heights, unfortunately with lights reflecting off the picture — stop by The Heights to see a better image!) (Original source unknown.)

junius-heights-gateway_the-heights-restaurant

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This ad for the Gospel Lighthouse Church appeared — surprisingly — in the 1967 Carter High School yearbook, and it has been added to the perennially popular post with my favorite unwieldy title: “The Lighthouse Church That Warned of Sin’s Penalty with a Beam of Blue Mercury Vapor Shot Into the Skies Above Oak Cliff — 1941.”

gospel-lighthouse_carter-high-school_1967-yrbk

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This dashing photograph of Angus Wynne, Jr. has been added to “Angus Wynne, Jr.’s ‘Texas Disneyland’ — 1961.”

wynne_angus-jr_legacies_fall-2002

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Another dashing portrait — this one of Preston Hollow, etc. developer Ira P. DeLoache — has been added to “Preston Elms: Your Country Estate Awaits — 1935.” (The DeLoache and Wynne photos from the Fall, 2002 issue of Legacies.) 

deloache_legacies_fall-2002

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And these two photos are from yearbooks of the Terrill School (first one from 1915, second one from 1928) and have been added to the post “George Cacas, The Terrill School’s Greek Ice Cream Man — 1916.”

spaghetti_terrillian_1915

terrill-yrbk_1928

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Orphaned Ads and Factoids: End-of-Year Grab Bag

mail-order-brides_southern-mercury_060590Ad from front page of Dallas’ Southern Mercury newspaper, June 5, 1890

by Paula Bosse

Below are a bunch of things I’ve come across over the past few months that I found interesting or amusing but had no place to put them. So here they are, in an end-of-the-year collection of Dallas-related … stuff. Enjoy!

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buffalo_memories_dmn_062224“Hunting has always been one of the chief sports of Texas. While buffaloes were once plentiful at certain seasons farther toward West Texas, I have known but one to be killed in Dallas County, which was on Mountain Creek during the Civil War, when game of all kinds became much more plentiful than it had ever been, partly on account of the scarcity of ammunition. Turkeys and deer abounded and were the chief articles of food for the settlers.” Memories of Thomas Park, son of Curtis Park, an early Dallas settler. (DMN, June 22, 1924)

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“City Councilmen were the first night police squad in Dallas, each taking turns to see that law and order prevailed, according to the minutes of the council of Feb. 21, 1867. John Neely Bryan was an alderman and took his turn on the night patrol in this second year after the Civil War.” (DMN, Oct. 1, 1935)

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“[An] important highway was old Kaufman Road, which eventually became Elm Street, and finally Dallas’ theater district. Another was Kent’s Ferry Road, which led past the site of today’s State Fairgrounds where there was once a swamp called Buzzard Springs. […] The early roads through Dallas led through lands of abundant game. A mile-wide salt-lick that began at Forest Avenue made the deer that gathered in the late afternoon easy marks for hunters.” (DMN, Oct. 2, 1960)

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ad-children-wells_dal-herald_081283 Advertisement AND a public service announcement. (Dallas Herald, Aug. 12, 1883)

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a-harris_anthony-trolloppe_dmn_100385A. Harris ad. If it’s good enough for Anthony Trollope…. (1885)

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oak-cliff_dmn_110187“You will never regret making an investment in Oak Cliff.” Advertisement for the Next Big Thing, looming just across the river. (1887)

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deane-photographer_dmn_121692Advertisement … or item from the police blotter.  (1892)

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“The first motion pictures were shown in Dallas in February, 1897. An exhibition of Edison’s newest invention, the Vitascope, revealed a series of shorts — scenes of a Mexican duel, a hanging, a lynching, a fire rescue and Niagara Falls in action. A few weeks later The News noted editorially that Miss Frances Willard and other leaders in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union were conducting a crusade against the worst excesses of the new invention.” (DMN, Oct. 2, 1935)

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dmn_throw-out-window_063004Dallas Morning News ad — share the wealth.  (1904)

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dmn-reward_121106The Inflation Calculator tells me that 10 bucks in 1906 would be the equivalent of $255 today (!!). Don’t mess with Belo. (1906)

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street-car-accidents_dmn_090107“Get off facing ahead.” (1907)

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ad-fretz-parlor_1910Open all night! (1910)

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fair-park_horse-show-arena_tx-trade-review_1917The Fair Park Horse Show Arena. I’m not sure I’ve seen this before. (Texas Trade Review, 1917 — click for larger image)

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miniature-golf_wee-st-andrews_dmn_051042The Wee Saint Andrews Miniature Golf Course — America’s largest miniature golf course. (Kind of like “jumbo shrimp.”) (1942)

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temp_policemen_dmn_040244Slim-pickings in the job pool during WWII — education requirements for “temporary policemen” in 1944: must have completed grade school. (1944)

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chamber-of-commerce-ad_dmn_082648“Give yourself a holiday.” (1948)

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“Current[ly] at Sky Club through Thursday night is Evelyn West, the divestmenteuse. To us her widely publicized $50,000 treasure chest is a big bust — for her prancings about the floor are vulgar and embarrassing. Even her midget partner, Esky, turns up red-cheeked.” Back when strippers (and their “midget partners”) were reviewed in the newspaper. (DMN, June 13, 1950)

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“And a gypsy ‘palm woman’ made work during the day. A South Dallas woman had retained the gypsy at $5 a week to remove a witch from her sewing machine. Left the machine with  the ‘palm woman.’ Is no longer bothered by either a witch or a sewing machine. The palm woman is missing. Evidently dematerialized herself and the sewing machine, too.” From a regular feature in The Dallas Morning News by Lorrie Brooks called “Last 24 Hours in Dallas” — kind of a humorous police blotter. I don’t know who you were, Lorrie, but I love reading your columns! (DMN, Feb. 9, 1951)

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ad-dons-beauty-salon_dmn_030952Hair stylists don’t have names like “Mr. Don” anymore. Pity. (1952)

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street-lights_lanterns_dallas-herald_021877“The numerous lanterns on our streets at night, borne by pedestrians picking their way through the slough, look like fire-flys in a marsh.” One of my favorite, lyrical descriptions of early Dallas. (Dallas Herald, Feb. 18, 1877)

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Jim Conner, Not-So-Mild-Mannered RFD Mail Carrier

rfd_real-photo_1907-ebayAn RFD mail carrier… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The man in the photo below looks like every character actor working in Hollywood in the 1930s and ’40s.

conner-james-norton_mail-carrier_1940s

But he wasn’t an actor — he was a retired Dallas postal worker who began his career in 1901 as a rural mail carrier when the Rural Free Delivery (RFD) system was implemented in Dallas. (Before this, those who lived beyond the city limits — generally farmers — had to trek to a sometimes distant outpost — such as a general store — to pick up their mail.) RFD service began locally on October 1, 1901, and an 18-year old Jim Conner was one of six men hired to work the new mail routes beyond the city.

conner_FWregister_090101Fort Worth Register, Sept. 1, 1901

When Rural Free Delivery service began in Dallas, four rural post offices were closed: Lisbon, Wheatland, Five Mile, and Rawlins (the office at Bachman’s Branch, which Jim Conner’s route replaced).

In a 1940 interview with The Dallas Morning News, Conner talked about his early postal route (Route 5), which was 32 miles long; before the arrival of automobiles, he traveled on horseback, by horse cart, by buggy and cart, or by bicycle. The photo at the top shows what early RFD mail wagons looked like.

Jim’s route took him well beyond the city limits: out Cedar Springs to Cochran’s Chapel, to within a mile of Farmers Branch, and over to Webb’s Chapel by way of the “famous” Midway Church and School corner (which became Glad Acres Farm); he returned on Lemmon Avenue. It took him 8 hours if the weather was nice; if the weather was particularly bad, it could take 12 to 15 hours to complete his appointed rounds. He was paid $500 a year and was required to keep two horses, a cart, a buggy, and saddles. He retired in 1935.

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So. A delightfully nostalgic walk down memory lane with an avuncular-looking guy we all kind of feel we know. I thought I’d do a quick search to see if there was an obituary for Jim — there was: he died in 1956 at the age of 73, survived by his wife, 11 children (!), 22 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren. But in addition to the obit, I found something else: a report of a shooting, an arrest, and a charge with “assault to murder.”

conner-charged_dmn_010218DMN, Jan. 2, 1918

What?!!

Though the account of the incident is described as being “somewhat vague,” on New Year’s Eve, 1918, Jim Conner shot a soldier named Jesse Clay after “words” were exchanged at the corner of Beacon and Columbia in Old East Dallas. There had been bad blood between the two in the past, and the New Year’s Eve situation apparently escalated quickly. Clay had been walking down the street with a lady-friend when Conner’s car came to a stop next to them. Clay (described as being drunk at the time) forced his way into the car, and Conner, fearful of being attacked, reached for a gun in the back seat. The two tussled and, after they were both out of the car, Conner saw that Clay also had a gun. This was when Conner shot him three times, intending, he said, to merely wound him. Clay shot back but missed. (The entire account, as it appeared in The Dallas Morning News on Jan. 1, 1918 can be read in a PDF here.)

The soldier was badly injured, with two of the three shots hitting his chest. He was not expected to live. Conner had surrendered to police at the scene and was charged with “assault to murder.” The last report on this incident that I could find was on Jan. 3, in which Clay was described as being in “very critical condition.”

So what happened? As Conner spent a full career as a postal employee, it seems unlikely he was tried for murder. I used every possible combination of search words I could think of but found nothing more on this case. The story just disappeared. I did find a 1943 obituary for a Jesse P. Clay (killed while working on an Army Air Force Instructors School runway when he was struck by the wing of an airplane coming in for a landing), and it seems likely that it was the same guy — he was about the right age, he was a career military man, he lived in Dallas most of his life, and he was born in Kentucky. I assume the soldier in question (who would have been 37 at the time of the shooting) survived his gunshot wounds and that charges against Conner were either dismissed (with Conner pleading self-defense?) or settled (perhaps the military intervened to keep the story out of the press — this was during the height of WWI). Whatever actually happened, it seems that both men were able to move on from that really, really bad New Year’s Eve, a night I’m sure neither forgot.

My favorite little detail in the story of this sordid shooting was the line in the initial newspaper report in which it was revealed that one of the (potentially deadly) bullets was “deflected by a packet of letters and a steel comb.” How appropriate that the thing that probably saved mailman Jim Conner from a murder rap was “a packet of letters.” (…And a steel comb, but that doesn’t fit in with my narrative quite so well. Although Mr. Conner does look quite well-groomed.)

packet-of-letters_dmn_010118DMN, Jan. 1, 1918

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Sources & Notes

Real-photo postcard of Hillsboro, Wisconsin RFD mail wagon is from eBay.

The full DMN account of the bizarre 1918 shooting can be read in a PDF, here.

An informative site on history of Rural Free Delivery — with lots of photos — can be found here.

“RFD”? Wiki’s on it, here.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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