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.)
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!
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.
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:
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):
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.
George 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”!!
Dallas Herald, April 12, 1887
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.
DMN, Feb. 14, 1889
DMN, March 14, 1889
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.”
DMN, Sept. 2, 1894
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.
DMN, Jan. 30, 1912
“The car you have been looking for.” …If the car you’ve been looking for is a hearse.
DMN, June 10, 1917
Need a croquignole perm? Then hie yourself to F. E. Field’s Beauty School on Ross Avenue.
Boston Public Library
Benny’s Drive-In had “carrettes” at 1425 Greenville (between Bryan Parkway and Lindell).
1940 Hillcrest High School yearbook
The Skillern’s Doubl’ Rich chocolate ice cream soda was “the most famous, most popular fountain drink in Dallas.”
I’m a sucker for line drawings of the Dallas skyline. I think this one came from a Reynolds-Penland ad.
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.
DeGolyer Library, SMU
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.)
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!
SMU Daily Campus, Sept., 1968
And, lastly, an SMU student on a pogo stick, from a 1974 student handbook called “doing it.”
SMU Archives, DeGolyer Library
Sources & Notes
Sources noted, if known.
For other installments of Flashback Dallas’ “Orphaned Factoids,” click here.
Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.