Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Downtown

Interurban Coming Through

interurban_commerce-street_dart-archives
Street traffic used to be a lot different… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Great photo of Interurbans trundling down Commerce Street, past the Adolphus Hotel. …Wish I’d been there.

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Sources & Notes

Photo is from the Dallas Area Rapid Transit archives, but I neglected to note a linkable source. (Click photo to see a larger image.)

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Republic Bank Branding — 1955

republic-national-bank_employees-dresses_life-mag

When the uniforms match the exterior of the building…

by Paula Bosse

Republic National Bank opened its dazzling new building on N. Ervay in December, 1954. It was the tallest building in the city, the interior boasted gold leaf everywhere, and the exterior was covered with thousands of aluminum panels embossed with a distinctive four-pointed “star” shape.

The building’s opening was quite the PR extravaganza — so much so that Life magazine sent photographer Joe Scherschel to take photos for the Feb. 28, 1955 article “Dazzler For Dallas.” Scherschel took a ton of photos, but only a handful made it into the article — one that didn’t make it is the one above which shows five young women on a staircase, all of whom are wearing dresses with those Republic Bank “stars” on them! I have to admit, I was a little more excited than I should have been to have noticed what I assume must have been a (fairly stylish) uniform (hostesses? elevator girls?). Kudos to whomever came up with that clever way to celebrate the bank’s home by incorporating one of the most distinctive elements of one of the city’s most distinctive buildings into something as easily overlooked as an employee’s uniform. That is attention to detail!

republic-national-bank_employees-uniforms_mirror_life-mag

republic-national-bank_entrance_life-mag_1955

republic-national-bank_sidewalk_1954_color_life-mag

republic-national-bank_aluminum-panels_life-mag

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Sources & Notes

All photos were taken by Joe Scherschel for Life magazine, ©Time, Inc. A large collection of the photos Scherschel took while on assignment in Dallas for this article can be viewed here.

I wrote about those fantastic embossed aluminum panels in the Flashback Dallas post “The Republic Bank Building and Spain’s ‘Casa de Los Picos,'” here.

All photos are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Merry Christmas from Dallas Artist Bud Biggs

xmas_bud-biggs_shamrock-mag_1959_texas-tech
The bright lights of Christmas in downtown Dallas…

by Paula Bosse

An evening in downtown Dallas at Christmastime — alive with traffic and lights and energy — by Dallas artist Bud Biggs.

The painting appeared on the cover of the Christmas, 1959 issue of The Shamrock, a magazine published by the Shamrock Oil and Gas Corporation. The magazine’s description:

On the sidewalks, shoppers dart to and fro. On the street, autos dash by, leaving streaks of light in their haste. Gay lights and laughing Santas swing gayly overhead, festooning the area in a holiday glow. Above all this man-made madness, stars twinkle in contrast, reflecting a serenity reminiscent of a night nineteen hundred years ago. This is what The Shamrock staff sees in this vivid water color of Downtown Dallas at Christmastime by Artist Bud Biggs.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

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Sources & Notes

This work by artist Bud Biggs appeared on the cover of the Christmas, 1959 edition of The Shamrock; this magazine is part of the Southwest Collection, Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University — the entire issue has been scanned and may be viewed as a PDF here.

My guess is that the title of the original painting is “Main Street, Christmas Night” and that it was one of the 12 paintings produced by Biggs in the mid 1950s as cover art for Dallas Magazine, a Dallas Chamber of Commerce publication. These paintings of Dallas scenes appeared as cover art for the monthly issues of 1956, in honor of the city’s centennial. The series won the “Best Covers of 1956” award from the American Association of Commerce Publications, and in 1958 all 12 of the original watercolors were purchased by Southwest Airmotive Company to be displayed in their new Love Field terminal. The 12 covers featured Biggs’ depictions of the following Dallas scenes and landmarks:

  • “Aerial View of Downtown Dallas”
  • “Ervay Street”
  • “Ground-breaking, Dallas University”
  • “Midway, State Fair of Texas”
  • “Trinity Industrial District”
  • “Central Expressway”
  • “Commerce Street”
  • “City Auditorium”
  • “Looking Up Pacific”
  • “Main Street, Christmas Night”
  • “SMU Legal Center”
  • “The Katy Round House”

More on this series of paintings can be found in the Dallas Morning News article “Art & Artists: Biggs Series Bought by Firm” by Rual Askew, Feb. 20, 1958.

Dallas native Bancroft Putnam “Bud” Biggs (1906-1985) attended Forest Ave. High School, SMU, and the St. Louis School of Fine Arts. He was primarily a commercial artist, working first for Dallas artist Guy Cahoon before opening his own advertising studio. He produced fine art as well, specializing in watercolors, and was a respected art instructor.

xmas_bud-biggs_shamrock-mag_1959_texas-tech_sig-det

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Crozier Technical High School — ca. 1946

crozier-tech_woodworking_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUThe Tech woodworking shop… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

It’s always seemed strange to me that Dallas had a technical high school where students were able to learn all sorts of various trades: auto mechanics, metal-working, industrial machine operation, commercial art, introductory science and engineering courses, and much more. Students — while still in high school — could develop skills and acquire practical knowledge in areas they wanted to pursue as careers; they could also discover (while still in high school) that what they thought they wanted to do as a career was absolutely NOT something they wanted to pursue. I imagine that many graduates were ready to step to into jobs immediately after graduation. 

In 1929, Bryan High School (the old “Central High School”) became Dallas Technical High School. In Denman Kelley’s “Principal’s Message” in the 1929 yearbook, he noted that this new idea in education “offers a wonderful opportunity to build up a school for those pupils whose educational needs are not met in the traditional schools…. As the volume of students grows, as the offerings increase with increasing needs, this school must truly become ‘A Greater School for All Dallas.'”

dallas-technical-high-school_1929_seal
Dallas Technical High School, 1929 yearbook

It offered four “general divisions of study” (each arranged in four-year courses): an industrial course, a commercial course, a home-economics course, and the regular literary course. Among the specialized classes offered were automotive repair, woodworking, architectural drawing, stenography, painting, and elementary business training. These courses at Dallas Tech were available to all high school students in the city, and many students jumped at the opportunity to transfer to the downtown campus. (In 1942 the school’s name was changed to N. R. Crozier Technical High School in honor of the late Dallas school superintendent.)

I’m still amazed by this — shouldn’t we still be doing this? I guess this is what magnet schools do, but is magnet-school participation among DISD students anywhere near as widespread as it once was when vocational classes were concentrated at the huge campus of Tech?

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Below are photos showing students in some of the classes available at Crozier Tech in the 1940s. (All photos are larger when clicked.)

crozier-tech_auto_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUUnder the hood

crozier-tech_forge_metal-works_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUAt the forge

crozier-tech_clinical-laboratory_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUIn the laboratory

crozier-tech_sewing_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUModeling finished products in sewing class

crozier-tech_radio_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUNoodling with radios?

crozier-tech_machine-shop_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUIn the machine shop

crozier-tech_nursing_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUIn the nursing course

crozier-tech_printing_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUSetting type in the printshop

crozier-tech_printing_linotype_cook-coll_degolyer_SMUWorking a letterpress and linotype machines (!)

There were also studio and commercial art courses. (I have to add this one because I’m pretty sure I now have evidence that in a previous life I was in a Crozier Tech sculpture class in 1946 — my doppelganger is the blurry girl in the center of the photo, looking with suspicion at the camera.)

crozier-tech_sculpture-clay-modeling_cook-coll_degolyer_SMU

Lastly, a photo of the handsome photography teacher, Orbette A. Homer, who taught at Tech from 1937 until his retirement in 1962. He and his students were responsible for these photos, some of which appeared in the 1946 Crozier Tech yearbook, The Wolf Pack.

orbette-a-homer_crozier-tech-yearbook_1960O. A. Homer, 1960

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Sources & Notes

All classroom photos are from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU Libraries, Southern Methodist University; these images (and more from this Crozier Tech collection) can be found here.

The photo of Orbette Anderson Homer (1901-1968) is from the 1960 Crozier Tech yearbook.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

“Triple Underpass” by Florence McClung — 1945

mcclung_triple-underpass_1945_david-dike-fine-art“Triple Underpass” by Florence McClung (photo: David Dike Fine Art)

by Paula Bosse

The word “iconic” is used way too much these days, but I suppose Dallas’ triple underpass is something that truly deserves to be described as “iconic.” Aside from the beauty, the engineering, and the usefulness of the underpass/railroad bridge, it is also, of course, known around the world for its cameo appearance in the Kennedy assassination.

Built in 1936, after years of back-and-forth planning and negotiating, the triple underpass was open in time for the Texas Centennial Exposition. It finally opened up a straight shot from Fort Worth to Dallas via Highway 1, and it and the concurrently-built Dealey Plaza served as Dallas’ welcoming “gateway” into the city for visitors approaching from the west.

The 1945 painting seen above — “Triple Underpass” by Dallas artist Florence McClung (1894-1992) — may be one of the first depictions of the structure in a fine art context. This painting goes up for sale this weekend, as the featured lot in the David Dike Fine Art Texas Art Auction. The estimate is $75,000-$175,000. Florence would be shocked by that, as her original price — which she wrote on a checklist for a show at the then-Dallas Museum of Fine Arts was $300 (which would, today, be about $4,000). (UPDATE 10/27/18: The painting sold for $252,000 — which, I assume, includes the buyer’s premium.)

mcclung_1945-dma-show_checklist-portal_cropped

As a fan of Texas art — and especially of the Dallas regionalist group, the Dallas Nine (with which McClung, though not a member, was closely associated) — I hope this wonderful piece of Dallas art (and you can’t get much more quintessentially Dallas than this!) goes for much more than the gallery estimate. (I wrote about McClung previously, here, with images showing a couple of other Dallas “cityscapes” done around the same time as “Triple Underpass.”)

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Below is a photo from 1945 showing an aerial view of the scene captured by McClung that same year. (A photo from a little later, with a view to the west, is here.)

triple-underpass-1945
Dallas, 1945 (click for larger image)

A few things are interesting to me:

  • McClung neglected to include the ever-present billboard atop what was then the Sexton Foods building (later the School Book Depository) — in the photo above, U. S. Royal tires are being advertised.
  • I love that little oval, landscaped island, which is also seen in McClung’s painting.
  • Those four obelisk-y pillars, seen in both the photo and the painting, two on either side of the roadway, west of the underpass — what are those?
  • Is that large white building in the lower middle of the photograph Pappy’s Showland? Maybe the Sky-Vu Supper Club (which I have meant to write about for years)? (No! It’s the Chicken Bar, at the northeast corner of Commerce and Industrial. A photo of it under construction in 1945 is here.)

See here for as close to the angle of McClung’s view as I could get, from a 2014 Google Street View. (The painting shows the Dallas County Courthouse as it was then, without its now-replaced tower.)

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Good luck to the bidders this weekend. It’s a great painting!

dike-gallery_catalog-cover_oct-2018

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Sources & Notes

Image of Florence McClung’s painting “Triple Underpass” is from the David Dike Fine Art catalog, which is illustrated with the works to be auctioned on Saturday, October 27, 2018; the catalog can be viewed in its entirety, here (this painting and its description are on p. 45). The website of David Dike Fine Art is here. The prices realized for this auction can be found here — McClung’s painting is Lot 163.

I am unsure of the source of the 1945 aerial photo — I saved it years ago and did not make note of the source, although I highly suspect it is from one of the many fine collections held by SMU.

See McClung’s application for the DMFA show where “Triple Underpass” was shown, here; her checklist of works to be shown is here (both documents are from the Dallas Museum of Art’s Exhibition Records, via UNT’s Portal to Texas History).

The earlier Flashback Dallas post “Dallas Scenes by Florence McClung — 1940s” (with two other paintings from the same period as “Triple Underpass”) is here.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Nighttime Bird’s-Eye Views of Dallas

skyline_legacies_spring-2012All lit up… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

In my opinion, Dallas has always been most impressive at night. The view above is from the east. Among other familiar landmarks, we see skyline icons the Mercantile Building, the Sheraton Hotel, the Southland Life Building (at the time the city’s tallest building), and the rocket-topped Republic Bank Building (previously the city’s tallest building). I think that’s Live Oak St. on the left running in and out of downtown and Bryan on the right.

And, below, a view toward the east, with Jackson Street on the right, and dramatically-lit appearances by the Adolphus Hotel, the Magnolia Building, the Baker Hotel, and the Mercantile.

skyline_legacies_spring-2012_postcard

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Sources & Info

These postcard images were featured on the front and back covers of the Spring, 2012 issue of Legacies magazine (viewable on UNT’s Portal to Texas History site, here).

A similar photo (colorwise) to the second image above (but taken from a rotated angle) can be found in the Flashback Dallas post “Dallas Skyline At Night — ca. 1965” — this photo shows the skyline just a few short years later after the new Republic Tower II had appeared on the horizon and claimed the title as the city’s tallest building — the Southland Life Building’s reign was only about five years long..

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

A Rainy Opening Day of the State Fair of Texas — 1967

sfot_rain_1967_wbap_unt_fair-park_texas-carthageA damp day at the fair… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

It’s  been raining pretty heavily today. And the State Fair of Texas is underway. I always feel bad for the people visiting and working at the fair when it rains like this. What a disappointment!

It rained so much on Opening Day of the State Fair in 1967 that the downtown parade ended up being canceled, as did the ceremonial ribbon-cutting which was to have been performed by Governor John Connally. That day — Oct. 7, 1967 — was also Rural Youth Day, and newspaper reports estimated that more than 100,000 “farm boys and girls” from more than 200 Texas counties had traveled to Dallas for what turned out to be a soggy day at the fair. (But kids never seem to mind being out in the rain as much as adults do.)

Watch rainy footage of the parade preparations downtown and wet-haired teenagers at the fair in an atmospheric clip shot by WBAP Channel 5 News cameramen, collected and digitized by UNT (see bottom of this post for more info). The 1:47 film footage can be viewed here (be sure to watch it in full-screen mode).

Below are a few screenshots.

sfot_rain_1967_wbap_unt

At the top, a girl from Carthage, wearing a Future Farmers of America jacket (it was Rural Youth Day, and the FFA was well represented) as well as a couple of ladies in coif-preserving plastic rain bonnets.

Below, a rain-drenched downtown.

sfot_rain_1967_wbap_unt_street

El Chico float getting soaked.

sfot_rain_1967_wbap_unt_el-chico-float

Marching band guys taking shelter.

sfot_rain_1967_wbap_unt_band_mkt

Grandma as human umbrella.

sfot_rain_1967_wbap_unt_boy_grandmother

Quadrupedestrians. (Pretty sure horses shouldn’t be trotting along sidewalks….)

sfot_rain_1967_wbap_unt_horses_sidewalk

A break in the precip — rides are revved up.

sfot_rain_1967_wbap_unt_fair-park_ride

Menacing clouds as seen from the top of the Comet.

sfot_rain_1967_wbap_unt_fair-park_top-of-roller-coaster


sfot_rain_san-antonio-express-news_100867
San Antonio Express-News, Oct. 8, 1967

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Sources & Notes

Screenshots are from the video titled “News Clip: 1967 Texas State Fair Begins, Parade Rained Out.” It is part of the KXAS-NBC 5 News Collection and was provided by UNT Libraries Special Collections to The Portal to Texas History, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. More info — including the video itself — can be accessed here.

More rainy-day SFOT weather can be seen in this clip from 1970, courtesy of SMU.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Palace — 1969

palace-theatre_1969_color_portalMovies and Dilly Bars, Elm Street, 1969… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The only thing more exciting than seeing a cool nighttime photo of Dallas’ Theater Row with neon blazing, is discovering that there was once a Dairy Queen downtown!

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UPDATE: That DQ was there for a VERY short time. It shows up in none of the directories. In fact, its address — 1621 Elm — shows as “vacant” in the 1969, 1970, and 1971 city directories (it was occupied in 1968 by a newsstand — the Elm Street News — until it was raided that year for selling nudie mags). The address disappears altogether after the 1971 directory (it and the Palace Theatre were demolished in 1971). The only evidence I can find of the downtown Dairy Queen’s brief existence on Elm was in a handful of want-ads placed in October, 1969 (about the same time this photo was taken). My guess is that DQ bugged out when they learned the building was going to be torn down. It may have been there only a couple of months. Downtown DQ, we hardly knew ye.

dairy-queen_elm-street_100269Oct. 2, 1969

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Sources & Notes

“Exterior of Palace Theatre at Night” is from the Lovita Irby Collection via the Spotlight on North Texas project, UNT Media Library, and may be viewed on UNT’s Portal to Texas History site here.

The movie on the marquee is “A Nice Girl Like Me,” starring Barbara Ferris, which opened at the Palace on Sept. 19, 1969.

The Palace Theatre was located on the north side of Elm Street, just west of Ervay, at 1625 Elm — by 1969, “Theater Row” consisted of only a handful of theaters. The Palace (and the building housing the Dairy Queen) was demolished in 1971; most of the north side of that block is now occupied by Thanksgiving Tower.

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Copyright © 2018 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!

DTC_pedestrians-1_main-ervay_1970_SMU


DTC_pedestrians-4_main-ervay_1970_SMU


DTC_pedestrians-3_main-ervay_1970_SMU


DTC_pedestrians-5_main-ervay_1970_SMU

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.)

DTC_pedestrians-6_main-ervay_1970_SMU_sm


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.

 

A Drive Through Downtown — 1970

DTC_main-harwood_SMUDowntown Dallas, in living color… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The curators of the G. William Jones Film & Video Collection at SMU have released a short film from the Dallas Theater Center Collection. This wonderful 35mm color footage shows downtown Dallas in about March of 1970 (the four movies shown on the marquees of the Majestic, the Capri, the Tower, and the Palace were all playing that month). The camera has been mounted on top of an (off-duty) emergency vehicle, and it’s a leisurely (silent) drive around downtown — it’s kind of thrilling when the slo-mo kicks in. A few screen captures are below, but you really must watch the film — and be sure to expand it to a full-screen view. (There is more to come from this source, and I will write about this Dallas Theater Center project when SMU unveils further footage.)

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A few screenshots (apologies for the graininess — the video is much crisper):

1. Main and Harwood, heading east (seen at the top of this post) — the White Plaza hotel (now the Indigo) is on the left, the Municipal Building is on the right. Same view today is here. [EDIT: the Google Street View links appear to work only on a desktop computer. When I try clicking the links on my phone I get views which show only the general vicinity. So … argh.]

2. Elm Street, heading west (below) — the Majestic Theatre is at the right (now playing: Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here with Robert Redford). Same view today is here. (All images are larger when clicked.)

DTC_elm_majestic_SMU

3. Elm Street — the Capri (showing the X-rated Italian film The Libertine) and the Tower (showing Jenny, with Marlo Thomas and Alan Alda). Same view today is here.

DTC_elm-capri-tower_SMU

4. Elm and St. Paul. Same view today is here.

DTC_elm-st-paul_SMU

5. Elm Street, just past Ervay — the Palace (showing The Only Game in Town with “Liz” Taylor and Warren Beatty). Same view today is here.

DTC_elm-palace_SMU

6. Main Street, heading east toward Griffin — One Main Place on the left, a blobby Pegasus straight ahead. Same view today is here.

DTC_one-main-place_main-and-griffin_SMU

7. Main Street, a little further east — that fantastic old building with the T & P ghost sign and home of the wonderfully seedy-looking Dallas Liquor Store (1112 Main) is now the pretty little Belo Garden. Same view today is here.

DTC_one-main-place_1100 block-main_SMU

8. Main, approaching Akard. (The Eatwell Cafe was at 1404 Main.) Same view today is here.

DTC_1400-block-main_SMU

9. Main and St. Paul — Titche’s department store on the left, Margie’s Dress Shop and Cokesbury Books (great sign!) on the right. Same view today is here. (Big change!)

DTC_main-st-paul_SMU

10. Main and Harwood, turning right onto Harwood. Same view today is here.

DTC_main-harwood_turn_SMU

11. South Harwood and Jackson, heading south — First Presbyterian Church is straight ahead. Same view today is here.

DTC_harwood_SMU

12. South Akard heading north — Dallas Convention Center is on the left. Same view today is here.


DTC_convention-center_s-akard_SMU

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Sources & Notes

Screenshots from the video “DTC Downtown Dallas” on YouTube, here; from the Dallas Theater Center Collection, held at Southern Methodist University. Many thanks, as always, to curator Jeremy Spracklen.

More 35mm color footage from this Dallas Theater Center project will be released in the near future. Keep up to date on these films as well as other fantastic archival DFW footage held by SMU by following @SMUJonesFilm on Twitter or SMUJonesFilm on Facebook.

UPDATE: Watch a short clip from the DTC Collection showing a colorful parade of pedestrians at Main and Ervay, as well as a nice shot of the old Jefferson Hotel — all captured on 35mm color film in 1970 — here.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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