Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Downtown

“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 $210,000 — 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.

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.

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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.

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El Chico float getting soaked.

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Marching band guys taking shelter.

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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!

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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.

 

Skyline — 1926

dallas_goodwill-tour_1926_SMU

by Paula Bosse

This impressive view of the Dallas skyline appeared in a 1926 promotional booklet touting the city’s progressive spirit and intense growth. Click it.

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Sources & Notes

Image is from the 1926 booklet “Dallas, Good Will Tour,” which is held by the DeGolyer Library, SMU Libraries, Southern Methodist University; information on this downloadable publication may be found here.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Dallas in “The Western Architect,” 1914: City Buildings and Churches

parkland-hospital_western-architect_july-1914

by Paula Bosse

The 7-part Flashback Dallas series of buildings and houses featured in the Dallas issue of The Western Architect finally comes to an end! What I thought would be a quick and painless way to share tons of cool Dallas photos I’d never seen has turned into a seemingly endless dive into the research of a whole slew of buildings, most of which I knew very little (if anything) about. I feel like I’ve been through an immersive, three-week course in “Lang & Witchell”!

This final installment features buildings built by the city (mostly fire stations) and a few churches — six of these eight buildings are still standing. Today’s star architects are Hubbell & Greene.

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1.  PARKLAND HOSPITAL (above), Oak Lawn & Maple avenues, designed by Hubbell & Greene. This new, sturdy, brick “city hospital” was built in 1913 on the beautiful park-like 20-acre-site of the previous city hospital (the old wood frame building — built in 1894 — was cut in pieces and moved farther back on the property, “across a ravine” — it was reassembled and for a time housed patients with chronic and contagious diseases and was the only institution in Dallas at the time that served black and Hispanic patients — part of this old building can be seen at the left in the background of the photo above). The new hospital was “entirely fireproof” and was built with very little wood  — other than the doors, trim, and banister railings, it was all steel, cement, reinforced concrete, plaster, and brick. The original plans called for two wings, but the city had to put construction of the second wing on the backburner until funds became available. As it was, this one-wing hospital (with beds for 100 patients) cost in excess of $100,000 ($2.5 million in today’s money). The building still stands but is barely visible these days behind a wall, trees, and dense shrubbery — it is surrounded by a huge, recently-built complex of similarly-styled buildings. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.) (All images are larger when clicked.)

parkland_psotcard_1914_pinterest
postcard dated 1914, via Pinterest

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2.  ART BUILDING, Fair Park, designed by Hubbell & Greene. Known as the Art & Ladies’ Textile Building when it was erected in 1908, this domed building gave Dallas its first public art museum. No longer would the 14 paintings owned by the Dallas Art Association (including works by Childe Hassam and Robert Henri) be relegated to being displayed (when staff was available) in a room in the public library. The building was initially built as a nod to “ladies” and was the place where textile crafts and artworks were displayed during the State Fair (Texas artist Julian Onderdonk was given the task of beating the bushes in New York City for works to be loaned for display in this building during the fair). The art gallery was set in the rotunda — a sort of gallery within a gallery — while textiles and other exhibits were shown in the outer area of the octagonal building. One interesting bit of trivia about the construction of this building is that it was built largely of cement blocks — 70,000, according to newspaper reports. In order to facilitate construction, a “cement block plant” was set up on the grounds in Fair Park, turning out hundreds of blocks a day, which were then laid out to “season” in the sun. (Incidentally, this building was under construction during the historic flood of 1908 — which the newspaper refers to as “the recent high water,” and the bad weather was slowing the construction process.) The building is no longer standing, but it seems to have lasted at least through the end of 1956. It stood just inside the Parry Avenue entrance, to the left, next to the Coliseum (now the Women’s Building) — the site is now occupied by a parking lot directly behind the D.A.R. house. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

fair-park_art-bldg_western-architect_july-1914

fair-park_textile_fine-arts-bldg_postcard

art-and-textile-bldg_dma_uncrated_interior
via Dallas Museum of Art blog “Uncrated”

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3.  CENTRAL FIRE STATION, 2012 Main Street (adjoining the Municipal Building), designed by Lang & Witchell. When Adolphus Busch acquired the land Dallas’ City Hall and central fire station sat on (in order to build his Adolphus Hotel), there was a sudden springing to action to build new homes for both displaced entities. The new location for the firehouse was in a building facing Main, adjacent to the new Municipal Building — when it became the headquarters for the Dallas Fire Department in 1913, the already-standing two-story building was remodeled, and a third floor was added. It was, I believe, the first Dallas firehouse built without horse stalls, as it housed only motorized firefighting vehicles. The building’s use as a fire station ended in the 1920s; it was thereafter used by other municipal offices: for a while in the 1930s its third floor was used as a women’s jail, and for many years it was the site of Dallas’ corporation court. It looks like the building is still there, but I’m unsure of its current use. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

firehouse_central-fire-station_western-architect_july-1914

central-fire-station_dallas-firefighters-museum_portalDallas Firefighters Museum, via Portal to Texas History

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4.  OAK LAWN FIRE STATION, Cedar Springs & Reagan, designed by Hubbell & Greene. This still-active firehouse (!) — Dallas’ first “suburban” fire station — was built in 1909 as the home of No. 4 Hook and Ladder Company. When construction of the building was announced, it was described as being a gray brick structure topped by a roof of “cherry red Spanish tiling.” It was — and still is — a beautiful building. (I’ve written about this firehouse previously, here.) (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

firehouse_oak-lawn_western-architect_july-1914

firehouse_oak-lawn_western-architect_july-1914_architectural-details_2

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5.  NO. 6 ENGINE COMPANY, Forest Avenue (now MLK Blvd.) & Kimble, South Dallas, designed by H. B. Thomson. This South Dallas fire station was built in 1913 and was in service until 1955 when it was demolished to make way for the “South Central Expressway” (see more photos in a previous post on this, here). (See it on a 1922 Sanborn map, here.)

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Dallas Firefighters Museum, via Portal to Texas History

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6.  FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, S. Harwood & Wood, designed by C. D. Hill. Built in 1911-12, this impressive building boasted “the largest monolith columns in the city” (a claim which might have been surpassed by architect Hill’s be-columned Municipal Building built soon after this church, two blocks away — and rivaled by Hubbell & Greene’s Scottish Rite temple, one block away). Still standing and much expanded, the church is still looking great. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

first-presbyterian-church_western-architect_july-1914

first-presbyterian-church_dmn_032412Dallas Morning News, March 24, 1912

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7.  WESTMINSTER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 2700 Fairmount (at Mahon), designed by Hubbell & Greene. Before looking this one up, I had no idea what part of town this church was in — I was surprised to see it was in the area now known as “Uptown” … and it’s still standing. This congregation (organized in 1892) had occupied churches in the McKinney Avenue/State-Thomas area for several years before this church was built in 1910-11. When the congregation moved to their current location on Devonshire in the 1940s, the building was taken over by Memorial Baptist Church. When that congregation was dissolved, the church was given — for free! — to the First Mexican Baptist Church (Primera Iglesia Bautista Mexicana). After several decades, they, too, eventually moved to a new location, and the old church has had a variety of occupants come and go. (Read about its recent past — and see tons of photos — at Candy’s Dirt, here.) (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

westminster-presbyterian-church_western-architect_july-1914

westminster-presbyterian-church_websitevia Westminster Presbyterian Church website

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8.  FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST, corner of Cadiz & Browder, designed by Hubbell & Greene. This Christian Science church was built in 1910 on the southern edge of downtown for $100,000 (over 2.5 million dollars in today’s money). Following its days as a Christian Science church, it has had secular and non-secular occupants. It still stands (as a lonely building in what is mostly a sea of parking lots), and it is currently a house of worship once again. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

first-church-of-christ-scientist_western-architect_july-1914_exterior

first-church-of-christ-scientist_western-architect_july-1914_foyer

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And that concludes this 7-part series featuring photos from the 1914 all-Dallas issue of the trade publication The Western Architect, which can be viewed in its entirety (with additional text), here (jump to p. 195 of the PDF for the July, 1914 scanned issue).

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Sources & Notes

The Western Architect, A National Journal of Architecture and Allied Arts, Published Monthly, July, 1914. This issue, with text and critical analysis in addition to the large number of photographs, has been scanned in it entirety by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as part of its Brittle Books Program — it can be accessed in a PDF, here (the Dallas issue begins on page 195 of the PDF). Thank you, UIUC!

In this 7-part series:

western-architect-in-dallas_dmn_060414
Dallas Morning News, June 4, 1914

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Dallas in “The Western Architect,” 1914: Places of Leisure, Etc.

hippodrome-theater_western-architect_july-1914

by Paula Bosse

Continuing with the series of photos from the all-Dallas issue of The Western Architect, which featured photos of new buildings which had popped up all over the city between the years of about 1910 to 1914. Today, in an attempt to categorize the seven buildings in this post, I’ve decided on “places of leisure” — although one of the places is a high school, and a high school is hardly a place of leisure. Two of these buildings are still standing: one which you’ve no doubt heard of as being at death’s door for a few decades now, and the other… well,  you’ve probably never seen it or been aware of it (but it’s my favorite one in this group!). 

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1.  THE HIPPODROME THEATER (above), 1209 Elm Street, designed by architects Otto Lang & Frank Witchell. Built along Dallas’ burgeoning “theater row” in 1912-1913, the Hippodrome was one of the city’s grandest “moving picture playhouses.” Among its lavish appointments was this odd little tidbit: “Over the proscenium arch there is an allegorical painting representing Dallas as the commercial center of the Southwest,” painted by the theater’s decorator, R. A. Bennett. Below was a fire curtain emblazoned with a depiction of Ben Hur (a “hippodrome” was a stadium for horse and chariot races in ancient Greece). So that was a nice little weird culture clash. Though originally a theater which showed movies exclusively, it eventually became a theater featuring movies as well as live vaudeville acts. As the Hippodrome became less and less glamorous, it resorted to somewhat seedier burlesque acts (it was raided more than once,for employing female performers who were too scantily clad) and the occasional boxing or wrestling match. The building was sold several times and was known as the Joy Theater, the Wade, the Dallas, and, lastly, the Strand. I was shocked to learn this old-looking-when-it-was-new building stood for almost 50 years and wasn’t demolished until 1960 (that façade must have looked very different by then). (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.) (All images are larger when clicked.)

hippodrome_theater-row_night_postcard_flickr_coltera
via Flickr

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2.  THE CAMPBELL HOUSE HOTEL, 2004 Elm Street (southeast corner of Elm & Harwood), designed by Lang & Witchell. A few blocks east on Elm from the Hippodrome was the Campbell Hotel, built in 1910-1911 by Archibald W. Campbell, a man who knew how to invest in Dallas real estate and left an estate worth more than a million dollars when he died in 1917 (a fortune equivalent to almost $20 million today). The Campbell Hotel lasted until 1951, when it  was sold and became the New Oxford Hotel. It was demolished sometime before 1970; the site is currently occupied by a parking garage. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

campbell-house_western-architect_july-1914

campbell-house_flickr_coltera_ca-1918

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3.  DALLAS AUTOMOBILE COUNTRY CLUB, at the time 6 miles north of Dallas (roughly at what is now Walnut Hill and Central Expressway), clubhouse designed by Lang & Witchell. Built in 1913/1914, this club for wealthy “automobilists” was located on what was originally 26 acres donated by W. W. Caruth — in order to get there, you had to drive, which was part of the relaxing experience this golf course-free country club counted as one of its benefits. The club grounds included a 6-acre lake and was a popular site for boating, fishing, and swimming (a top-notch golf course was eventually added). The name of the country club changed a couple of times over the years: it became the Glen Haven Country Club in 1922 and then the Glen Lakes Country Club in 1933. Glen Lakes had a long run, but northward-development of Dallas was inexorable, and the club and golf course were closed in 1977 when the land the country club had occupied for over 60 years was sold for development. (See it on a 1962 map here — straddling Central Expressway — and just try to imagine the value of that land today.)

dallas-automobile-club-house_glenlakes_western-architect_july-1914

glen-lakes-country-club_aerial-photo_1959

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4.  DALLAS COUNTRY CLUB, Preston Road & Beverly Drive, clubhouse designed by C. D. Hill. One of the reasons the Dallas Automobile Country Club had to change its name was because people kept confusing it with the granddaddy of Dallas’ country clubs, the Dallas Country Club, in Highland Park, built in 1911 and still the most exclusive of exclusive local clubs and golf courses. (See part of the club’s acreage on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.) (I don’t think any of the original clubhouse still stands, but I could be wrong on this.)

dallas-country-club_western-architect_july-1914

dallas-country-club_matchbook_cook-collection_degolyer_smuvia DeGolyer Library, SMU

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5.  LAKEWOOD COUNTRY CLUB, 6430 Gaston Avenue, clubhouse designed by C. D. Hill. This East Dallas country club and golf course was built in 1913-1914 on 110 acres of “rolling prairie and wooded glades, broken with ravines and set with stately trees that offer puzzling hazards” (it was estimated that there were over 1,000 pecan trees on the land). I don’t know anything about golf, but trying to play a round on this original ravine-ravaged course sounds … exhausting. This large structure (which seems too big to be called a “clubhouse”!) stood in Lakewood until it was demolished at the end of 1959 or beginning of 1960 when a new clubhouse was built. (See it on a 1922 Sanborn map — out in the middle of NOTHING — here. Note that many of the street names have changed over the years, including Abrams, which was once called Greenville Rd.)

lakewood-country-club_western-architect_july-1914

lakewood-country-club_tea-room_western-architect_july-1914

lakewood-country-club_dmn_051813_drawingDallas Morning News, May 18, 1913

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6.  DALLAS HIGH SCHOOL, Bryan & Pearl streets, designed by Lang & Witchell. Located on the site of the previous Dallas High School, this new building was built in 1908. For years Dallas’ only (white) high school, the building expanded over the years and has been known by a variety of names (Dallas High School, Bryan Street High School, Crozier Tech, etc.). I like this description of the original “somewhat novel” color scheme of the classrooms: the ceilings were in cream, the “under wall” in warm green, then the blackboards, and beneath them, the walls, in RED. This building has valiantly managed to survive for 110 years — seemingly forever under threat of demolition — but it still stands and, recently renovated into office space, it appears to have a rosy future. (See the main school building on a 1921 Sanborn map here; the gymnasium is here.)

dallas-high-school_western-architect_july-1914

dallas-high-school_flickr_colteravia Flickr

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7.  SEARS, ROEBUCK & COMPANY OF TEXAS, EMPLOYEES’ CLUB HOUSE, S. Lamar & Belleview, designed by Lang & Witchell. I love this little building! When plans for the 1913 expansion of the massive Sears warehouse were drawn up, this modest building was to be a (three-story) clubhouse for employees. A description of the not-yet-built expansion included this:

This clubhouse will contain ample cafeteria, dining room and lunch room [space] to accommodate 600 employees at one time. The main cafeteria will be so arranged that it can be turned into an assembly room for the benefit of the employees, having a stage built at one end, and means will be afforded for all variety of social, musical and athletic activities as may be developed by the employees themselves. (Dallas Morning News, Feb. 5, 1913)

What a perk! But by 1918, Sears had basically outgrown the building (which had ultimately been built as only one story, with a half-basement), and the company offered the use of it to the Dallas YWCA who used it as an “industrial branch” lunchroom/cafeteria (and lounge) in which meals were served to both YWCA members as well as to the general public (including many who worked at Sears). Prices of these wholesome meals served by wholesome girls varied over the years from a nickel to 25 cents — 200-400 patrons were served daily. The building’s half-basement was used as the men’s dining room and as a gymnasium for the YWCA girls (I believe it was also made available to Sears-Roebuck employees). (Read an article about this little “industrial branch” of the YWCA in a Dallas Morning News article from Aug. 15, 1920, here). The YWCA used this Sears building from at least 1918 to 1922. I’m not sure what its use was after the YWCA closed their “Sears-Roebuck Branch,” but I’m delighted to see that it still stands as part of the South Side on Lamar complex. (See the employee club house on a 1921 Sanborn map, here — it appears to be connected to one of the main buildings by a tunnel).

sears-warehouse_western-architect_july-1914_clubhouse-det

sears-roebuck_postcard_ebay_det
Detail of this postcard

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Next: churches, firehouses, an art gallery, and a hospital (the last installment!).

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Sources & Notes

The Western Architect, A National Journal of Architecture and Allied Arts, Published Monthly, July, 1914. This issue, with text and critical analysis in addition to the large number of photographs, has been scanned in it entirety by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as part of its Brittle Books Program — it can be accessed in a PDF, here (the Dallas issue begins on page 195 of the PDF). Thank you, UIUC!

In this 7- part series:

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Dallas in “The Western Architect,” 1914: The Adolphus Hotel

adolphus_terracotta-detail_western-architect_july-1914
Behold… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

My look at buildings and houses featured in the 1914 issue of The Western Architect continues — today: the Adolphus Hotel.

In June, 1910 it was announced that St. Louis beer magnate Adolphus Busch would buy the land beneath the then-current city hall at Commerce and Akard for $250,000 in order to build a 20-story, one-million-dollar hotel. The City of Dallas — who owned the land — was all for it, even though their city offices, the police department, and a firehouse were currently occupying the site. Talk about clout. (Money talks, and the amount that Mr. Busch was about to sink into Dallas was equivalent in today’s money to about 34 million dollars. Desks were being cleaned out before the ink was dry on the check.) It was agreed that the city would quickly establish a temporary city hall (on Commerce, opposite the YMCA), find new quarters for the police department, and relocate the No. 4 Engine Company. The old city hall was demolished in October, 1910, and the city scrambled to come up with plans for a new city hall.

This new hotel — when completed, Dallas’ tallest building — was built catty-corner to another Busch-owned hotel, the swanky Oriental Hotel (in later years the site of the Baker Hotel). During the early days of construction, this new million-dollar building was referred to as “the New Oriental,” but it was ultimately decided to call it “The Adolphus” (ostensibly by a groundswell of the grateful people of Dallas, in a newspaper contest). When informed of the city’s desire that this great new hotel be named after himself, Busch responded thusly in a telegram to the Dallas Chamber of Commerce:

If all those interested in the new hotel and the good people of Dallas desire to name the great hostelry now being erected “The Adolphus” I shall cheerfully acquiesce and be proud of it. I sincerely and earnestly hope that this new palace will be a source of pride and pleasure to all concerned and may be another step in the movement for a greater Dallas. Very sincerely, Adolphus Busch. (Dallas Morning News, March 10, 1911)

Excavation of the site (by Vilbig Bros.) began in January, 1911 and took 4 months.

adolphus_excavation_dmn_052111The old Oriental watches over the “New Oriental,” DMN, May 21, 1911

The rest of the construction of what The News described as “the tallest hotel building in the world” went smoothly, except for one hitch: the dreaded prospect of Prohibition in Dallas. All work was halted in July, 1911 by the powers-that-be in the Busch camp. After recent Texas elections, it seemed a very real possibility that Dallas would go for the “local option” and put laws into place severely restricting, if not downright banning, the sale of alcohol. The Busch representative issued a lengthy statement on why they could not go ahead with the project if that were to happen — not because the money was coming from a man with massive brewery holdings, he said, but because such a prospect would be death to a major hotel: out-of-town visitors accustomed to imbibing would avoid Dallas like the plague. (Read the very strong — though likely disingenuous — statement, here.)

But something happened between that “we absolutely will not build here if Prohibition is on the horizon” proclamation made on July 30, and August 1 when work was resumed. All that was said in news accounts was that the Busch representative was swayed by stockholders, local businessmen, and concerned citizens who urged the completion of the hotel (which was already up to seven stories high when worked had been stopped). This all sounds odd — like some sort of power-play or shake-down, but whatever it was, work resumed, and the hotel opened to a rapturous welcome in October, 1912.

…And Prohibition did come to Dallas — it went into effect in November, 1913, one year after the hotel opened and just seven-and-a-half weeks after Adolphus Busch had died while on vacation in Germany. RIP, Adolphus. Your beautiful, no-expense-spared hotel continues to be, as you had hoped, “a source of pride and pleasure” for the city of Dallas.

adolphus-busch_wikipedia
Adolphus Busch, via Wikipedia

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All of that is a bit of a lengthy prologue to the article about the Adolphus which appeared in the 1914 issue of The Western Architect. The photos from the article are below; the text is here (it is, incidentally, the same text provided by the Busch company to local newspapers when the hotel opened). (All photos are larger when clicked.)

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THE ADOLPHUS HOTEL, northwest corner Commerce and Akard, designed by Tom Barnett of Barnett, Haynes & Barnett of St. Louis.

adolphus_western-architect_july-1914

adolphus_terracotta-detail_western-architect_july-1914

adolphus_entrance-detail_western-architect_july-1914Akard Street entrance (those lamps!)

adolphus_ladies-tea-room_western-architect_july-1914Ladies’ tea room

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Next: a hotel, a theater, clubhouses, and a school.

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Sources & Notes

The Western Architect, A National Journal of Architecture and Allied Arts, Published Monthly, July, 1914. This issue, with text and critical analysis in addition to the large number of photographs, has been scanned in it entirety by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as part of its Brittle Books Program — it can be accessed in a PDF, here (the Dallas issue begins on page 195 of the PDF). Thank you, UIUC!

Adolphus Busch never saw the Adolphus Hotel or the Busch Building (later renamed the Kirby Building) in person — in fact, he visited Dallas only once, in 1892, when he arrived to check out his new endeavor, the Oriental Hotel. Read an interview with him published during his Dallas stay (DMN, Dec. 1, 1892), here. (One of the questions he is asked is “Can beer be brewed successfully in the south?” To which Busch responds, “A kind of beer can be made here, but not good beer.” Something about the yeast….)

In this 7-part series:


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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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