Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Highland Park

Rugged Highland Park

highland-park_charles-arnold_postcard_postmarked-1909

by Paula Bosse

Two views of Turtle Creek, wending through Highland Park. The view above is from a postcard mailed to East Hampton, Long Island in 1909 (“Haven’t seen this but it must be true. Pretty good for Texas…”); the view below is from about 1915, the year Highland Park was incorporated (the photo appears to show the same three children seen in my earlier post, “Wading in Turtle Creek, 100 Years Ago”). (Both images of the bluff-lined creek are larger when clicked.)

dallas-educational-center_turtle-creek_ca-1916

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Sources & Notes

Top image is from a C. Weichsel postcard titled “Woodland Scene. Highland Park. Dallas, Tex.” (photo possibly by Charles A. Arnold). Another image of this postcard can be seen on the cover of the Fall, 2015 issue of Legacies (here); the story it illustrates is “Attempts to Annex the Park Cities,” here.

The black-and-white photo (captioned “Highland Park”) is from a booklet on Dallas education, published around 1916.

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Copyright © 2019 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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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).

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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: Park Cities Residences

edwards-h-l_estate_western-architect_july-1914_highland-park

by Paula Bosse

The magazine/journal The Western Architect devoted an entire issue in 1914 to then-recently completed architectural achievements in Dallas. It’s an incredible collection of photos, most of which I’d never seen. I will be devoting an entire week to these photos.

First up, notable residences, part one. These eight homes were built in Highland Park and University Park, both of which were beyond Dallas’ city limits at the time. All appear to have been built between 1911 and 1913. One is still standing (…possibly). (All photos are larger when clicked.)

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Residence 1: (above) the eye-wateringly beautiful HARRY L. EDWARDS estate, 4500 PRESTON ROAD, designed by architect C. D. Hill & Co., whose stunning Dallas Municipal Building/City Hall was under construction when this issue of The Western Architect was published. Edwards was a Welsh-born cotton tycoon who had been in Dallas since about 1899 and was said to have been the largest cotton buyer in the Southwest. And that was saying a lot — when cotton was king, money was no object, and Edwards spent a lot of money in the construction of his sprawling 6-acre estate. The house was perhaps most famously owned in later years by the late real estate mogul Trammel Crow, who purchased it in the early 1960s. If it looks vaguely familiar, you might have seen news footage of its recent demolition. …Um, yeah. (See the architect’s rendering and description of the not-yet-built “handsome residence” of H. L. Edwards, the “Prince of Cotton,” in a November, 1911 Dallas Morning News blurb, here.) (See this property on a 1921 Sanborn map, here — it is the second property north of Armstrong, just below the Highland Park Pumping Station. Note that these maps were issued a decade or so after most of the homes in this post were built — back then there were considerably fewer homes in Highland Park.)

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Residence 2: the somewhat less dazzling Highland Park home of JOHN B. HEREFORD, 3832 BEVERLY DRIVE, designed by Hubbell & Greene. Hereford was in insurance, and the house cost $15,000 to build (about $400,000 in today’s money). I’m a fan of what I hope is a doghouse, even though its roofline should really match that of the house and garage. (See it on the 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

hereford-j-b_western_architect_july-1914

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Residence 3: the lovely home of real estate man WILLIAM A. DYCKMAN, 3705 GILLON, also designed by Hubbell & Greene (and also costing $15,000). The children in the yard is a nice touch. Now demolished, it looked like this within living memory. (See it at the top, far right of a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

dyckman-w-a_house_western-architect_july-1914

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Residence 4: the simple-yet-stately home of FRANK C. CALLIER, JR., 4008 GILLON, designed by H. B. (Hal) Thomson. Callier was the son of the founder of the Trinity Cotton Oil Co. and the brother-in-law of Lena Callier, whose endowment  helped fund what later became the Callier Hearing and Speech Center. This is the only house in this group which may still stand. I’m not sure if the listing is current, but the house shows up on several real estate sites as being for sale as a “tear-down.” (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

callier-frank-house_highland-park_western-architect_july-1914

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Residence 5: another attractive but minimally adorned house in Highland Park, built for Butler Bros. general manager ANTHONY M. MATSON at 3715 MIRAMAR, designed by Harre M. Bernet. Here we see a view of both the front and the back. (It should be on this 1921 Sanborn map, but I can’t find this address!)

matson-a-m_house_highland-park_western-architect_july-1914_front

matson-a-m_house_highland-park_western-architect_july-1914_back

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Residence 6: a house designed for bridge-builder FRANK E. AUSTIN, 4015 BEVERLY DRIVE, by architect Hal Thomson. It’s not terribly sexy, but the Dallas News dubbed it an “Example of Civic Attractiveness,” in November, 1913. Seems like the house is in dire need of a veranda (or at least a larger porch) to accommodate all that furniture. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

austin-frank-house_highland-park_western-architect_july-1914

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Residence 7: the house of civic and business leader CLARENCE LINZ, 4419 HIGHLAND DRIVE, beautifully designed by Lang & Witchell. This is the house of my dreams. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

linz-clarence-house_western-architect_july-1914

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Residence 8: an oddball structure built by gravel man RHEA MILLER in rugged and mostly undeveloped University Park at 6221 PRESTON ROAD (which later became 6421, at the southwest corner of Preston and University), designed by architect Ernest E. McAnelly (Miller’s brother-in-law, who died suddenly in 1916 at the age of 33). It was made of concrete, and it almost seems to have been built to prove to people that, yes, you, too, can have a great big house made out of concrete. Or it might have been a tax write-off, seeing as it was featured in a 1914 ad for the company Miller worked for, the J. Fred Smith Gravel Co., under the caption, “A concrete residence on Preston Road, near Dallas, made from our pit-run gravel. The walls were made of four sacks of cement to one cubic yard of pit-run gravel. The floors are one to five.” The grainy photo from the ad is here. This out-in-the-boonies house didn’t have an actual address for years — it was just simply “Preston Road, south of University.” I have no idea when it was torn down, but that must have taken considerable more effort than the usual residential demolition. A classified ad from 1931 read, “Eight rooms, concrete home, 6221 Preston Road. On bus line. Fireproof.” It’s hulking and, well, hulking, but … it’s kind of interesting. The longer I look at it, the more it grows on me. Not only was this fortress fireproof, but once sequestered inside, you were pretty much safe from enemy attack or almost any natural disaster — except maybe a sinkhole or quicksand. Pit-run gravel never looked so inviting.

miller-rhea-house_preston-road_western-architect_july-1914

I’m fascinated by the concrete house and have been trying to determine exactly where it was and when it was demolished. For many years its address was 6221 Preston Road, but the address seems to have changed to become 6421 Preston sometime between 1939 and 1941. William H. Lohman owned a house at that address (probably still the same concrete house?) between about 1933 and 1956 when whatever house was there at the time was torn down to build the Presley Apartments (which were themselves torn down in 2007 in order to make way for the next-door Church of Christ expansion). That block of Preston — the southwest corner of Preston and University — is now home to the Preston Road Church of Christ. The only online Sanborn map I’ve been able to find with the house on it is from a 1952 update (Vol. 7, sheet 728), but it is illegible. The house sits on a very large lot. Below is detail of that map (click to see a larger, but still impossible to read, image):

concrete-house_sanborn_1952_vol-7_sheet-728_det

I would love more information about this concrete house!

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Next: eight more fabulous homes, in Munger Place and Old East Dallas, South Dallas, Oak Cliff, and a cool, still-standing apartment house on Routh Street. Amazingly, six out of the eight are still alive and kicking. That post is here.

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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.

Highland Park Village From Above

h-p-village_HPHS_1966_ad-detPlenty of parking, above & below ground… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

This bird’s-eye view of Highland Park Village is from an ad placed in the Highland Park High School yearbook by Flippen-Prather, who really wanted to stress how there was NO PARKING PROBLEM at this convenient “North Dallas” location, above ground and below ground. Don’t worry, Flippen-Prather had you covered.

h-p-village_HPHS_1966_text1966 ad

Fifty years on from this ad, Highland Park Village is physically still recognizable, just expanded. The tenants, however, are now much more chi-chi.

hp-village_google-2017Google, 2017

I’m not sure when the top photo was taken, but it appeared in the 1966 Highland Park High School yearbook. Here are the tenants of Highland Park Village in 1966 (click to see a larger image).

hp-village_1966-directory

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Sources & Notes

Ad for Highland Park Village/Flippen-Prather Stores, Inc. appeared in the 1966 Highland Park High School yearbook.

Color image from Google.

Listing of Highland Park Village businesses is from Polk’s Greater Dallas City Directory, 1966.

All images larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Highland Park High School: Ads from the 1966 Yearbook

ad_HPHS_1966_goffs“Senior Cools” at Goff’s… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Yesterday I posted photos from the 1966 Highland Park High School Highlander yearbook — today I’m posting a lot of ads from the same yearbook, many of which include students posing at the businesses. Most of the ads are larger if you click them.

Above, Goff’s. My mother refused to patronize this establishment as the owner once said something disparaging about my shaggy-haired 10-year-old brother (Mr. Goff really didn’t like long hair on boys and men), so I’m one of the few native-born Dallasites who never had a Goff’s hamburger.

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On the other hand, I enjoyed a lot of Ashburn’s Ice Cream as a kid — the locations on Knox and on Skillman. I can’t remember ever getting anything other than Butter Pecan.

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Whittle Music Company. (I wrote about Whittle’s previously, here.)

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Hillcrest State Bank, designed by architect George Dahl.

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M. E. Moses, Snider Plaza. I didn’t grow up in the Park Cities, but my parents both went to SMU and my mother worked in University Park for several years, so I spent a lot of time as a kid wandering around HP Village and Snider Plaza as a kid. And what kid didn’t love a dime store? I can remember where everything was at that Moses. The memory of that ramp between what I always thought of the “sunny side” of the store and the cave-like dark side of the store is a weird, fond memory. (For some reason I never imagined there was actually a person named “M. E. Moses.”)

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Cooter’s Village Camera Shop.

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Cerf’s.

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Preston State Bank. I know that PSB was very early entering the credit card market — I remember my parents had a Presto-Charge card — but I’d never heard of this “Presteen” checking account geared to teenagers.

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Mr. Drue’s Beauty Salon — “We Specialize in Teen-Age Hair Styling.”

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Dr Pepper. Frosty, man, frosty.

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Bob Fenn Apparel for Men and Boys.

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Young Ages.

ad_HPHS_1966_young-ages

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Lou Lattimore.

ad_HPHS_1966_lou-lattimore

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Roscoe White’s Corral, Easy Way Grill, and Westerner. (My family’s favorite neighborhood restaurant was the Corral.)

ad_HPHS_1966_corral_easy-way_westerner

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Salih’s in Preston Center.

ad_HPHS_1966_salihs

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W. R. Fine Galleries. (This building is still standing on Cedar Springs.)

ad_HPHS_1966_fine-galleries

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Dick Chaplin’s School of Social Dancing.

ad_HPHS_1966_dick-chaplin-school-dancing

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Spanish Village.

ad_HPHS_1966_spanish-village

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Johnson Brothers Chevrolet. The daughter of one of the brothers was a close friend of my mother’s, and I remember visiting her parents’ house on St. Andrews  several times — that huge yard was pretty magical to me as a little girl.

ad_HPHS_1966_johnson-chevrolet

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Highland Park Cafeteria.

ad_HPHS_1966_highland-park-cafeteria

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Expressway Bowling Lanes.

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The Gondolier, 77 Highland Park Village. This photo was split across two pages, but I tried to piece it back together because this is a view you don’t see that often in a photo of Highland Park Village, looking east toward Preston. The space is currently occupied by Mi Cocina — see a similar view today, here.

ad_HPHS_1966-gondolier

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Marlow’s, “The Camera Store in Dallas Since 1915.”

ad_HPHS_1966_marlows-camera-store-northpark

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NorthPark without the Melody Shop is like a day without sunshine.

ad_HPHS_1966_melody-shop

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Speaking of music, here are a couple of ads placed by teen bands, something I’d never seen before — but what better way to market your band than to advertise in a high school yearbook?

After the Beatles first appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964, a million garage bands sprang up overnight. “Battle of the Bands” contests were ubiquitous. The two Dallas bands that had ads in the 1966 Highlander played all over town and participated in a few of these contests.

battle-of-the-bands_sept-1965
Sept., 1965

First, the Rogues — described in The Dallas Morning News as “a group of young socially prominent Dallas residents” (DMN, April 1, 1966): Rusty Dealey, Wirt Davis, Mitch Gilbert, Doug Bailey, and Mike Ritchey. “The Tuff Sound for Parties and Dances.”

ad_HPHS_1966_rogues

And the Outcasts (not to be confused with the cult-favorite garage band of the same name from San Antonio): Gary, Donny, David, Jim, and Wally. Dig that groovy background!

ad_HPHS_1966_outcasts

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Sources & Notes

All ads are from the 1966 Highland Park High School Highlander yearbook.

The companion post — “Highland Park High School: Photos from the 1966 Yearbook” — can be found here.

Click ads to see larger images.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Highland Park High School: Photos from the 1966 Yearbook

HPHS_1966_flagHPHS ROTC… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I love looking through old yearbooks. Highland Park High School in the mid ’60s was a happening place. Below are a few photos I particularly like — most of which show students away from the classroom. (All photos are larger when clicked.)

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The 1966 Highlander was dedicated to science teacher Margaret Sauer. The caption of this photo: “Mrs. Sauer takes a down to earth approach to the study of botany.”

HPHS_1966_margaret_sauer_science-teacher

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Here is student Carol Roach working on a painting:

HPHS_1966_carol-roach

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“Sophomores taking the California Mental Maturity Tests listen carefully to Mrs. Jones’ instructions.”

HPHS_1966_soph-test

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“Practicing snowball marksmanship not used for two years, Mark Shriver, Tony McClung, Fred Lundberg, and Ked Rike cavort in the snow outside school.” (The houses seen in the background are still there on Emerson.)

HPHS_1966_juniors_snowball-fight

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Speaking of cold weather, Vaughn Aldredge and Greg Uhl “brave the cold on the way to school wearing face masks.”

HPHS_1966-ski-masks

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Speaking of fashion statements:

HPHS_1966_fads

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Speaking of saddle shoes, “Shan Martin, Nan Weintraub, Betsy Wagner, and John Richardson exchange tips on cleaning their saddle oxfords.”

HPHS_1966_saddle-shoes

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Yeah, HPHS is known as the home of “the Scots,” and plaid fashions were everywhere in 1966: “Hi-Lites Big Sisters Beverly and Barbara Kuykendall entertain little sisters Connie See and Lisa Ferguson with lunch and shopping at NorthPark.”

HPHS_1966_hi-lites_northpark

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The 1965-1966 school year coincided with the construction of a new boys’ gym:

HPHS_1966_boys-gym-construction

HPHS_1966_boys-gym-construction_b

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HPHS BMOC: “Ken Hamlett, Bob Winstead, and Charles Watkins proudly don new letter jackets.”

HPHS_1966_letter-jackets

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In 1966, everyone had a band: “Scots listen to competition between the Aces, the Continentals, and the Townsmen at the Howdy Dance.”

HPHS_1966_band-competition

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If you’re at something called a “Howdy Dance” I guess you’d probably better dance: “Suzanne Rogers and Dale Hastings display their proficiency in dancing to the music of The Townsmen.”

HPHS_1966_dancing

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Transportation? Kids got places to go, man, and scooters are always cool: “Dare Majors and Nancy Northcutt take advantage of fall weather with a motorcycle ride.”

HPHS_1966_scooter

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But, come on, it’s Highland Park. It’s a Corvette or nothing: Alinda Hill checks the oil in her ’65 Stingray as Eddie Richburg looks on from behind the wheel of his Park Cities jalopy.

HPHS_1966_cars

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Coming next: Part 2 — ads for the hangouts, the businesses, and a couple of bands that were favorites of HPHS students in 1965-66.

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Sources & Notes

All photos from the pages of the 1966 Highlander, the yearbook of Highland Park High School.

All photos larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Gill Well

gill-well_highland-park_dallas-rediscoveredThe Highland Park pagoda… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I never heard of the Gill Well growing up — in fact, it wasn’t until around the time I started this blog — about three or four years ago — that I first became aware of it. Though largely forgotten today, the Gill Well used to be a pretty big deal in Dallas: for years, early-20th-century entrepreneurs tried valiantly and persistently to capitalize on the mineral-heavy artesian water from this well — the plan was to use this hot spring water in order to turn Dallas (or at least Oak Lawn) into, well, “the Hot Springs of Texas.” We came so close!

So — Gill Well? Who, what, when, where, why, and how?

In 1902 city alderman and water commissioner C. A. Gill proposed sinking an artesian well near the Turtle Creek pumping station in order to determine if the flow of water in underground springs was sufficient to augment Dallas’ water supply (there was, at the time, another such test well being drilled in West Dallas). The City Council was on board and wanted this test well to be a deep well, “the deepest in the state — in order to settle once and for all the question as to whether or not there lies beneath the earth in this section a body of water, or ‘an underground sea,’ as some call it, of sufficient size to supply the needs of all the people” (Dallas Morning News, Aug. 6, 1902).

Fellow alderman Charles Morgan explained Gill’s proposition to the people of Dallas in a prepared statement to the Morning News:

By sinking artesian wells it is not intended to abandon the plans proposed to secure an adequate storage supply from surface drainage, but that the artesian wells shall augment the supply. We can not get too much water, but if we secure an ample artesian supply our storage basins will be reserve. There will be no conflict. We simply make success double sure. (Alderman Charles Morgan, DMN, Aug. 24, 1902)

The well was sunk in September or October of 1902 near the Turtle Creek pumphouse (which was adjacent to where a later station was built in 1913, the station which has been renovated and is now known as the Sammons Center for the Arts — more on the construction of that 1913 station and a photo of the older pumphouse can be found here); the drilling was slow-going and went on until at least 1904, reaching a depth of more than 2,500 feet. It’s a bit out of my area of expertise, but, basically, good, palatable artesian water from the Paluxy sands — water “free from mineral taint” — was found, but, deeper, a larger reservoir of highly mineralized “Gill water” — from the Glen Rose stratum — was found. That was good news and bad news.

gill-well_dmn_120103Dallas Morning News, Dec. 1, 1903

The “bad news” came from the fact that a part of a pipe casing became lodged in the well, causing an obstruction in the flow of the “good” water from the Paluxy formation. Again, it’s a bit confusing, but the heavy flow of 99-degree-fahrenheit mineral water (which was corrosive to pipes) threatened to contaminate the “good” Paluxy water … as well as the water from the Woodbine formation from which most (all?) of the private wells in Dallas secured their water. (Read detailed geological reports on the well in a PDF containing contemporaneous newspaper reports here — particular notice should be paid to the comprehensive overview of the well and its problems which was prepared for the Dallas Water Commission by Engineer Jay E. Bacon and published in the city’s newspapers on May 10, 1905).

So what the City of Dallas ended up with as a result of this Gill Well was a highly dependable source of hot mineral water. But what to do with it? Monetize it!

As part of the city’s water supply, the mineral water was made available to Dallas citizens free of charge: just show up at one of the handful of pagoda-covered dispensing stations with a jar, a bucket, or a flask, and fill up with as much of the rather unpleasant-smelling (and apparently quite powerful!) purgative as you could cart home with you. (For those who didn’t want to mingle with the hoi polloi, home delivery was available for a small fee.) One such “pagoda” was erected a short distance away, in front of the city hospital (Old Parkland) at Maple and Oak Lawn (the healthful water was also piped directly into the hospital for patient use).

gill-well-parkland-pagoda_brenham-weekly-banner_040605
Brenham Weekly Banner, April 6, 1905

One man, however, began offering the water for sale beyond Dallas, hoping to cash in on the free-flowing tonic (see the mineral-content breakdown here), but the city clamped down on him pretty quickly as he was not an authorized agent. From his 1906 ad, one can see that the reputation of Gill water and its healing and restorative powers was already widely known.

gill-well-water_dmn_080206
DMN, Aug. 2, 1906

If the water was not to be sold, what was the City of Dallas going to do with it? It was decided to pipe the the water a short distance from the test well to nearby property adjacent to the land now occupied by Reverchon Park, then lease the access to the water to a capitalist who would build a sanitarium/spa where people could come to “take the waters” — to bathe in the naturally warm, mineral-heavy artesian water with mystical recuperative properties. The sanitarium would make money by charging its patrons for its services, and the city would collect a small annual income based on the number of the sanitarium’s bathing tubs and the amount of water used:

Compensation to the city shall be $10 per tub per year and one-half-cent per gallon for all water used. (DMN, Jan. 4, 1907)

The Gill Well Sanitarium and bath house opened in January, 1907, on Maple Avenue just north of the MKT Railroad (now the Katy Trail). (Most clippings and pictures in this post are larger when clicked.)

gill-well-sanitarium_dmn_010407DMN, Jan. 4, 1907

I searched and searched and searched for a picture of the building and, hallelujah, I finally found one, in the pages of The Dallas Morning News, taken by photographer Henry Clogenson. (This is the only picture I’ve been able to find of it, and, I have to say, it’s not at all what I expected the building to look like. It actually looks like something you’d see in a present-day strip mall.)

gill-well-sanitarium_dmn_011307_photoDMN, Jan. 13, 1907

gill-well-sanitarium_dmn_010607_ad
Advertisement, DMN, Jan. 6, 1907

Business at the new sanitarium was very good, and the public fountains/spigots at both the sanitarium property and a block or so away at the city hospital continued to be popular with residents who needed a boost or a “cure” and stopped by regularly for a sip or a pail of the free mineral water.

gill-well_ad_dallas-police-dept-bk_1910_portal1910 ad

In 1912 a natatorium (an indoor swimming pool) was added and proved even more popular. It was open to men, women, and children; admittance and bathing suit rental was 25¢ (about $6.50 in today’s money). (Contrary to the headline of the ad below, it was not Dallas’ first natatorium — there was one near City Park on South Ervay by at least 1890 — but it was probably the first pool in the city filled with warm mineral water.)

gill-well_natatorium_dmn_041412
DMN, April 14, 1912

gill-well-natatorium_dmn_070712
DMN, July 7, 1912

gill-well-natatorium_dmn_100612DMN, Oct. 6, 1912

The last paragraph of the ad above mentions a plan to pipe Gill water to a hotel downtown — not only would the Gill Well Sanitarium Company’s services be offered in the heart of the city amidst lavish hotel surroundings (instead of in Oak Lawn, way on the edge of town), but the company would also be able to compete with Dallas’ other (non mineral-water) Turkish baths — then they’d really be rolling in the cash. As far as I can tell, nothing came of the plan, but the men behind it were pretty gung ho, as can be seen in this rather aggressive advertorial from the same year:

ad-sanitorium-baths_blue-bk_1912The Standard Blue Book of Texas, 1912

All seemed to be going well with the sanitarium until the city and the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad (the MKT, or the Katy) decided to remove the railroad’s grade crossings through the Oak Lawn area (all work which was to be paid for by the railroad). Double tracks were to be added and crossings were either raised or the streets were lowered. The crossings affected were Lemmon, Cedar Springs and Fairmount (where street levels were cut down to go under the tracks) and Hall, Blackburn, and Bowen (where tracks would be elevated). Also affected: Maple Avenue. (Read more about the MKT plan in the Dallas Morning News article from Aug. 23, 1918 — “Dallas Is Eliminating Four Grade Crossings” — here.)

The Maple Avenue-Katy Railroad crossing had long been a dangerous area for wagons, buggies, and, later, automobiles. Not only was it at the top of a very steep hill (see what that general area north of that crossing looked like around 1900 here), but it also had two sharp curves. The decision was made to straighten Maple Avenue between the approach to the railroad crossing and Oak Lawn Avenue at the same time Maple was being lowered and the Katy track was being raised. (Read the announcement of this plan — “Straighten Maple Avenue Is Plan” — from the Nov. 29, 1917 edition of The Dallas Morning News, here.) The only problem — as far as the Gill Well Sanitarium was concerned — was that the straightened road would go directly through the sanitarium property. I don’t know if the long-time owner of the sanitarium, J. G. Mills, knew about this approaching dire situation, but in 1915 — just a few short months after boasting in advertisements that more than 50,000 patients had availed themselves of the sanitarium’s amenities in 1914 — he placed an ad seeking a buyer of the business (although, to be fair, he’d been trying to sell the company for years):

gill-well_dmn_080815_for-saleDMN, Aug. 8, 1915

(In the ad he states that the buyer had an option to purchase the actual well, but the city had never expressed any desire to sell either the well or the full rights to the water.)

The Gill Well Sanitarium Co. appears to have been dissolved in 1916, but there was still hope that a sanitarium/hot springs resort could continue on the property. In 1917, interested parties petitioned the city to change its plans to straighten Maple, arguing that it would destroy any ability to do business on the site, but the city went forward with its plans, and in November, 1919, the City of Dallas purchased the land from the group of partners for $21,500 (about $305,000 in today’s money).

gill-well_dmn_111319
DMN, Nov. 13, 1919

The monetization of water from Dallas’ fabled Gill Well ended after ten years.

I had never heard of Maple Avenue being straightened. Below is a map of Turtle Creek Park (which became Reverchon Park in 1915), showing Maple’s route, pre-straightening — the main buildings of the sanitarium were in the bulge just west of Maple, between the Katy tracks and the boundary of the park.

reverchon-park_turtle-creek-park_map_1914-15
1915 map, via Portal to Texas History

Another view can be seen in a detail from a (fantastic) 1905 map, with the approximate location of the Gill Well Sanitarium circled in white:

maple-ave_1905-map_portal_det_gill-wellWorley’s Map of Greater Dallas, 1905

A year or more ago I saw the photo below on the Big D History Facebook page but had no idea at the time what I was looking at: it apparently shows Maple Avenue in 1918, taken from about Wolf Street (probably more like Kittrell Street), which was then near the city limits, looking north. You can seen the curve Maple makes and the steep hill — that large building at the right must be the sanitarium and/or the later-built natatorium. (The view today can be seen here.)

maple-ave_road-construction_from-wolf_1918_big-d-history-FB

So the Gill Well Sanitarium and Bath House was closed, the land was purchased by the City of Dallas, Maple Avenue was straightened, and, in the summer of 1923, the remaining abandoned buildings on the property were demolished. But that didn’t spell the end of the famous Gill Well water.

Highland Park’s “Gill Water” Pagoda

Around 1924, “Gill water” tapped from the Glen Rose Strata was made available to Highland Park, via a small “watering house” and drinking fountain on Lakeside Drive (at Lexington), a location which proved to be quite popular. The mineral water was a byproduct of Highland Park’s “deep well” which was drilled in 1924 to tap the pure artesian springs of the Trinity Sands Strata in order to augment the water supply of the City of Highland Park: in order to get down to the Trinity Sands, one had to pass through the Glen Rose Strata — I guess the HP powers-that-be figured they might as well tap the hot mineral water and offer their citizens access to it by building a small fountain and dispensing station. In 1928, the little “watering station” structure was spiffed up with the addition of a tile roof, attractive walkways, and drainage. The photo seen at the top of this post has frequently been misidentified as the Reverchon Park well, but it is actually the Highland Park “pagoda.” Here it is again:

gill-well_highland-park_dallas-rediscoveredfrom the book Dallas Rediscovered

It can be identified as the Highland Park location because of the photo below from the George W. Cook collection of historic Dallas photos from SMU’s DeGolyer Library — it shows what appears to be a later view of the same pagoda, now slightly overgrown. The steps to the bridge across Exall Lake and the bridge’s railing can be seen at the far right (the bridge led to the Highland Park pumping station, which can be seen on a pre-watering-station 1921 Sanborn map here).

gill-well_highland-park_cook-collection_degolyer_smuGeorge W. Cook Collection, SMU

And, well, there’s the sign that reads “Highland Park Deep Wells — Free to the Pubic” — here’s a close-up:

gill-well_highland-park_cook-collection_degolyer_smu_det

(The same sign from the top photo can be seen in a high-contrast close-up here.)

After seeing this photo, I realized that a photo I featured in a post from last year showed the pagoda in what looks like its earliest days, at Lakeside Drive and Lexington Avenue (the bridge can be seen at the left):

hp_lakeside-drive_rppc_ebayeBay

I was unable to find out when this HP pagoda bit the dust, but the location as seen today on Google Street View is here. (It’s pretty strange to think that a steady stream of people from all over Dallas drove to the Park Cities to fill up jugs with free mineral water; my guess is that the wealthy Lakeside Avenue residents weren’t completely enamored of the situation.)

Reverchon Park Pavilion

Even though the Gill Well Sanitarium Co. had dissolved in 1916, and the last traces of its buildings had been torn down in 1923, the famed well’s water didn’t disappear from the immediate Oak Lawn area. In February of 1925, the City of Dallas opened a $5,000 pavilion, “making up for twenty years indifference to what is said to be the finest medicinal water in the South” (DMN, Feb. 11, 1925). This pet project of Mayor Louis Blaylock seems to have continued to be a place for Dallasites to get their mineral water at least through the 1950s, according to online reminiscences. This 1925 “pavilion” is described thusly in the WPA Dallas Guide and History:

The water, which resembles in many respects the mineral waters of European resorts and is used in several county and city institutions, is carried to the surface in pipes and can be drawn from taps arranged around a semicircle of masonry near the entrance to the park. Here cars stop at all hours of the day and people alight to drink the water or to fill bottles and pails.

I have not been able to find a photograph of that post-sanitarium dispensing site. A 1956-ish aerial photo of Reverchon Park can be found here. I don’t see a “semicircle of masonry” in an area I assume would be located near Maple Avenue and the Katy tracks.

According to a comment on the DHS Archives Phorum discussion group, there was also a public spigot nearer to the original well, along Oak Lawn Avenue, across the street from Dal-Hi/P. C. Cobb stadium.

There is surprisingly little accurate information on the Gill Well online. I hope this overview helps correct some of the misinformation out there. If anyone knows of additional photos of the sanitarium and/or natatorium, please send them my way and I’ll add them to this post. If there are any photos of the Reverchon Park pavilion, I’d love to see those as well. There is a 1926 photo of the Highland Park location which shows two women and two girls filling receptacles — I am unable to post that here, but check the Dallas Morning News archives for the short article “Free Mineral Well Waters Popular” (DMN, May 29, 1926).

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Incidentally, even though the wells have been capped, that hot mineral water is still there underground and could be tapped at any time. Dallas could still be the “Hot Springs of Texas”!

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Sources & Notes

Top photo is from p. 199 of Dallas Rediscovered by William L. McDonald. The photo is incorrectly captioned as showing the location of the “Gill Well Bath House and Natatorium, c. 1904” — it is actually the Highland Park dispensing station at Lakeside Drive and Lexington Avenue in about 1928.

Photo showing Maple Avenue, pre-straightening, is from the Big D History Facebook page; original source of photo is unknown.

Second photo of the Highland Park Gill Well location (with the vegetation looking a bit more overgrown) is from a postcard captioned “Drinking Bogoda [sic], deep mineral well in Highland Park, Dallas, Texas” — it is from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more information on this image is here.

Photo showing Lakeside Drive with the pagoda at the left is a real photo postcard captioned “Lake Side Drive in Highland Park” — it was offered last year on eBay.

Sources of all other clippings, ads, and maps as noted.

All images are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Lakeside Drive, Highland Park

hp_lakeside-drive_rppc_ebayLakeside Drive traffic… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Above is a photo of Lakeside Drive in Highland Park. When I saw the bridge at the left I immediately thought this was Lakeside Park at Lexington Avenue. Lexington would be the street on the right, on the other side of the streetlamp.

Is that some sort of covered seating area at the left, facing the street? This seems too early for bus stops — surely it’s not a jitney stop. (Were jitneys even allowed in Highland Park?) (UPDATE: Aha! It’s the public mineral-water fountain that dispensed the highly mineralized “Gill Well” water. More about this here.)

Here’s the view from the bridge — the waterfall! Lakeside Drive is to the right, out of frame. (UPDATE: Read more about this bridge in the comments below.)

exall-lake-waterfall

Roughly the same view (but with the bridge across Exall Lake hidden behind trees) can be seen here. A map is here.

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Sources & Notes

The photo — probably from the ‘teens? — is by L. J. Higginbotham and is from a real photo postcard titled “Lake Side Drive in Highland Park” — it is currently for sale on eBay, here.

See the Sanborn map from 1921, showing what was in this Lakeside/Lexington area at the time, here.

Every time I magnify the already blurry image, I swear I see a couple of people sitting on the bench under the covered area. But I might be imagining it. Or maybe they’re ghosts. Waiting for a bus.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Highland Park: The Ideal Residence Subdivision — 1907

ad-highland-park_072107Ideal! (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

HIGHLAND PARK
For natural charms it is in a class by itself.
Beautiful lakes, high altitudes, cool breezes.

And the fishing is great!

***

Ad from The Dallas Morning News, July 21, 1907.

Click for larger image.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The House at Crescent & Byron, Highland Park

connor-home_cook-colln_degolyerWelcome… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The photo of the house above caught my attention the other day. It’s exactly the sort of house I love, but I couldn’t get a good feel for the part of town it had been in. It took a while to track down, but when I did, I found that it was in Highland Park, at the southwest corner of Crescent and Byron, built about 1910. I had actually been leaning more in the direction of Old East Dallas, because when I think of Highland Park, I tend to imagine that it sprang fully landscaped and jam-packed with trees, even in its earliest days. But more surprising than learning that the house in this photograph was in Highland Park was discovering that it is STILL in Highland Park! It is still standing, and, more exciting, it is still recognizable and largely un-tampered-with! Take a look at it today, here.

After rummaging around various online databases, I determined that this lovely house was built sometime in 1910 for its first occupants, the C. U. Whiffen family, whose name appeared under a picture of their photogenic house in ads placed by Hann & Kendall, the real estate agents in charge of selling lots for the developers of Highland Park. A photo of the house first showed up in an ad from September, 1910 and was used again in May, 1911. (See the full ads here.)

whiffen_dmn_051411-ad-det

The Whiffen family moved into the house in 1910 from their previous home on McKinney Avenue.

whiffen_dmn_010811-NCR-ad-detCalvin U. Whiffen, seen in an NCR ad, DMN, Jan. 8, 1911

whiffen_1911-directory1911 city directory

Whiffen had interests in a couple of different businesses but was primarily associated with NCR, the National Cash Register company. When Whiffen was transferred to Los Angeles by NCR, he sold the house to former Dallas mayor W. C. Connor for $18,000 (a little under $500,000 in today’s  money).

connor_whiffen_dmn_122211DMN, Dec. 21, 1911

connor_1912-directory
1912 city directory

Winship C. Connor (also widely known as “Bud” Connor) was an interesting man whose contributions to the city were extremely important in its becoming a major metropolitan area. Not only did he serve multiple terms as mayor of Dallas (from 1887 to 1894), but, among other accomplishments, he also built the first waterworks system, the first streetcar line, and the first electric light plant. In later years, he presided over several companies, including the Consolidated Electric Street Railway Co.

connor_fuel-oil-journal_oct-1915Connor, pictured in the Fuel Oil journal, Oct. 1915

Connor moved from the house on Crescent Avenue to a house on Miramar in 1918 or 1919, and, in 1921, he died, at the age of 73. The top photo of the house was taken sometime between 1912 and 1919. He can be seen with his family, sitting on the porch, in this detail.

connor-home_cook-colln_degolyer-det1

The house has had very few owners throughout its 106 years. In one of those odd, happy coincidences, I’ve just discovered that one of those owners was Edward L. Wilson, Jr. (1920-2011). Ed Wilson was an engineer who had his office in a small building (now razed) on Maple Avenue, next door to the Stoneleigh Hotel. He leased out the ground floor to my father who ran The Aldredge Book Store there for over 20 years. Mr. Wilson was a man of few words, but very, very nice and an understanding landlord. I’m happy to learn that he and his family lived in this beautiful house for several years.

Here it is today.

crescent_dmn_032913DMN, Mar. 29, 2013

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Sources & Notes

Top photo, titled “Home of W. C. Connor, Dallas, Tex.,” is from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; it can be viewed here.

See inside this house in a Dallas Morning News video, here (for some reason, I am unable to view this video on my computer, but I can watch it on my phone). The house was a featured stop on a Highland Park Centennial celebration tour of homes in 2013. More photos of the house today can be seen on Douglas Newby’s Architecturally Significant Homes page, here.

Where is it?

crescent-byron_bing
Bing Maps

W. C. Connor was a man of great accomplishment — his Dallas Morning News obituary (Aug. 6, 1921) is here; his citation in A History of Greater Dallas and Vicinity is here; his Wikipedia page, here.

Click pictures for larger images.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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