Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Highland Park

“The Trend is Highland Parkward”– 1909-1911

lakeside_dmn_092510Lakeside Drive, 1910 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Three early Hann & Kimball Highland Park real estate ads urging people to “Buy and Build Where Your Friends Are Building, In Highland Park, ‘THE Country Club District’!” (Click to see larger images.)

highland-park_second-installment_dmn_070409Dallas Morning News, July 4, 1909


“Highland Park Ultimately. Why Not Now?”

DMN, Sept. 25, 1910


“Up in Highland Park the breezes blow day and night. The cool evenings, the beautiful terraced lawns and shade trees, natural parks and lakes, all combine to make this the ideal home place in this warm climate of ours. We stake our reputation on the outcome of the property. Make your selection NOW.”

DMN, May 14, 1911

The hard-to-read “significant comparison” text from the middle of the ad above:





Is this the same view as seen in the top photo showing “Lakeside Drive Entrance to Second Section” (off Armstrong)?

Google Street View

Hope your forebears didn’t miss out! (Mine did!)


Sources & Notes

Read more about the C. U. Whiffen house featured in both the 1910 and 1911 ads here. I’m happy to report the lovely house at Crescent and Byron is still standing.

Click pictures for larger images!


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Highland Park Village — The Original Model

hp-village_model_gallowayDallas’ most exclusive shopping destination (click for huge photo)

by Paula Bosse

The model of the Highland Park Shopping Village (“9 Acres of Property”) was, for many years, on display in the sales office of the Flippen-Prather Realty Co., the company that developed Highland Park and this beautiful shopping “village.” (I’m not sure where this photo was taken — it looks like a Flippen-Prather promotional table set up in an exhibition space of some sort.) Construction began on the shopping area in early 1930 and took several years to complete.

Below, a slightly closer look at this cool model, complete with little cars (but no little people…).



Sources & Notes

The photo (credited to the collection of Hugh Prather, Jr.) is from the really wonderful book The Park Cities, A Photohistory by Diane Galloway (Dallas: Diane Galloway, 1989). (This is an essential book for anyone interested in historic photos of Dallas and the Park Cities. If you come across a copy priced under $30.00, snap it up!)

More on the Highland Park Village of today can be found here.

Click pictures for larger images.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Celebrate the Pecan Tree’s 150th Christmas!

pecan-tree_bigOur beautiful Pecan Tree! (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Ever since I realized that 2015 was the sesquicentennial for what may the world’s most famous pecan tree, I’d planned to do a nice post worthy of such an occasion. Except that, as usual, time seems to be slipping away from me, and I have time today to post only a few photos of one of my very favorite local landmarks.

The pecan tree — or, the Pecan Tree (it deserves to be capitalized) — is in Highland Park on Armstrong Parkway at Preston Road, and if you grew up in the Dallas area, driving past the huge tree decorated with lights is an annual Christmas ritual. I remember when I was going through my sullen teen years how I always rolled my eyes when my parents said we were going to go see the Pecan Tree — but when we got to the tree and saw it … it was just wonderful.

The tree began life in 1865 (!) as a sprout in the middle of a cornfield owned by the Coles, one of Dallas’ pioneer families. In October of that year, young Joe Cole, just returned from the Civil War, was working the field and discovered the little plant in a furrow, crushed under the wheels of his wagon. The story goes that Joe, still overwhelmed from the horrors of war, got out of his wagon and replanted the sprig, taking pains over the years to make sure it grew into a large healthy tree. And it did.

I discovered recently that the very first house I lived in was Joe’s old farmhouse, part of which, somehow, was still standing across from North Dallas High School into the 1980s. I’ve always felt a kinship with that tree, and it’s nice to know that my very first home was the home of the man responsible for the tree that has given so much pleasure to so many people. Thank you, Joe!

Below, a short, six-and-a-half-minute film about the history of the tree, produced by KERA: “Million Dollar Monarch,” directed by Rob Tranchin.


1909 (via DeGolyer Library, SMU)

Photo by Lee Hite


Sources & Notes

First two photos were reproduced as promotional postcards by the Park Cities Bank in the 1970s; thanks to the Lone Star Library Annex for allowing me to use these images. Source of other photos as noted.

Read about the tree on the Highland Park website, here.

More about the history of the tree can be found in a 1933 article from The Dallas Morning News, with memories from the then-92-year-old Joseph Cole: “Million-Dollar Tree of Dallas, Big Pecan Centering Parkway, Set Up by Hand of Man Now 92” (DMN, March 5, 1933).

A 2012 report on the aging tree can be found in a Dallas Morning News article by Melissa Repko, here.

This famed Pecan Tree was planted in the fall of 1865, which would make this its 150th anniversary. I haven’t seen any mention of this. I know the tree has been in bad shape at times throughout the years, but I’m pretty sure it’s still standing. I haven’t seen the tree this year, but it was still looking pretty impressive last year. Happy 150th, Pecan Tree!

Click photos for larger images.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


An Afternoon Outing with SMU Frat Boys & Their Dates — 1917

smu_omega-phi_dallas-hall_1917_degolyerCampus couples, 1917 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I came across three wonderful World War One-era photos in the SMU archives while I was looking for something else. You know how you can become enthralled by the charm of old photos and sit for long stretches of time staring at every little detail and wondering about the lives of the unidentified people who populate them? That happened to me with these. There is one particular young woman who stands out more than anyone else. Not only is she the best-dressed person in the photos, she also seems calm, collected, and serene. She looks friendly. She was probably very pleasant to have around.

These three photographs show a group of ten young couples and a pair of chaperones spending a beautiful sunny day together, with the highlight of the day being a trip to Highland Park’s Exall Lake. The men are SMU students, identified only as members of the Omega Phi fraternity. The women are identified merely as “dates,” but I’m sure that some of them were also SMU students. The photograph above shows the crowd gathered on campus in front of Dallas Hall. The woman in white looks like she’s on a pedestal, glowing in a spotlight. Below, a closer look at her stylish outfit (as well as a look at the young be-medaled WWI soldier next to her).


And, below, a similar detail, but this one showing the daintily crossed ankles of another pretty girl, seated beside a sour-looking companion.


And here’s the gang on the idyllic banks of Exall Lake. Diane Galloway included this photograph in her book The Park Cities, A Photohistory with this caption:

At one time a bridge crossed Exall Lake near the Cary house, shown in the distance. The photographer was standing on the bridge to capture this picture of well-dressed SMU students going boating on the lake. A trip to Lakeside Drive was one of the few off-campus excursions permitted in 1917.

I love this photo. If I didn’t know what the Turtle Creek area looked like, I’d be hard-pressed to identify this as Dallas!


Here’s a close-up of the beatific, smiling woman in white. I like the kid lurking in the background.


And the boat.


And the sour-looking guy again, looking even more annoyed than before.


And here’s the crowd sitting on the steps of the frat house (which was located at Haynie and Hillcrest). The personnel has changed a little bit (they gained a woman and lost a man), but (almost) everyone seems pretty happy.


And, below, my very favorite detail from these three photos.


After a bit of sleuthing, I found a picture of the house at the time these photos were taken. It was actually a residence which was, I think, being rented out to the small group of Omega Phis. They had a proper fraternity house built several years later.


The top photo had “1917” written on the back, so I checked SMU’s Rotunda yearbooks from around that time. Here’s a look at the men who were members of Omega Phi in 1918. Several of these faces match the ones in the photos of the afternoon outing.


And, below, a photo collage from the Omega Phi page of the 1917 Rotunda. Several of the women look familiar. I see the Woman in White in at least one of these snapshots.


And here she is, close up. I hope she was as happy, intelligent, and confident in her real life as she appears to be in these photos.



Sources & Notes

The three photos of the afternoon outing all come from the collection of the DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University:

  • “Omega Phi Fraternity members and their dates in front of Dallas Hall” is here.
  • “Omega Phi Fraternity member outing to Exall Lake” is here.
  • “Omega Phi Fraternity members and their dates on porch” is here.

The quote from Diane Galloway comes from her FANTASTIC book, The Park Cities, A Photohistory (Dallas: Diane Galloway, 1989), p. 24.

The ersatz Omega Phi fraternity house was located at 115 Haynie Avenue, just west of Atkins (now Hillcrest). (The photo of the exterior of the house is from the 1917 SMU Rotunda yearbook.)

omega-phi_map_19191919 map (detail), Portal to Texas History

I have absolutely no idea how college fraternities work, but it seems that when they formed on the SMU campus in 1915, the Omega Phi group was not actually affiliated with a national fraternity. They “petitioned” to be chartered by national groups, but they finally stopped trying after 11 years of, I guess, being repeatedly turned down — in 1926 they declared themselves to be an “independent society.” But one year later, they were granted a charter by the national Kappa Sigma fraternity. In the Dallas Morning News article announcing the news, this sentence was included: “The local chapter will be known as Delta Pi chapter.” I have no idea what any of that means, but if you’re really into these things, read the DMN article “Kappa Sigmas Grant Charter” (Sept. 26, 1927), here.

As for the identities of the women in the photos, it’s a mystery. I would assume, though, that at least some of them were the women mentioned in this little article about a cozy winter get-together at the Haynie Ave. house:

omega-phi_smu-campus_011917DMN, Jan. 19, 1917

If you’re not familiar with beautiful Exall Lake, you can watch a short, minute-long video of the lake’s history, produced to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Highland Park, here.

For other posts featuring photos I’ve zoomed in on to reveal interesting little vignettes, click here.

UPDATE: I stumbled across another photo of this group, from Diane Galloway’s book The Park Cities, A Photohistory:


Most pictures much larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Wading in Turtle Creek, 100 Years Ago


by Paula Bosse

A photograph of children wading in a very different-looking Turtle Creek, taken about 1915, the year Highland Park (pop. 1,100) was incorporated.


Sources & Notes

Photo from the 1915-1916 SMU Rotunda yearbook.

Population factoid from Wikipedia.

Click picture for larger image.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


A Dip in the HP Pool — 1924

hp-pool_aDedication & formal opening of the HP pool, 1924 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Even though “municipal pool” and “Park Cities” don’t really seem to belong in a sentence together, the still-going-strong pool in Highland Park is over 90 years old. The photo above shows crowds gathered at the formal opening of the brand new Highland Park swimming pool, dedicated on May 17, 1924.

Oh, to have witnessed the fabulously wealthy (or near-fabulously wealthy) sashaying down the street toward the pool, dressed in their mandated bathrobes and swimsuits. Or their raincoats and swimsuits.

The municipal pool is in Davis Park on the south side of Lexington Avenue, in the “natural amphitheater” between St. Johns and Drexel. The 50 x 100-foot pool (reduced somewhere along the way from the original plan of a 60 x 140-foot pool) cost about $10,000 when it was built with municipal funds in 1924. The pool was very popular amongst Highland Park residents, and, as can be seen in the photos, it was located in one of the prettiest settings in Dallas.


Photo is from a postcard issued as part of the Park Cities Bank “Heritage Series” in the 1970s; the credit line on the postcard reads “Donated by Mr. Burton Gilliland.” Thanks to the Lone Star Library Annex Facebook group for use of the image. (The printed description of the postcard has an incorrect date of 1923.)

More on the pool’s opening can be found in the Dallas Morning News article “Highland Park Pool Dedicated Saturday” (May 18, 1924).

Official site of the HP pool? Here it is.

Photos larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Highland Park’s Snazzy New Fire Engine — 1914

hp_fire-truck_1914Chief McGoldrick behind the wheel of HP’s new fire engine (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Above, Ed McGoldrick — who was both police chief and fire chief for Highland Park — sits behind the wheel of HP’s new fire engine. It even had a  name — “W. O. O’Connor,” after the mayor. Seated next to Chief McGoldrick is most likely Capt. Scott Hughes of the Oak Lawn fire station. The engine was tested, deemed satisfactory, and accepted into service on June 4, 1914 on the day the new Highland Park City Hall was officially opened. (Click article below to see larger image.)

hp_fire-engine_dmn_060514Dallas Morning News, June 5, 1914

J. E. McGoldrick was apparently something of a peace officer renaissance man. He was an officer on the Dallas Police force from about 1902 to 1912, and then became head police and fire honcho in Highland Park from 1912 to 1917 (where he was also the Street Superintendent). At the same time he was serving as HP Chief Peace Officer, he was also appointed to head the Game Commission of Dallas County. In 1917, he resigned his position in HP to accept a job at SMU where he “would have charge of buildings and grounds” (DMN, June 6, 1917). In 1924, he was appointed Chief Peace Officer of University Park.

That SMU move seems like a bit of a weird detour for a career policeman, but even weirder is the following sentence, which appeared in the blurb about his University Park appointment:

“[McGoldrick served as the chief peace officer of Highland Park] until 1917 and then undertook confidential duties for the United States Government. During the past two years he has been connected with Sanger Bros.” (DMN, Oct. 5, 1924)

James E. McGoldrick died in October, 1927 when he suffered a heart attack while eating his lunch in a drugstore at Main and Lamar. He was 54. His obituary mentioned that he had been “connected with a meat market” in his post-public-service life.

But back to the photo. It’s great. There’s nothing quite like the smell of a new fire engine. And Chief McGoldrick looks very proud.


Photo from a postcard issued as part of the Park Cities Bank “Heritage Series” in the 1970s; the credit line on the postcard reads “Donated by the Town of Highland Park.” Thanks to the Lone Star Library Annex Facebook group for use of the image.

Newspaper clipping as noted.

Click photo for larger image.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“A Cavalcade of Texas” — Dallas, Filmed in Technicolor, 1938

cavalcade-tx_triple-underpassScreenshot from “A Cavalcade of Texas”

by Paula Bosse


Brought to my attention last night in a Dallas history group was the heretofore unknown-to-me full-length, Hollywood-slick travelogue called “A Cavalcade of Texas,” shot around the state in 1938 under the auspices of Karl Hoblitzelle in his capacity as chairman of the Texas World’s Fair Commission. (Hoblitzelle also built the Majestic Theater and founded the Interstate Theatre chain.)

“A Cavalcade of Texas” — a 49-minute full-color travelogue touting the beauty, history, natural resources, and industries of the state — was made to be shown at the New York World’s Fair, but because of a variety of production and logistical problems, the film was, instead released theatrically. John Rosenfield, the legendary “amusements” critic for The Dallas Morning News, was suitably impressed. After an early preview of the film he wrote:

The picture should be a revelation to the outlanders who still think of Texas as the backwoods with a hillbilly civilization. (DMN,  June 27, 1939)


The film opened in Dallas in October of 1939 at, unsurprisingly, The Majestic, second on a bill with a Ginger Rogers film (which was fitting, as Ginger had begun her professional career at The Majestic as a teenager). The pertinent paragraph from Rosenfield’s official review is amusingly snippy:

“Cavalcade” shoots the Houston skyline as a bristling metropolitan acreage, but hides the Dallas buildings behind the towering Magnolia Building. Maybe we are sensitive about it but we don’t feel that architectural justice has been done. The Fort Worth aspect is glorified more than it deserves. (DMN, Oct. 15, 1939)

(Sorry, Fort Worth!)

The Dallas scenes are only about 4 minutes’ worth of the whole film, but to see Dallas at this time in color — and moving — is kind of thrilling. The entire film is on YouTube, but I’ve bookmarked the two Dallas bits. First, after an interminable sequence on how fantastic things will be when we finally make that darn Trinity navigable, is a Dealey Plaza-less Triple Underpass, shots of Main Street (including the now partially obliterated 1600 block at the 17:52 mark, on the right), Fair Park (including a description of the Hall of State as “the Westminster Abbey of the New World” (!)), and a neon-lit Elm Street at night. (If you let it keep going, you’ll see “the Fort Worth aspect.”)

(I am having problems embedding this clip to begin at the 17:30 mark. If the above does not begin at the Dallas sequence, see it at YouTube, here.)


Twenty minutes later, the viewer is, for some reason, shown the Dallas Country Club with what I’m guessing are Neiman-Marcus models pretending to play golf.

(If the above does not begin at the Dallas Country Club sequence at 40:09, see it at YouTube, here.)


Those are just the Dallas bits — the whole film is an impressive undertaking, and it’s great to see documentary footage of this period in rich color, presented with incredibly high production values, in full Hollywood style.

Ad, Oct. 14, 1939 (click to see larger image)


Sources & Notes

“A Cavalcade of Texas” was directed, edited, and narrated by James A. Fitzpatrick and can be seen in full on YouTube, here.

Background on Karl Hoblitzelle can be read in information provided by the Handbook of Texas, here, and by the Dallas Public Library, here.

The wonderful and vibrant 1939 footage of downtown Dallas that was discovered on eBay a few months ago and “saved” by a group of preservation-minded Dallasites, which included Robert Wilonsky and Mark Doty, is one of my favorite Dallas-history-related stories of 2014. Watch that footage here.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Highland Park High School — 1939

hphs_1939Highland Park High School (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Great photo of the neighborhood around Highland Park High School (its second location — I had no idea), from the 1939 HPHS yearbook. I would have thought the Park Cities would have been built up more by then.

The description, from the back of the 1970s-era postcard this image appeared on:

In 1937, Highland Park High School moved to 4220 Emerson from its original home on Normandy. This aerial view — taken from a double-page spread in the 1939 Highlander — shows the entire physical plant of [the] High School. R. C. Dunlap was the President of the Highland Park District Board of Education that year.

Bounded by Emerson, Douglas, Lovers Lane and Westchester — covering five full city blocks — Highland Park High School looks, today, much as it did in 1939. Only the neighborhood has changed as it has continued to develop. Significant additions have been made to the educational facilities in order to keep teaching techniques right up to date.

Today, ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders from both Park Cities attend Highland Park High School — still recognized as one of the best educational institutions in the country.


Photo from the 1939 HPHS Highlander yearbook; later issued as a postcard as part of the Park Cities Bank “Heritage Series” in the 1970s. Thanks to the Lone Star Library Annex Facebook group for use of the image.

A very, VERY large scan of this image can be viewed here.


Here’s an awkwardly cropped photo of the first HPHS, from 1928 (click for larger image):


Another from the same series of postcards, issued in the 1970s. The description on the back:

Sunny days almost always found upperclassmen chatting on the front steps at High School. These photographs were taken from a 1928 copy of The Highlander — the Highland Park High School annual.

H. E. Gable was the superintendent that year. Ben Wiseman replaced E. S. Lawler as principal at the end of the school year.

The front steps at 3520 Normandy are still a gathering spot, but today’s students attend Highland Park Middle School — grades six, seven and eight. Senior High School moved to a new building at 4220 Emerson in 1937. Additions and remodeling have kept both of these educational facilities right up to the minute in technology and equipment.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Rolling Hills of Highland Park — 1911

highland-park_armstrong-1911Armstrong Avenue (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Highland Park in its early days of development. The postcards above and below show Armstrong Avenue, looking east, from about Preston Road.


An even earlier view can be seen in the postcard below (ca. 1908), which shows “Berkeley Avenue,” the original name of Armstrong (see newspaper clippings at the bottom of this post for more on Berkeley Ave.).


All of these postcards show what looks to be the bridge over a stretch of Turtle Creek then called Lake Neoma.


I’m not sure when the name “Lake Neoma” ceased to be used (I believe it’s now Wycliff Ave. Lake), but here is a nifty little drawing of it from a 1915 map from the Flippen-Prather Realty Co., the developers of Highland Park.



Berkeley Avenue was renamed Armstrong Avenue around 1908 or 1909 in honor of John S. Armstrong, who developed the land that later became Highland Park (East). Below is a photo and paragraph of an article from the Sept. 13, 1908 edition of The Dallas Morning News (the Argyle Avenue mentioned was later renamed as an extension of Oak Lawn Ave.)


Dallas Morning News, Sept. 13, 1908 (photo and excerpt)


Postcards from Flickr. “Berkeley Avenue” from Flickr, here (it is suggested that this shows Berkley Ave. in Oak Cliff, but this is incorrect — it is definitely Highland Park).

Map is a detail from the Flippen-Prather map of 1915, which can be viewed here.

Click pictures for larger images (top image and map are HUGE).


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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