Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: McKinney Ave.

The Aldredge Book Store — 1968

ABS_charlie-drum_dick-bosse_andy-hanson_degolyer-library_SMUCharlie Drum and Dick Bosse… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Today my father, Dick Bosse, would have been 84 years old. A very nice person at the DeGolyer Library at SMU (who knew my father) sent me this photo a couple of days ago. It’s from the DeGolyer’s Andy Hanson collection (Hanson was a long-time photographer for the Dallas Times Herald). Taken in the original location of The Aldredge Book Store at 2800 McKinney Avenue, the photo shows bookseller Charles Sartor Drum at the left, and my father — the then-manager of the store — at the right. My father looks really young here! Dig that cool shirt — worn with a paisley belt buckle and western-cut slacks. Hey, man, it was 1968.

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Sources & Notes

Photo is from the Collection of Photographs by Andy Hanson, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University. (Thank you, friendly DeGolyerite — I now have a 50-year-old photograph of my father I’d never seen before!)

I’ve written several posts about The Aldredge Book Store, the store my father worked at fresh out of college and after eventually owned. The ABS-related Flashback Dallas posts can be found here.

More on the career of photographer Andy Hanson can be found here and here.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

McKinney Avenue Postcard Views

mckinney-avenue_postcard_ebayMcKinney Ave., large houses, streetcar tracks… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Just a quick post of two picture postcards of McKinney Avenue (the images drained of their added color give a more realistic idea of the original photographs). These views are unrecognizable in today’s Uptown.

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maple-mckinney_streetcar_ebay

maple-mckinney_streetcar_ebay+bw

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Sources & Notes

Both postcards found on eBay.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

McKinney & Haskell, Circle “T” Frozen Foods, and VWs in Dallas

mckinney-and-haskell_NDHS_ebayFender-bender in front of NDHS… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Odd stuff shows up on eBay. This photo shows a damaged Circle T Brand frozen-food Volkswagen delivery van at the intersection of McKinney Avenue and North Haskell (with North Dallas High School making a partial cameo in the background). The view today? See it here.

Circle T was one of the many brainchilds of the Southland Corp.’s Thompson family: it manufactured and distributed frozen foods (initially meats and Mexican food) which were sold in the company’s 7-Eleven stores. The company began in 1954 and was located just a couple of blocks from this photo, at Haskell and Central. (In 1954 they announced one of their first specialty products: frozen queso. I’ve never even considered that frozen queso would exist, but 60-some-odd years ago it was flying off shelves at the neighborhood 7-Eleven.)

The Southland Corp. sold off Circle T in 1966.

Below, an ad for Circle T’s frozen steaks, from 1954 (click ad to see larger image).

cicle-t_FWST_062054June, 1954

circle-t-logo_1954

And because I’m nothing if not pedantic, here’s an ad for VW trucks and vans, from 1961 (which appears to be the date on the van’s license plate in the photo):

volkswagen_ad_fen-1961Feb., 1961

And speaking of Volkswagens, the first Dallas car dealer to import Volkswagens appears to be Clarence Talley — the first ads are from 1954. While I was searching for the link to the eBay listing of the above photo (which I could not find…), I serendipitously stumbled across this 1950s photo of Clarence Talley on N. Pearl, with appearances by the Medical Arts Building and the Republic Bank Building. Thank you, eBay.

talley-volkswagen_ebay

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Sources & Notes

Photos from eBay: could not find the link to the first one, but the second one sold a couple of months ago, and the archived listing is here.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Mimi Payne Aldredge McKnight

ABS_mimi_bookcaseMimi, with books… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Mimi Aldredge McKnight (née Mildred Payne) died this week. She was an important person in the story of my family — she and her then-husband, Sawnie Aldredge, Jr. owned The Aldredge Book Store on McKinney Avenue, where my parents met and worked for many years and which, for my brother and me, became pretty much a second home. When Sawnie died, Mimi continued to run the store and kept my father, Dick Bosse, on as manager. My father ended up owning the store, and when he died, he had worked at The Aldredge Book Store for almost 45 years. Even when Mimi’s involvement with the store was minimal, she still kept in touch, and she and my father were always on very friendly terms.

I knew Mimi mostly when I was a child, and my memories of her are happy ones. I remember her laugh and her voice most of all. She always seemed like a lovely, friendly woman, and my parents were both very fond of her.

The photo below is how I remember her — talking animatedly on the phone (she and my mother, Margaret, were champion telephone talkers, and I remember them both working at that desk, and talking and talking and talking on that phone).

mimi_phone_texas-parade_feb-1961

I ran into Mimi a few times as an adult. We’d usually just exchange quick pleasantries and ask how various family members were — but I always hoped I’d have the chance to sit down and have a long conversation with her someday. Sadly, that didn’t happen, but I’m so happy that my brother, Erik, and I have reconnected with her children, Amy and Trip Aldredge, and that we’re all friends. The four of us share nostalgic childhood memories of each other’s parents and of that old creaking house on McKinney — a house so crammed with books that the medical section had to be shelved in the bathroom. I can’t imagine a better childhood that one spent growing up in a bookstore.

Goodbye, Mimi — I’m so glad you were a part of my family’s life.

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In one of those wonderful unexpected discoveries I’ve made while looking for something completely unrelated, I stumbled across this photo of little Mildred Payne as a baby and was happier about it than I might have expected. (Click photo to see a larger image.)

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1929

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized Mimi had been a real-life, honest-to-god debutante (probably the only debutante I’ve ever met) and that her mother was a member of Dallas’ famed Volk retail family. She grew up in a very nice house, built by her father, Robert I. Payne, in the Perry Heights area of Oak Lawn. If you’re famiiar with Oak Lawn, you’ve probably seen the plantation-like house at 4524 Rawlins (at Hawthorne), designed by architect Ralph Bryan in 1936. (See the house today on Google Street View, here.)

Sawnie Aldredge, Jr. (son of a Dallas mayor) opened The Aldredge Book Store in 1947 at 2800 McKinney Avenue (at Worthington) in an old house built in the 1880s or 1890s (this was several years before Sawnie and Mimi married). The picture below is from around 1960. This was before my time, but I seem to remember it looking less overgrown and less … shabby! It was much larger than it appears in this photo. Below the photo, the store’s early logo. (I’m not sure when the house was torn down — maybe in the ’80s? The lot was vacant for quite some time, as I reall. The block is painfully unrecognizable today. Today it looks like this.)

aldredge-book-store_texas-parade_feb-19611960-ish

ABS_logo_1947

A few years ago, when my brother and I were closing the store, I came across a guestbook from the first year of business and was happy to see that on Dec. 15, 1947, a 19-year-old Mimi Payne visited the store with her mother, Mrs. R. I. Payne. Little did she know that seven years later she’d be married to the proprietor of the store and — for a while — living in that house, battling for personal space amongst all those damn books!

aldredge-book-store-guestbook_1215471947

sawnie_mimi_desk_1961Sawnie and Mimi, 1961

The photo below is one I really love — it was taken in 1958 at the Sale Street Fair, an annual antique street market which ran at the same time as the Neiman-Marcus Fortnight (in 1958 Neiman’s was celebrating Britain). This shows Mimi manning the bookstore booth. My mother told me that she and Mimi (and probably everyone else there) passed the time sitting on the curb, sipping cocktails supplied by friendly neighborhood antique dealers. Sounds great!

ABS_mimi_sale-street-fair_1958Sale Street Fair, Mimi and a browsing London bobby, 1958

ABS_sale-street-fair_1958
Oct., 1958

In 1975, another chapter of Mimi’s life opened when she married esteemed SMU law professor Joe McKnight, to whom she had been married for 40 years at the time of his death in 2015. One interesting highlight was that Joe and Mimi — through their friendship with international bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith (The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, etc.) — were featured as characters in his Sunday Philosophy Club/Isabel Dalhousie series. He talked about putting them in one of his novels in a 2006 interview:

Isabel’s mother was American, and she has a cousin of her mother in Dallas, [who is based on] a real person… I was a visiting professor at Southern Methodist University and I’ve got very good friends there, a wonderful couple called Joe and Mimi McKnight, who I’ve made the cousin of Isabel in this book. I have Joe and Mimi coming to Edinburgh, and Mimi plays a large part in the story. So, I’m writing a real person into the story, which is great fun.

A woman who spent a number of years in the early part of her life selling books certainly deserved to be transformed into an entertaining character in a bestselling book in the later part of her life!

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Sources & Notes

Photos and clippings from the Aldredge Book Store archives and the Aldredge family, unless otherwise noted.

A couple of the photos above come from a profile of The Aldredge Book Store in a magazine called Texas Parade (Feb. 1961): “100,000 Books … Old and New” by Joe Swan. See the full article and photos in a PDF, here.

aldredge-book-store_texas-parade_feb-1961_spread_sm

Mimi McKnight died April 3, 2017; her obituary is here.

D Magazine wrote about Joe and Mimi McKnight and their connection to Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith in the June 2007 article “Muse, Thy Name is McKnight,” here. The photo below (by Elizabeth Lavin) is from that article.

mcknights_joe-and-mimi_d-mag_june-2007
2007 (D Magazine)

Other Flashback Dallas posts concerning The Aldredge Book Store can be found here.

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mimi_wedding_announcement_101054_det
1954

Most photos larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

2908 McKinney: The Emergency Home — 1912

emergency-home_dmn_031312_photo2908  McKinney Avenue, brand new in 1912… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Above, the brand new Salvation Army “Emergency Home” in 1912. The accompanying headline and caption, from The Dallas Morning News (March 13, 1912):

American Salvation Army Home for Destitute

This place has been secured as shelter for unfortunate women and children. It is centrally located on McKinney Avenue, near Allen Street.

This “haven for unfortunates” was established on McKinney Avenue to temporarily house those (mostly women and children) who needed a helping hand until they were able to secure work and a permanent home.

It appears that the home lasted only a couple of years. By the 1915 city directory, the house was vacant. It later became a private residence, a rooming house, a children’s clothing and furniture shop, a crime scene, a marble-top table emporium, a place to buy aquariums, a PR firm, the Dallas bureau of Texas Monthly, and a whole  bunch of bars and restaurants.

The 1912 house is still standing, and it’s currently a bar and restaurant catering to the young, Uptown party-set. Maybe the Salvation Army should set up a kettle out front this Christmas.

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Below, a couple of articles about the first days of the “Emergency Home” (click for larger images):

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DMN, Feb. 24, 1912

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DMN, March 13, 1912

And a few photos of the house in recent years, showing a variety of paint colors and renovations.

2908-mckinney_for-lease

pozo_dmn_eatsblog_062013Dallas Morning News/Eats Blog

2908-mckinney_google_jan-2015Google Street View

2908-mckinney_dcadDallas Central Appraisal District photo — see it HUGE here

2908-mckinney_then-nowThen and now-ish

next-door_d-mag_2016Bret Redman/D Magazine

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Sources & Notes

Top photo appeared in The Dallas Morning News on March 13, 1912 (photo by Clogenson).

As of this writing, 2908 McKinney Avenue is the bar/restaurant Next Door.

A couple of other Flashback Dallas posts concerning surprisingly old buildings along McKinney Avenue which have been re-purposed to attract Uptown nightlife:

Click photos and clippings for larger images.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Dallas Fire Stations — 1901

fire-dept_engine-co-3_gaston-and-college_1901Fire horse in Old East Dallas relaxing between calls (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

A few turn-of-the-century photos of Dallas’ fire stations, from a 1901 photographic annual. These seven firehouses were built between 1882 and 1894. One of these buildings is, miraculously, still standing on McKinney Avenue, in the heart of Uptown.

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At the top, Engine Co. No. 3, at Gaston and College Avenues. In service: January, 1892. Equipment: an Ahrens Steamer, capacity 750 gallons per minute, and a Cooney Hose Carriage. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the present location (Gaston and Hall) here. (And since I just used it a few days ago, here’s a 1921 Sanborn map, showing Mill Creek running right through the property.)

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fire-dept_central-station_main-harwood_1901

Above, Central Fire Station, Main and Harwood Streets. In service: October, 1887. Equipment: a double-sixty-gallon Champion Chemical Engine and a City Hook and Ladder Truck. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the present location here (the site of the old City Hall/Municipal Building).

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fire-dept_mckinney-leonard_engine-co-1_1901

Engine Co. No. 1, McKinney Avenue and Leonard. Equipment: an Ahrens Steamer, 750 gallons per minute, and a Cooney Hose Carriage. In service: August, 1894. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the present location here. NOTE: This is the only one of these firehouses still standing. I wrote about it here.

UPDATE: Well, sort of. Thanks to a comment on Facebook, I researched this station a bit more and found that it was rebuilt and modernized at the end of 1909 — using materials from the original building seen above, built on the same plot of land. So instead of being 122 years old, the building on McKinney today is a mere 106 years old.

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fire-dept_commerce-hawkins_engine-co-2_1901

Engine Co. No. 2, Commerce and Hawkins Streets. In service: January, 1882. Equipment: an Ahrens Steamer, capacity 750 gallons per minute, and a Cooney Hose Carriage. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see a shot-in-the-dark guess at a present location here.

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fire-dept_ervay-kelly_hose-co-2_1901

Hose Co. No. 2 and Chemical Co. No. 2, Ervay Street and Kelly Avenue. In service: September, 1894. Equipment: a Cooney Hose Carriage and double-sixty-gallon Champion Chemical Engine. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the present location here (right behind where the word “Cedars”).

fire-dept_bryan-hawkins_hook-and-ladder-1_1901

Hose Co. No. 1 and Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1, Bryan and Hawkins Streets. In service: January, 1893. Equipment: Preston Aerial Truck with 75-foot extension ladder, and a Cooney Hose Carriage. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the approximate present location here.

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fire-dept_commerce-akard_engine-co-4_1901

Engine Co. No. 4, Commerce and Akard Streets, next door to the City Hall. In service: August, 1894. Equipment: an Ahrens Steamer, capacity 1,100 gallons per minute, and a Cooney Hose Carriage. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the present location here (just out of frame at the right was the City Hall; the block is now the site of the Adolphus Hotel).

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city-hall_1901_fire-dept-annual_portal

City Hall, Commerce and Akard Streets, now the location of the Adolphus Hotel. Half of the shorter building to the left housed the police department and Engine Co. No. 4.

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The “Historical” page from the book (click to read).

fire-dept-hist_dallas-fire-dept-annual_1901_portal

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Since there is no sign of the actual equipment in these photos, here’s what horse-drawn steam engines (Ahrens steamers) looked like at this time. (Photo from the Wisconsin Historical Society).

fire-steam-engine_wisconsin-hist-soc

UPDATE: I found this photo on Flickr, showing equipment from those early days being driven through the streets of Dallas during a fire prevention parade.

fire-department_pumper_flickr_coltera

UPDATE: Lo and behold, a photo from 1900 of Old Tige, the 600 gallons-per-minute steam pumper, built in 1884, which was in service with the Dallas Fire Department until 1921. (Old Tige can be seen in the Firefighters Museum across from Fair Park.) Found at the Portal to Texas History.

old-tige_1900_fire-dept-bk_1931_portal

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Sources & Notes

Photos by Clifton Church, from the Dallas Fire Department Annual, 1901, which can be viewed in its entirety on the Portal to Texas History, here.

A contemporary map of Dallas (ca. 1898) can be viewed on the Portal to Texas History site, here.

More Flashback Dallas posts on historic Dallas firehouses can be found here.

All photos larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Ads for Businesses Serving the North Dallas High School Area — Early 1960s

friendly-chevrolet_ndhs_1963-yrbk-photoFriendly Chevrolet, 1963 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

One of the things I like best about looking through old high school and college yearbooks is seeing the ads in the back — especially the ads that feature students. Here are a whole bunch of ads from the 1960, 1962, and 1963 North Dallas High School annuals, with most of the ads placed by businesses in the Oak Lawn, McKinney Avenue, and Little Mexico areas surrounding the school. Let’s take a walk down memory lane, shall we? (Ads and photos are larger when clicked.)

Above, Friendly Chevrolet at Lemmon and Inwood. I bet the owner was grimacing as he saw those girls perched — gingerly or not — on that brand new Corvette convertible!

friendly-chevrolet_ndhs_1963-yrbk1963

The Cole and Haskell Drug Store, at 3121 N. Haskell — right across the street from the NDHS campus — was no doubt thrilled to be so close to its major source of income, the teenager.

1962_cole-haskell-drugs_ndhs_1962-yrbk1962

cole-haskell-drug-store_ndhs_1963-yrbk-photo
1963

cole-haskell-drugs_ndhs_1963-yrbk
1963

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Lots of gas and service stations were nearby. Like Dick Prather Fina Service, at 3106 Blackburn, with the school peeking over the roof.

1960_prather-fina_ndhs_1960-yrbk
1960

And L. V. Butcher’s Cosden Service Station, at 3519 McKinney. (I love the slouch of the mechanic.)

butchers-cosden-service-stn_ndhs_1963-yrbk-photo

butchers-cosden-service-stn_ndhs_1963-yrbk
1963

And the Ragan Service Station, at 4201 McKinney.

ragan-servie-stn_ndhs_1963-yrbk-photo

ragan-servie-stn_ndhs_1963-yrbk
1963

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Plant and flower enthusiasts were invited to stop by Lena’s Flowers and Aquariums, at 3112 Cole. …For flowers. And aquariums.

lenas-flowers_ndhs_1963-yrbk
1963

What Tropical Gardens at Cole and Haskell lacked in the way of aquariums, it all but made up for in tropicalness. (Might as well grab a coke at the drug store since you’re right there.)

tropical-gardens_ndhs_1963-yrbk
1963

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Those who needed their hair extra poufy for the spring formal might have found themselves at the Capitan Beauty Shop, 1808 N. Henderson (now that’s a photo!).

capitan-beauty-shop_ndhs_1963-yrbk1963

Seekers of Asian foods and/or “party favors for all occasions” could head over to Jung’s Oriental Foods & Gifts at 2519 N. Fitzhugh. (This is the most unexpected ad I came across.)

jungs_ndhs_1963-yrbk
1963

Maybe you just needed a hammer. Where else would you go but Elliott’s Hardware, at its original location at 5308 Maple.

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1963

Phillips’ Variety Store at 4442 Maple was probably a good place to get scented talcum powder, a bouncy ball, a bag of peppermints, or a new charm for the charm bracelet.

phillips-variety-store_ndhs_1963-yrbk
1963

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What do high school kids love more than bowling and going to the movies? Apparently there was a movie theater on McKinney Avenue that I’m only just learning about — The Plaza, at 3806 McKinney.

1962_plaza-theater
1962

The 24-hour Expressway Bowl was at 5910 N. Central Expressway. (I’m not sure those girls have on the proper footwear.)

expressway-bowl_ndhs_1963-yrbk1963

But the place you really wanted to go was the Cotton Bowling Palace on Inwood at Lemmon. When it opened in 1959 (complete with a heavily promoted personal appearance by Dallas gal Jayne Mansfield), it was breathlessly described as “a mixture of the Copacabana, the Taj Mahal and the  MGM Grand.” Imagine bowling in the Taj Mahal! Heck, you could even get a haircut between frames.

1962_cotton-bowling-palace1962

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The biggest bang for the buck, nostalgia-wise, is almost always going to be places related to food. Here are a few restaurants and burger places which were probably frequent destinations for North Dallas students and their families. Like Spanish Village at 3839 Cedar Springs.

spanish-village_ndhs_1963-yrbk
1963

1960_spanish-village_ndhs_1960-yrbk
1960

The fondly remembered China Clipper, at 3930 McKinney.

1960_china-clipper_ndhs_1960-yrbk1960

K’s — where you could get “sandwiches of all kinds” — at 3317 Oak Lawn.

1960_ks-sandwiches_ndhs_1960-yrbk
1960

Hay-Way Bar-B-Q & Groceries, at 5418 Denton Drive.

hay-way-bar-b-q_ndhs_1963-yrbk-photo

hay-way-bar-b-q_ndhs_1963-yrbk
1963

A burger and malt joint with the wonderful name of Frezo, at 4531 Maple. (I WOULD GO TO SOMEPLACE CALLED “FREZO.”)

1962_frezo_ndhs_1962-yrbk
1962

The famed elephant-on-top Jumbo Drive-In, owned by Clarence and Leonard Printer. The location in this ad was at 6412 Lemmon. See what the Haskell location looked like, here.

1960_jumbo-drive-in_ndhs_1960-yrbk
1960

The legendary Prince of Hamburgers at 5200 Lemmon.

prince-of-hamburgers_ndhs_1960-yrbk
1960

The not-quite-as-legendary Luke’s Fine Foods at 2410 Shorecrest, owned by L. L. Blasingame.

lukes-fine-foods_ndhs_1963-yrbk

lukes-fine-foods_ndhs_1963-yrbk-ad
1963

Yee’s Restaurant at 5404 Lemmon, owned by B. L. Yee.

yees-chinese_ndhs_1963-yrbk
1963

And, of course, Pancho’s — this location at 1609 McKinney. Almost all of the buildings that housed the businesses listed above are long gone, but this building is still hanging in there. It’s next to the downtown El Fenix and is now the home of Meso Maya. I have to admit, I got a happy little jolt to see this building today, still looking pretty much the same as it did in this 1963 ad.

panchos_ndhs_1963-yrbk-photo

panchos_ndhs_1963-yrbk
1963

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All ads from the 1960, 1962, and 1963 editions of the North Dallas High School yearbook, The Viking.

See photos of students and high school activities from these same yearbooks in the post “North Dallas High School, The Pre-Beatles Era,” here.

Most images are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

“A Haven From the Usual Turmoil of Holiday Shopping”

ABS_xmas_haven_nd“A superlative selection…”

by Paula Bosse

Remember the quiet joy of shopping in bookstores? Remember bookstores? In celebration of the completion of this year’s Christmas shopping, I give you two ads from The Aldredge Book Store, where there’s “plenty of parking  space […] and a pleasant Christmas spirit.”

ABS_xmas_19631963

No one is in a hurry. And we all try to see that you still have your Christmas spirit when you leave.

I practically grew up in this store, and I miss it.

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Sources & Notes

Both ads from the early 1960s. They appeared in the Sunday book sections of The Dallas Morning News and The Dallas Times Herald. (Remember when we had two newspapers? Remember when we had Sunday book sections?)

Previous posts on The Aldredge Book Store can be found here.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Antique Row: The 3300 Block of McKinney Avenue — 1963

mary-lees-antiques_1963_ebayMary Lee’s Antiques, McKinney & Hall, 1963 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

When I read a Facebook post from Big D History about an eBay collection of 75-or-so photos taken around Dallas in the 1950s and ’60s (links-a-plenty at the bottom of this post), I spent a substantial amount of time browsing though them. They’re just amateur snapshots, oddly framed sometimes and a little muddy, but the person who took them focused on what might seem to most of us as being fairly ordinary (sometimes downright mundane) buildings — and that’s great, because people always take photos of the big, important downtown skyscrapers, but hardly anyone takes a photo of an East Dallas apartment building or a suburban bank.

The two photos I was most excited to see showed buildings I recognized instantly, having seen them practically every day of my childhood, passing them on drives to and from my father’s bookstore. The one at the top of this post is my favorite. I  knew immediately that it was the old antique store at McKinney & Hall — I never knew its name, but I knew that it had been around before I was born and that my mother had bought one of our family’s nicest pieces of furniture there and paid for it in ten-dollar installments.

I now know that the name of the crazy-looking antique shop my  mother bought our hutch from was called Mary Lee’s Antique Center, at 3306 McKinney. It was in business at that location from 1956-ish to the end of 1971. A succession of antique shops moved in when Mary Lee moved out — I never knew the names of any of the businesses in this building, only that they all looked dauntingly FULL (how I managed to never actually go in any of them, I have no idea).

For many years, McKinney Avenue was lined with antique shops, many of which were in very old wood-frame houses which had been converted from homes into businesses.

mckinney-avenue_antique-row_dmn_0901611961

The old two-story house that Mary Lee was in was one of the largest. The house was built sometime before 1909, and, happily, this little remnant of the past is still standing (though with a weirdly updated exterior), next to its smaller companion building. Oddly situated on its lot, it’s been sitting for over a hundred years at the corner of McKinney and North Hall. Today it is the home of a leasing company; it faces Bread Winners and an eclectic-looking block of bars and restaurants.

mckinney-and-hall_google-street-view-2015Google Street View, 2015

Whether or not it’s true, Mary Lee claimed to have started “Antique Row,” which, in this case, meant the 3300 block of McKinney.

3300-block_dmn_0327681968

Back in 1959, these dealers were calling themselves “The Antique Circle” and were describing their antique-packed block as “the poet’s row.”

3300-block_dmn_1105591959

Mary Lee’s — which pretty much sat by itself on the south side of the street — was directly across from a block containing a strip of antique shops. I was glad to see in the same eBay collection a photograph of that north side of the block (probably taken at the same time as the photo at the top of this post).

antique-shops_1963_ebay3300 block of McKinney, north side, 1963 (click for larger image)

Seen above is part of that block, with Anna Belle’s Antiques (misspelled in the ad below) and Jackie’s Antiques (which was owned by Jackie Woods, a family acquaintance — her father had a clock shop, and my mother thinks that Jackie’s store may have been adjacent to it).

anne-belle_dmn_0401621962

jackies-antiques_dmn_0313611961

The buildings in that block are also still there — they’re  nowhere near as old as the house across the street, but it’s still nice to see some old and quirky structures still standing (and staying occupied) along a rapidly changing McKinney Avenue.

3300-mckinney_googleGoogle Street View, 2015

In the 1980s, the cute little houses which, for decades, had been occupied by a variety of businesses — antique shops, boutiques, clothing stores, salons, etc. — began to disappear from McKinney Avenue. Granted, some had seen better days and were in various states of disrepair, but, personally, I thought they were all charming, and I was sad to see them replaced by buildings conspicuously lacking in character. I had grown up seeing those houses and was especially fascinated by the cigar store Indians that seemed to stand in every yard and on every porch. (It’s pretty weird remembering that there were a LOT of wooden Indians along McKinney Avenue — almost as weird as remembering that there were once yards and porches along McKinney Avenue!)

Now, most of those houses are long gone. A handful survive. The one most people might know is the one at 3605 McKinney, at Lemmon Ave. East — I first began lusting after it when it was Jennivine, and it’s nice to see that it’s still around, now as Uptown Pub. From a quick-ish look at its history, it appears to have been built before 1902. I know there are a lot people who love the severely densely-packed 21st-century version of “Uptown,” but wouldn’t that area be a million times nicer if there were still a street full of places like this?

uptown-pub_google-street-view3605 McKinney (Google Street View)

There are also a couple of 100-plus-year-old houses in the 3400 block. Seen below, the one on the left (3403 McKinney, currently occupied by Cliff’s Bar & Grill) appears to have been built in 1897; the very cute house to the right was built before 1909.

3400-block-mckinney_googleGoogle Street View, 2015

Imagine McKinney Avenue lined with these houses — first as homes, later as funky little shops. It wasn’t that long ago, really….

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Sources & Notes

Both 1963 photos are from eBay, in auctions ending Monday night (Nov. 16, 2015). The top photo showing Mary Lee’s Antiques is here; the one showing Anna Belle’s and Jackie’s antique shops is here. See what the north side of this block looks like today on Google Street View, here; rotate it south and see what Mary Lee’s place looks like these days, and then head one block east to see the two old houses in the 3400  block. Look at what surrounds the wonderful house at McKinney & Lemmon (the old Jennivine), here — rotate the view at your own risk.

The entire eBay collection of Dallas snapshots — being offered in individual auctions which all end over the next couple of days — is here. The descriptions of these photos are written by an eBay seller in Ohio, and now that I’ve seen Big Tex described as “Big Tex Cowboy Man,” I’m all for an official name change. Consider it, SFOT!

I learned about these photos when I saw them mentioned in a Facebook post by the great BigDHistory. Like him on Facebook here, and/or follow him on Twitter @BigDHistory. Thanks, Miles!

For more on McKinney Avenue during this period, read the Dallas Morning News article titled “Poverty, Luxury, Art, Jazz — Changing Scene: The Many Faces of McKinney Ave.” by the always entertaining Helen Bullock (DMN, May 7, 1961).

Click pictures for larger images.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

My Father, Dick Bosse — Dallas Bookman

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by Paula Bosse

Dick Bosse was my father. When he died in 2000, he had managed (and later owned) The Aldredge Book Store for almost 45 years. He started working for founder Sawnie R. Aldredge, Jr. fresh off a half-hearted attempt at grad school. I’m sure he had no idea when he started working there (at $1.00 an hour) just how important a role the store would play in his life. My parents met at the store when my mother began working there, and they married a couple of years later. My brother and I spent countless hours there and practically grew up in the store. The Aldredge Book Store was a second home to my family, and looking back on all the time I spent there, all the books I read when I was bored, all the literati of the city I met who eventually popped in and sat around talking with my father over a cup of coffee or a beer, all the store cats I loved who became minor celebrities themselves — when I look back on all that, I realize how lucky my brother and I were to have had such interesting parents who brought us up in such an interesting place.

My father had a reputation as a stellar bookman but was known as much for his wit and humor as he was for his deep and wide-ranging knowledge of books, both rare and “chicken-fried.” He was one of the state’s top Texana experts, and his mailing list contained just about every major Texas author. The Aldredge Book Store was one of the oldest antiquarian bookstores in the Southwest, but my father was a remarkably unstuffy, unassuming, and down-to-earth bookseller.

I’ve been working off-and-on at collecting pithy catalog blurbs my father wrote over the years. The bulk of his sale catalogs were straight listings of antiquarian and out-of-print books, but he became fairly well-known in the Texas book trade for descriptions like these which he would insert throughout for his own amusement. I’ve left out the full bibliographical descriptions, but here are a few of my favorites. I realize some of these are a little esoteric, but this has been a fun project, and it’s nice to remember how funny my father was (bad puns and all). (I only wish I had been able to catalog like this when I worked as a rare books cataloger for an auction house!)

Adams, Ramon F. THE RAMPAGING HERD. The shit-kickers’ John Ciardi.

Brown, John Henry. LIFE & TIMES OF HENRY SMITH, The First American Governor of Texas. A rather nice copy, not one of the bugshit-encrusted remainders.

BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATES FISH COMMISSION FOR 1891. A Texas piscatorial incunable.

Carter, Jimmy. KEEPING THE FAITH. Signed by the author, a former president.

Clary, Annie Vaughan. THE PIONEER LIFE. In HERD, but curiously not in SIXGUNS despite feuds, Texas Rangers, and Daddy popping caps on some badasses.

Clay, John. MY LIFE ON THE RANGE. Nice copy of the consensus bovine biggie.

Cravens, John Park. WITH FINGERS CROSSED: The Truth As Told In Texas. Apparently humor.

Devlin, John C. & Grace Naismith. THE WORLD OF ROGER TORY PETERSON, An Authorized Biography. Peterson, a student of blue bird mores, was known to Brandeis ornithologists as the goy of Jay sex.

Dobie, J. Frank. AS THE MOVING FINGER WRIT. Inscribed to “Mr. Moore,” in which 60-word inscription Dobie alludes (a frequent trick to prove he was not your run-of-the-mill shit-kicker) to Maugham and Schiller.

Eickemeyer, Rudolf. LETTERS FROM THE SOUTH WEST. Puny yankee sopping up the sun in El Paso & Santa Fe.

ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA. The twelfth edition (the eleventh edition with the supplements). Best encyclopedia in English executed prior to the American greaseballization.

Faulk, John Henry. FEAR ON TRIAL. HUAC to Hee-Haw.

Fuermann, George. RELUCTANT EMPIRE. Fine copy in dust jacket, signed by author and illustrator and marred only by one of those hideous goddam lick-in bookplates.

Gent, Peter. TEXAS CELEBRITY TURKEY TROT. Too much Peter; not enough Gent.

Hardin, John Wesley. THE LIFE OF JOHN WESLEY HARDIN. Mischievous preacher’s kid.

Hargrove, Lottie H. TEXAS HISTORY IN RHYME. Aarghh!

Hudson, Alfred Edward A’Courte. SELECTED BLOOD STUDIES ON SWINE. “Satisfying your antiquarian porcine hematological requisites since 1947.”

Koehler, Otto A. KU-WINDA (To Hunt). African safari by the Texas Beer Baron; well-illustrated, including some comely bare-breasted Somaliettes holding a “Join The Swing To Pearl” banner.

Long, Mary Cole Farrow. STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, From Beaufort, South Carolina, To Galveston Island Republic of Texas — A Biography of Judge James Pope Cole (1814-1866). Probably unknown to Heinlein.

McDonald, William. DALLAS REDISCOVERED: A Photographic Chronicle of Urban Expansion, 1870-1925. The reissue was in wraps and had a “perfect binding,” one of the more notable oxymorons of our time.

Pellowe, William C. S. (ed.). MICHIGAN METHODIST POETS. Enthusiasts of The Muse will be relieved to know that Michigan sprinklers are as fully gifted as their Texas colleagues.

Riley, B. F. HISTORY OF THE BAPTISTS OF TEXAS. Covers blemished, apparently sprinkled by a surly Methodist.

Rozelle, Robet V. (ed.). THE WENDY AND EMERY REVES COLLECTION. The greatest Dallas art coup since SMU acquired the wet-paint Spanish Masters collection of Al Meadows.

Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. A THOUSAND DAYS, John F. Kennedy in the White House. Most notable fawning since Bambi’s birth.

Slaughter, Bob. FOSSIL REMAINS OF MYTHICAL CREATURES. Profusely illustrated with photos and drawings by the author, apostate bar-fly now a distinguished scientist and sculptor. A grab-ass classic.

White, Owen P. MY TEXAS ‘TIS OF THEE. A nice enough copy except that a cretin at something called “Mary’s Book Nook” was a compulsive rubber-stamper.

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Above, my father, on the right, at the first location of the Aldredge Book Store on McKinney Avenue. The accompanying article by Luise Putcamp, Jr. is here.

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Above is one of my favorite photos of my father, taken in a small used bookstore I had on Lower Greenville Avenue. A newspaper editor thought it would be “cute” to have a photo of father-daughter booksellers. The photographer suggested I hold the newer, cutting-edge art book while my father held the older, obscure British arts journal. Of course, my father would have been more interested in the Allen Jones book, and I would have been more interested in The Yellow Book (a set of which my father gave to me for Christmas one year — and it was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received).

Today would have been my father’s 80th birthday. 80! I think of him all the time, and I miss him terribly. He was a wonderful guy, and — aside from the modest income — I think he would have said that a lifetime career as a bookseller was a pretty sweet deal.

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Sources & Notes

When my father died in April, 2000, several appreciations of him appeared in print. If you would like to read the appreciations by his friends A. C. Greene (a very sweet tribute) and Lee Milazzo (my personal favorite — very funny), as well as the nice official obituary, they are all transcribed here.

My brother, Erik Bosse, wrote a wonderful piece about our father for a catalog we issued after his death. The warm and amusing essay — as well as some of the crazy business cards my father took great joy in printing up — can be found here.

Sketch at the top was done by Nancy C. Dewell (1969). Slightly larger than a business card, it arrived in the mail one day with a short note that read: “I don’t know your name. I think you are Mr. Aldredge. I would be pleased if you would accept my drawing of you in the bookshop. Sincerely, Nancy C. Dewell.” I can’t imagine a better likeness. I really, really love this.

Photo of me and my father from the Dallas Observer.

Click pictures and article for larger images.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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