by Paula Bosse
I came across this ad and wondered just where on McKinney Avenue this building had been. The ad was from 1948, but the building certainly looked older than that. I’m not sure when the building was built (update: it was built in 1909), but by at least 1929 the Hughes Auction Market was conducting furniture auctions there. An ad from 1929 invites the public to attend the regular auctions in which their two floors were packed to the gills with furniture and household goods that “positively must sell.” Prospective buyers were promised a large parking lot and a “comfortable, cool building.”
In the summer of 1933, a longtime Dallas furniture salesman, E. M. Bush, opened his retail business in the building and remained there for many years, perhaps until 1958 when he moved to Snider Plaza.
I wondered what’s at 2400 McKinney these days, and, I have to say … I’m shocked to find that the building is actually still there! On McKinney Avenue! And it looks very much the same as it does in the photo above (and, presumably, since it was built) — a little more elegant, perhaps, as it’s now part of the fabulous Hotel ZaZa — but the building looks pretty much the same. The building has survived! I feel like crying.
But wait, there’s more. What was this building originally? It was a firehouse! More specifically, it was Engine House No. 1, in use until 1928. The fire station that originally occupied this location was built in 1894 (see what it looked like in 1901 here, third photo down). By 1909, automobiles were placing horse-drawn fire engines, one of many reasons the station house needed to be modernized. Newspaper articles from 1909/1910 used the words “rebuilt” and “remodeled” almost interchangeably, so it’s unclear whether the original building was completely, or only partially demolished and then rebuilt, using materials from the original structure. The “new” engine house re-opened in January, 1910.
Dallas Morning News, Jan. 25, 1910
Here’s a photo from its early days:
And from the 1920s:
The city ordered the building sold in 1928 when plans had been made to move personnel and equipment from McKinney and Leonard to a new station at Ross and Leonard.
To have a 100-plus-year-old building still standing in “newer-is-better” Dallas — and in Uptown — is quite a feat!
Sources & Notes
E. M. Bush Furniture Co. ad from 1948.
Photo of Stay ZaZa Art House and Social Gallery from the Hotel ZaZa website.
Most images are larger when clicked.
Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.