Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Oak Cliff/West Dallas

Oak Cliff’s Star Theatre — 1945-1959

star-theatre_troy-sherrod-hist-dallas-theatres_DPLShow Hill, with the Star Theatre at right

by Paula Bosse

This is one of those photographs I could stare at all day long. It shows a shopping area in East Oak Cliff at the intersection of E. Eighth Street and N. Moore Street — this part of Oak Cliff was originally settled as a freedman’s town, and this photo shows an area between the Tenth Street Historic District and The Bottoms (or The Bottom) neighborhood (see a great map, here).

When these buildings were built in 1945 by I. B. Clark, it was an exclusively African-American part of Dallas. The anchor of this strip (which occupied what was described as both the 300 block of N. Moore and the 1400 block of E. Eighth) was the Star Theatre, which was, according to Mr. Clark, the only movie house for black customers in Oak Cliff).

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Boxoffice, April 28, 1945

star-theatre_oak-cliff_negro-directory-1947-48_adDallas Negro Directory, 1947-48

I. B. Clark was a white businessman who lived on a ranch in Cedar Hill; he had owned the Southern Fireworks Company before the war and had frequently battled with Dallas lawmakers about the constitutionality of banning the selling and shooting of fireworks within the city limits.

In the undated photo above, businesses in the retail strip are the Top-O-Hill Food Mart, the Ebony Cafe (Pit Bar-B-Q), the Easy-Wash laundromat, the second location of the Cochran Street Record Shop, the Star Theatre, and hotel apartments.

This hub of businesses was popular with neighborhood residents, who referred to this area as “Show Hill” (for the picture show). I stumbled across a really wonderful 2018 oral history of Margaret Benson, who, in 1944, moved with her family to Dallas and attended N. W. Harllee Elementary School and both Lincoln High School and Madison High School. She describes these shops and says that whenever black entertainers such as Dinah Washington or Sister Rosetta Tharpe came to town, they frequently stayed in the apartments above these businesses, as hotel accommodations for African Americans were few and far between. (I loved the entire recording of Mrs. Benson reminiscing about living for most of her life in this area of Oak Cliff — the part where she specifically talks about “Show Hill” is at the 8:25 mark in the recording at the link above.)

According to Dallas movie theater historian Troy Sherrod, the Star closed in 1959. Over time the area eventually declined and the remaining businesses closed. The strip, which was looking pretty down-at-its-heels in the 1990s, was demolished around 2000. The photo below shows the once-vibrant strip in its later days. (Three more photos, from 1999, can be found here — the addition of more apartments (the “Ebony Hotel Annex”) can be seen in the third one.)

star-theatre_mark-doty_lost-dallas
via Lost Dallas by Mark Doty

Here is what “Show Hill” vacant lot looks like today on Google Street View:

star-theatre_google-street-view-nov-2019Google Street View, 2019

star-theatre_bing-mapsBing Maps

star-theatre_cinematreasures_advia Cinema Treasures

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Sources & Notes

Top photo showing the Star Theatre is from the excellent book by D. Troy Sherrod, Historic Dallas Theatres (Arcadia Publishing, 2014); the photo is from the collection of the Dallas Public Library.

Second photo showing the dilapidated buildings is from another excellent book, Lost Dallas by Mark Doty (Arcadia Publishing, 2012).

The ad for the Star Theatre appeared in the Dallas, Texas Negro City Directory, 1947-1948 (many thanks to Pat Lawrence).  The address for the theater was listed in various places as both 300 N. Moore and as 1401 E. Eighth.

If you have access to the archives of the Dallas Morning News, I encourage you to read “Inner-City Secret — The Bottoms Residents Say They Are Forgotten” by Bill Minutaglio (DMN, Aug. 28, 1994).

Also worth a read is Texas Tribune article “Dallas Neighborhood Established by Freed Slaves Fights to Keep Its History Alive” by Miguel Perez of KERA News.

More on the Tenth Street Historic District can be found on the City of Dallas website here.

Check out photos of a pop-up market on Show Hill in 2014 here.

Also, of related interest is the Flashback Dallas post “Movie Houses Serving Black Dallas — 1919-1922.”

Thank you to reader Jerry Richburg for contacting me with a question about this old strip shopping area — he remembered attending church services in one of the buildings and asked if I knew more about what had been there and if I might have a photo. Thanks, Jerry! You led me down the path to discovering a little pocket of Dallas history I was completely unaware of!

star-theatre_troy-sherrod-hist-dallas-theatres_DPL_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Random Photos of Turn-of-the-Century-ish Houses

lemmon-avenue_house_rppc_ebayLemmon Avenue home, horse included….

by Paula Bosse

I love looking at old houses — especially ones which once occupied parts of town which are definitely no longer residential areas. It’s always sad to realize that the beautiful house you’re looking at — one which you can imagine living in now, in the 21st century — has, almost always, been torn down decades ago and replaced with something much less interesting. Thankfully, people 120 years ago used to have their homes photographed in order to print up picture postcards which they would then send to friends and relatives. Most of the images below come from these “real photo postcards,” and all show nice little glimpses into Dallas homes from before 1910. Only one of these houses is still standing. (All photos are larger when clicked.)

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Sadly, the house above is not still standing. It’s a beautiful house. Even comes with a horse! The house was at 405 Lemmon Avenue in Oak Lawn. After the addresses in Dallas changed in 1911, the address became 3621 Lemmon (in the middle of the block between Welborn and Turtle Creek Park/Lee Park — apartments and a parking garage now occupy that whole block) — see it on a 1921 Sanborn map here. The owner was W. Leslie Williams, a real estate man. Family horses wandered off a few times, according to “strayed or stolen” ads placed in the paper, such as the one below.

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Nov. 1911

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Below, a house which once stood at 711 Travis (which later became 4627 Travis), between Knox and Hester (the Katy railroad tracks would have run right behind the house) — see it on a 1921 Sanborn map here. It was in the “Fairland” addition. The owner of the house was T. B. Baldwin, a traveling agent for The Dallas Morning News. The photo was on a postcard mailed in 1908.

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Now to South Dallas (The Cedars?). This house stood at 200 Cockrell Ave. (which became 2130 Cockrell), between Corinth and Montgomery, now part of a large swath of empty land almost certainly being developed in somebody’s head as I type this. See it at the very bottom of this 1921 Sanborn map. The house was owned by Horatio W. Fairbanks, supervisor of the Dallas Cotton Mills, and was later occupied by the Wesley Settlement House for several years. The photo below is from 1896.

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Now to four houses in Oak Cliff. The first stood at 107 10th Street (later 525 E. 10th St.), between Lansing and Marsalis — see it on a 1922 Sanborn map here. This was the home of Dr. William E. King, whom I presume is the man standing in front of the house — he died in 1909, a year after this photo was taken. The land now appears to be occupied by a body-shop parking lot. (This 1908 photo is from the Murphy Historical Society, via the Portal to Texas History, here.)

king-william_oak-cliff_1908_murphy-historical-society_via-portal

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The home of T. Henry Dorsey, a member of the family who founded the Dorsey Printing Co., a pioneer printing establishment in Dallas, was at 161 Grand Ave. (the name of the street was changed to Marsalis, and in 1911 the address of this house became 113 N. Marsalis), between 9th and 10th streets — see it on a 1905 Sanborn map here. The current occupant of this land is, I think, a trucking company. This house — which Dorsey moved into around 1900 — can be seen below from several angles (including one from the back which shows a fence running into part of the house which appears to be encroaching onto a neighbor’s property. 

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Before 1911, the address of the house below — a house I absolutely love — was 174 South Jefferson; after 1911, the address was, rather confusingly, changed to 516 East Jefferson (between Patton and Denver) — see it on a 1905 Sanborn map here. It was on land now occupied by Felix Botello Elementary School. This house was owned for several decades by Dr. William M. Lively. The image below is from a postcard dated 1909. (Great car!)

lively-house_poss-oak-cliff_rppc_1909_ebay

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Below is the only one of these houses still standing. It began life as 120 Madison Ave. (which later became 628 N. Madison), at the corner of W. Neely St. in the Kidd Springs neighborhood of Oak Cliff. See it on a 1922 Sanborn map here (bottom left corner). Claude Marcelle (C. M.) Crawford, a traveling salesman, lived here with his wife, Maud, and their infant son, Marcelle Crawford. Maud Crawford (who died in 1913, just a couple of years after this photo was taken) wrote: “What do you think of our ‘cosy corner.’ Every one tells us it is pretty so much until we almost believe it our selves.” Crawford eventually went to work for Bristol-Myers as a regional branch manager, and after 30 years, when he was in ill health, the company retired him on full pay (!) in gratitude for his service. When he retired, he owned a Beverly Drive home in Highland Park, apparently having done very well. His charming little starter-house in Oak Cliff still stands, having recently been remodeled. 

crawford-house_madison_oak-cliff_ebay_cropped
about 1910

crawford-house_madison_google-street-view_2012
2012, Google Street View

crawford-house_madison_google-street-view_20192019, Google Street View

crawford-claude-marcelle_dmn_081311
Claude Marcelle Crawford, Jr., Dallas Morning News, Aug. 13 1911

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And, lastly, the only house I wasn’t able to determine the location of — it also looks like the oldest. On the back is a faint penciled notation which appears to  be signed “G. P. Taylor.” In a more recent notation in ink, the family members in the photo are identified: “Made in Dallas, Tex. — Elm St. — Mother on porch, Mattie & I in window, Pearl & Joe in gate.” 1870s or 1880s? It’s a mystery!

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Sources & Notes

All images except the William E. King house are from eBay.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

West Jefferson Blvd. at Night

oak-cliff_jefferson-blvd_night_oldoakclifflodge_flickrW. Jefferson & S. Madison (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I love night-time views of a lit-up city, and this circa-1949 bird’s-eye view of West Jefferson Boulevard in Oak Cliff, looking east, is pretty cool. If this photo had a soundtrack, it would be moody and atmospheric saxophone music.

Hunt’s department store was at 303 W. Jefferson, and the Oak Cliff Bank & Trust Co. was at 250 W. Jefferson — S. Madison is the intersecting street in the center of the photo. At the upper left you can see the bright lights and triangular marquee of the Texas Theatre. Below is a view of the same street today, still recognizable.

oak-cliff_jefferson-blvd_google-aerialGoogle Maps

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Sources & Notes

Top photo is from the Flickr photostream of OldOakCliffLodge, here.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

A Few Random Postcards

methodist-hospital_postcard_1944_ebay

by Paula Bosse

Here are a few totally random postcard images, pulled from bulging digital file folders.

Above, an unusual postcard for Methodist Hospital — “An Autumn View From a Window.” The hospital was located in Oak Cliff at 301 Colorado Street — built in 1927, demolished in 1994. The card is postmarked 1944. Below are two other images.

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Below, the Lemly Chiropractic Clinic of Dr. F. Lee Lemly at 808 N. Bishop in Oak Cliff (this was also the residence of his family). The house is still standing.

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A circa-1910s pretty view of City Park (part of which still hangs on as the site of Dallas Heritage Village in The Cedars):

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Another postcard from The Cedars/South Dallas, once home to a large, vibrant Jewish community, this one shows the Colonial Hill home of insurance man Sidney Reinhardt (1864-1924) at 277 South Boulevard (now renumbered as 1825 South Blvd.). The house was built around 1907, and this postcard appeared before 1911. The house — in what is now designated as the South Boulevard-Park Row Historic District — still stands.

south-blvd_now-1825_sidney-reinhardt_postcard_1910_ebay

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Here’s the Flower-A-Day Shop at the corner of Knox and Travis; the building is still there, but it’s nowhere near as charming today as it was when this postcard was mailed in 1955.

flower-a-day_knox-and-travis_postmarked-1950_ebay

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And, lastly, “Highland Park Lake,” now Exall Lake. In fact, it was originally Exall Lake, as it was on the property of Henry Exall, who created the lake by damming Turtle Creek. The lake was a favorite recreation spot way out of town. It seems to have become “Highland Park Lake” after John Armstrong had taken over the property with an eye to developing what eventually became Highland Park. I’ve actually never heard of “Highland Park Lake,” but it was still being referred to as that in the 1960s — I’m not sure when it reverted to “Exall Lake” (or where exactly this photo was taken), but it remains one of Highland Park’s beauty spots. 

highland-park-lake_postcard

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Sources & Notes

Most of these postcards were found on eBay.

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Beautiful Lake Cliff — ca. 1906

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by Paula Bosse

Enjoy these images of Lake Cliff, which, 100 years ago, was “the greatest amusement park in the Southwest.” The slogan “It’s in Dallas” should really have read “It’s in Oak Cliff” — and back then Oak Cliff had everything!

  • Mystic River
  • Shoot-the-Chutes (read this!)
  • Open-Air Circus
  • Roller Coaster
  • Casino
  • Natatorium
  • Carousel
  • Tennis Courts
  • Restaurant
  • Baseball Grounds
  • Skating Rink
  • Trolley Cars
  • Penny Vaudeville
  • Casino Band and Orchestra
  • Circle Swing
  • Japanese Village
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Ferris Wheel

Whew.

Below, some wonderful postcards and photos. (Click to see larger images.)

The first one shows the cafe and the “circle swing” (see a swing in action here).

lake-cliff-cafe_circle-swing_postcard_postmarked-1909_ebay

lake-cliff_c1910_postcard_degolyervia DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University

lake-cliff-bathing_1910s_postcard_degolyervia DeGolyer Library, SMU

swim_lake-cliff-pool_ca-1907_flickr_coltera

lake-cliff_flickr_coltera

lake-cliff_postcard

lake-cliff_shoot-the-chutes_1908

skating-rink_lake-cliff_cook-colln_degolyer_1via Cook Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU

lake-cliff_sunday-afternoon-concert_1906_portal

lake-cliff_club-house-cafe_postcard_ebay

lake-cliff_postcard_weichsel_ebay

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lake-cliff-pavilion_oak-cliff-high-school-yrbk_1925Oak Cliff High School yearbook, 1925

lake-cliff_clogenson_1908_LOCPhoto by Clogenson, ca. 1908, via Library of Congress

lake-cliff_1906_portal_attractions-1

lake-cliff_1906_portal_attractions-2From 1906 promotional brochure, via Portal to Texas History

Jump forward to the 1940s — when it was more of a big pool, without all the flash and filigree:

swim_lake-cliff-pool_1947_flickr_coltera

Take a look at it now in this stunningly beautiful drone video by Matthew Armstrong:

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Sources & Notes

Top image is from a postcard in the George W. Cook Collection at SMU’s DeGolyer Library, here.

Most other uncredited images were found around the internet, several from Coltera’s Flickr stream.

More on Lake Cliff can be found in this article by Rachel Stone from the Oak Cliff Advocate (be sure to click the link to see the full 1906 promotional brochure on “the Southwest’s greatest playground” (it’s “Clean, Cool, Delightful”)).

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

John H. Reagan Elementary, Oak Cliff’s “West End School” — 1905

west-end-school_come-to-dallas_degolyer_SMU_ca1905Class picture in front of the new school… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

In 1904 things were getting really crowded in schools in recently-annexed Oak Cliff. The school board agreed that Dallas’ new Ninth Ward needed at least one new school, and they voted to build a four-room primary school — initially referred to as the “West End school” — at 9th and Llewellyn. After a delay in construction because of a shortage of bricks, the two-story schoolhouse opened in February, 1905. (Click photos and clippings to see larger images.)

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Dallas Morning News, Feb. 18, 1905

The following month the school was named for a Confederate hero of the Civil War, John H. Reagan.

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DMN, March 14, 1905

As the population of Oak Cliff grew over the years, so did the school, which expanded with additions beyond those original four rooms in order to accommodate the continual growth of the neighborhood. The building had a good run and stood for 76 years — until it was demolished at the end of 1981 (or the beginning of 1982) to make room for a new building at the same  location. The new school retained the Reagan name, which has become a point of controversy in recent years.

reagan-elementary_education-in-dallas

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Sources & Notes

Top photo is from the promotional booklet “Come To Dallas,” from the collection of the DeGolyer Library, SMU Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more here.

Bottom photo is from the book Education In Dallas, 1874-1966, Ninety-Two Years of History by Walter J. E Schiebel.

More on the history of Reagan Elementary and the recent controversy over whether the school should be renamed can be found in the Dec. 27, 2017 Oak Cliff Advocate article “Backstory: One Low-Income School in Oak Cliff Bears the Name of a Confederate Leader” by Rachel Stone.

For more on the then-impending demolition of the original school building, check out the Dallas Morning News archives for the story “Graduates Come to Visit School On Its Deathbed” by Keith Anderson (DMN, Sept. 14, 1981).

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

10th and Lancaster, Oak Cliff — ca. 1902

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_mcafee_degolyer_SMU_ca-1902Lancaster, intersecting Jefferson & E. 10th… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

This photo, taken around 1902, shows a northward-view of an intersection of the soon-to-be-annexed (or a just-annexed) Oak Cliff: Lancaster (the dark road running at a slight diagonal to the upper left of the photo), E. 10th St. (crossing Lancaster behind the “Eselco 10¢ Cigars” sign and running horizontally in the middle of the photo), and Jefferson, which contains the double tracks of the then-new Dallas-Fort Worth interurban railway.

The location of this photo can be seen on a 1905 Sanborn map here (in that map, 10th St. is at the right edge — to see the area just south of Jefferson — where the photographer snapped his photo — that map is here). The view today? Lancaster (which became N. Lancaster just north of E. 10th) no longer exists immediately north of 10th — that land is now occupied by Hector P. Garcia Middle School  — the location seen in the 116-year-old photo above can be viewed on Google Street View, here.

Let’s zoom in on this photo. Though grainy, it’s still really exciting to see views of Oak Cliff, just after the turn of the century (Oak Cliff was annexed by Dallas in 1903 but had been a thriving community for many years before that). Below, a couple of men are seated on a bench beneath a sign that says “Interurban Ticket Office,” a bicycle lies at the curb, men stand on the corner, and a horse-drawn buggy is parked underneath a sign that says “drugs.” Eselco brand cigars were ten cents apiece at the time (about $3.00 in today’s money). The “ticket office” sign helps date this photo, as the Dallas-Fort Worth interurban service (through Oak Cliff) began in July, 1902.

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_mcafee_degolyer_SMU_ca-1902_det-1

On the east side of Lancaster, a two-story building with “Britton & Collins Drugs” painted on the side dominates the block. The drug store was owned by T. Jefferson (“Jeff”) Britton and J. Willie Collins. Tennessee-born Britton (1874-1926) had opened a well-known drug store in downtown Dallas at the southeast corner of Elm and Akard in the late 1890s (seen here in 1900) — this attempt at an expansion into Oak Cliff does not seem to have lasted long: I find listings for this OC location in only the 1902 and 1903 city directories.

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_mcafee_degolyer_SMU_ca-1902_det-2

britton-and-collins-drug-store_1902-directory1902 Dallas city directory

Back to the interurban service (the arrival of which was, no doubt, both a welcomed convenience as well as a financial boon to Oak Cliff residents and businesses): here are the double tracks of the Northern Texas Traction Co.,  running along Jefferson. (More on this interurban line is at the bottom of this post.)

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_mcafee_degolyer_SMU_ca-1902_det-3

Below is a detail from a 1905 map showing this confusing intersection of E. 10th, Jefferson, N. Lancaster, and S. Lancaster. (As with all images in this post, click to see a larger picture.)

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_worleys-map-greater-dallas_1905_det

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Sources & Notes

This photo — titled “10th and Lancaster, Oak Cliff, 1900” — is part of the George A. McAfee photographs collection, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University; more information about this photo can be found here.

According to the DeGolyer Library, the photo has the following notation written on the back: “10th & Lancaster. Oak Cliff — looking toward Dallas. Taken 1900.” I think the photo was taken a little later — somewhere between mid-1902 and very early 1904: the Britton & Collins drug store was listed in only two Dallas directories (1902 and 1903), and the interurban service from Dallas to Fort Worth (which passed through Oak Cliff and past the “Tenth St. Station”) did not begin until July, 1902.

Everything you could possibly want to know about the Dallas-Fort Worth interurban line, including mechanical specs and several photographs, can be found in a PDF of the July 18, 1903 issue of the Street Railway Journal, here (the 10-page article “The System of the Northern Texas Traction Company” begins on p. 82). (Lots on “Lake Erie” at Handley can also  be found in this article.)

A few newspaper snippets from the first month following of the launch of the Dallas-Fort Worth interurban service.

oak-cliff_interurban_dmn_070102Dallas Morning News, July 1, 1902 (click to see larger image)

oak-cliff_interurban_dmn_070702_first-week-operationDMN, July 7, 1902

The one-way fare to FW from Dallas was 70¢, and a round-trip fare was $1.25 (a rather hefty $20 and $36, respectively, in today’s money, adjusted for inflation).

oak-cliff_interurban_tenth-station_dmn_071702DMN, July 17, 1902

oak-cliff_interurban_tenth-station_dmn_071102DMN, July 11, 1902

oak-cliff_interurban_el-paso-herald_072102El Paso Herald, July 21, 1902

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Oak Cliff: “A City Within a City” — 1929

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by Paula Bosse

Publications like Oak Cliff, A City Within a City (“Stop and Shop — Buy it from your neighbors!”) are wonderful glimpses into a city’s proud self-promotion. This little booklet is for the newcomer to Oak Cliff — to show that it is its own self-contained community, full of friendly, neighborhood businesses; even better, each ad is accompanied by a photograph. Though undated, the photo of the famed Cliff Queen movie theater features movies released in 1929. (All photos are larger when clicked.)

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CLIFF QUEEN THEATRE (L. L. Dunbar, proprietor), 616 E. Jefferson. On the marquee: “South Sea Rose,” starring Charles Bickford and Lenore Ulric (1929). Talking pictures — “clean entertainment” for the whole family.

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BARRETT’S CLEANERS (E. B. Tipton, prop.), 607 E. Jefferson (building still stands, here). “We clean everything but a guilty conscience.”

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OAK CLIFF BANK & TRUST (aka Jefferson Bank & Trust), 106-108 W. Jefferson (with the Texas State Mutual Life Insurance Co. upstairs). “Plenty of parking space.”

oak-cliff-bank-and-trust_OC-city-within-a-city_ca-1929_SMU

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CAMERON MAN SHOP (prop. C. C. Cameron), 115 W. Jefferson. Stop in and say howdy to “Oak Cliff’s dress-up man.”

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LAKESIDE LAUNDRY & CLEANING CO., 1454 N. Zang (at Marsalis). “Let the biggest washwoman in Oak Cliff do your laundry.”

lakeside-laundry_OC-city-within-a-city_ca-1929_SMU

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H. BOEDEKER & SONS, Grocery and Hardware (Huber Boedeker, Oscar Boedeker, and W. C. Boedeker), 113 N. Lancaster. “The store complete.”

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LAMAR & SMITH, Funeral Directors and Ambulance Service, 800 W. Jefferson. “Keep Oak Cliff safe!” (…or there will be unfortunate consequences you will be calling us to deal with).

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RICK FURNITURE CO. (Louis F. Rick, prop.), 418 N. Bishop. “More than 50 years in Dallas.”

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OAK CLIFF PHARMACY, various locations. “Candy, soda, cigars, sick-room supplies.”

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SKINNIE & JIMMIE SERVICE STATION, W. Jefferson and Madison (northeast corner). A free grease job awaits the coupon-bearing newcomer.

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OAK CLIFF ICE DELIVERY CO., 1027 S. Beckley (building may still be standing, here). “We help to make Oak Cliff a cooler place.”

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oak-cliff-ice_ad_OC-city-within-a-city_ca-1929_SMU

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KIDD SPRINGS, 715 W. Canty (see the amusement area on a 1922 Sanborn map, here). “Where Dallas plays.”

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Sources & Notes

“Oak Cliff, A City Within a City,” published by The Welcome Wagon, Dallas, ca. 1929, is from the collection of the DeGolyer Library, SMU Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more information may be accessed here.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Dallas in “The Western Architect,” 1914: Businesses

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by Paula Bosse

The continuing week-long look (…well, it looks like that’s going to be more like a two- or three-week-long look…) at the Dallas buildings featured in the July, 1914 issue of The Western Architect plods on. Today: business buildings. Nine of these ten buildings are, remarkably, still standing (some are even still recognizable!), and, as seems to be the trend with architecture of this period in Dallas, the powerhouse firm of Otto Lang and Frank Witchell dominates.

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1.  MKT BUILDING / KATY BUILDING, Commerce & Market, designed by architect H. A. Overbeck (who also designed the nearby Criminal Courts Building). This building (seen above) was built in 1912 as the general offices of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway; it has been spiffed up in recent years and is one of my favorite downtown buildings. An article appearing at the time the offices opened described the building as being faced with dark brick (“gun metal shade”) and light colored terracotta. The wide-angle photo below, which shows employees in front of the new building, is interesting because of the buildings seen to the left and right (all images in this post are larger when clicked). (See the building on a 1921 Sanborn map here.)

mkt-bldg_dmn_120112_employees-new-bldgDallas Morning News, Dec. 1, 1912

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2.  JOHN DEERE BUILDING, 501 Elm Street (northeast corner of Elm & Houston), designed by Hubbell & Greene. This building was built about 1901/1902 for the Kingman Texas Implement Co. (construction permits were issued the same week in 1901 as its also-still-standing-across-the-street-neighbor, the Southern Rock Island Plow Co., better known as the Texas School Book Depository). It is thought to be the earliest example of Sullivan-esque architecture in Dallas. The John Deere Plow Co. moved into the building around 1907 and built the warehouse, which extends back to Pacific. After the Deere Co. moved out, it was the home of apparel manufacturing and wholesaling offices for many years. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

john-deere-bldg_western-architect_july-1914

john-deere-building_flickr_colteraca. 1949, via Flickr

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3.  BOREN & STEWART BUILDING, 1801 N. Lamar (at Hord), designed by Lang & Witchell. This attractive building was built in 1913 in what is now the Historic West End District — the building is still standing. Boren-Stewart, billed in ads at this time as “Dallas’ oldest grocery house,” had been established in the late 1880s by Robert H. Stewart and Benjamin N. Boren. At the time of the construction of this new building, its president was R. H. Higginbotham (whose Swiss Ave. house was also featured in The Western Architect); its treasurer was A. W. Cullum, who would go on to form the Tom Thumb grocery store chain. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map here.)

boren-and-stewart_western-architect_july-1914

boren-stewart_lang-and-witchell-drawing_dmn_083013Lang & Witchell drawing, 1913

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4.  COTTON EXCHANGE BUILDING, 401 S. Akard (southwest corner of S. Akard & Wood), designed by Lang & Witchell. Built in 1911, this was the hub of the cotton market in Dallas, a city which, in a 1912 article in The Dallas Morning News, was described as “the greatest and largest interior cotton market in the world, handling cotton worth $100,000,000 per year” (about 2.7 billion dollars in today’s money!). The Dallas Cotton Exchange was handling up to one-third of the cotton grown in Texas and Oklahoma. This handsome building was vacated by the cotton people in 1926 when their much larger new exchange building went up at St. Paul and San Jacinto. (Read about the Dallas cotton traders unhappiness with not being acknowledged as one of the country’s most important exchanges in a March 20, 1912 article in The Dallas Morning News here.) (See this building on a 1921 Sanborn map here.) This is the only building in this group of ten that is no longer standing — the site is now occupied by a parking lot.

cotton-exchange-bldg_western-architect_july-1914

cotton-exchange-building_postcard_ebay

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5.  S. G. DAVIS HAT CO. BUILDING, 800 Jackson St. (southeast corner of Jackson and S. Austin), designed by Lang & Witchell. When it was built in 1913 it was advertised as “facing the new Union Depot” (which hadn’t yet been built and was three blocks away). The Davis Hat Company — a manufacturer and wholesaler of men’s hats — was established in Dallas in 1900. This building might be familiar to many people for its “Office Equipment Co. sign painted on the back exterior. (See the location of this building on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

davis-hat-co-bldg_western-architect_july-1914

davis-hat-co-building

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6.  BUTLER BROTHERS, 500 S. Ervay (between Young and Marilla, immediately east of City Hall), designed by Mauran, Russell & Crowell Architects (Harre Bernet, Dallas representative). This massive building (11 acres of floorspace before any additions were made) was one of the branches of the Chicago company which was known at the time as the largest wholesale business in the world. Construction began in 1910 (see a photo of the work in progress, by Vilbig Brothers Construction, here) and, over the years, various additions were made. When Butler Bros. sold the building in 1951, it had grown to 670,000 square feet and soon became home to the newly branded Merchandise Mart. The building still stands (as residences), but it doesn’t look a lot like it did a century ago: it was apparently resurfaced in the 1960s and currently sports a regrettable exterior color, which makes it look a bit like a large Hampton Inn. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

butler-brothers_western-architect_july-1914

It even had its own artesian “deep well.”

butler-brothers_det_western-architect_july-1914

butler-brothers_ad_110610November, 1910

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7.  “STORE AND FLAT BUILDING,” northwest corner of West Jefferson & Tyler, designed by C. A. Gill. Luckily I recognized this building — because I love it and have written about it before — because, otherwise, there’s very little to go on to determine its location. It was built in 1911 or 1912 for use as retail establishments on the ground floor and apartments (“flats”) and the occasional doctor’s offices on the second floor. Still looking good in Oak Cliff. (See it on a 1922 Sanborn map, here.)

oak-cliff_mallory-drugstore_western-architect_july-1914

oak-cliff_jefferson-tyler_1929_oak-cliff-advocate_DPL1929 (Dallas Public Library photo, via Oak Cliff Advocate)

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8.  HUEY & PHILP BUILDING, 1025 Elm Street, designed by Lang & Witchell. Built in 1913-1914 for the Huey & Philp hardware company (founded in Dallas in 1872 by Joseph Huey and Simon Philp) — this building is still standing, but you’d probably never ever guess it. First off, it looks nothing like it once did: it’s much taller now and it was one of the many downtown buildings that went through bizarre refacings in the 1950s and ’60s — beautiful buildings were stripped of all their character and uglified, for reasons I can’t fathom. Anyway, the other reason it’s hard to believe this is the same building is that, when it was built, it sat on the northwest corner of Elm and Griffin; now it sits on the northeast corner. How does something like that happen? In the 1960s, Griffin was “realigned” and widened, in order to provide a north-south artery through downtown’s west side — part of this road construction meant that Griffin suddenly cut right through the 1000 block of Elm (it also did away with poor little Poydras Street). The old Griffin can still be seen in the Griffin Plaza walkway (here — with the old Huey & Philp/Texas & Pacific building to the left, now a hotel and looking nothing like the century-old building it is). Crazy. Huey & Philp closed its retail business in 1934 but continued for several decades as wholesalers. (Read more about this building at Noah Jeppson’s Unvisited Dallas site, here. And see a street-level early-1920s photo in the UTA collection here, with the Sanger’s building in the background at the left.) (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

huey-and-philp_western-architect_july-1914

huey-philp_unvisited-dallasvia Unvisited Dallas

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9.  SANGER BROTHERS BUILDING, Main & Lamar, designed by Lang & Witchell. One of the earliest Dallas business institutions (the Sanger brothers arrived in Dallas in the 1870s, at about the same time as Simon Philp), Sanger’s slowly acquired a ton of downtown real estate (for warehouses, etc.), but this building — their retail department store — was their centerpiece, and it grew and grew over the years. The expansion(s) of 1909 and 1910 included the addition of two floors to their already 6-story building, the building of a new 8-story addition which went up at the corner of Main and Lamar, and then when that was completed in 1909, another addition matching the rest of the store was built on the Elm Street side, resulting in a store taking up half a block of prime real estate (they would eventually own the entire block). More than a century later — now as part of El Centro College — the building still looks good. (See it on a 1905 Sanborn map, here, and a 1921 map, here.)

sanger-bros-bldg_western-architect_july-1914

Here’s what it looked like before this flurry of construction began:


sangers-bros-postcard

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10.  SEARS, ROEBUCK & COMPANY OF TEXAS WAREHOUSE AND CLUB HOUSE, S. Lamar & Belleview, designed by Lang & Witchell. When Sears, Roebuck & Co. decided to open their first branch outside of Chicago, their choice was Dallas. A huge warehouse was built along South Lamar in 1910. Then, in 1912 a second huge warehouse was built. And, in 1913 a third one. This growth was pretty spectacular. All three of these buildings were designed by Lang & Witchell (building 3 is the one seen below). The massive Sears complex is now known as South Side on Lamar, and it’s beautiful. (More on this clubhouse is here.) (See the Sears buildings in a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

sears-warehouse_western-architect_july-1914

sears-roebuck_postcard_ebay

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Next: the Adolphus Hotel.

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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: Residences of East Dallas, South Dallas, and More

higginbotham-r-w_house_western-architect_july-1914

by Paula Bosse

This is the second installment of a week-long look at the wonderful photos published in 1914 in the journal The Western Architect. Today’s installment features photos of homes built between 1911 and 1913 in Munger Place and Old East Dallas, South Dallas, Uptown, and Oak Cliff — of the eight homes featured here, six are still standing. (All photos are larger when clicked.)

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Residence 1: (above) the beautiful sprawling home of businessman RUFUS W. HIGGINBOTHAM (Higginbotham-Bailey, Boren-Stewart, etc.), 5002 SWISS AVENUE, designed by Charles Erwin Barglebaugh, chief designer for Lang & Witchell and a former employee of Frank Lloyd Wright (more on Barglebaugh — who was one of the architects responsible for the Medical Arts Building — can be found here). This beautiful Prairie-style house still stands. (It can be seen on a 1922 Sanborn map here.)

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Residence 2: another house from the firm of Lang & Witchell, this one for banker GEORGE N. ALDREDGE, 5125 LIVE OAK (at Munger). (In 1921 the family moved into the former Lewis home at 5500 Swiss — that house is now known as “The Aldredge House.”) This Live Oak house was torn down in 1958 to make way for an apartments. (The surprisingly large lot this house sat on can be seen on a 1922 Sanborn map here.)

aldredge-g-n_house_western-architect_july-1914

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Residence 3: an apartment house built for J. H. MEYERS, 4920 VICTOR (between Fitzhugh and Collett), designed by C. W. Bulger & Son. The elder Bulger designed what was probably the most famous building in the city when this apartment was built — the Praetorian Building, the tallest “skyscraper” in the Southwest. But the key to business success is to diversify, and this nifty apartment house still stands and looks great (I love that those “arrows” on the front are still there). (On the 1922 Sanborn map here.)

meyers-apartment-house_western-architect_july-1914

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Residence 4: the unusual-looking (in comparison to the others) house belonging to lawyer MARION N. CHRESTMAN, 4525 JUNIUS, also designed by C. W. Bulger & Son. (When I saw it, my first thought was that it was reminiscent of the nearby “Bianchi House” at Reiger and Carroll, which was built at the same time and has been in preservation news in the past couple of years.) This house is still standing and, though renovated, looks pretty spiffy (I don’t want to intrude on anyone’s privacy, but if you Google the address, some MLS listings show photos of the house’s interior). (See it on the 1922 Sanborn map, here — right next to the Haskell Branch creek, the proximity of which no doubt caused problems during heavy rains. And mosquito season.)

chrestman-house_western-architect_july-1914

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Residence 5: the beautiful home of Sanger Bros. executive MAX J. ROSENFIELD, 2527 SOUTH BOULEVARD, designed by Woerner & Cole. I love this house, and I’m happy to see it’s still standing in the South Boulevard-Park Row Historic District in South Dallas — and it still looks beautiful. (Rosenfield was the man who built the circa-1885 “blue house” in the Cedars which was recently moved to a new location — I wrote about him and that previous house, here.) (See this house — and the one below — on the 1922 Sanborn map here. It’s interesting to note that this map — drawn almost 10 years after the construction of Rosenfield’s house — shows most of the lots on that side of South Blvd. being vacant; the south side of the street, however, is mostly full.)

rosenfield-max-house_western-architect_july-1914

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Residence 6: a house with distinctive arches built for MRS. SALLIE SALZENSTEIN (widow of clothing merchant Charles Salzenstein), 2419 SOUTH BOULEVARD, designed by Lane & Witchell. This house — one block from the Rosenfield house — is still standing. (This and the Rosenfield house can both be seen on the 1922 Sanborn map, here.)

salzenstein-house_western-architect_july-1914

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Residence 7: the ELMWOOD APARTMENTS, built by A. R. PHILLIPS, 2707 ROUTH STREET (at Mahon), designed by Hubbell & Greene. No longer an apartment house, the building is still standing in the Uptown area and looks great (see it from a 2011 Google Street View here). (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

phillips-apartment-bldg_western-architect_july-1914

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Residence 8: the Oak Cliff home of developer LESLIE A. STEMMONS (yes, that Stemmons), 100 N. ROSEMONT (at Jefferson), designed by Brickey & Brickey. This home is no longer standing (the block is now occupied by the Salvation Army), but while it was it was named an “Example of Civic Attractiveness” in 1913. (See it on a 1922 Sanborn map, here — a large lot north of W. Jefferson, on the left side of the map.)

stemmons-house_western-architect_july-1914

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Coming next: skyscrapers and civic pride.

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Sources & Info

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.

 

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