I’ve seen so many Dallas postcards that it’s always a little bit of a jolt when I see one I’ve never seen before, like the one above. The Praetorians Life Insurance exhibit was inside the Varied Industries building (below). So much is written about the architecture of Fair Park — but we don’t hear a lot about the interiors. I don’t think there are many color photos in existence. This is a colorized image, but the colors in real life were pretty vibrant. Even the floors were fantastic! One of my favorite “finds” was the ad at the top of the post “State Fair Coliseum/Centennial Administration Building/Women’s Museum/Women’s Building” — it’s a color photo (!) which shows glimpses of the interior, the furniture, and, best of all, the custom linoleum.
And speaking of the Fair Park Coliseum, this is a great postcard (with a 1911 postmark):
And here’s the Magnolia Building — it never gets old:
The “new” Cotton Exchange Building, at St. Paul and San Jacinto (I wrote about the old and new Cotton Exchange buildings here — scroll down to #4):
Highland Park Presbyterian Church (circa 1940s):
The Inn of the Six Flags — along the DFW turnpike in Arlington. I’d never seen this postcard — and the resolution is pretty bad — but I post this almost entirely to drink in that unbelievably pastoral view of 1960s Arlington.
A couple of ads letting the nation know that construction of the new Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was progressing and would soon be the biggest, bestest… um, BIGGEST airport ever! “Phase I” was completed by the end of 1973, and DFW opened for business in January, 1974.
The first ad, from Gifford-Hill (click to see larger image — transcription below):
Here’s how we helped convert 18,000 acres into the world’s largest airport.
With the completion of Phase I, the new Dallas/Ft. Worth Regional Airport is already universally lauded as the biggest, best equipped, most efficient jet port in the world.
An estimated 42,000 persons will pass through this ultra modern facility every day. Not to mention several thousand employees.
And by 1985, the passenger flow is expected to increase to over 100,000 daily.
Of course a project of this magnitude didn’t just happen. It took years of planning and hard work by a number of different agencies and companies. In many different fields.
For example, Gifford-Hill’s major contribution to this mammoth installation was raw materials.
Over the past two years, our Basic Industries Group has supplied over 4 million tons of aggregates, 500,000 barrels of cement and 125,000 cubic yards of ready-mix concrete for the construction of runways, taxiways and aprons.
And our Manufacturing and Services Group has supplied over 422,334 linear feet of sewer and culvert pipe for underground waste disposal. And 25,000 feet of prestressed concrete pressure pipe for water distribution within and around terminal buildings.
But we’re not finished yet. Not by a long shot. Because construction is already underway on Phase II. And as the need grows, expansion will continue until the ultimate complex is completed in the year 2001.
Since our land development division, Gifco Properties, owns over 5,000 acres in the vicinity of the new airport, we’re also involved in the development of new housing projects, commercial installations and industrial complexes in that area.
So, as you taxi down the runways at the new Dallas/Ft. Worth Regional Airport, remember, it’s the biggest and best air terminal in the world. And we helped make it that way.
Gifford-Hill & Company, Inc. Dallas, Texas
1969, Highland Park High School yearbook
The second ad, from LTV, touting their automated AIRTRANS all-electric transportation system which carried people and cargo around the airport.
The word around the airport is LTV.
AIRTRANS, designed and built by LTV Aerospace, a subsidiary of The LTV Corporation, helps make the new Dallas/Fort Worth Airport tick. By efficiently moving all the things that need to be moved, to from and around the largest airport in the nation.
AIRTRANS is the most complete, fully automatic airport transportation system in the world. With 13 miles of door-to-door service to 53 doors – provided by 51 AIRTRANS personnel vehicles. All in a totally controlled environment.
AIRTRANS is just one of the outstanding products being developed by the subsidiaries of The LTV Corporation. These companies are providing for today’s changing society – LTV Aerospace Corporation, Wilson & Co., Inc. and Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation.
And because AIRTRANS is getting its day in the sun, here’s a local ad for its troubled “surface” counterpart (I just learned that “SURTRAN” stands for “surface transportation”) — the bus/taxi/limo system designed to get people to the airport from Dallas or Fort Worth. As this ad says, a one-way bus ticket was $2.50 (about $15.00 in today’s money). SURTRAN seems to have been financially troubled from the beginning — SURTRAN service ended at the end of October, 1984.
End of Phase I:
Sources & Notes
Gifford-Hill ad with color photo and LTV ad found on eBay.
As another year crawls to an end, it’s time to collect the odd bits and pieces that have piled up over the past few months which struck me as interesting or funny or… whatever. I had nowhere else to put them, so they’re going here! (Most images are larger when clicked.)
First up, the ad above for the “Cyclone Twister” 5-cent cigar, distributed by Dallas wholesaler Martin L. Richards in 1928. Note the shape of the cigar. “Looks crooked but smokes straight.” Probably looked a little strange when smoked. I guess it might help break the ice at parties. Found on eBay.
Here’s a nice little crest for SMU I’ve never seen — I’m not sure how long this lasted. From the 1916 Rotunda yearbook.
M. Benedikt & Co. was the “Headquarters for Hard-to-fit-men” — in other words, they specialized in “Right-Shape clothing for Odd-Shape Men.” Here are a couple of examples of what they might consider “odd-shape men” in an ad from 1899.
I’ve been working in the G. William Jones Film and Video Archives at SMU for the past few months, and this was something I came across while viewing a 1960 WFAA-Channel 8 News clip which made me really excited (it’s an awful screenshot, but, what the heck): while covering a car wreck at Corinth and Industrial, the Ch. 8 camera panned across the scene, and in the background, just left of center, was a very tall sign for the Longhorn Ranch, which I’d never seen before. Before it was the Longhorn Ranch it was Bob Wills’ Ranch House, and after it was the Longhorn Ranch it was the Longhorn Ballroom (more history of the legendary honky-tonk is in a Texas Monthly article here). So, anyway, it’s a fuzzy screenshot, but I think it’s cool. (The footage is from June, 1960 but the clip hasn’t yet been uploaded online.)
Speaking of WFAA footage in the Jones Film collection, there was some sort of story about comely young women in skimpy outfits handing out samples of some sort of food to passing pedestrians on Commerce Street (the one-minute clip is here). In addition to seeing sights associated with downtown streets in 1962 (including businesses such as Sigel’s and the Horseshoe Bar, as well as a large sign advertising the Theatre Lounge), I was really happy to see a few Braniff Airways posters in a window — I love those late-’50s/early-’60s Braniff travel posters! So here’s another screenshot and, below that, the Texas-kitsch poster I was so happy to see in color.
Braniff Airways, Inc., Copyright 1926 2019
I don’t have an image for it, but I was amused to learn that in 1969 the powers-that-be at the Texas Turnpike Authority nixed the suggestion that the Dallas North Tollway be renamed in honor of president Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had recently died — the idea was turned down because 1) new signage would have been very expensive, and 2) officials were afraid that “irreverent motorists” would inevitably refer to the toll road as the “Ike Pike” (I know I would have!).
Not Dallas, but there’s always time for a little love for Fort Worth: here’s a nice ad from 1955 for a 22-year-old Fort Worth DJ named Willie Nelson, back when he was gigging out on the Jacksboro Highway with his band the Dumplin’ Eaters.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Sept. 9, 1955
Apparently there was a time when ladies were uncomfortable patronizing an establishment in which m*n served them ice cream, so this ad from 1899 made sure to note that “lady clerks” were in attendance. (See the back side of the Willett & Haney Confectioners parlor a couple of years before this ad, when the “cool and cozy parlor” was located on Main Street — it’s at the far left in this circa-1895 photo detail from this post.) The parlor was owned by John B. Willett and John S. Haney, and in addition to ice cream and candy, their specialty was oysters, and I can only hope that there was some experimenting with new food combos involving mollusks, ice cream sodas, and crushed fruit.
This is an odd little tidbit from The Dallas Morning News about a couple of cadets from Camp Dick (at Fair Park) and what happened to them when they attended a lecture on “social diseases.” (The jokes write themselves….) Who knew singing and whistling were so therapeutic”
DMN, Aug. 17, 1918
The caption for this photo (which appeared in the article “Going Downtown to Shop” by Jackie McElhaney, from the Spring, 2009 issue of Legacies): “In 1946, Sanger’s introduced a portable drapery shop. Two seamstresses sewed draperies in this truck while parked in the customer’s driveway.” Now that’s service!
“Forward with Texas,” 1947 ad detail
Two more. This first was a real-photo postcard I found on eBay. It shows the Pink Elephant cafe on Hwy. 80 in Forney (not Dallas, but pretty close!). I love the idea of Forney having a place called the Pink Elephant — it was quite popular and was in business from at least the 1930s to the 1950s. The card below was postmarked in 1936.
I wondered if the place was still around (sadly, it is not), and in looking for info about it found this interesting article from 1934 about outlaw Raymond Hamilton, the escaped killer who grew up in Dallas (…there’s the Dallas connection!) and was notorious for having been a member of Bonnie and Clyde’s “Barrow Gang.” (Click to read.)
Austin American, Oct. 22, 1934
And, lastly, a photo of a young woman which appeared in a German-language magazine, captioned simply “Eine Texas Schönheit (A Texas Beauty).” Is the hair wearing the hat, or is the hat wearing the hair?
Previous installments of Flashback Dallas “Orphaned Factoids” can be found here.
There’s a lot going on in this postcard! The description, from the back of the card:
TEXAS EXCITEMENT Three of the most popular rides at SIX FLAGS Over Texas are shown in action. At top is the Runaway Mine Train which annually carries more than 2½ million riders. At center an authentic 1898 steam engine carries passengers over a narrow gauge track which encircles the huge theme park. And, in the foreground is the SIX FLAGS Mini Mine Train, designed for the younger set.
Sources & Notes
This 1970s-era postcard is from Ken Collier’s fantastic Six Flags Over Texas site, here.
The Ringo-less Beatles with Delbert and Bruce, June 21, 1962
(CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE FILM DISCUSSED IN THIS POST)
by Paula Bosse
You know how you’re all excited about one thing only to discover something even more exciting sitting all alone over off to the side? That’s what happened when I took a look at the “Light Crust Doughboys collection” which has recently been uploaded to the Portal to Texas History site as part of the Spotlight on North Texas project via the UNT Media Library. I’m a huge fan of Western Swing and classic country music, and I spent an enjoyable hour or two watching home movies of the Light Crust Doughboys as they toured around Texas. When I looked to see what else comprised this collection, I saw the words “England Tour,” “Bruce Channel,” and “Delbert McClinton,” and a jolt went through me: oh my god, could there be film footage of the legendary meeting between the Beatles and North Texas musicians Bruce Channel and Delbert McClinton? Every Beatles fan worth his/her salt knows about the June 21, 1962 meeting when John Lennon eagerly chatted with Delbert McClinton about his harmonica prowess.
I watched the 27-minute home movie (shot by Marvin “Smokey” Montgomery, member of the Light Crust Doughboys and, from what I gather, Bruce Channel’s musical collaborator and, possibly, acting manager), and it does, in fact, capture glimpses of the famed tour in which Grapevine’s Channel, riding high on his #1 hit Hey! Baby, toured England with Fort Worth musician Delbert McClinton, who played harmonica on the record. One of their dates was the English town of Wallasey, just across the Mersey from Liverpool. On June 21, 1962 Bruce and Delbert played the New Brighton Tower Ballroom — their opening act was a popular local band on the brink of superstardom, The Beatles. Backstage, John Lennon asked for a few harmonica tips from Delbert whose Hey! Baby sound John really liked, and Delbert was happy to share. The photo above was taken at that meeting by Paul’s brother, Mike McCartney: from left to right, Pete Best (who would soon be replaced by Ringo Starr), John Lennon, Delbert McClinton (is he wearing Paul’s jacket?), Bruce Channel, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison. Another one, with Bruce and Paul, is below (I’m not sure who the girl is).
The home movie shot by Smokey Montgomery shows Bruce and Delbert (both only 21 years old at the time), their Fort Worth record producer “Major Bill” Smith, as well as several members of the package show of British performers that toured with Bruce, including Frank Ifield, Jay and Tommy Scott, and Beryl Bryden. …But, argh, no Beatles! So close! Still, this is great film footage of a famous tour — footage which may never have been seen by the public — and it is now available online for all to see, courtesy of the University of North Texas!
The 27-minute (silent) film can be viewed here(the good stuff is really only in the first 11 minutes or so — the rest is mostly tourist footage of the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace).
This may be thrilling to only a handful of people, but I am definitely one of those people!
A few screen captures from Smokey Montgomery’s 1962 “England Tour” film (all images are larger when clicked):
Bruce on the bus
Delbert in a taxi
Bruce with fans
Perks of the trade
Bruce and Delbert, London
You just never know what you’re going to stumble across…. Below is Bruce Channel’s monster 1962 hit, recorded in 1961 at the Clifford Herring Studios in Fort Worth, Hey! Baby, kicked off by Delbert McClinton’s distinctive harmonica.
Bruce Channel (born Bruce McMeans — the “Channel” was his mother’s maiden name), was born at the end of 1940 and attended Grapevine High School. During his high school days he gained popularity as a performer, complete with lengthy commutes between Dallas and Shreveport, where he was a regular performer on the star-making Louisiana Hayride. Around this time he began writing songs with Margaret Cobb, an Irving woman who was 10-15 years older and the sister of a musician acquaintance. Dallas-Fort Worth-area musician Smokey Montgomery (known for decades as the banjo player in the Light Crust Doughboys) not only helped arrange those songs, but he also produced and played on some of Channel’s early singles, such as the cool (and fast!) rockabilly number, Slow Down, Baby (hear it here) and a song I like even more, Come On, Baby (hear it here).
The Cobb-Channel-penned Hey! Baby was recorded in 1961 and soon became a local radio hit, most notably on KLIF in Dallas, then worked its way up charts around Texas. The song finally reached #1 in the country in March, 1962. Channel had a few other lesser hits, but none ever reached the heights of Hey! Baby. He moved to Nashville in the ’70s and embarked on a successful songwriting career.
Delbert McClinton was born in Lubbock, also at the end of 1940, but grew up in Fort Worth where he, too, was a teenage musician, first gaining attention with his band The Straitjackets/Straightjackets and later the Rondels. He’s a bona fide Texas blues legend and continues to perform.
Bruce McMeans, Grapevine High School, 1960
Shreveport Times, Oct. 10, 1958
Irving (TX) News-Texan, Jan. 7, 1960 (click for larger image)
Louann’s, Dallas, March, 1962
British tour program photo, June, 1962, via Flickr
Delbert McClinton, Arlington Heights High School, 1959
Red Devil Lounge, Fort Worth, Jan., 1958
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, March 21, 1962 (click to read)
Bruce with Delbert (and stripper Tammi True), FW, Jan. 1962
Sources & Notes
The film featuring Bruce Channel and Delbert McClinton is titled “[The Light Crust Doughboys, No. 16 — England Tour]” and is part of the Spotlight on North Texas collection; it was provided by UNT Media Library to The Portal to Texas History and may be viewed here. It was filmed by Marvin “Smokey” Montgomery (who can be seen near the very end, sitting almost in silhouette in front of an airplane window). The film is part of a collection of Light Crust Doughboys and LCD-related materials donated by Art Greenhaw. (Special thanks to Laura Treat!)
Speaking of UNT, there may also be a film clip somewhere in the Denton vaults in which Bruce Channel, the “Grapevine farmboy,” was the subject of a WBAP-Ch. 5 news story (the April 18, 1962 script is here).
See the full printed program for Bruce Channel’s June, 1962 British package tour here.
Bruce Channel’s website is here. Read an interesting interview with him here. More Bruce on Wikipedia, here.
Delbert McClinton’s website is here. He’s constantly touring. Go see him!
The producer of (among other recordings) Hey! Baby and Hey, Paula (the song which has followed me around my whole life) was “Major Bill” Smith who was quite a polarizing character and was often described as a “hustler” (Delbert was not a fan). Read about him here. (Also, rockabilly god Ronnie Dawson might be one of the musicians on Hey! Baby — I’ve always heard he played drums on Hey, Paula.)
Marvin “Smokey” Montgomery is listed, along with Major Bill Smith, as a co-producer of Hey! Baby, which sold well over a million copies, but it rankled him that he did not get a songwriting credit (and, perhaps more importantly, did not earn royalties), which he contended he deserved: in a 1973 Dallas Morning News profile he said somewhat bitterly, “[*Now*] if I have anything to do with making the music or writing the words… you can bet your sweet life my name will be on that record.” (“The Man Who’ll ‘Listen To Your Song'” by David Hawkins, DMN, Oct. 18, 1973). More on Smokey’s long career can be found at the Handbook of Texas, here.
Read about the Beatles’ use of a perhaps Delbert-inspired harmonica sound on several of their early recordings, most notably Love Me Do, here.
Side note: Hey! Baby broke first locally on Dallas radio station KLIF and then on Houston’s KILT — both stations were owned by Gordon McLendon, which might explain why Bruce Channel was appearing at an April, 1964 political rally at Reverchon Park in support of McLendon’s race for U.S. Senate (?!) — see the ad here. (McLendon lost his Democratic primary challenge against Sen. Ralph Yarborough, who ultimately went on to defeat Republican contender, the elder George Bush.)
Bruce and Delbert weren’t the only DFW musicians with whom pre-Beatlemania Beatles hobnobbed: they also shared a bill in Paris with Dallas son Trini Lopez in 1963 — the Flashback Dallas post “Trini Lopez: Little Mexico’s Greatest Export” is here.
How often is juggling mind-blowing? It was here! (click for larger image)
by Paula Bosse
Every year my aunt and her fun friend Shirley took my brother and me to Six Flags Over Texas. This was the ’70s, so some of the original hard-to-believe attractions were already gone (helicopter and stagecoach rides?! — see a promotional video of the park from 1965 here), but it was still when the place was an actual “theme” park — an amusement park originally suggested by aspects of Texas history. The sections of the park represented the six flags that have flown over Texas (see a map here). One of those sections was the Spanish section, the location of two of my favorite Six Flags attractions: the log ride and Casa Magnetica.
Casa Magnetica was the hard-to-wrap-your-brain-around tilted house (newspaper articles reported it was built at either a 24.6-degree angle or a 34-degree angle) which made you feel completely disoriented, especially if you’d just stepped in from the blinding blast of 110-degree heat and were feeling a bit queasy from one too many Pink Things. I loved it. Things rolled uphill, you couldn’t stand up straight, and your brain was mighty confused. The text from the back of the postcard seen above:
Casa Magnetica was introduced very early in Six Flags’ history — it debuted in the second season, 1962, and it was a huge hit. Here is how the SFOT marketing team described it in press releases at the time. (Clippings and images are larger when clicked.) Imagine what it would have been like to have been the architect of this place!
Six Flags Gazette, April 22, 1962
Six Flags Gazette, April 29, 1962
As far as new attractions, the weird little house was the biggest hit of the 1962 season.
Six Flags Gazette, April 20, 1963
Here it is, under construction, in late 1961 or early 1962:
And, later, with a teenage “hostess” sitting under its Spanish-mission-inspired arch.
The caption of the photo above: “WHICH ONE’S STRAIGHT? — It’s hard to tell in the Casa Magnetica in the Spanish section. It’s difficult to keep from leaning the wrong way in this house where water seems to run uphill. Notice in the lower left of the picture how the basketful of goodies seems to be hanging instead of sitting.” (Six Flags Gazette, May 27, 1962)
Caption: “SOMETHING WRONG? — Six Flags hostesses find that the law of gravity doesn’t seem to apply in Casa Magnetica.” (Six Flags Gazette, April 29, 1962)
Caption: “LEMME OUT! — In Casa Magnetica, a house in the Spanish Section of Six Flags which defies gravity, this hostess gets a little panicky when the 34-degree slant proves too much for her.” (Six Flags Gazette, April 26, 1962)
Articles and captioned photos are from the Six Flags Gazette, a seasonal supplement that appeared in both the Grand Prairie Daily News-Texan and the Irving Daily News-Texan during the early years of Six Flags.
Photo of Casa Magnetica under construction in the scrubby Arlington landscape is from the History of Six Flags Facebook group, posted there by the administrator Michael Hicks, submitted to Flashback Dallas by reader Brian Gunn (thank you, Brian!).
The photo of the Six Flags “hostess” sitting outside the entrance to Casa Magnetica is from the Six Flags Over Texas Facebook page, here (it appears with a photo of the Chaparral Antique Cars, the second-most popular attraction introduced in the 1962 season).
Read the “spiel” you’d hear when you visited Casa Magnetica, here.
And, in case you missed it above, I highly encourage you to watch the 6-minute Six Flags Over Texas promotional film from 1965 at the Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TAMI) website here (Casa Magnetica is seen briefly at the :45 mark). Watch it full-screen!
More Flashback Dallas posts on Six Flags Over Texas can be found here.
I was so happy to get word from UNT media librarian and film/video archivist Laura Treat this morning that she had come across film footage of White Rock Station, the first suburban train depot built in the Southwest by the Santa Fe Railway (in 1955). The footage is from the “Spotlight on North Texas” collection, a collaborative project between the University of North Texas Libraries and the Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TAMI) to preserve North Texas film history. This footage is from home movies donated by Mr. Peter Pauls Stewart.
The 4-minute clip starts off with footage shot from a helicopter, showing brand new highways cutting through wide open land, followed by scenes of cute children and their cute dog, and then, beginning at the 3:00 mark, chilly-looking scenes of White Rock Station (which was located at about Jupiter and Kingsley on the edge of Garland, and which, today, looks disappointingly different) and a group of mostly men, some with cameras who appear to be train enthusiasts, waiting for the arrival of the Texas Chief. Doesn’t really look like Texas, does it? Below are some screenshots — watch the full clip on the Texas to Portal History site, here.
Above, two men set up a camera on a tripod as Mr. Stewart — the man who donated the footage — smiles at the camera and waits for the much-anticipated arrival of the train (which, be warned, is never actually seen in this film!).
Below a couple of aerial shots of the North Texas countryside.
UPDATE: In the comments below, Danny Linn writes about the aerial footage seen in the first minute or two of the clip: “… at the very beginning [of the clip is] a clear view of the old Highland Park Airport off Coit Road just north of Forest Lane. This portion of the clip also shows a fairly new Central Expressway near the future crossroad of LBJ Freeway.” Thank you, Danny! I assumed part of what we saw was in the LBJ-area, but wasn’t sure — another view of that area can be seen in a fairly startling photo of Preston and Valley View in 1958, here.
Sources & Notes
The main page of this clip (titled “The Peter Pauls Stewart Films, No. 5 — Helicopter and Railroad Rides”) can be found here, on the Portal to Texas History website; it is from the Spotlight on North Texas collection, UNT Media Library, University of North Texas. (Click picture to watch clip in a new window.)
I have to admit that I had never heard of White Rock Station until I wrote about it in 2015, a post which has been surprisingly popular. The post — “White Rock Station” — can be found here.
Titche’s has you covered… (click to see larger image)
by Paula Bosse
Edward Titche and Max Goettinger founded the Titche-Goettinger department store in Dallas in 1902, and in 1904 they moved into the new Wilson Building. In the late 1920s they built their own George Dahl-designed building at Main and St. Paul, which was greatly enlarged and expanded in 1955. The store was popular with downtown shoppers, and profits continued to rise. The next logical step was to open additional stores. It took a while (59 years), but in October, 1961 they opened three — three! — new suburban stores. How was that possible? Because Titche’s (or their then-parent company) purchased the Fort Worth department store chain The Fair of Texas, and several of its stores were re-christened as Titche’s stores (the others eventually became Monnig’s stores).
The ad above is from the 1969 Dallas city directory and shows that by 1969, there were seven Titche’s stores in the Dallas area. Titche’s bit the dust decades ago, and I have to admit that the only Titche’s store I actually remember ever being in was the one in NorthPark (and I might mostly be remembering Joske’s…). I had no idea about any of these other stores (other than the one at Main and St. Paul, which I wish I had been to!).
The oldest store in the ad above was the one on Main at St. Paul, still standing, still looking good (but, sadly, with that fab logo gone forever).
The second store was located in North Dallas in the Preston Forest Shopping Center, at the southeast corner of Preston Road and Forest Lane. When this opened as Titches’ first suburban store, the paint must still have been wet. It was originally built as a Fair of Texas store, with its opening scheduled for August, 1961. It was opened in October, 1961 as a Titche’s store — remodeled from the original Amos Parrish Associates of New York design (seen here, in a rendering). (The Fair version was much more interesting!)
One week later (!), the next two stores opened on the same day: in the Wynnewood Shopping Village in Oak Cliff, and in the Lochwood Shopping Village on Garland Road in far East Dallas. These two stores had been Fair stores and had opened at the same time in August, 1960. The two drawings below look pretty much the same as the rendering of the pre-remodeled Preston Forest store (all designed by Amos Parrish Assoc.). (An interesting tidbit about the Lochwood location: when this store was built by The Fair of Texas — a department store with Fort Worth roots going back to the 1880s or 1890s — it was the first Fair store in Dallas. In honor of this hands-across-the-prairie moment of business expansion, a truckload of Fort Worth dirt was brought over and “mixed symbolically” with Dallas dirt at the 1959 Lochwood groundbreaking.)
The Arlington store was also a former Fair store; it opened as Titche’s in July, 1963.
The NorthPark store — which occupied a quarter of a million square feet — was one of the first five stores to open in the brand new mall, in July 1965. NorthPark Center is known for its wonderfully sleek, clean, no-nonsense modern architecture (as seen below), but an early proposed Titche’s rendering from 1962 (seen here) looks a little fussy.
And, lastly, in this 1960s wave of expansion, a second downtown Dallas location was opened in the new One Main Place in December, 1968 in the form of “Miss Titche,” a concept-store created to appeal to “career girls” who worked downtown and enjoyed shopping during their lunch hours. It was located on the “plaza level” which sounds like it might have been part of the then-new underground tunnel system of shops. If newspaper ads are anything to go on, it looks like Miss Titche managed to hang on until at least 1975.
Titche’s continued opening new stores into the 1970s, but in August, 1978, it was announced that Titches’ parent company, Allied Stores Corp., was changing the names of all Dallas-area Titche’s stores to “Joske’s.” The nine Titche’s stores operating until the changeover were the flagship store downtown, Preston Forest, Lochwood Village (which became The Treehouse in 1974), Wynnewood, Arlington, NorthPark, Town East, Irving, and Red Bird.
And, just like that, after 72 years, the name of one of Dallas’ oldest department stores vanished.
Sources & Notes
Ad and details from the 1969 Polk’s Greater Dallas City Directory.
More on Titche-Goettinger can be found at the Department Store Museum, here.
Today is Texas Independence Day. This time last year after posting a photo of the Alamo somewhere, I was informed that there was, in fact, an Alamo replica right here in DFW. I knew about the one(s) in Fair Park, but Plano? Yep, near 75 and Parker Road, at the corner of Lexington and Premier, just west of the highway. See a southward-looking aerial view on Google here; below is the same view, from Bing.
Here it is at street level:
So, um, why is that there?
Not being up on my Plano history, and never having been aware of this, it took me a long time to find anything about it. Which is pretty surprising, because you’d think there would be all SORTS of articles about a very large replica of one of the most famous structures in the world (yes, I’m going to say “in the world”), standing right here in the Metroplex. And it’s been standing here for at least 35 years! I managed to find a couple of ads and an article about the building — it had started out as an arcade called the Alamo Fun Center and later became part of a car dealership — but I could never find out who built it or why. I thought I’d come back to it in a year — so I could post it on Texas Independence Day — and see if I could find more, looking with fresh eyes. So I tackled it again today, and, glory be, I’ve just discovered that Rick Saigling wrote a piece for Plano Magazine last November titled “Remember the Alamo Fun Center” which answered all of my questions (and had photos of the building when it was new).
The Plano Alamo was built in 1982 by brothers-in-law Nathan White and Gene Cason and other investors as a “fun center” to house a Texas-themed arcade featuring video games, miniature golf, etc. While popular with Plano kids, the Alamo Fun Center was not a successful venture, and it shut its ornately carved doors after only a relatively short time in business. There you have it. Thank you, Rick. I now have closure.
The earliest (only?) mention I found of the “Fun Center” was the ad below, which appeared in The Wylie News a short time before its grand opening in the summer of 1982. The ad seems to indicate that the name of this “western theme park” is Lone Star Recreation Park and Alamo Fun Center (click to see a larger image).
The Wylie News, July 29, 1982
A few months after the Alamo Fun Center opened, Larry Lange Cadillac moved to its new location on the adjacent property. I’m not sure exactly when it closed, but the Plano Alamo was taken by the advancing forces of Larry Lange Cadillac in 1983 or 1984. For whatever reason, the building remained (what Texan is going to demolish the Alamo?) and was incorporated into the Larry Lange business plan.
In May, 1984, the ad below announced the grand opening of the Larry Lange Adventure Center — the Alamo had been emptied of its batting cages and pizza ovens and had been transformed into an “Indoor Van Showroom Which is ‘As Large as Texas’!” (That doesn’t seem to have lasted very long.)
Two years later, in 1986 — the year of the Texas Sesquicentennial — The Plano Star Courier checked in with the then-current occupants of the hometown Alamo, Premier Auto Leasing, to see what it was like working in the Alamo. In Plano. An employee made the impossible-to-believe statement that very few people ever actually commented on the fact that they were leasing their vehicle from a company that occupied a building shaped like the Alamo.
Plano Star Courier, July 22, 1986
In 1999, Diane Jennings of The Dallas Morning News wrote a story on “mock Alamos” around the state. She checked in on the Plano location, then owned by Crest Cadillac, and found it was being used as a warehouse. The general manager, Michael Coston, was not a fan of the building for several reasons, not least of which was the replica’s design.
As a native Texan and history buff, he worries that the inaccurate construction may “deface the fame of the how-many-ever we say gave their lives there.” He is particularly irritated by the parapet, the rounded hump over the door, which most people associate with the Alamo facade, but which was actually added by the U.S. Army decades after the battle. (DMN, Feb. 28, 1999)
Today Crest Cadillac appears to have forsaken Plano for Frisco, but the property is still in the Crest auto family — it’s now occupied by Crest Volvo. But what of The Alamo? It’s now the home of Crest Collision, a body shop.
So there you have it, the story of Plano’s Alamo.
Instead of rushing out to get a Mirabeau B. Lamar tattoo to show my Texan-ness in these waning hours of Texas Independence Day, I’ve decided instead to post a few photos of the real Alamo, which, strangely enough, was also a neighbor to a car dealership, the Clifton George Ford Motor Co. Remember the Model-T!
Second-from-last photo by an unidentified photographer, circa 1918, from the E. O. (Eugene Omar) Goldbeck Photography Collection, Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin; more information and a larger image may be found here.
Rick Saigling’s Plano Magazine article “Remember the Alamo Fun Center” (November 21, 2016) is here. It includes several photos of the Alamo Fun Center in 1982/83 and interviews with a former owner and employee. See a (large!) close-up of the unexpectedly ornate stone façade of the Plano Alamo here. (If you’re interested in Plano history, Rick’s also written a nice nostalgic piece, “I Remember When Plano Was a Sleepy Town,” here.)
Dallasites rounded up the day after Pearl Harbor… (click for larger image)
by Paula Bosse
I think most of us know about the sad period in American history of Japanese internment camps when, following Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States “interned” men, women, and children of Japanese descent (often including whole families, some of whom were born in America or were naturalized American citizens). I’ve always thought of these camps as being in the western part of the country. I had no idea until just a couple of days ago that there were three “enemy alien” internment camps in Texas — and one of them was in Dallas County.
For a full history of the camp in Seagoville — which is a mere 20 miles southeast of Dallas — there are several links at the bottom of this post. But, briefly, the “camp” was originally built as a federal women’s prison in 1938 on 800 acres of farmland. The United States entered World War II as a result of Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and, suddenly, authorities began scrambling to round up enemy aliens living in the U.S.: people born in countries we were now at war with — primarily those of Japanese, German, and Italian descent — were rounded up and questioned. Many were arrested, and some were interned in camps where they were basically kept prisoner for the duration of the war. Even though the bulk of the initial internees were, oddly enough, from Latin America (most of them Japanese, most sent from Peru), there were also several who, before the war, had been living in the United States for decades without any problems. (See a dizzying number of links at the bottom of this post for more on the Texas internment camps at Seagoville, Kenedy, and Crystal City.)
Below, the Seagoville camp.
In December, 1941, authorities in every city in the country were swooping down on foreign nationals (or sometimes just people who looked foreign or spoke with an accent), hauling them in for questioning, often arresting them for nothing more than the fact that they had been born in another country. Dallas was certainly no exception. Unsurprisingly, immediately following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Dallas’ few Japanese residents were rounded up. All ten of them. The photo at the top shows five of the first detainees, at the Dallas jail.
Most of Dallas’ Japanese residents worked for the Japan Cotton Company, an important cotton broker which had occupied space in the Dallas Cotton Exchange building since the late 1920s. (For a bit of weird trivia, the father of famed gossip columnist Liz Smith was working as a cotton buyer for the company during the war, commuting to work from Fort Worth.) If they weren’t working for the Japan Cotton Company, they were probably members of two Japanese families with long ties to Dallas: the Muta and Sekiya families, owners of the respected Oriental Art Company since 1900.
In February, 1942, the Associated Press photo below appeared in several newspapers, along with the following caption: “This is a portion of the contraband radios, cameras, guns, that were seized during all-night raids on residences of enemy aliens in Dallas County, Texas, by federal and local officers. Scores of aliens also were taken into custody.”
Lubbock Avalanche, Feb. 26, 1942 (click to read)
The first internees arrived in the Dallas area in April, 1942. The group was comprised of 250 women and children (“citizens of the Axis nations”) who had been arrested in Panama. They were interned in Seagoville, displacing the federal women prisoners who had previously been held there — they were transferred to a prison in West Virginia.
Jewish refugees sometimes found themselves tossed into enemy alien internment camps — simply because they had fled homelands which happened to be “Axis-controlled” countries with which the U.S. was at war (even though is seems highly unlikely that a German Jew would be an ardent Nazi sympathizer, gathering classified information to send the Führer’s way). Yes, Seagoville had detainees from all over the place. It was quite the melting pot. There was even a Bavarian princess in there. I wonder if a single person in that camp, held against his or her will for months and years, posed any actual threat to Allied forces.
Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, May 28, 1943
Germans and Italians were able to “blend in” to American society, but Asian men and women had a harder time and were more often harassed. The person who seems to have most disliked and distrusted Japanese people was top Dallas police detective Will Fritz — in fact, The Dallas Morning News called Fritz “one of Dallas’ most enthusiastic Jap-haters” (DMN, Feb. 17, 1943). Let’s just say that Capt. Fritz wasn’t going to be sending the wartime Welcome Wagon to any prospective Dallas residents of Japanese descent.
One Dallasite who was pretty angry and unhappy with the situation was Masao Yamamoto, an executive with the Japan Cotton Company who had lived in Dallas since 1928. He and his wife and two young sons (one of whom was born in Dallas) were living what appears to have been a nice life in the M-Streets when they were “detained.” Ultimately, the Yamamoto family was deported and sent to Tokyo, six months after the photo at the top of this post was taken (Mr. Yamamoto is the third from the left in the top photo) — they were part of a sort of prisoner swap.
After his deportation, Mr. Yamamoto complained to the Japanese press about his treatment in Dallas, where he said he was arrested, relieved of his possession, and thrown in jail with “burglars, murderers, deserters and other criminals.” (Click to see larger image.)
UPI wire story, Feb. 16, 1943
Will Fritz just about had a seizure when he heard of Yamamoto’s complaints, insisting that he was not mistreated and that he was a dangerous enemy agent: “Any apology that may be due should go to the murderers and burglars instead of Yamamoto. […] He was deported for we have absolute proof he was an agent of the Imperial Japanese Government and that his cotton-buying story was just another Jap blind. I consider him one of the most dangerous of enemy agents” (DMN, Feb. 17, 1943). (This is from the article which described Fritz as “one of Dallas’ most enthusiastic Jap-haters.”)
But even in the midst of all this paranoid nastiness, there were occasional heartwarming moments. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Oriental Art Company — the 40-year-old business owned by Hideo Muta (who came to Dallas in 1900) — was ordered closed. In a show of support, 200 of his friends, neighbors, and customers signed a petition vouching for his staunch American patriotism (which is plainly evident in his 1951 obituary in which he is described as a “patriot”). In the ad below, the 73-year-old Muta acknowledged the support of his Dallas friends and announced the reopening of his business in an ad taken out on Dec. 15, 1941: “Thank You — Dallas friends have been wonderful to us … their expressions of friendship and confidence have made us very happy. TheUnited States Government has licensed us to continue business. Oriental Art Co., 1312 Elm.”
Dec. 15, 1941
Mr. Muta was spared the “enemy alien” internment camp, but, along with other Asian men and women residing in the United States, he was barred from becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen because of the “Oriental Exclusion Act.” The inability of Mr. Muta to become a U.S. citizen did not dampen his enthusiasm for American democracy: he paid his poll tax every year, even though he was not allowed to vote, and he was a proud member of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce for over 25 years.
The Seagoville Enemy Alien Detention Station was closed in May, 1945, and the site was returned to the Bureau of Prisons.
Sources & Notes
Photos of the Seagoville camp are from the Institute of Texan Cultures (UTSA).
Articles of interest from The Dallas Morning News:
“Six Japanese Taken in Custody By Local Police” (DMN, Dec. 8, 1941)
“Dallas Japs Questioned” (DMN, Dec. 9, 1941)
“Six Suspected Germans Held in Dallas Roundup of Aliens; Total of Jap Prisoners Rises to 10” (DMN, Dec. 9, 1941)
“Enemy Aliens In Dallas, 776; Arrested, 30: But All Suspects Are Closely Watched By G-Men and Police” (DMN, Dec. 19, 1941)
“FBI Rounds Up 50 Enemy Aliens, Seizes Arms, Cameras, Radios” (with photos of Dallas residents of Japanese, German, and Italian descent as well as seized “contraband”) (DMN, Feb. 25, 1942)
“Women Aliens Are Interned At Seagoville; 250, Including Their Children, Arrive Here From Panama” (DMN, April 11, 1942)
“Chilly Welcome Given 15 Japs From Coast; O.K. to Come to Dallas, Were Told; Still More On Way, Inform Police (DMN, April 23, 1942)
“Japs Leave Dallas” and “Tokyo-Bound Jap Lad Takes Candy Six-Gun as Souvenir” (about the deportation of the Yamamoto family, with photo) (DMN, June 6, 1942)
“Fritz Sheds No Tears For Mr. Yamamoto” (DMN, Feb. 17, 1943)
“Japanese Woman Revisits Seagoville” by Roy Hamric (profile of Masayo Ogawa) (DMN, Sept. 8, 1970)
“American Gulag: When Seagoville Housed the Aliens” by Kent Biffle (DMN, July 23, 1978)
More articles on the Seagoville internment camp:
One of the best articles I’ve read on the camp was an interview with two men (Erich Schneider and Alfred Plaschke) who, as American-born children of German parents, were interned at Seagoville and were later deported to Nazi Germany (in a prisoner exchange) where they experienced the terrifying bombing of Dresden. Both families returned to the United States after the war. The article by Mark Smith — “German-Americans Recall Horror of Deportation — Hundreds of Detainees Sent to Nazi Germany in POW Trade” — appeared in the Houston Chronicle on Nov. 11, 1990, and can be read here.
“Seagoville Enemy Alien Detention Station” (Texas Historical Commission), here
“World War II Internment Camps” (Handbook of Texas), here
“Seagoville, South America, and War — A Historic Intersection” by Kathy Lovas (Legacies, Fall, 2000), here
“Seagoville Detention Facility” (Densho Encyclopedia), here (and for more on the Japanese-American experience overall, see the main page, here)
“The Japanese Texans” by John L. Davis (Institute of Texan Cultures), here (opens a PDF)
Thanks to friend Julia Barton for posting about (and suddenly making me aware of) the Seagoville camp.