Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: University Park

1971 Yellow Pages Cover: SMU Gets the Karl Hoefle Treatment

hoefle_yellow-pages_1971_smuUniversity Park gets Hoefle-ized… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Karl Hoefle’s wonderfully detailed (and painstakingly rendered) Yellow Pages illustrations were pretty much loved by everyone who saw them. As a kid, I loved searching for the hidden jokes — the dinosaurs, the cowboys, the rocket ships. I’ll try to write something in-depth about Karl someday. But, in the meantime, here is one of his covers from 1971, showing the SMU campus, Hillcrest, Snider Plaza, that water tower on Northwest Highway, and, heck, even an observatory. And possibly an elephant (although it might just be an elephant-ish-looking mustang…). (Click the image!)

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Dallas in “The Western Architect,” 1914: Park Cities Residences

edwards-h-l_estate_western-architect_july-1914_highland-park

by Paula Bosse

The magazine/journal The Western Architect devoted an entire issue in 1914 to then-recently completed architectural achievements in Dallas. It’s an incredible collection of photos, most of which I’d never seen. I will be devoting an entire week to these photos.

First up, notable residences, part one. These eight homes were built in Highland Park and University Park, both of which were beyond Dallas’ city limits at the time. All appear to have been built between 1911 and 1913. One is still standing (…possibly). (All photos are larger when clicked.)

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Residence 1: (above) the eye-wateringly beautiful HARRY L. EDWARDS estate, 4500 PRESTON ROAD, designed by architect C. D. Hill & Co., whose stunning Dallas Municipal Building/City Hall was under construction when this issue of The Western Architect was published. Edwards was a Welsh-born cotton tycoon who had been in Dallas since about 1899 and was said to have been the largest cotton buyer in the Southwest. And that was saying a lot — when cotton was king, money was no object, and Edwards spent a lot of money in the construction of his sprawling 6-acre estate. The house was perhaps most famously owned in later years by the late real estate mogul Trammel Crow, who purchased it in the early 1960s. If it looks vaguely familiar, you might have seen news footage of its recent demolition. …Um, yeah. (See the architect’s rendering and description of the not-yet-built “handsome residence” of H. L. Edwards, the “Prince of Cotton,” in a November, 1911 Dallas Morning News blurb, here.) (See this property on a 1921 Sanborn map, here — it is the second property north of Armstrong, just below the Highland Park Pumping Station. Note that these maps were issued a decade or so after most of the homes in this post were built — back then there were considerably fewer homes in Highland Park.)

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Residence 2: the somewhat less dazzling Highland Park home of JOHN B. HEREFORD, 3832 BEVERLY DRIVE, designed by Hubbell & Greene. Hereford was in insurance, and the house cost $15,000 to build (about $400,000 in today’s money). I’m a fan of what I hope is a doghouse, even though its roofline should really match that of the house and garage. (See it on the 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

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Residence 3: the lovely home of real estate man WILLIAM A. DYCKMAN, 3705 GILLON, also designed by Hubbell & Greene (and also costing $15,000). The children in the yard is a nice touch. Now demolished, it looked like this within living memory. (See it at the top, far right of a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

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Residence 4: the simple-yet-stately home of FRANK C. CALLIER, JR., 4008 GILLON, designed by H. B. (Hal) Thomson. Callier was the son of the founder of the Trinity Cotton Oil Co. and the brother-in-law of Lena Callier, whose endowment  helped fund what later became the Callier Hearing and Speech Center. This is the only house in this group which may still stand. I’m not sure if the listing is current, but the house shows up on several real estate sites as being for sale as a “tear-down.” (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

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Residence 5: another attractive but minimally adorned house in Highland Park, built for Butler Bros. general manager ANTHONY M. MATSON at 3715 MIRAMAR, designed by Harre M. Bernet. Here we see a view of both the front and the back. (It should be on this 1921 Sanborn map, but I can’t find this address!)

matson-a-m_house_highland-park_western-architect_july-1914_front

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Residence 6: a house designed for bridge-builder FRANK E. AUSTIN, 4015 BEVERLY DRIVE, by architect Hal Thomson. It’s not terribly sexy, but the Dallas News dubbed it an “Example of Civic Attractiveness,” in November, 1913. Seems like the house is in dire need of a veranda (or at least a larger porch) to accommodate all that furniture. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

austin-frank-house_highland-park_western-architect_july-1914

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Residence 7: the house of civic and business leader CLARENCE LINZ, 4419 HIGHLAND DRIVE, beautifully designed by Lang & Witchell. This is the house of my dreams. (See it on a 1921 Sanborn map, here.)

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Residence 8: an oddball structure built by gravel man RHEA MILLER in rugged and mostly undeveloped University Park at 6221 PRESTON ROAD (which later became 6421, at the southwest corner of Preston and University), designed by architect Ernest E. McAnelly (Miller’s brother-in-law, who died suddenly in 1916 at the age of 33). It was made of concrete, and it almost seems to have been built to prove to people that, yes, you, too, can have a great big house made out of concrete. Or it might have been a tax write-off, seeing as it was featured in a 1914 ad for the company Miller worked for, the J. Fred Smith Gravel Co., under the caption, “A concrete residence on Preston Road, near Dallas, made from our pit-run gravel. The walls were made of four sacks of cement to one cubic yard of pit-run gravel. The floors are one to five.” The grainy photo from the ad is here. This out-in-the-boonies house didn’t have an actual address for years — it was just simply “Preston Road, south of University.” I have no idea when it was torn down, but that must have taken considerable more effort than the usual residential demolition. A classified ad from 1931 read, “Eight rooms, concrete home, 6221 Preston Road. On bus line. Fireproof.” It’s hulking and, well, hulking, but … it’s kind of interesting. The longer I look at it, the more it grows on me. Not only was this fortress fireproof, but once sequestered inside, you were pretty much safe from enemy attack or almost any natural disaster — except maybe a sinkhole or quicksand. Pit-run gravel never looked so inviting.

miller-rhea-house_preston-road_western-architect_july-1914

I’m fascinated by the concrete house and have been trying to determine exactly where it was and when it was demolished. For many years its address was 6221 Preston Road, but the address seems to have changed to become 6421 Preston sometime between 1939 and 1941. William H. Lohman owned a house at that address (probably still the same concrete house?) between about 1933 and 1956 when whatever house was there at the time was torn down to build the Presley Apartments (which were themselves torn down in 2007 in order to make way for the next-door Church of Christ expansion). That block of Preston — the southwest corner of Preston and University — is now home to the Preston Road Church of Christ. The only online Sanborn map I’ve been able to find with the house on it is from a 1952 update (Vol. 7, sheet 728), but it is illegible. The house sits on a very large lot. Below is detail of that map (click to see a larger, but still impossible to read, image):

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I would love more information about this concrete house!

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Next: eight more fabulous homes, in Munger Place and Old East Dallas, South Dallas, Oak Cliff, and a cool, still-standing apartment house on Routh Street. Amazingly, six out of the eight are still alive and kicking. That post is here.

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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.

Highland Park High School: Ads from the 1966 Yearbook

ad_HPHS_1966_goffs“Senior Cools” at Goff’s… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Yesterday I posted photos from the 1966 Highland Park High School Highlander yearbook — today I’m posting a lot of ads from the same yearbook, many of which include students posing at the businesses. Most of the ads are larger if you click them.

Above, Goff’s. My mother refused to patronize this establishment as the owner once said something disparaging about my shaggy-haired 10-year-old brother (Mr. Goff really didn’t like long hair on boys and men), so I’m one of the few native-born Dallasites who never had a Goff’s hamburger.

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On the other hand, I enjoyed a lot of Ashburn’s Ice Cream as a kid — the locations on Knox and on Skillman. I can’t remember ever getting anything other than Butter Pecan.

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Whittle Music Company. (I wrote about Whittle’s previously, here.)

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Hillcrest State Bank, designed by architect George Dahl.

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M. E. Moses, Snider Plaza. I didn’t grow up in the Park Cities, but my parents both went to SMU and my mother worked in University Park for several years, so I spent a lot of time as a kid wandering around HP Village and Snider Plaza as a kid. And what kid didn’t  love a dime store? I can remember where everything was at that Moses. The memory of that ramp between what I always thought of the “sunny side” of the store and the cave-like dark side of the store is a weird, fond memory. (For some reason I never imagined there was actually a person named “M. E. Moses.”)

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Cooter’s Village Camera Shop.

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Cerf’s.

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Preston State Bank. I know that PSB was very early entering the credit card market — I remember my parents had a Presto-Charge card — but I’d never heard of this “Presteen” checking account geared to teenagers.

ad_HPHS_1966_preston-state-bank

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Mr. Drue’s Beauty Salon — “We Specialize in Teen-Age Hair Styling.”

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Dr Pepper.

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Bob Fenn Apparel for Men and Boys.

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Young Ages.

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Lou Lattimore.

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Roscoe White’s Corral, Easy Way Grill, and Westerner. (My family’s favorite neighborhood restaurant was the Corral.)

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Salih’s in Preston Center.

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W. R. Fine Galleries. (This building is still standing on Cedar Springs.)

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Dick Chaplin’s School of Social Dancing.

ad_HPHS_1966_dick-chaplin-school-dancing

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Spanish Village.

ad_HPHS_1966_spanish-village

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Johnson Brothers Chevrolet. The daughter of one of the brothers was a close friend of my mother’s, and I remember visiting her parents’ house on St. Andrews  several times — that huge yard was pretty magical to me as a little girl.

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Highland Park Cafeteria.

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Expressway Bowling Lanes.

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The Gondolier, 77 Highland Park Village. This photo was split across two pages, but I tried to piece it back together because this is a view you don’t see that often in a photo of Highland Park Village, looking east toward Preston. The space is currently occupied by Mi Cocina — see a similar view today, here.

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Marlow’s, “The Camera Store in Dallas Since 1915.”

ad_HPHS_1966_marlows-camera-store-northpark

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NorthPark without the Melody Shop is like a day without sunshine.

ad_HPHS_1966_melody-shop

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Speaking of music, here are a couple of ads placed by teen bands, something I’d never seen before — but what better way to market your band than to advertise in a high school yearbook?

After the Beatles first appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964, a million garage bands sprang up overnight. “Battle of the Bands” contests were ubiquitous. The two Dallas bands that had ads in the 1966 Highlander played all over town and participated in a few of these contests.

battle-of-the-bands_sept-1965
Sept., 1965

First, the Rogues — described in The Dallas Morning News as “a group of young socially prominent Dallas residents” (DMN, April 1, 1966): Rusty Dealey, Wirt Davis, Mitch Gilbert, Doug Bailey, and Mike Ritchey. “The Tuff Sound for Parties and Dances.”

ad_HPHS_1966_rogues

And the Outcasts (not to be confused with the cult-favorite garage band of the same name from San Antonio): Gary, Donny, David, Jim, and Wally. Dig that groovy background!

ad_HPHS_1966_outcasts

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Sources & Notes

All ads are from the 1966 Highland Park High School Highlander yearbook.

The companion post — “Highland Park High School: Photos from the 1966 Yearbook” — can be found here.

Click ads to see larger images.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Highland Park High School: Photos from the 1966 Yearbook

HPHS_1966_flagHPHS ROTC… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I love looking through old yearbooks. Highland Park High School in the mid ’60s was a happening place. Below are a few photos I particularly like — most of which show students away from the classroom. (All photos are larger when clicked.)

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The 1966 Highlander was dedicated to science teacher Margaret Sauer. The caption of this photo: “Mrs. Sauer takes a down to earth approach to the study of botany.”

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Here is student Carol Roach working on a painting:

HPHS_1966_carol-roach

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“Sophomores taking the California Mental Maturity Tests listen carefully to Mrs. Jones’ instructions.”

HPHS_1966_soph-test

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“Practicing snowball marksmanship not used for two years, Mark Shriver, Tony McClung, Fred Lundberg, and Ked Rike cavort in the snow outside school.” (The houses seen in the background are still there on Emerson.)

HPHS_1966_juniors_snowball-fight

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Speaking of cold weather, Vaughn Aldredge and Greg Uhl “brave the cold on the way to school wearing face masks.”

HPHS_1966-ski-masks

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Speaking of fashion statements:

HPHS_1966_fads

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Speaking of saddle shoes, “Shan Martin, Nan Weintraub, Betsy Wagner, and John Richardson exchange tips on cleaning their saddle oxfords.”

HPHS_1966_saddle-shoes

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Yeah, HPHS is known as “the Scots,” but plaid fashions were everywhere in 1966: “Hi-Lites Big Sisters Beverly and Barbara Kuykendall entertain little sisters Connie See and Lisa Ferguson with lunch and shopping at NorthPark.”

HPHS_1966_hi-lites_northpark

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The 1965-1966 school year coincided with the construction of a new boys’ gym:

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HPHS_1966_boys-gym-construction_b

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HPHS BMOC: “Ken Hamlett, Bob Winstead, and Charles Watkins proudly don new letter jackets.”

HPHS_1966_letter-jackets

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In 1966, everyone had a band: “Scots listen to competition between the Aces, the Continentals, and the Townsmen at the Howdy Dance.”

HPHS_1966_band-competition

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If you’re at something called a “Howdy Dance” I guess you’d probably better dance: “Suzanne Rogers and Dale Hastings display their proficiency in dancing to the music of The Townsmen.”

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Transportation? Kids got places to go, man, and scooters are always cool: “Dare Majors and Nancy Northcutt take advantage of fall weather with a motorcycle ride.”

HPHS_1966_scooter

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But, come on, it’s Highland Park. It’s a Corvette or nothing: Alinda Hill checks the oil in her ’65 Stingray as Eddie Richburg looks on from behind the wheel of his Park Cities jalopy.

HPHS_1966_cars

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Coming next: Part 2 — ads for the hangouts, the businesses, and a couple of bands that were favorites of HPHS students in 1965-66.

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Sources & Notes

All photos from the pages of the 1966 Highlander, the yearbook of Highland Park High School.

All photos larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Over-the-Top University Park Christmas Display Featuring Big Tex and a Six Flags Spee-lunker

xmas-wayne-smith_university-park_2015_big-tex_speelunkerBig Tex on the roof, a “Spee” to the right (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

You may have heard about Wayne Smith’s annual spectacular Christmas display in the 3600 block of Southwestern in University Park — the one with a cast of thousands, including a previous head of Big Tex, what seems like hundreds of illuminated Santas, Dracula, Moe Howard, and a former denizen of Six Flags Over Texas’ “Cave”/Spee-lunker ride. Before I get back to the “Spees” (the name the creatures have been given by their surprisingly enthusiastic fan-following), here’s a wider shot of a photo I took during last year’s holiday season. (Click it!)

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(And this gives you only an inkling of what’s actually there. I LOVED it! I waited until after Christmas — in fact, after New Year’s — to wander around — I can only imagine how backed up with looky-loos the street gets closer to Christmas.)

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Back to the Spees. The Cave water ride debuted in 1964 and was an immediate hit. When it opened, there were 28 of these creatures who, according to the original marketing, “came from innerspace.”

They are 30 inches high and they play harps, do the Twist, play cards, hammer cave crystals into rock candy and engage in a shell game — turtle racing.

This ride was always one of my favorites (probably because it provided a brief, cool respite from the glaring sun and the blasting heat that plagued my annual summer visits to Six Flags).

The Spee-lunkers left Six Flags a long time ago, so it’s nice to see that one of them is still entertaining local crowds, right next to another beloved DFW icon, Big Tex … along with a phalanx of festive Santas!

spee-lunker-cave_postcar

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Lest you think the publicity mill wasn’t working all angles of this new attraction, we see below that one of the Spees got a visit from, of all people, TV-darling Donna Douglas who played Elly May Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies.

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photo and article, Hood County News Tablet, June 4, 1964

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August, 1964

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Grand Prairie Daily News, May 25, 1977

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Sources & Notes

Photo of Wayne Smith’s Christmas display taken by me on January 2, 2016. The house is in the 3600 block of Southwestern, between Baltimore and Thackery. Since the display is probably visible from space, there’s no way you can miss it.

Postcards found on eBay and Google.

Every year TV crews descend on Smith’s house to do a story. Watch one from this year — from CW33 News — here.

For those who might like more info on the Spee-lunker attraction/ride (which, by the way, is classified as a “dark ride” in amusement park lingo) at Six Flags Over Texas, here’s a bunch of links:

  • Weird video and music (and history!) by a superfan, here
  • Article by the same guy who put the above video together, here
  • Spee-lunker vignettes described here
  • Google images aplenty, here

More on the new ride can be found in the Dallas Morning News archives in the article “$300,000 Hole: Six Flags To Open Cave Ride” (DMN, May 24, 1964) — accompanying the article is an amusing photo captioned “Gail Powers yelps in mock fear as lobster seizes her hand.”

A shout-out to Wendy Cook who, when I posted the top picture to the Flashback Dallas Instagram feed in January, pointed out to me that the Spee-lunker was even in there. She recognized him right away, but with so much visual overload, I hadn’t even noticed him! Thanks, Wendy!

See stuff bigger — when in doubt, click it!

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Looking South from the Hilltop — 1966

skyline_smu-law-school-yrbk_1966Downtown, as seen from the SMU campus… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Yeah, the photo is pretty dark, and the image quality leaves something to be desired, but I like this unusual view of a dreamlike downtown skyline, as seen from the SMU campus. Hillcrest Avenue — the SMU drag — can be seen in the upper center; the large building on the west side of Hillcrest is the University House Motel (still standing, but expanded and massively renovated as Hotel Lumen). Right next to the motel is the excessively quaint windmill of the Little Red Barn restaurant.

It all seems very calm.

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Photo from the 1966 Southern Methodist University Law School yearbook.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

University Park’s “Couch Building” Goes Up In Flames (1929-2016)

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Photo: Ashley Landis/DMN (click for huge image)

by Paula Bosse

Yesterday, fire erupted in the old University Park building at the northwest corner of Hillcrest and McFarlin. The building — which housed Goff’s Hamburgers and several other businesses — is, today, a pile of rubble. I’ve always loved this building — every time I’d drive past it I’d smile, happy that the only truly distinctive non-SMU building along that part of Hillcrest was still standing. And now it isn’t.

The building — which was built in 1929 across Hillcrest from McFarlin Auditorium — had a rocky start. SMU really, really didn’t want it to be built.

A. B. Couch (1895-1970) came to Dallas around 1914 from Waco to attend pharmacy school. In 1921, a few years after becoming a pharmacist, he opened his own drugstore, the University Pharmacy, at the southwest corner of Hillcrest and Roberts avenues (Roberts was renamed McFarlin Boulevard in 1928).

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Coming soon… (1920 SMU Rotunda yearbook)

Business must have been good, because in February of 1923, Couch bought the vacant property across the street. Three years later, he applied for a permit to build a business on the property, and that’s when the Robitussin hit the fan.

It’s a bit confusing, but, basically SMU, the original owner of the property (and all that surrounded it), put their land west of the campus (west of Hillcrest) on the market, but it could be sold only with specific restrictions — there were several of these restrictions, but the two cited most frequently were that land in this University Park Addition was to be developed solely for residential purposes, and that these homes were to be occupied by white people only. Somehow, in transferring property and re-deeding and re-re-deeding — and all sorts of other real estate transactions I don’t understand — the contract for the large lot purchased by Mr. Couch was drawn up with the restrictions omitted (“an oversight”). Couch was insistent on building businesses on the land he’d purchased, and SMU was adamant that he not be allowed to. Cue the lawsuit. (An overview of this case — in the appeals court — can be read here. It’s interesting, if confusing.)

The court case dragged on and on, through injunctions and appeals, and, finally, in December of 1928, the Supreme Court of Texas ruled in favor of Couch. (Click to see a larger image.)

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Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dec. 6, 1928

In the spring of 1929, Couch released the drawing of the two-story F. J. Woerner-designed building he planned to build:

couch-bldg_woerner-rendering_1929

He also announced that he would build in this same block, a $125,000, 1,000-seat cinema: the Mustang Theater, which, though not yet built, had been leased for 10 years to R. J. Stinnette, who ran the Capitol Theater downtown. The building was designed by W. Scott Dunne, the architect of many of Dallas’ movie theaters (the Texas Theatre, the Arcadia, the Melba, the Dal-Sec, etc.).

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It doesn’t appear that the Mustang Theater was ever built, probably because the Varsity Theater in Snider Plaza (a stone’s throw away) had been announced that very same week (the Varsity opened in the fall of 1929).

So, forget the Mustang. Couch’s building — which was called, yes, “The Couch Building” — opened in 1930 or ’31. Its official address was 3402 McFarlin, but the address of the new location of the University Pharmacy was 6401 Hillcrest. There were a couple of stores next to the pharmacy, and offices upstairs (it seemed a popular location for doctors and real estate agents). Mr. Couch lived next door, at 3404 McFarlin (in a house which was, ironically, destroyed by fire in 1932).

That simple but lovely building stood on that corner for almost 90 years. Until yesterday. Sorry about that, A. B.

a-b-couch_pharmacist_1940sAndrew Bateman Couch, pharmacist

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Below a photo taken on June 13, 1947, showing the “Highland Park/SMU” streetcar sitting at the end of the line, just south of Snider Plaza, with an 18-year-old Couch Building behind and to the left of the streetcar.


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Below, the same view of Hillcrest looking south, from the 1965 SMU Rotunda yearbook. (Note that the University Pharmacy had moved back to the southwest corner of Hillcrest and McFarlin. Couch sold the drugstore business in 1943, and the new owner opened it across the street in a new building, back in its original 1921 location.)

drag3_smu-rotunda_19651965 SMU Rotunda

goffs_google_november-2015Google Street View, Nov. 2015

goffs_google_nov-2015_frontGoogle Street View, Nov. 2015

goffs_rubble_dmn-photo_081316_ting-shen-photographerDMN photo, Aug. 13, 2016 — Ting Shen, photographer

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Google Maps, Aug. 13, 2016 

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Sources & Notes

Top and bottom photos are from the Dallas Morning News; see their coverage here, here, and here. That top photo is VERY large on The News’ website — look at all the detail of the brick and decoration.

Footage of the fire and its aftermath, from WFAA, can be watched here (scroll down to see all video footage).

Photo with the streetcar is from eBay; I saw it in the Retro Dallas, Texas Facebook group, posted by Dallas historian Teresa Musgrove Gibson.

Take a look at the 1921 Sanborn map, here. This building would be built at what is the northwest corner of Roberts (later McFarlin) and Hillcrest. University Park is pretty wide open in 1921.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Early Aerial View of the SMU Campus

smu_early-aerial_ca1920s_degolyerWide open… (click for much larger view)

by Paula Bosse

Does anyone else fear the SMU campus is getting a little crowded these days? Here’s what it looked like back when there was still plenty of room to stretch out.

This photo is in the SMU archives, accompanied by this description:

Pictured is an aerial view of campus from the southeast. At the bottom is Mockingbird Lane; on the right is Airline Road; at the top is Daniel Avenue; and on the left is Hillcrest Avenue. Situated in the middle of fields is a water tower, Dallas Hall, Atkins Hall, Rankin Hall, North Hall, South Hall, the Women’s Gymnasium, Armstrong Field, and the Morrison-Bell Track.

What is the huge hacienda at Hillcrest and Daniel (below)? Is that the Daniel family home?

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And what are the little houses next to the under-construction stadium? Faculty housing? Fraternity houses? Houses not even connected with the university?

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I kinda wish the campus still looked like this.

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Photo titled “Early aerial view of campus,” ca. 1920s, from the DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; it is accessible here.

Zoom in on this photo as much as you can and wander around it — it’s pretty cool. Go here, then slide the magnification bar at the top all the way to the right.

Click pictures for larger images.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Parasols on the SMU Campus — 1917

smu_parasols_1917_degolyerSMU, sparsely populated (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I love this photo showing a man and two women with parasols walking up an unpaved Bishop Blvd. toward Dallas Hall. The women’s dormitory, Atkins Hall, is on the right. …And that’s it.

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Photo titled “Dallas Hall and women’s dormitory in 1917” is from the DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more information is here. (I have straightened the image, and corrected the color somewhat.)

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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

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

by Paula Bosse

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

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

smu_omega-phi_dallas-hall_1917_degolyer-det1

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

smu_omega-phi_dallas-hall_1917_degolyer-det2

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

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

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

smu_omega-phi_exall-lake_1917_degolyer

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

smu_omega-phi_exall-lake_1917_degolyer-det1

And the boat.

smu_omega-phi_exall-lake_1917_degolyer-det2

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

smu_omega-phi_exall-lake_1917_degolyer-det3

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

smu_omega-phi_porch_1917_degolyer

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

smu_omega-phi_porch_1917_degolyer-det1

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

omega-phi-house_rotunda_1917

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

omega-phi_rotunda-1918

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

omega-phi_photos_rotunda_1917

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

smu_omega-phi_porch_1917_degolyer-det2

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Sources & Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

omega-phi_smu-campus_011917DMN, Jan. 19, 1917

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

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

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

smu_group-date_park-cities-photohistory_galloway

Most pictures much larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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