Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: University Park

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.

 

SMU Turns 100: A Look Back at Its Very First Days — 1915

smu_dallas-hall-dome-under-construction_1914Dallas Hall’s dome under construction, 1914 (SMU Archives)

by Paula Bosse

Classes began for the very first time at brand new Southern Methodist University on September 28, 1915 — 100 years ago today! Where HAS the time gone? Below, a few photos from those early days (click pictures for larger images).

smu_dallas-hall-columns-under-construction_1914_degolyerDallas Hall’s columns going up, 1914, out in the middle of a mostly empty prairie, well beyond the Dallas city limits.

smu_week-before-opening_1935-rotundaVisitors checking out the new campus, a week before its opening.

smu_visitors-before-opening_091115Genteel visitors on the steps of Dallas Hall, the only building on campus in which classes were actually held.

12smu-rotunda-1916_freshman-classSMU’s first freshman class.

smu_first-freshmen_1950-homecoming-paradeAnd a couple of those freshmen, 35 years later, riding in a car in the 1950 Homecoming Parade downtown.

Below are a couple of logistical and progress-report articles from the week when students began arriving for that first year’s classes. Most interesting is that several classes were held off-campus, because of lack of space in an already crowded Dallas Hall. The fine arts department was housed at the “downtown conservatory” which was located in a former medical building at Hall and Bryan streets. The fine arts faculty had studios there and would move between downtown and the SMU campus. (Click articles for larger images.)

smu_first-day_dmn_092315Dallas Morning News, Sept. 23, 1915

smu_first-day-classes_dmn_092815DMN, Sept. 28, 1915

Happy Centennial, SMU!

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Sources & Notes

The photos of Dallas Hall under construction are from the DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University. The photo of the dome under construction is here; the photo of the columns going up is here.

The photo of campus visitors and their cars lined up in front of Dallas Hall is from the 1935 edition of the SMU Rotunda yearbook; the caption: “Dallas Hall, a week before opening of SMU.”

The photo of visitors on the steps of Dallas Hall is from Bridwell Library, Special Collections, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and it can be accessed here. The photo was taken on Sept. 11, 1915 and was printed in the Sept. 23, 1915 edition of The Texas Christian Advocate above the caption “[Snapshot] of visitors at entrance to Dallas Hall on occasion of the reception given Saturday the 11th by the citizens of Dallas to the faculty.” (The article and another photo can be seen at the link above.)

The photo of SMU’s first freshman class is from the 1915-16 SMU Rotunda yearbook.

The image of the former SMU freshmen is a screen capture from a home movie of SMU’s 1950 Homecoming Parade which is part of the DeGolyer Library’s collection; the entire 17-minute silent color film can be watched on the SMU Central Libraries site, here. The very entertaining film contains the parade, a tour around campus, an elaborately decorated Fraternity Row, and the football game against Texas A & M at the Cotton Bowl.

These other Flashback Dallas posts related to SMU’s first year may also be of interest:

  • “SMU, ‘The School of the Future’ — 1915-16,” here
  • “SMU’s First Year: The Dinkey, Campus Hijinx, and The Basket Ball — 1915-16,” here
  • “University Park, Academic Metropolis — ca. 1915,” here
  • “Send Your Kids to Prep School ‘Under the Shadow of SMU’ — 1915,” here (Incidentally, the Powell University Training School opened on the same day as SMU as a sort of “sister school” — the building it occupied is still standing, on Binkley, just off Hillcrest — this building celebrates its Centenary, too!)

Click photos and clippings to see larger images.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

“The Only Motel Located In the Park Cities” — 1964

university-house-hotel_smu-rotunda_1965-detA palm tree, a palm tree, my kingdom for a palm tree… (click for large image)

by Paula Bosse

Behold, an architect’s rendering of University Park’s first motel (… motel?!). With palm trees! (The architects — Barron, Heinberg and Brocato  — were from Alexandria, Louisiana, where they might actually have palm trees. Perhaps they assumed they grew in Dallas. Or could be imported. Or just looked nice as a whimsical garnish.) Palm trees or not, look at that great mid-century design!

Plans for the University House Motel were announced in December, 1963 — it was to be built on Hillcrest at Binkley, right across the street from SMU by Edward T. Dicker, the man who built 3525 Turtle Creek. (Interestingly, according to a press release printed in The Dallas Morning News on Dec. 8, 1963, real estate transactions for the property involved a land lease from Shell Oil Co.) With 60 suites, it was the perfect location for hotel lodgings for parents visiting their children in college.

This was to be both a major commercial addition to University Park as well as something of an architectural departure. The closest hotel/motel alternative (according to the ad below, anyway) was farther away than might have been convenient for visiting families — the (also super-cool-looking) Holiday Inn was all the way down Central, just past Fitzhugh.

ad-holiday-inn_central-expwy_smu-rotunda_1965
If I were a visiting parent, I’d probably choose the University House option because of its unbelievably close proximity to the campus. And if I saw the ad below, I’d definitely book a room — pronto!

university-house-hotel_smu-rotunda_1965(click to read text)

When construction was complete and the motel opened for business, the sans-palm-tree reality of the building had to have been a bit of a disappointment to anyone who had salivated over that sleek Mid-Century Modern drawing (even though I’m sure the interior decor was much nicer than most motels). Maybe it’s just me. It sort of looks like the drawing. …Sort of….

university-house_smu-rotunda_1965

The University House hung on for several years, then changed ownership and names several times. It is now the site of the much-expanded and certainly much-swankified Hotel Lumen. Interestingly, the skeleton of the original building is still in there somewhere. As Alan Peppard wrote in the Dallas Morning News on Oct. 16, 2006 soon after Hotel Lumen opened, “The old hotel was gutted back to nothing but the concrete frame and rebuilt as a hip University Park hotel.” (To see what things look like now, click here — the renovated original building is on the left, the expansion is on the right.)

In the 21st century, Hotel Lumen is exactly the kind of hotel that comfortably-well-off-but-still-tastefully-hip SMU parents want to stay in when they arrive in town to visit the progeny. All that’s missing are a few palm trees….

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The University House Motel ad appeared in the 1965 Southern Methodist University Rotunda yearbook. That same yearbook also contained the Holiday Inn ad and the photograph of the University House Motel. (The photo appeared over the yearbook’s cheeky “Why be discreet?” caption and was featured in the previous Flashback Dallas post, “The SMU ‘Drag’ — 1965,” here.)

The 1965 ad has the nightly rate at the University House Motel at $8 — about $60 in today’s money, adjusted for inflation. Not bad for parents who could afford to send their children to SMU and who weren’t staying downtown at the Adolphus, the Baker, or the Hilton.

Photos of Hotel Lumen — inside and out — can be found on their website, here.

Click pictures for larger images.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

The SMU “Drag” — 1965

drag3_smu-rotunda_1965Hillcrest, looking south, just north of McFarlin (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Hillcrest, north of Mockingbird, up to Snider Plaza, and maybe all the way up to Lovers Lane. The Drag. Might as well be an unofficial SMU annex. Over the past several decades, some students may have spent more time in the businesses across the street from the western edge of the campus than they did in some of their classes. The look of the area has changed quite a bit recently, but views from the 1965 SMU yearbook are not drastically different from what it looked like up until just a few years ago — and in some stretches, some of the same buildings seen in these photos still stand. Unless something has gone terribly wrong, businesses along the SMU drag that cater primarily to an ever-replenishing SMU student body should never have a lack of customers.

The yearbook caption for the photo above: “Give me your tired, your poor … just give me your money.” (See this view from recent months, with traffic cones, here.)

Below, a few more photos from the 1965 Rotunda tribute to The Drag.

drag_smu-rotunda_1965*

Looking north.

drag1_smu-rotunda_1965*

At Binkley, current site of Hotel Lumen.

drag4_smu-rotunda_1965-university-house*

Smoking welcomed. Preppy look, circa 1965.

drag2_smu-rotunda_1965

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All photos from the 1965 Southern Methodist University Rotunda yearbook.

To take a look at a map of the SMU campus from 1964, click here (DeGolyer Library collection, Southern Methodist University).

Click pictures for larger images.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

University Park: The Addition — 1916

university-park_dmn_0625161916 ad (click for larger, slightly more legible image)

by Paula Bosse

Mr. M. M. Garrett of the Dallas Trust & Savings Bank wants you to know some facts about the University Park Addition:

  • LOCATION. University Park Addition is due north of Dallas on the Preston Road.
  • SURROUNDINGS. University Park overlooks the city of Dallas and faces a perpetual park in the grounds of Southern Methodist University.
  • IMPROVEMENTS. University Park today represents over $350,000.00 worth of improvements in streets, sidewalks, curbs, trees, water supply, sewerage, gas and beautiful homes.
  • RESTRICTIONS. University Park is under perpetual restrictions of its own, thereby guaranteeing proper building construction and permanent value.
  • EDUCATION. University Park families will be able to send their children from kindergarten to post-graduate diploma within four blocks of home.
  • PRICE. University Park property at from $20 to $50 a front foot is the best realty investment of its kind in the Southwest.

Hurry!

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

SMU’s School of Engineering, Chemistry Dept. Building, and School of Commerce — 1925

smu-engineering_1925-smBleak campus, cool cars (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I’m afraid my updating here has fallen by the wayside a bit as I am STILL plowed under from my recent big move. Today I will finally unpack my books! So, time for a just a quick post. Here’s a photo of some quaint little temporary buildings on the SMU campus, still in its first decade. Below is the description of this image, written in the early 1970s:

“The parking lot in the foreground and the curving driveway are basically still the same today, but the rest of the picture has changed drastically since 1925 when it was taken.

“On the left is the Southern Methodist University Engineering School with the Chemistry Department Building in the middle and the School of Commerce on the right. The smaller building was a construction shack used for carpentry work.

“Not shown, but just to the right of this location was Dallas Hall — still a landmark. Today, the Fondren Science Building has replaced the temporary buildings pictured.

“In the background to the right and left are rows of bois d’arc trees along Airline and Daniels — planted in those days as fences.”

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Photo from a postcard issued as part of the Park Cities Bank “Heritage Series” in the 1970s; the credit line on the postcard reads “Donated by Stanley Patterson.” Thanks to the Lone Star Library Annex Facebook group for use of the image.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

“Happy Days,” SMU-Style — 1958

smu_gazing-adoringly_degolyer_1958Oh, the Fifties… (click for larger image) (DeGolyer Library, SMU)

by Paula Bosse

Ralph and Potsie are just out of frame.

smu_gazing_1I love these girls’ faces. And hair! (click for larger image)

smu_gazing_2And their shoes!

smu_gazing_3The Big Men on Campus appear to  be enjoying the attention.

smu_gazing_4That print is kind of … busy. Is it a cowboy motif? Are those horses? Is that Peruna?!

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Photo titled “Gazing Adoringly,” 1958, from the collection of the DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; photo can be viewed here.

UPDATE: Yes, the photo does look odd, doesn’t it? Thanks to a commenter on the Flashback Dallas Facebook page, I now realize that this is a strange superimposition of separate images. The fountain is much closer to Dallas Hall, and the image of the students at the fountain has been superimposed over a long shot up Bishop Blvd., with Dallas Hall way in the distance. I’m pretty sure this photo originated at SMU — it might have appeared in a yearbook or promotional material for the university. Or maybe someone was just having fun in the darkroom. If anyone knows more about this photo — or who any of the students are — let me know!

All images larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Peruna Monument — 1937

owen_peruna_monument_flickrMichael Owen’s Peruna monument today, SMU campus (photo by David Steele)

by Paula Bosse

When Peruna — SMU’s beloved Shetland pony that served as the Mustangs’ first live mascot — died in 1934, there was an immediate call to erect a memorial monument over the little horse’s grave, but it wasn’t until 1937 that a serious push for the erection began. Money was raised by the student council, which asked every student to contribute at least ten cents to the fund, and the search was on for the right sculptor.

The commission went to young Michael G. Owen, Jr., who, at only 21, was the same age as many of the students who were hiring him. (It has been erroneously reported that Owen attended SMU, but he did not.) Michael Owen was well-known within the Dallas art community and had made a mark for himself as something of an artistic prodigy — as a teenager, he had been on the periphery of the movement that spawned the Dallas Nine group of Regionalist artists, and he had  been mentored by many of the older artists, most notably Jerry Bywaters.

owen_peruna_smu-campus_050537
SMU Semi-Weekly Campus, May 5, 1937 (click for larger image)

Owen worked quickly and completed the memorial — which was six feet long and four feet high and carved from 2,800 pounds of hard limestone — in time for the unveiling just outside Ownby Stadium on May 19, 1937.

The result was a quietly emotional — and even a very sweet — monument depicting the small slumbering horse atop a stone slab, with an inscription reading “Peruna I.” Jerry Bywaters wrote a glowing review of the piece, even though he seems a bit taken aback to find what he called “a memorial to a midget horse” on a college campus to be “one of the best pieces of memorial sculpture in the State.”

“Accustomed to seeing rather bad sculptured monuments erected to Confederate soldiers, Texas Rangers, political dignitaries or such abstract ideas as justice, plenty, or  beauty, it is slightly confusing to find a very good piece of sculpture set up as a memorial to a midget horse. […] Whatever the paradox of the situation, this monument is surely one of the best pieces of memorial sculpture in the State.” (Jerry Bywaters  in The Dallas Morning News, May 23, 1937)

When Ownby Stadium was demolished and the new Ford Stadium built, the Peruna I monument was moved to the new stadium where it has become a memorial to all the Perunas.

owen_peruna-memorial_wiki_1944With Peruna III, during WWII (Wikipedia)

owen_peruna-statue_1950-degolyer-DET1950 (DeGolyer Library, SMU)

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Sources & Notes

Top photo by David Steele, from Flickr, here.

Article from SMU’s The Semi-Weekly Campus (May 5, 1937, p. 3), here.

Photo of Peruna III with sailors from the Peruna page on Wikipedia, here.

Bottom photo (cropped) of the Peruna monument from the DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University, here.

Previous Flashback Dallas posts on Mike Owen:

  • “Give a 15-Year Old 8,400 Pounds of Soap and He’ll Carve You a Radio Transmitter — 1930” is here.
  • “Michael G. Owen, Jr. — Dallas Sculptor of Lead Belly” — is here.

UPDATE: Read about a recently discovered large painting by Owen up for auction in Dallas in 2019 here.

The previous post on the untimely demise of Peruna is here.

owen_peruna_monument_flickr_sm

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Little Peruna: He Died With His Mustang Bridle On — 1934

peruna-rotunda_1933Peruna, waiting for the Mustangs to score (photo: SMU)

by Paula Bosse

On October 30, 1934, shortly before midnight, Peruna, the 28-inch-tall little black Shetland pony mascot of the Southern Methodist University Mustangs, somehow liberated himself from his stable and wandered across campus and out into the intersection of Mockingbird and Airline where he was, sadly, struck by a hit-and-run driver and died soon after. As the newspaper account noted the next day, when the tragic accident occurred, “He was wearing a bridle of Red and Blue, the Mustang colors.”

Peruna had been the football team’s mascot for only two years, but he was an immensely popular attraction, and he was treated as something of a celebrity wherever he appeared, both at home and when traveling with the football team and the Mustang band. He did things most horses didn’t do, like ride in taxi cabs and sashay though hotel lobbies. Crowds at football games loved watching the little horse race across the field — even the ardent  supporters of the opposing teams were charmed by him. And he was, of course, much loved at SMU; his death was a hard blow to the student body.

When he was buried at Ownby Stadium, the band played the usually rousing fight song as a mournful dirge, and the flags on campus flew at half mast.

I’m an animal lover, and stories about the demise of animals are not things I normally find entertaining, especially when phrases like “the midget pony,” “the wee mascot,” “the stout-hearted little mascot,” and “the midget wonder horse” are constantly (and effectively) used by journalists to tug at the readers’ heart-strings. But the Peruna obituary/funeral coverage that was printed in The Dallas Morning News is so wonderfully and ridiculously over-the-top that that one yearns to know who wrote the uncredited story. I have created a little scenario in my head in which the writer had been (and I apologize…) “saddled” with writing a story about a horse’s funeral, but instead of handing it in the pedestrian short-and-vaguely-moving report that was expected, he decided — to hell with it — that he would just go full-throttle and produce the most outrageously grief-stricken story ever written about the untimely death of a college mascot. After what one assumes was the downing of much whiskey and much chuckling to himself (I suspect this was written by a sportswriter), a 500-word obit ran on Nov. 1, 1934:

CO-EDS AND GRID STARS SOB AS PERUNA IS BURIED
(The Dallas Morning News, Nov. 1, 1934)

In sight of the very gridiron on which he pranced to lasting fame, Peruna, stout-hearted little mascot of the Southern Methodist University Mustangs, was laid to rest Wednesday afternoon.

As co-eds sobbed openly and hardened football heroes found difficulty in brushing back the tears, the body of the diminutive pony was lowered into its grave in the shadow of Ownby Oval. His coffin was draped in red and blue, the school colors, and a huge M, the Mustang emblem, graced the top of the casket.

Across the way, on the campus of the big university itself, the flag fluttered at half mast. The school band, looking noticeably bare without Peruna prancing about, playing “Peruna,” the varsity song, in the tempo of a dirge. Hundreds of heads were bowed when the strains of the alma mater, “Varsity,” offered a final tribute to the wee mascot.

Peruna’s career was as colorful as that of the team he represented. Given to the school in November, 1932, by T. R. Jones, loyal Mustang supporter, the midget horse immediately became the constant companion of the team on its journeys from one side of the continent to the other.

Only last week Peruna was feted in New York, parading through the lobbies of the city’s swankiest hotels, whose clerks sniff haughtily at the thought of a dog or a cat entering the sacred portals of their hostelries….

In was in Shreveport where he slipped and cut his leg as he started to Centenary Stadium in a taxicab. His wound was stitched, and the faithful little animal pranced proudly with the band during the between-halves parade.

But Peruna prances no more. And if the music of Bob Goodrich and his Mustang band at Austin Saturday fails by a scant margin of being at its peppiest, it will be because the band has dedicated every tune on that day to the memory of its best friend.

That must have been fun to write.

The year following Peruna’s demise, the Rotunda — SMU’s yearbook — featured a two-page illustrated spread “Dedicated to the famous Mascot of the Mustangs … ‘Peruna.'”

peruna_memorial_rotunda_1935

The loss of Peruna left the Mustangs without a mascot. Peruna’s son was proffered as a replacement, but even though “Little Peruna had been dressed in its father’s blanket and was prepared to give its all for SMU,” the school declined to bring Peruna fils on board. A successor — Peruna II — was eventually appointed, the first of many over the past eighty years. We’re now up to, I believe, Peruna IX, and the little stallion is still as popular as ever. May the “stout-hearted little mascot” continue to prance proudly for the SMU Mustangs.

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Sources & Notes

Top photo from the 1933 SMU yearbook, The Rotunda. The two-page spread is from the 1935 Rotunda.

For an idea of what the area looked like at the time of Peruna’s terrible midnight accident — large open fields to the north and east of the campus, and, to the south, a probably dimly-lit Mockingbird Lane — here is a detail from a 1930 aerial map from the Edwin J. Foscue Map Library at Southern Methodist University (the full map can be seen here):

smu-aerial_1930(click for larger image)

Check out these articles in the Dallas Morning News archives:

  • “Car Kills Peruna Back From Victory Over New Yorkers; SMU Mascot Known To Over Half Nation, Dies With Bridle On” (DMN, Oct. 31, 1934)
  • “Co-Eds and Grid Stars Sob As Peruna Is Buried” (DMN, Nov. 1, 1934)
  • “Grieving Mustangs Won’t Take Son of Peruna for Mascot” (DMN, Nov. 11, 1934)

Peruna on Wikipedia, here.

If you really want to know about Peruna, though, you need to go to the horse’s mouth — his page on the SMU website, here.

Read about the Peruna monument by Dallas artist Michael G. Owen, Jr. which was dedicated on the SMU campus in 1937, here.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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