Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Photographs

Nighttime Skyline — 1965

skyline_st-marks-yrbk_1965_dallas-power-and-lightAll. Lit. Up.

by Paula Bosse

Dallas is always at its most impressive at night, as seen in this view to the northwest, with Memorial Auditorium in the foreground.

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Sources & Notes

This photo, credited to Dallas Power & Light, appeared in the 1965 Marksmen, the yearbook of St. Mark’s School of Texas. It continued on another page, but I couldn’t fit the two parts together without an annoying gap. The second bit is below (click to see a larger image).

skyline_st-marks-yrbk_1965_dallas-power-and-light_b

See another cool photo from the same year in the Flashback Dallas post “Dallas Skyline at Night — ca. 1965.”

skyline_st-marks-yrbk_1965_dallas-power-and-light_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Holiday Greetings from Jefferson Tower — 1937

xmas_jefferson-tower_oak-cliff_portal_1937_bChristmastime in Oak Cliff…

by Paula Bosse

Jefferson Tower, on West Jefferson Boulevard between S. Bishop and S. Madison, looked pretty great in 1937 all decorated for Christmas. It was (and is) the tallest building on West Jefferson. This must have made quite the statement!

xmas_jefferson-tower_oak-cliff_portal_1937

Here’s a zoomed-in detail (all images are larger when clicked):

xmas_jefferson-tower_oak-cliff_portal_1937_det

And here’s the building a few years later — no Christmas-tree decoration and in the daytime, but still fantastic.

jefferson-tower_mccoy-collaborativevia McCoy Collaborative

And, I mean, look at how commanding this building is, even now:

jefferson-tower_google-maps

I’d like to see a 21st-century return of a Christmas tree to the exterior of this building — it would still be impressive!

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Sources & Notes

Christmas photos of Jefferson Tower are from the Private Collection of Mary Newton Maxwell, via the Portal to Texas History — more info may be found here and here.

Photo of Jefferson Tower in the daylight is from the McCoy Collaborative website — more on their work in rehabilitating this historic building may be found here.

See the building on Google Street View here.

More Christmas posts from Flashback Dallas may be found here.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

World War I Cadets, Commerce Street — 1918

ww1_cadets_commerce-street_1918_natl-archives_fullStanding at attention in the 2100 block of Commerce

by Paula Bosse

Great photo by John J. Johnson showing high school cadets standing in formation in the 2100 block of Commerce Street — the view is to the west (the Adolphus Hotel can be seen all the way at the end of the street, on the right). Here are a couple of zoomed-in details (click to see larger images).

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The official Records of the U.S. War Department description of this photo:

ww1_cadets_commerce-street_1918_natl-archives_description

The buildings in the foreground are, amazingly, still standing — over a hundred years later (a rarity for downtown Dallas buildings). See the same view today on Google here.

The Ajax Rubber Co. building the cadets are standing in front of is the “Waters” building (2117 Commerce), which has been very nicely restored by the East Quarter people:

ww1_cadets_commerce-street_google-street-view_2020Google Street View, Feb. 2020

Below, a clipping from the 1917 Dallas directory, showing the businesses on Commerce between Pearl and Preston (now Cesar Chavez):

ww1_cadets_commerce-street_1917-dallas-directory

Two years after this photo was taken — in 1920 — the Magnolia gas station (better known as the KLIF building) was built on the spot the cadets were looking at. See that building in the post “Magnolia Gas Station No. 110 — 1920.”

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Sources & Notes

This photo, titled “Dallas High School Cadets,” was taken by Dallas photographer John J. Johnson (usually seen as Jno. J. Johnson) on June 11, 1918. It is from the American Unofficial Collection of World War I Photographs 1917-1918, Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs 1860-1952, National Archives — more info on this photo can be found on the National Archives site here.

Other Flashback Dallas posts on World War I can be found here.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Legendary Sports Writers of the Fort Worth Press — ca. 1948

sportswriters_blackie-sherrod_dan-jenkins_bud-shrake_etc_fort-worth-press_SMUBlackie and crew…

by Paula Bosse

The legendary sport writers of The Fort Worth Press, circa 1948: (standing, l to r) Jerre Todd, Blackie Sherrod, Dan Jenkins; (sitting) Andy Anderson and Edwin “Bud” Shrake. Missing: Gary Cartwright. 

This is what sports writers should look like!

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Sources & Notes

Photo — titled “[Staff of Fort Worth Press]” — is from the Blackie Sherrod papers, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University; more info can be found here.

More on Blackie Sherrod, who became the dean of Dallas sportswriters, can be found in the Flashback Dallas post “Blackie Sherrod: The Most Plagiarized Man in Texas: 1919-2016.”

Read a great, lengthy piece about these guys and their time as the greatest sportswriting staff in Texas in the article “Mourning Dark: The Fort Worth Press’ Legendary Sportswriters Are a Dying Breed” by Kathy Cruz (Fort Worth Weekly, Jan. 3, 2018).

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Live Oak, From Elm and Ervay

downtown-dallas_mayflower_med-arts_southland-life_lee-optical_ebayLive Oak, looking northeast…

by Paula Bosse

Downtown, at the 3-point intersection of Elm, Ervay, and Live Oak (see a map from 1952 here). This photo shows Live Oak, with a view to the northeast. There are a lot of landmarks: the Mayflower Coffee Shop, the Medical Arts Building, the Southland Life Building, the Sheraton Dallas hotel, the Mexico City Cafe, an entrance to an underground public restroom (the tower-like thingy directly under the Lee Optical sign), and the Dallas Athletic Club. Out of frame to the right is the large flashing Coca-Cola sign (which comes with a handy weather forecast). I’ve gotten this intersection from almost every angle. See other photos of this crossroads here and here.

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Sources & Notes

This photo is currently available on eBay (the seller is in France — wonder how this photo ended up in Antibes?).

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

City Park, From the Air: 1948-1997

1948_city-park_aerial_dallas-municipal-archives_portalCity Park, 1948 (Dallas Municipal Archives)

by Paula Bosse

These eight aerial photos of City Park/Old City Park in The Cedars, just south of downtown, show the encroachment of an ever-increasing acreage of asphalt onto what was once the city’s most beautiful park. (All photos are from the Dallas Municipal Archives, and all are larger when clicked.) The one thing present in all photos is the late Ambassador Hotel (RIP).

Above, in 1948, before the cement mixers arrived (photo by Barnes Aerial Surveys).

Below, 1954.

1954_city-park_aerial_squire-haskins_dallas-municipal-archives_portal
Squire Haskins, Dallas Municipal Archives, 1954

1966:

1966_city-park_aerial_squire-haskins_dallas-municipal-archives_portalSquire Haskins, Dallas Municipal Archives, 1966

1969:

1969_city-park_aerial_squire-haskins_dallas-municipal-archives_portalSquire Haskins, Dallas Municipal Archives, 1969

1972:

1972_city-park_aerial_squire-haskins_1972_dallas-municipal-archives_portalSquire Haskins, Dallas Municipal Archives, 1972

1975:

1975_city-park_aerial_squire-haskins_1975_dallas-municipal-archives_portalSquire Haskins, Dallas Municipal Archives, 1975

Circa 1982:

1982-ca_city-park_aerial_dallas-municipal-archives_portalDallas Municipal Archives, ca. 1982

1997:

1997_city-park_aerial_reginald-d-loftin_dallas-municipal-archives_portalReginald D. Loftin, Dallas Municipal Archives, 1997

Today-ish (or at least before the Ambassador burned down in May, 2019):

city-park_google-maps_aerialGoogle Maps

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Sources & Notes

All photos are from the Dallas Municipal Archives Collection, via the Portal to Texas History; they can all be found here.

Read about the history of the Ambassador Hotel in the Flashback Dallas post “The Majestic Hotel/The Park Hotel/The Ambassador Hotel: R.I.P — 1904-2019.”

A few old postcards of City Park in its heyday can be found in the post “Iola Bridge.”

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Labor Day Weekend, Union Bus Depot — 1952

labor-day_union-bus-depot_hayes-coll_1952_DPLWaiting for buses… (photo: Dallas Public Library)

by Paula Bosse

Labor Day in 1952 was on Sept. 1. The people in the photo above were waiting for buses to whisk them away for a nice end-of-summer Labor Day holiday. They were in the Union Bus Depot in the Interurban Building (downtown, at Jackson and Browder). They were probably waiting for a Continental Trailways bus. (While waiting, they might have availed themselves of merchandise at the Sigler’s Jewelry & Optical Co., seen in the background. This was their downtown location — I wrote about their main store at Peak and Elm here.)

So what was going on in Dallas on Labor Day in 1952? Well, it was hot. Real hot. (It’s always hot.) (ALWAYS!) It was 102°, and it was very dry and very windy. Grassfires were popping up everywhere — there were 30 fires that day! 

There were, of course, Labor Day picnics. The largest was for members of the UAW-CIO — the crowd of union members and their families was estimated at 5,200 and was held on ranchland (the D & L Ranch) west of Grapevine. There were also hundreds of AFL plumbers and carpenters at a picnic at Vickery Park on Greenville Avenue. 6,000 Dallasites took advantage of the city’s swimming pools on the last they were open. And then there were 500 people who waved off the whole “outdoor” thing and spent the day skating at the chilly Fair Park ice rink. 

The movie “Jumping Jacks,” starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, was playing at the Majestic, and “Merry Widow,” starring Lana Turner, was at the Palace. Kay Thompson, the singer (and creator of the Eloise children’s books) was opening at the Adolphus Hotel’s Century Room. And there was a square-dancing contest on the Fair Park midway.

It was a bad day, however, for a motorist who indulged in one too many Labor Day adult beverages. The guy zig-zagged in and out of traffic on the Houston Street viaduct, hit a curb, and then swerved back into traffic. He was stopped by one of the cars he had whipped around. Unfortunately for the tipsy driver, the man who stopped him was Sheriff Bill Decker. Bet he’d wished he gotten out of town, along with all those sweaty travelers seen above waiting at the Union Bus Depot.

continental-trailways_ad_march-1952March, 1952 (click for larger image)

continental-trailways_ad_may-1952May, 1952

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I was unaware of the Union Bus Depot until researching this post. It was established around the time when the Dallas-Fort Worth Interurban ceased operation on Christmas Eve, 1934 (the line from Dallas to Waco and Denison kept going a while longer). Suddenly the Interurban terminal at Jackson and Browder streets was going to be sorely underused, so it was decided to make it a great big bus depot. Most of the major bus companies serving Dallas (except for Greyhound, which had it own terminal) used the Interurban Building terminal as a shared depot. 

union-bus-depot_interurban-bldg_072537July, 1937

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Sources & Notes

Photo, titled “Labor Day Weekend crowd at the Union Bus Depot” (Aug. 31, 1952), is from the Hayes Collection, Dallas Public Library Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library; Call Number PA76-1/11420.

From the Dallas Morning News archives:

  • “Outings on Labor Day Lack Only In Oratory” by Frank X. Tolbert (DMN, Sept. 2, 1952)
  • “Last 24 Hours in Dallas” by Lorrie Brooks (DMN, Sept. 2, 1953)
  • “Grassland Areas Hit By Flames” (DMN, Sept. 2, 1952)
  • “Negotiations For Union Bus and Interurban Terminal Are Under Way By Electric Lines” (DMN, Oct. 25, 1934)
  • “Electric Line Station To Be Bus Terminal” (DMN, Dec. 1, 1934)

More on Labor Day in Dallas can be found in the Flashback Dallas Post “Labor Day Parade — 1911.”

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Oak Cliff’s Star Theatre — 1945-1959

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

by Paula Bosse

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

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

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Boxoffice, April 28, 1945

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

star-theatre_bing-mapsBing Maps

star-theatre_cinematreasures_advia Cinema Treasures

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Sources & Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

August 20, 1945

langley_skyline-horseback_c1945_LOCAug. 20, 1945

by Paula Bosse

Back in 2014 when I started this blog, this is one of the first photos I posted. It is one of those Dallas photos that can actually be described as “iconic”: a cowboy on horseback watches over a herd of cattle grazing just beyond a vibrant mid-century skyline — old Texas meets new Texas. The photo is by Dallas photographer William Langley, and, according to the Library of Congress, it was taken on August 20, 1945. I am posting it again today, August 20, 2020 — 75 years to the day it was taken.

So what was happening 75 years ago today? Here are a few stories from the newspaper.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur was heading to Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been bombed within the past two weeks, effectively ending the war).

Wartime restrictions on the use of natural gas were lifted by the War Production Board.

Hollywood stars Dick Powell and June Allyson had gotten hitched.

LBJ was being touted as a possible candidate for Texas governor.

The average cost of a meal for a family of four before the war was $2.27 (or about $40 in today’s money); now, after the war, it had risen to $3.70 (about $50). Fruit preserves were almost impossible to find.

Dallasites were chomping at the bit to bid farewell to the war-ordered Daylight Savings Time and return to Standard Time — they wanted go to bed when it was dark outside. 

Annexation had meant that Dallas had increased in size over the past year from 51 square miles to 87 square miles.

Several Dallasites saw a “very large and very luminous” meteor.

Sgt. Jesse Curry, 31, of the Dallas Police Department, had been awarded a fellowship for an 18-week course in traffic administration at Northwestern University Traffic Institute in Chicago.

It was announced that improved trash pickup was on the horizon, as soon as new trucks became available.

War workers were being released from their war-work obligations, and the city’s businesses were beginning to hire, which was good news, except for many Dallas women who were still working but who were met with the announced closure of many “playschools” which were operated around the city on a 12-hour cycle to accommodate shift workers. 

The Texas League announced they would resume minor league play in the spring.

Hockaday would increase its staff from 83 members to 100 for the upcoming school year.

“The Three Musketeers” was opening at the Starlight Operetta in Fair Park. The State Fair of Texas would not resume until 1946.

“Thrill of a Romance” — with Van Jones and Esther Williams — was at the Majestic.

“Pillow to Post”  — with Ida Lupino and Sydney Greenstreet — was at the Palace.

“The Story of G.I. Joe” — with Burgess Meredith and Robert Mitchum — was at the Tower.

“Asi Se Quiere en Jalisco” — with Jorge Negrete — was at the Panamericano.

Interstate Theaters declined to respond to the rumor that a soon-to-be-built theater in Galveston was to be equipped to show television broadcasts. 

High temperature on the Monday Bill Langley took that photo was 92 degrees.          

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Sources & Notes

Photo by William Langley — titled “Skyline, Dallas, Texas” — is from the collection of the Library of Congress. Langley appears to have been positioned somewhere around the present-day Stemmons Corridor.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Miscellaneous Dallas

wah-hoo-club_lake_ebay

Wah Hoo Club Lake, Members Only…

by Paula Bosse

Here are several images, most in varying degrees of low resolution. I don’t know what else to do with them other than post them all together, randomly. No research. They’re just HERE! Enjoy!

Above, a handsome couple posing under the entrance to Wah-Hoo Club Lake (I’ve seen it more often spelled “Wahoo” — south of Fair Park).

Below, the Coca-Cola Company building, McKinney and N. Lamar (still standing).

coca-cola_photo_ebay

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Speaking of Coke, here are some Keen folks, standing on the steps of the Jefferson Hotel (Union Station is out of frame to their right).

keen-soda_jefferson-hotel_frank-rogers-photo_ebay

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A couple of blocks away, the Old Red Courthouse, seen here from an unusual angle — looking toward the northwest (postcard postmarked 1908).

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This is a super low-resolution image, but I’ve never seen it before, so, what the heck: I give you a fuzzy Jackson Street looking northeast (postmarked 1907).

jackson-street-looking-northeast_postcard_ebay_postmarked-1907

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The “new” Post Office and Federal Building at Bryan and Ervay (postmarked 1964).

post-office_federal-bldg_bryan-ervay_postmarked-1964

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A jog over to Oak Cliff — here’s a horse-drawn hearse.

oak-cliff_hearse_horse-drawn_rppc_ebay

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Up to Preston and Royal (northeast corner, I think) — a Mobil station.

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Even farther north, LBJ under construction, looking west at the intersection with Central (1967). (Can’t pass up the opportunity to link to one of the most popular photos I’ve ever posted which shows what is now LBJ and Valley View in 1958 — nothin’ but farmland.)

lbj-looking-west_at-75_flickr_red-oak-kid

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And, lastly, my favorite of these miscellaneous images: the 2200 block of 2nd Avenue (from about Metropolitan — a couple of blocks south of Fair Park). This part of town used to be really interesting. Unfortunately, it looks nothing like this now (see it on Google Street View here). This is a screenshot from the KERA-produced documentary “South Dallas Pop” (which you can watch in its entirety here).

2nd-ave_south-dallas-pop_KERA

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Sources & Notes

All images found on eBay except for the following: Preston-Royal Mobil station, from Coltera’s Flickr stream; LBJ photo from Red Oak Kid’s Flickr stream; and the photo of 2nd Avenue, which might be from the collection of the Dallas Public Library.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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