Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Religion

On the Grounds of the Ursuline Academy and Convent

ursuline-convent_cook-colln_degolyer_smuBetween classes… (click for much larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I love this photo of Ursuline girls at the fantastically ornate school and convent in Old East Dallas. See more photos of the school, convent, and grounds in my post “Nicholas J. Clayton’s Neo-Gothic Ursuline Academy,” here.


Sources & Notes

Photo by Clogenson, from a postcard in the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; it is accessible here. I have un-colorized it.

See the scale of the Ursuline property on a 1922 Sanborn map, here. It is now mostly a parking lot, across from the Dallas Theological Seminary; a sad 21st-century view of what the former campus property looks like is here.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Winnetka Congregational Church, Org. 1914

winnetka-congregational-church_tulane-universityThe Oak Cliff church’s first pastor? (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I stumbled across this photograph tonight and was really taken with it. It shows a man standing in front of the Winnetka Congregational Church in Oak Cliff, located at W. Twelfth and S. Windomere streets — on land now part of the property of the W. E. Greiner school. The church was organized in 1914, but by 1925 they were making plans to expand. A new church was built in 1929, just across W. Twelfth, facing Windomere.


The new building still stands, but Winnetka Congregational Church doesn’t seem to have made it past the 1950s.

Nice though that newer church is, I think I prefer the smaller one from 1914 with the uncomfortable-looking man standing in front of it.


Sources & Notes

Top photo from the Tulane University Digital Library (with the name of the church misspelled as “Winnietka”), here.

I love Sanborn maps. Here’s one from 1922 which shows what the neighborhood looked like then. The original small wood frame church can be seen just north of a neighborhood completely undeveloped, except for the Winnetka School. Check out the very large map, here.

Background on the church can be found on the Oak Cliff Yesterday blog, here.

If you REALLY want to learn about this church’s history, there is a book, History of Winnetka Congregational Church, Dallas, Texas by Sarah E. Johnson (1935). Looks like the Dallas Public Library has a copy, here.

And, lastly, here’s what the church built in 1929/1930 looks like today. (The original church was built in the area seen in the background, now part of the Greiner campus.)


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


The Vision In “The Miracle Window” — 1931

vision_corbis_1931Waiting for a message from God (click for much larger image)

by Paula Bosse

In the winter of 1931, a woman named Hattie Henderson made news when a “vision” appeared on her window shade twice a day. She interpreted the image — which was formed by shadows cast by the sun streaming through her window onto the shade — as a warning from God that “war, pestilence and other calamity” were on their way to wreak havoc. Word of the “miracle window” spread throughout the community, and soon thousands of people were flocking to the little house on Campbell Street to see the vision for themselves.

The Dallas Morning News covered the story:

More than a thousand curious and devout negroes, and a sprinkling of whites, congregated Tuesday afternoon at 3504 Campbell street, near the Greenwood Cemetery, in North Dallas, to witness the miraculous appearance of images on a drawn window shade. […] Sister Hattie Henderson, whose husband is a preacher in the Holiness Church, reports the images have been appearing twice daily, at 8 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. each day since Oct. 19. She firmly believes they are divine warnings. (DMN, Nov. 11, 1931)

vision_corbis_detWaiting patiently….


Campbell St. is a short street that runs between the Jewish section of Greenwood Cemetery and the Freedman’s Memorial Cemetery. In 1931 it was in the large African-American community of “North Dallas.” The scene in the photograph took place in what is now a Walmart parking lot in the heart of “Uptown.”



Sources & Notes

Photo by an uncredited photographer, ©Underwood & Underwood/Corbis; found on the Corbis website.

Read more about this in the Dallas Morning News archives in the story “Thousand Negroes Gather to View in Awe Warning Miracle in House Near Cemetery” (DMN, Nov. 11, 1931).

Map — with location of sacred window shade circled in red — from Google Maps.

Click pictures for larger images.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Dallas’ Kosher Delis — 1921


by Paula Bosse

Dallas once had a lot of mom-and-pop Jewish delicatessens and markets. Would that that were true today….

Here are a few ads from the pages of the Fort Worth-based Jewish Monitor (the “Leading Jewish Journal of the Great Southwest”) from April, 1921, published in the lead-up to Passover.






All ads from The Jewish Monitor, April 8, 1921 (except for the Star Kosher Delicatessen ad, which was from the April 1, 1921 edition). The April 8 edition of the paper can be viewed in its entirety at the Portal to Texas History site, here.

As this is Passover, my previous related post, “The Margules Family’s Passover Seder,” can be read here.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


MORE Random Still-Standing Buildings Featured in Ads From 1929

ad-southern-fountain-fixture_directory_1929-detSoda fountains came from here… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

A few more photos of buildings that are still standing, from the ad-pages of the 1929 city directory.

First up is the Southern Fountain & Fixture Mfg. Co. at 1900 Cedar Springs.


The Southern Fountain & Fixture plant was built in 1925 at the corner of Cedar Springs and N. Akard. They manufactured and sold soda fountains, showcases, and fixtures.

A major new residential high-rise is going up in the 1900 block of Cedar Springs (or has gone up — it’s been a while since I’ve been over there), but I think it’s going up at the other end of the block. (But somehow its address is 1900 Cedar Springs….) So, I’m not absolutely sure this building IS still there. Here’s a 2014 image from Google Street View. It’s a cool building — hope you’re still there, cool building!

southern-fountain-fixture-now_googleGoogle Street View


Next, the Loudermilk-Sparkman Funeral Home at 2115 Ross Avenue.

ad-loudermilk-sparkman_belo_directory_1929(click for larger image of house)

The “home-like” Loudermilk-Sparkman funeral home moved into the former home of Col. A. H. Belo in June, 1926 and settled in for a 50-year lease. (An article titled “Morticians In New Quarters” appeared on June 27, 1926 in The Dallas Morning News,  complete with descriptions of interior decoration and architectural details.)

That place was a funeral home for 50 years — longer than it’s been anything else. That’s a lot of dearly departeds. (Clyde Barrow is probably the most famous cadaver to be wheeled through its portals.) In the ’70s, the granddaughter of Col. A. H. Belo sold the house — which was built in 1899/1900 — to the Dallas Bar Association, and today it is a swanky place to get married or eat canapés. And, thankfully, it’s still beautiful.

belo-today_googleGoogle Street View


 The Evangelical Theological College, 3909 Swiss Avenue, in Old East Dallas.

ad-evangelical-theological-college_directory_1929sm(click for larger image)

This “denominationally unrelated” seminary — where tuition and rooms were free, and board was at cost — was built in 1927 for $65,000. When the three-story-plus-basement building was finished, the college was in its fourth year, having moved from its previous location in The Cedars. “The college now has forty-five students representing fifteen states of the United States, three Canadian provinces and Ireland…. The faculty is composed of thirteen men…” (DMN, Dec. 25, 1927).


The college has grown by leaps and bounds and is now the Dallas Theological Seminary, and the original building is still there.

dallas-theological-seminary_now_googleGoogle Street View


Lastly, the Melrose Court Apartments and Hotel, 3015 Oak Lawn.


The Melrose, designed by architect C. D. Hill, was built in 1924, and as it was about to throw open the doors of its bachelor apartments to eager Dallas bachelors (and whomever), it advertised itself thusly: “Of palatial splendor, rivaling in dimensions the best appointed apartment hotel buildings of this modern day, it is equal to the best of any of America’s cities of a million.” (DMN, Aug. 31, 1924) Well, of course it is!


It’s been a landmark in Oak Lawn for over 90 years. I know it’s officially now the Warwick Melrose Hotel, but I’ve never heard anyone call it anything but The Melrose.



All ads from the 1929 city directory.

My previous post, “Random Still-Standing Buildings Featured in Ads From 1927,” is here.

Most pictures larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Back When Bookstore Fixtures Were a Thing of Beauty! — 1940s

baptist-book-storeErvay & Pacific — “Book Corner” (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

In July of 1941 the Baptist Building opened at Ervay and Pacific. Part of the ground floor (“the Book Corner”) was occupied by the Baptist Book Store, which sold mostly religious material, but which also stocked dictionaries (“and other items of similar nature”) and children’s books (“We have books for every type and age of juvenile from the Picture Books of Children from three to five to the vigorous youth wanting stories of the romantic west”). The ad below appeared in a booklet put together to welcome newcomers to the city, about 1946:

baptist-book-store_ca1946(click for larger image of bookstore interior)

Having grown up in a family-run bookstore (and having worked in various other bookstores for a large chunk of my life), I’m always fascinated by old photos of bookstore interiors, and this one is just great. (Click the image above to see the photo of the store much larger.) I’m particularly fascinated by the fixtures encircling the pillars — I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the problem handled in such a sophisticated way. And is that recessed lighting shining down on the slatwalls? This is a really wonderful-looking bookstore. The only thing that looks out of place is what appears to be an old-fashioned chunky cash register, center left. Everything else in this photo makes the bookseller in me practically giddy with nostalgia.



Ad is from a publication called “So This is Dallas” published by “The Welcome Wagon.” It is undated but is probably from immediately after the war. This slim booklet was printed for several years in slightly different editions for people who were considering a move to Dallas or for people who had just moved here. These booklets are wonderful snapshots of the time, with everything the prospective Dallasite would need: facts, photos, and ads.

Bottom image is a detail from a 1947 ad.


I am fascinated by photographs of vintage bookstore interiors — especially Dallas bookstore interiors, of which there are precious few to be found. I would love to see any photos of Dallas bookstores before, say, 1970. If you have any, please send them my way! My contact info is in the “About/Contact” tab at the top of the page. Thanks!


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Highland Park Methodist Church — 1927

hp-methodist-church_1927-degolyerHighland Park Methodist Church, 1927 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The beautiful Highland Park Methodist Church (now Highland Park United Methodist Church) was designed by architects Mark Lemmon and Roscoe DeWitt (who also designed several of the buildings on the adjacent SMU campus, as well as Woodrow Wilson and Sunset high schools, to name only a few of their projects). According to the HPUMC website, the first church — a temporary building which was referred to as “The Little Brown Church” — was built at Mockingbird and Hillcrest in 1917. It wasn’t until 1927 that the beautiful French Gothic-inspired building we know today was built on that same site. (At one time, Highland Park Methodist Church was the largest Methodist church in the world.)

(Incidentally, Mark Lemmon built his lovely cottage-like home on Mockingbird, across the street from both the church and the SMU campus, where at any time of the day or night, he could look out his front window and gaze with satisfaction upon his beautiful church and the ever-growing university campus dotted with buildings he had designed.)

hp_methodist-church_post-card-series“The Little Brown Church” — built 1917


hpmc_golden-prologue-backChurch and SMU campus, Hillcrest and Mockingbird, 1960s

Highland Park Methodist Church Dallas, TX


Top photo by Joseph Neland Hester, taken in 1927. From the DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; photo can be seen here. (UPDATE: I erroneously labeled the direction of this photo previously. It actually shows the back of the church, looking toward Mockingbird. It would have been taken from about where the Meadows Museum is now. If this is incorrect, please let me know!)

Photo of “The Little Brown Church” from the Park Cities Bank Heritage Series, used courtesy Lone Star Library Annex Facebook Group.

Aerial view from the back cover of Golden Prologue to the Future: A History of Highland Park Methodist Church by Doris Miller Johnson (Parthenon Press, 1966).

Other images from postcards.

For more on the history of Highland Park United Methodist Church check out the Wikipedia page here; check out the church’s history page here.

All photos larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Oak Cliff Presbyterian Church, Organized 1890

oak-cliff-presbyterian_smOak Cliff Presbyterian Church, ca. 1897 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I came across this photograph of a church a couple of days ago and was mesmerized by its charming woodiness. According to its caption, it was the Oak Cliff Presbyterian Church, at the corner of Ninth Street and St. George (now Patton). Its first pastor was the Rev. W. L. Lowrance who had organized the church in 1890 with fewer than twenty members. Church membership grew steadily, and in 1923, having finally outgrown the small wood frame building, the congregation moved to their next location at Tenth and Madison (contributing to Tenth Street’s appearance in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not as the street having more churches per mile than any other street in the world). At some point this lovely church was razed.

I’ve found little else on its earliest history. but I came across this advertisement placed in The Dallas Morning News in 1891:

simpson_oak-cliff-land-donation_dmn_031491(DMN, March 14, 1891)

Col. James B. Simpson was something of a learned Renaissance-man around Dallas. He had been the editor of The Dallas Herald for many years and was a civic leader with real estate interests. I’m not sure if this ad has anything to do with the establishment of the Oak Cliff Presbyterian Church, but it’s interesting to note that construction of the new church was mentioned as being under construction one month after this ad’s appearance. Time was running out for those Oak Cliff sinners (even though one newspaper report stated that the building wasn’t occupied until 1893).

Rev. Lowrance, an apparently well-liked and respected pastor, retired at the end of 1903.

lowrance_dmn_122903-photo“Dr. W. L. Lowrance of Oak Cliff”

lowrance_dmn_dmn_122903(DMN, Dec. 29, 1903 — click for larger image)

The Oak Cliff Presbyterian Church lives on, now on S. Hampton. One can only assume that the building it occupies today is not quite as charming as the little woody one that was built 120 years ago.


Top photo (by the Rogers Photo Studio, circa 1897) appeared in the Fall 2009 issue of Legacies magazine, here.

Though the first Oak Cliff Presbyterian Church was on Ninth St., the second one was on Tenth St., and that seems reason enough to direct attention to the article “Road to Glory: Tenth Street Becomes Church Street” by René Schmidt — it appeared in the same issue of Legacies as the church photo, and you can read it here.

Read more about this “Street of Churches” and its staggering fourteen churches (!) in the May 1, 1950 edition of The Dallas Morning News.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


The Lighthouse Church That Warned of Sin’s Penalty with a Beam of Blue Mercury Vapor Shot Into the Skies Above Oak Cliff — 1941

gospel-lighthouse-churchStill standing in Oak Cliff… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Sometimes an image just grips you. That’s what happened when I saw this postcard featuring The Gospel Lighthouse Church. The building was so odd-looking and cool. Who designed it? Where had it been? And what was that thing on top of it? I did a bit of research on the church and found out that it was organized in Dallas in 1940 by Pentecostal preacher J.C. Hibbard and his wife Nell, who was also a preacher. The two had been preaching at the Oak Cliff Assembly of God Church until J.C.’s divorce from his first wife (and subsequent second marriage to Nell) became such a point of controversy that the two felt compelled to leave (or were asked to leave) the Assemblies of God, and they formed their own church.

And that was the Gospel Lighthouse Church, located in the 1900 block of S. Ewing (at Georgia) in Oak Cliff. While their first church was being built, they held services in a large circus tent in the parking lot. The congregation helped with the physical labor of the construction, and progress on the building continued non-stop, 24 hours a day. In January of 1941, the church was completed, and an article appeared in The Dallas Morning News soon after with the grabber of a headline, “Lighthouse Church Warns Oak Cliff of Sin’s Penalty.” Sadly, the article has no byline, which is a shame, because I’d love to know who wrote the piece, because he or she pulled out all the purple-prose stops. The introduction is fantastically over-the-top:

A towering forty-foot lighthouse 300 miles from the sea was blinking out its warning signals across the dry land of South Ewing Sunday. At the front of a neat new white stone church house at 1914 South Ewing, near Louisiana, the white stone lighthouse reared far above the other buildings. Eventually, its big circular light tower will shoot a bluish mercury-vapor beam through the night to guide shaken mariners adrift on the sea of sin. Its semi-fog horns will broadcast a soft carillon of sacred music. This is the Gospel Lighthouse, built by a preacher with a new idea of church architecture and a dream of a denomination all his own. (DMN, Feb. 10, 1949)


Wow. A “bluish mercury-vapor beam” shooting through the Oak Cliff skies! (The full article is linked below.)

By 1948, J.C. Hibbard had become so popular (largely as a result of his daily radio sermons) that ground was broken on a larger church, designed by J.C. himself. It was right next to the first church. And it was pretty elaborate.


Yeah, the lighthouse part of it looks a little cheesy, but with a name like “Gospel Lighthouse Church” you kind of have to have it.



The auditorium and its mezzanine.



The nursery, with elaborate murals.



The lounge. Like the first church, this one had a nursery with a lounge — a “crying room” for mothers to tend to crying children without having to miss a single moment of the service. The crying was contained behind sound-proof glass while the sermon was piped in through speakers. The church had a lot of other amenities, but these were the only ones I’ve found deemed worthy enough to put on postcards.


I wondered if the church still stood, so I drove over to Oak Cliff yesterday and, amazingly, both churches are still there, and they are beautiful! (The original caretaker’s house is still there, too.) I’m not sure what religious group has possession of the buildings at the moment, but they are to be commended for maintaining the structures and the grounds — the 1900 block of S. Ewing really stands out from its fairly ragged surrounding neighborhood. Below are photos I took on April 19, 2014. (Click pictures for larger images.)


Above, the first church — “a modern concrete and steel building, overlaid with white Austin stone” — which was built with help from the congregation in 1941. The beam of “bluish mercury-vapor” emanated (somehow) from the squat lighthouse above the foyer.

And, below, the later church, next door. I think the “mercury-vapor” was replaced by neon. But I could be wrong. Does either beacon light up anymore?


Aside from the “lighthouse,” the most distinctive feature of this building is those rounded walls. So beautiful!


The  building is actually pretty impressive to see up close. Next time you’re in the neighborhood, check it out!


Sources & Notes

Postcards from the Boston Public Library Tichnor Brothers Postcard Collection on Flickr, here.

Period black-and-white photos are from a page detailing the history of the Gospel Lighthouse Church, here. A biography of Rev. Hibbard from the same site can be found here.

Wander around the block on Google Street View, here.

Stumbled across this ad in the 1957 Dallas directory:


And I found this ad in, of all places, the 1967 Carter High School yearbook:


I also found this rather hair-raising ad for a 1967 Christmas-season production — an ad which somehow contains no exclamation marks:

gospel-lighthouse_mckinney-courier-gazette_120867Dec. 8, 1967


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Margules Family’s Passover Seder

1-passover_djhsClick for larger image (Dallas Jewish Historical Society photo)

by Paula Bosse

Above, a photograph of Passover seder, probably in the 1920s, taken at the South Dallas home of Sam and Dubbie Margules, with some (or all) of their nine children.

2-margules_census_1910(1910 Census — click for larger image)

Sam Margules immigrated to the United States from Russia in the late 1880s. By the early 1890s he had made his way to Dallas and had begun working in the wholesale produce business. Once settled and on secure financial footing, he sent for his wife and four children (five more would be born in Dallas). In 1915, Sam established his own business, the Independent Fruit Co.



Even thought the Margules family seems to have had a happy and successful life in Dallas, there was one incident that must have been very unsettling for them. In the waning days of World War I, a Chicago trade publication reported an instance of vandalism against the Independent Fruit Co., perpetrated by a thuggish Liberty war bond committee. In what was clearly meant as intimidation, the shakedown “committee” had splashed yellow paint across the Margules storefront in the dead of night, as punishment for what they believed was the family’s refusal to purchase Liberty bonds. These attacks with yellow paint were a common occurrence around the country in those days (as was tarring and feathering!), and they were frequently directed at immigrants, as were nasty accusations that they were “slackers”  (a much-used pejorative at the time meaning “unpatriotic shirker” or even “coward”)

The family seems to have shrugged off the incident, but it must have been a frightening time for them. The Jewish community in Dallas was a large and thriving one, but there was always antisemitism to deal with, and the Ku Klux Klan’s rise to power in the 1920s was particularly difficult for Jews in Dallas. (Click article below to see larger image.)


Sam Margules died in 1930 at the age of  67, a 40-year resident of Dallas. His wife, Dubbie, died in 1953 at the age of 90, survived by 18 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.


Sources & Notes

Photo from the Dallas Jewish Historical Society — the full citation is here.

Ads from The Dallas Morning News.

Article on the yellow paint attack from The Chicago Packer, May 10, 1919.

A passage on other yellow paint attacks on America’s immigrants by Liberty Bond committees can be read here.

A lengthy article on “The Jews Who Built Dallas” by David Ritz  (D Magazine, Nov. 2008) can be read here.

Click top two pictures for larger images.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


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