Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Roads & Bridges

Paving Matilda — 1971

milazzo_album_matilda_1971_3_120“Matilda gets a concrete face”… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

A couple of days ago I wrote about the history of Matilda Street in regard to its role as a railway for the Sherman-Denison interurban and the Belmont streetcar line. I noted that I had childhood memories from the 1970s of Matilda being a dirt street — which seems hard to believe these days since it carries a fair amount of traffic and is generally a quicker drive than Greenville Avenue, one block west. 

In response, one of the many Milazzo siblings (whom I remember not as individuals but as one large flock of children who regularly accompanied their parents to visit my father’s bookstore in the 1970s and ’80s) sent me some photos from a family album showing, yes, Matilda Street being paved! They lived in the 5700 block of Goodwin, and the photos were taken in 1971, from their yard, looking east across Matilda.

The streetcar tracks were abandoned in 1955 but were not removed — it took a full sixteen years for them to be paved over! Before that? Dirt street. If you look closely at the Google Street View capture from Oct. 2017, you can see the old rails peeking through.

Below are three photos from the Milazzo’s family album showing the Matilda “street improvements.” The construction vehicle seen in the first two photos is pretty weird-looking — like a cross between a locomotive and a tank. In fact, at first I thought the thing was actually running on the rails it was working to pave over, until I saw that what I had thought were train wheels look more like tank treads. Whatever it is, it doesn’t look like something you’d expect to see on a residential street in the 1970s. In the third photo, you can see part of Robert E. Lee Elementary School at the left. (All photos are larger when clicked.)

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Thank you, Milazzo family!

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Sources & Notes

Photos from the collection of the Milazzo family, used with permission. The third photo shows a date-stamp of April, 1971.

The related Flashback Dallas post “Ghost Rails of the Belmont Streetcar Line” is here.

All photos are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Ghost Rails of the Belmont Streetcar Line

matilda-richmond_dan-parr-photo_FB-dallas-history-guild_april-2018Matilda & Richmond, April, 2018… (photo: Dan Parr)

by Paula Bosse

I grew up on Ellsworth, between Greenville Avenue and Matilda — just south of Mockingbird, just north of the M Streets. When I was a child, Matilda was only partially paved — in my neighborhood, maybe only from Mockingbird down to Kenwood? Otherwise, it was a dirt street (!) — and this was in the ’70s! Right around Kenwood was a weird mound which might not have looked like much to an adult, but to a child it was pretty strange. I can’t remember if the rails were visible — I’m pretty sure they were.

That line was the Belmont Line, which ended (began?) at Mockingbird (I think there was a later extension of sorts, but I think Mockingbird was the end of the line for streetcar passengers). As a kid, I knew that Matilda had been a long-gone streetcar line, but never having seen a streetcar outside of a movie, I couldn’t really imagine what it must have been like to have streetcars (and an interurban! — more on that below) moving up and down a street which was less than a block from my house.

A few years ago I stumbled across the YouTube video below and was surprised to see actual footage of that streetcar rolling up Matilda. The first five minutes of the video contains 16mm footage (both black-and-white and color) shot around Dallas in 1953 and 1954 by Gene Schmidt. It’s GREAT! You’ll see streetcars-galore moving past all sorts of familiar and vaguely familiar sights around the city, from Oak Cliff to downtown to way out to Mockingbird and Matilda. It ends with the Belmont-Seventh car (car 603) pulling to the end of the line — the view is looking south down an unpaved Matilda Street from Mockingbird, with a glimpse of the Stonewall Jackson playing field at the left, on the other side of the fence. (The Matilda footage begins at 4:17.)

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belmont-line_matilda-from-mockingbird_youtube-cap_ca1954Matilda, south from Mockingbird, ca. 1954 (Gene Schmidt)

Above, a screen capture from the video showing Matilda looking south from just south of Mockingbird. Stonewall Jackson Elementary School is at the left. Today the view looks like this.

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Before the streetcar arrived, Matilda was the artery that led the Texas Traction Company’s Sherman/Denison interurban into Dallas. This electric interurban service from the north, which closely followed the H&TC railroad line, arrived in Dallas in 1908, back when the official entry-point into the Dallas city limits was just off Matilda, near Greenville Avenue and Bryan Street.

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DMN, Jan. 16, 1908 (click to read)

The interurban route connecting Sherman/Denison with Dallas opened on July 1, 1908 and lasted for 40 years, until its final run on December 31, 1948. (Read the Dallas Morning News article on the 1908 inaugural trip for big-wigs, “Many Make Trip Over Interurban,” July 1, 1908, here. Below is the accompanying photo. Image that running up and down Matilda — and, later, along other streets in Dallas — several times a day!)

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DMN, July 1, 1908

Dallas’ ever-increasing population began to move northward and eastward, necessitating public transportation which would connect these developing areas with the rest of the city. One of the early “suburban” lines was the Belmont Line, which branched off the Bryan Street line and served the Belmont Addition and beyond; it opened in 1913, but these early days appear to have been more of a private “dinky” service (see SMU’s dinky car on the beyond-the-city-limits tracks at Hillcrest and McFarlin, here). The Belmont line — as well as the Vickery Place and Mount Auburn lines — became part of the city’s official streetcar system in 1922.

Before the dinky service, riders were able to get on and off the large interurban cars at stops between Mockingbird and the area around Bryan and Greenville Ave. Even though interurbans and streetcars were able to travel on the same rails, it took years for dedicated streetcar tracks to be laid along Matilda.

This detail of a real estate ad shows that the Belmont line had reached at least as far as Richmond by 1914 (I felt I had to include this because the finger is pointing at the exact location of the exposed rails in the photo at the top!):

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May, 1914 (detail from Lakewood Heights real estate ad — see full ad here)

By 1922 the Belmont line had extended north to Velasco; by 1925 it had gotten to McCommas; by 1936 it had made it up to Penrose; and by 1939 it had finally reached Mockingbird (in time for the opening that year of Stonewall Jackson Elementary School, located at Mockingbird and Matilda).

Dallas streetcars began to be phased out in 1955, and the Belmont line was one of the first to go — its last run was March 6, 1955: “The Belmont-Seventh streetcar line will go out of existence Sunday to be replaced by service with new Diesel buses” (Dallas Morning News, March 6, 1955). The new bus route in the Lower Greenville area would, for the most part, be along Greenville Avenue, one block west of unpaved Matilda Street.

In March, 1955, it was reported that the abandoned Belmont-Seventh streetcar tracks were deeded to the city by the Dallas Railway and Terminal Co., with the understanding that they would eventually be paved over. The tracks were on Matilda, Bryan, Cantegral, Live Oak, St. Paul, King’s Highway, Edgefield, Seventh, Bishop, and Colorado. In April, 1956, it was reported that the City Council had approved the sale of the streetcar viaduct over the Trinity River and the Matilda street right-of-way.

But what about that paving of Matilda? Mrs. K. E. Slaughter had thoughts on the matter in a letter-to-the editor in April, 1955:

Since removal of the Belmont streetcar line in part — Matilda and Bryan streets — would it not be advantageous to develop this section into an important use to the heavy automobile traffic? Matilda now is no more than useless tracks built up between a cow path. (DMN, April 7, 1955)

“Cow path” — ha!

Another annoyed News reader wrote in 1963 — eight years after the tracks had been abandoned — about the useless unpaved thoroughfare:

The abandoned almost-private right of ways, such as Matilda, nearly two miles south from Mockingbird, received by the city in a deal to permit an all-bus operation, have not yet been paved or otherwise improved. (DMN, Oct. 21, 1963)

I’m not sure when that paving finally happened — early ’70s? — I think it must have been done in stages. I don’t remember a time when the stretch between Mockingbird and Kenwood wasn’t paved, but I do remember Matilda being a dirt road south of Kenwood. I don’t have a good recollection of the year, but kids remember all sorts of weird things, and those mysterious mounds were pretty memorable. (UPDATE: See photos of Matilda being paved at Goodwin in 1971 here.) I wish I’d known what an interurban was when I was a child. That would have made my neighborhood seem a whole lot more interesting! Heck, it used to the Gateway to Sherman!

I’ve long despaired of having missed the streetcar age. But it’s nice to know that one ran so close to the house I grew up in.

belmont-line_matilda-mockingbird_youtube-cap_ca1954End of the line, ca. 1954… (Gene Schmidt)

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Sources & Notes

Top photo taken by Dan Parr on April 15, 2018; it was originally posted to the Facebook group Dallas History Guild and is used here with permission. (Thanks, Dan!) The photo was taken at Matilda and Richmond, looking south on Matilda. See it on Google Street View, here. (Roadwork along Matilda is awful at the moment, but much-needed. Apparently it is being reduced to three lanes for automobiles with two bike lanes being added — read about it in the Lakewood Advocate, here.)

YouTube video shot by Gene Schmidt in 1953 and 1954; the direct link is here.

Another interesting video on YouTube was made by the City of Allen and contains period footage of the interurban that served North Texas. It’s a breezy 6-and-a-half  minutes, and it includes some cool shots of Dallas.

If you want to see a whole bunch of North Texas interurban photos, check out this great 83-page PDF compiled by DART, “History of the Interurban Railway System and Monroe Shops,” here.

Speaking of DART, they posted a cool 1925 map of streetcar and interurban lines, here — click the map to see a larger image. (In 1925, the Belmont line ended on Matilda at McCommas).

ALSO extremely cool is a Google map showing Dallas’ Historical Streetcar (and Interurban) Lines laid over a present-day Google map, here. Zoom in and out. Very useful!

Click pictures and clippings to see larger images.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Prelude to the Great Flood of 1908

commerce-st-bridge_1908_cook-degolyerApril 20, 1908… (click for larger image) / SMU

by Paula Bosse

The greatest flood Dallas has ever known — the disastrous flood of 1908 (read about it here) — happened in the spring of 1908. The Trinity River reached its highest crest of more than 52 feet on May 26. The photo above was taken on April 20 — five weeks before that.

On April 20, 1908 — the day this photo was taken — The Dallas Morning News reported that after three weeks of rain the Trinity had finally crested at “nearly 39 feet.” This flooding was the worst in 20 years and the third worst on record.

In a mere five weeks, though, every record regarding the Trinity River and flooding in Dallas would be broken. Those people who had ventured out to survey the river from the Commerce Street Bridge that April day had no idea what was in store for them in just 35 days.

Let’s zoom in on this photo and look at some of the details of the crowd and the bridge (all images are larger when clicked).

commerce-st-bridge_1908_cook-degolyer-det1

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Above: are refreshments being sold?

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“NOTICE: $25.00 FINE FOR DRIVING FASTER THAN A WALK ACROSS THIS BRIDGE.”

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The editorial cartoon below appeared on the front page of The Fort Worth Telegram next to a story with the headline “Dallasites Flee Flooded Homes; River is Rising.”

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FWT, April 20, 1908

In May, this photo (by Henry Clogenson) showing “Highest Water in the History of Dallas” appeared in The Dallas Morning News:

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DMN, May 26, 1908

Another photo by Clogenson:

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For comparison, here’s the bridge at a calmer time:

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Flood memorabilia? Check out the book and stationery department at Sanger Bros.

flood_postcard-sales_dmn_060408_sangers-ad-detJune, 1908

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Sources & Notes

Top photo titled “Commerce St. Bridge, Trinity River, Dallas, Tex., April 20, 1908” from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; the photo and more information can be accessed here.

The wide-angle photo of the Commerce Street Bridge, taken by Henry Clogenson, is from the Library of Congress, here.

“Calmer” photo of the Commerce Street Bridge is from the Fall, 1995 issue of Legacies, from the article “Bridges Over the Trinity” by Mary Ellen Holt.

Read the Dallas Morning News article “Trinity Flood Crest Has Reached Dallas … Great Damage is Reported” (DMN, April 20, 1908) here.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Forest Avenue-Area Flooding, South Dallas — 1935

flooding_forest-avenue_lloyd-long_052035_ebayBeyond the levees… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Sometimes the Trinity River is a puny little trickle, sometimes it’s a raging torrent. Here are aerial photos taken from around Forest Avenue (now MLK Blvd.) by Lloyd M. Long, showing the major flooding of May, 1935.

Here is the lead sentence from The Dallas Morning News, May 21, 1935 (the day after these photos were taken):

With sections of South Dallas inundated for the first time since the record 1908 flood, numerous bridges and highways and thousands of acres of lowlands hidden by its swirling, muddy currents, the roaring Trinity slowly was receding Monday night at Dallas after reaching a crest of 42.10 feet at 11 a.m. (DMN, May 21, 1935)

flooding-levee-district-from-forest-ave_lloyd-long_052035_ebay

There was great rejoicing that that the new-ish levees had held the waters and prevented the wide-scale flooding seen in 1922. But once you got to the Forest Avenue bridge (which ran below the Corinth St. viaduct and the Santa Fe railroad trestle), things got real bad real fast. In the photo above, the levee protection ends exactly at the railroad trestle — the Forest Avenue bridge is mostly underwater. The river above the trestle: a beautiful feat of engineering; below: water, water everywhere.

Below the Forest Ave. bridge where the levee protection ended, flood conditions were far worse than those created by the 1922 inundation. (DMN, May 21, 1935)

Again, sometimes the Trinity is just a trickle….

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Sources & Notes

Both photos (by Lloyd M. Long) are from 2017 eBay auctions: the top photo here, and the bottom photo here.

More on Dallas flooding can be found in these Flashback Dallas posts:

  • “The Nellie Maurine: When a Pleasure Boat Became a Rescue Craft During the Great Trinity River Flood of 1908,” here
  • “One of the Victims of the Great Trinity Flood: The T & P Railroad Trestle — 1908,” here
  • “The Trinity River at the City’s Doorstep,” here
  • “Cole Park Storm Water Detention Vault,” here

Maybe it’s just me, but I was really taken with that little L-shaped building in the top photo which was, briefly, its own island. What was it? It was part of the Guiberson Oil Well Specialty Corporation, founded in 1919 at 1000 Forest Avenue — the building seen in the photo was built in 1926. It’s still standing (here) and appears to be part of Faubion & Associates, a manufacturer of retail display cases and store fixtures.

Click photos to see larger images.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Swiss Avenue Car on Main Street — ca. 1900

swiss-ave-streetcar_main-and-market_cook-degolyer_c1900Main and Market, looking east… (click to see larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Here’s another great photo from the George W. Cook collection at SMU. This one shows Main Street sometime between 1899 and 1902 (the year asphalt was laid on Main and the year that Sanger Bros. expanded their building from two stories to six); we’re looking east from Market Street. (The aesthetically challenging view as seen today on Google is here.)

On the north side of Main (at the left), we can see horse-drawn wagons parked in front of a group of businesses including Konantz Saddlery Co., Ben F. Wolfe & Co. (machinery), a banner across the sidewalk for the Southwestern Electrical Engineering & Construction Co., Swope & Mangold wholesale and retail liquor company; then past Austin Street, on the corner, is the Trust Building, with the then-two-story Sanger Bros. building right next door (Sanger’s would build that up to six floors in 1902 and would eventually take over the Trust Building); across Lamar is the North Texas Building, with Charles L. Dexter’s insurance company advertised on the side; and, beyond, the Scollard Building, etc. The Windsor Hotel can be seen on the south side of the street in the foreground. And in the middle, an almost empty little streetcar with “Swiss Av.” on it, moving down Main underneath a canopy of hundreds of ugly electric wires zig-zagging overhead. Let’s zoom in around the photo to see a few closeups (all images are much larger when clicked).

Wagons parked at the curb:

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Is that someone in the window looking down the street?

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Swope & Mangold was one of the oldest “liquor concerns” in turn-of-the-century North Texas.

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The electric streetcar shared the roadway with horses, buggies, and wagons.

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I can’t quite make out the writing on the umbrella or on the sign posted on the pole. Part of the old Windsor Hotel can be seen at the right. At the bottom corner is a shop that sold “notions” and household goods, and just out of frame were a fish market and a meat market.

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And the little Swiss Avenue car 234. Lotsa free seats.

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Here’s another view of Main Street looking east, taken around the same time. There’s even a streetcar in about the same spot.

main-street-birdseye_ca-1900_dallas-rediscov_p42_DHS

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See the 1899 Sanborn map for this general area here (note that Record Street was once Jefferson Street).

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Sources & Notes

Top photo — titled “Main Street between Austin and Market Streets” — is from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more information on this photo is here.

The circa-1900 bird’s-eye view photo at the bottom is from the collection of the Dallas Historical Society, found in the book Dallas Rediscovered by William L. McDonald (p. 42).

All images are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Zang and Beckley

oak-cliff_zang-and-beckley_dfw-freewaysGulf’s “No-Nox” gas just 18¢/gallon… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

This photo shows the Oak Cliff intersection of N. Zang Blvd. and N. Beckley Ave. The 1953 Dallas directory shows L. B. Poche’s Oak Cliff Tire Co. at 1101 N. Zangs and K. R. Hollis’ Gulf service station at 1102 N. Zangs (this was before that “s” in the street name was eliminated).

The photo comes from the exhaustive tome Dallas-Fort Worth Highways, Texas-Sized Ambition by Oscar Slotboom. His caption for this photo (found on page 98 of the PDF here):

This undated view shows the predecessor of IH 35, US 67, aligned on Zang Boulevard through Oak Cliff just south of downtown at the intersection with Beckley Avenue. The three highway shields show that this alignment also served US 77 and US 80. The narrow streets leading into downtown were unable to handle increasing traffic after World War II, making freeway construction a top priority.

Zang Boulevard was originally called “Zang’s Boulevard” (later just “Zangs Boulevard”) after J. F. Zang. When it opened in 1900 it was the only direct road between Dallas and Oak Cliff.

zangs-blvd_dmn_102600
Dallas Morning News, Oct. 26, 1900

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Sources & Notes

Oscar Slotboom’s Dallas-Fort Worth Freeways website is pretty amazing. If you’re interested in the evolution of Dallas’ highway system, you will be glued to this site which is full of incredibly detailed information.

Photo and clipping are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved

The Wide Open Spaces Northeast of Central and Lovers — 1957

central_north-from-mockingbird_060657_squire-haskins_UTAUTA Libraries, Special Collections

by Paula Bosse

Here’s another great aerial photo by Squire Haskins, taken on June 6, 1957 — sixty years ago. The view is to the north, from a little south of Mockingbird. Mockingbird runs from left to right at the bottom of the photo; at the far right you can see the still much-missed Dr Pepper plant, which stood at the northwest corner of Mockingbird and Greenville Avenue. The only “tall” structure north of Mockingbird is the Meadows Building, at Greenville and Milton, just south of Lovers Lane. North and east of Lovers and Greenville is … pretty much nothing. The old Vickery community was north on Greenville, around what is now Park Lane. To the east? I don’t know … lots of open land and then … Garland?

Let’s turn it around and look south, toward downtown, from just north of Lovers Lane, with the Meadows Building in the foreground. Greenville is at the left, Central Expressway at the right. This photo, also by Squire Haskins, was taken on June 20, 1956.

central_south-from-lovers_062056_squire-haskins_UTA_meadows

If, like me, you’ve always wondered where the legendary Louanns nightclub was, it was just out of frame at the bottom left of the photo above — at the southeast corner of Lovers and Greenville, where Central Market sits these days. You can see it below, in a detail of another great Squire Haskins photo (click on the thumbnail of the photo on this page to see the full photo) — it was taken on Dec. 4, 1953 and shows the Meadows Building under construction. In this detail you can see a slightly blurry Louanns, with what looks like an unpaved Lovers Lane at the bottom and Greenville Avenue at the right. I’d always  heard that Louanns was way out in the sticks in its heyday in the ’40s and ’50s. And looking at the top photo, I can see how true that was — especially before the arrival of the Meadows Building, which was, I believe, the largest “suburban” office building in Dallas beyond the downtown Central Business District. And for those who went out “parking” along Lovers Lane back then, you can see how the street got its name.

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Here is a clipping from the 1957 Dallas city directory showing the businesses along East Mockingbird — between Airline, west of Central, and Greenville Avenue.

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1957 Dallas directory

See the Greenville Avenue businesses from the same 1957 directory here (the directory is scanned in its entirety on the Portal to Texas website here).

Here’s a map showing what this same area looked like a few years earlier, in 1952, when Mustang Airport was still out there (between Lovers and Northwest Highway, and between about where Skillman would later extend to and Abrams). (On the map below, Central Expressway is red, Greenville Avenue is blue, East Mockingbird Lane is purple, and Lovers Lane is green.)

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1952 Mapsco

Today? The area looks like this.

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Sources & Notes

Top two photos by Squire Haskins, from the Squire Haskins Photography, Inc. Collection, UTA Libraries, Special Collections. Additional information on the first one, looking north, is here; additional info on the second one, looking south, is here. (To see HUGE images of both photos, click the thumbnails on these linked pages.)

Images are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Preston and Valley View: The Calm Before the Storm — 1958

preston-lbj_122158_squire-haskins_utaLBJ Freeway, T-minus 6 years…. (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

This photo makes my head hurt. The road crossing horizontally at the bottom is Preston. The vertical road at the left is Valley View Lane (the view is to the west). What we’re looking at is land soon to be eaten up by LBJ Freeway, which was built along Valley View.

This fantastic photo by aerial photographer Squire Haskins (which can be seen REALLY big at the UTA website here) is included in Oscar Slotboom’s book Dallas-Fort Worth Freeways. This is his caption to the above photo:

Preston at LBJ, 1958. This December 1958 view looks west along Valley View Lane with the Preston Road intersection at the lower left. LBJ Freeway was built along Valley View Lane with work underway in 1964. A Sears store opened in the foreground in 1965 and Valley View Mall opened in 1973. The corridor was fully urbanized by the 1980s.

The only street directory I could find fairly close to the date of this photo was the one from 1961 — which already shows development not seen in the photograph. By this time, people knew the freeway was coming, but it was still fairly sparsely developed. (See  what the area looked like on a really cool 1957 map, here.)

Here is the listing of addresses along Valley View Lane, stretching from Inwood, east past Central Expressway. (Click for larger image.)

valley-view_1961-directory
Valley View Lane, 1961 Dallas directory

And, below, addresses along Preston Road, moving north from Forest Lane. The thing that makes me lightheaded about this, is one particular business, way, WAY up north — out in the middle of nothing back in 1961: Lilyan’s Original Hats, at Preston and Alpha. That was my great-aunt’s hat shop. She owned that land. Imagine! She sold it, I think, in the ’70s. I can only hope she made a pretty penny!

preston-road_1961-directory
Preston Road, 1961 Dallas directory

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Sources & Notes

Photo from the Squire Haskins Photography, Inc. Collection, UTA Libraries; more info here.

More on the construction of LBJ can be found in the chapter “Interstate 635, Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway” (from Oscar Slotboom’s amazingly researched book Dallas-Fort Worth Highways), here.

The 1957 map linked above is one of many scanned road maps which can be found on Slotboom’s site — the page “Old Highway Maps of Texas, 1917-1973) is here.

All images are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Pacific Avenue: Watch for Trains! — ca. 1917

pacific-akard_park-cities-photohistory_frank-rogersToo close for comfort… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Some people don’t realize that Pacific Avenue used to be lined with the railroad tracks of the Texas & Pacific Railway (hence the name “Pacific”). When trains weren’t barreling down Pacific regularly, the thoroughfare was used by non-locomotive traffic like pedestrians, bicycles, horses, and automobiles. When a huge cinder-spewing train screamed through, everything came to a resigned halt until it passed by. I can’t even imagine what that was like. I wonder how many times people, horses, vehicles, etc. didn’t manage to get out of the way in time?

When Union Station opened in 1916, trains that had previously run through the central business district now went around it (which probably cut the number of people rushed to the hospital with train-related injuries substantially).

The photo above shows Pacific looking east from N. Akard, as a blur of a train whooshes by. The Independent Auto Supply Co. (300 N. Akard) is at the left, and, at the right, the back side of Elm Street businesses, including Cullum & Boren and, to its left, the Jefferson Theater, with “Pantages” painted on the side. (The Jefferson was the Dallas home of the Pantages Vaudeville Circuit from 1917 until 1920, the year the Pantages people bugged out for the greener pastures of the Hippodrome, leaving the Jefferson to start a new relationship with the Loew’s circuit people. At the end of 1925, the Jefferson Theater was actually renamed the Pantages Theater. …Kind of confusing.)

Below, Elm Street in 1918 — what the other side of those buildings looked like. Cullum & Boren’s “CB” logo can be seen painted on the side of its building. (Click photo for much larger image.)

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But back to Pacific in its scary, sooty, T&P-right-of-way days. This is what things looked like in 1909.

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Fast-forward to 1920 — the trains had long stopped running, but the tracks remained, an eyesore and an impediment to traffic. (Cullum & Boren, again, at the right.)

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Thanks to the Kessler Plan, those unsightly tracks were finally removed from Pacific in 1923. Below, a photo from 1925. Big difference. Thanks, George Kessler!

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Top photo (by Frank Rogers) from the book The Park Cities, A Photohistory by Diane Galloway (Dallas: Diane Galloway, 1989). The photo is credited to John Stull/R. L. Goodson, Jr., Inc./Consulting Engineers.

More info on the 1918 photo of Elm Street, which was featured in the post “Dallas’ Film Row — 1918,” here.

More info on the super-sooty Pacific Avenue photo, here.

More on the de-track-ified Pacific, here.

Not sure of the source of the 1920 photo.

Four of these photos are really big when clicked. One is not.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

South Central Expressway Under Construction — 1955

central-expwy_forest-ave_092955_squire-haskins_UTAComing soon to a neighborhood near you…  (click for gigantic image)

by Paula Bosse

Behold, a photo of South Dallas on Sept. 29, 1955, showing a lengthy stretch of bulldozed land cleared for the imminent construction of South Central Expressway. We’re looking south, with Forest Avenue (now Martin Luther King Blvd.) running horizontally in the foreground. To the right is the Forest Theater (now playing: “Lady and the Tramp”). And if you zoom in, you can just see the post-Ross Avenue location of the famed Jim Beck recording studio to the right of the theater.

This great swath of land cut through an established tree-filled residential area — it ran alongside the once-swanky Colonial Hill neighborhood. Zoom in and take a last look at some of those straggler houses that haven’t yet met their maker. …But they will. …And they did.

I wondered what had been demolished on Forest between the houses to the left and the theater to the right. It was Fire Station No. 6, at 2202 Forest Avenue. I looked in my bulging file of miscellaneous photos and was surprised to actually find a couple of photos of that No. 6 Engine Company, which was built in 1913.

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The station was on the south side of Forest Avenue, alone in a very short block. As we look at the station in the photo above, the H&TC railroad runs just to the right of the station, and Kimble Street runs along the left. See a Sanborn map of this area in 1922, here.

The photo  below shows what Forest Avenue once looked like, from the front of the firehouse looking east (the intersection with Kimble is on the other side of the firetruck — you can see the street sign). These houses are still standing in the 1955 photo at the top.

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When you know what this intersection looks like today (see this same view today, here), it’s hard to believe it ever looked like a cozy neighborhood. Progress is a helluva thing, man.

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A couple of short articles for those who might want a little more info about the fire station, which was demolished sometime between April and September of 1955. (Click articles for larger images.)

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Dallas Morning News, July 6, 1913

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DMN, July 22, 1913

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Bing Maps

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Sources & Notes

Top photo by Squire Haskins, from the Squire Haskins Photography, Inc. Collection, UTA Libraries, Special Collections, University of Texas at Arlington; it is accessible here.

The two fire station photos are from the collection of the Dallas Firefighters Museum, via the Portal to Texas History, University of North Texas. The first photo can be viewed here, the second photo here.

See an aerial photo of the same view seen in the photo at the top here. The Forest Theater is at the bottom, between the forks of S. Central Expressay on the left, and I-45 on the right.

Photos and clippings larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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