Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Transportation

Valentine’s Day Wishes from Dallas Railway — 1949

valentiines-day_dallas-railway_dallas-mag_feb-1949

by Paula Bosse

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Dallas:

You ride with us the long year through,

You smile through rain or shine,

That is why we’re picking you

To be our Valentine!

Love and kisses, Dallas Railway & Terminal Company

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Sources & Notes

Ad is from the February 1949 issue of Dallas magazine.

valentiines-day_dallas-railway_dallas-mag_feb-1949_sm

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Two Men, Two Steeds, Two Derbies: A Nice Ride Through City Park — 1907

city-park_horseback_postcard_1907_a

by Paula Bosse

Out for a leisurely ride through the park. Have derby, will travel. 

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Sources & Notes

This real-photo postcard from January, 1907 was addressed to 19-year-old Gussie Holland, then studying in Maryland. Gussie was the daughter of the Dallas publisher and former mayor, Franklin Pierce Holland. Found on eBay.

city-park_horseback_postcard_1907_a_sm

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Dallas’ Aerial Police Reserve — 1921

aldredge-sawnie_aerial-age-weekly_103121_aerial-police-reserve_lineup

by Paula Bosse

On September 5, 1921 — Labor Day — Dallas inaugurated its Aerial Police Reserve, comprised of 15 auxiliary policemen-pilots who patrolled from the skies, led by Chief W. C. Rice. Newspaper stories said that it was only the second city in the United States (after New York City) to have a force of “fly cops.” (Oklahoma was probably a little miffed at this braggadocio, since they had at least a dozen such “air police” squads around the state.) 

aerial-police_dmn_090421Dallas Morning News, Sept. 4, 1921

Mayor Sawnie Aldredge was a passenger in one of the “aeroplanes” which flew him around the city on that Labor Day 100 years ago, giving the relatively new mayor a birds-eye view of Dallas. Other planes performed a display of the type of aerial crime-fighting they would now be able to assist the terrestrial police with, using the wireless police communication system devised by Henry Garrett (read how that led to the origin of radio station WRR here). This was a huge step for the Dallas Police Department.

aldredge-sawnie_aerial-age-weekly_103121_detMayor Sawnie Aldredge, in mayoral goggles

Read the coverage of the day’s events in the article below (click to see a larger image).

aldredge-sawnie_aerial-age-weekly_103121_pageAerial Age Weekly, Oct. 31, 1921

Another photo of Mayor Aldredge (sadly, sans goggles) seated in his chauffeured airship at the Labor Day air-cop exhibition at the Oak Cliff Aviation Field.

aldredge-sawnie_police-auxiliary_dmn_090721_photoDMN, Sept. 7, 1921

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Sources & Notes

Photos and articles from Aerial Age Weekly (Oct. 31, 1921), and from The Dallas Morning News.

aldredge-sawnie_aerial-age-weekly_103121_det_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Simms Super Service Station, Cedar Springs & Maple — 1930

simms-super-service-station_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_ca-1930Let us vulcanize your tires!

by Paula Bosse

If you call yourself a “Super Service Station,” you’d better be pretty super. And the one in the photo above is pretty super. It opened in 1930 at the intersection of Cedar Springs and Maple (on the northernmost tip of the land now occupied by the Crescent). 

Construction of the station and attached retail spaces was announced in 1929 by the Dallas-based Simms Oil Company (headquartered in the Magnolia Building, with a refinery on Eagle Ford Road in West Dallas) — it was reported that the impressive building would cost about $40,000 (about $615,000 in today’s money). It would be the 34th Simms service station in the city but it would be the first SUPER service station. Its grand opening at the end of April, 1930 was a big event, broadcast over KRLD radio, with singers, music, and flowers for the ladies. No business was conducted during the grand opening — it was strictly an open house, offering prospective customers the opportunity to walk among the gas pumps and admire what the company called “the last word in service station art.”

simms_cedar-springs-maple_grand-opening_043030_detDetail from grand opening ad, April, 1930

The filling station will be equipped with ten electrically operated gasoline pumps. Every kind of automobile repairs and battery and tire vulcanizing service will be offered. (Dallas Morning News, Oct. 20, 1929)

The building is of terra cotta in modernistic design with the well-known Simms color scheme of blue, white and red used. […] On top of the structure is a beacon bearing the Simms triangle. It will revolve with flood lights playing on it all the while. (DMN, April 27, 1930)

I never think of businesses of that period being open 24 hours a day, but this one was. Super!

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Here are a few zoomed-in close-ups of the top photo, which shows the Cedar Springs side of the building. (Click pictures to see larger images.)

At the left of this detail you can see a glimpse of Maple Avenue, which, at the time, was still lined with large, expensive homes.

simms_det_to-maple

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In the shadows, a man who no doubt has prodigious vulcanizing skills.

simms_det_emp

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In addition to housing a gas station, the building had 6 retail spaces — 3 on Maple and 3 on Cedar Springs. One of the businesses seen here places the date of this photo at 1930, when The Radio Shop was located at 2304 Cedar Springs (the next year it appears to have moved around to the Maple side of the building). Next to it is the Fishburn Oriental Cleaners at 2308 Cedar Springs. (The official address of the Simms station was 2623 Maple, but it was usually just listed as being at the southeast corner of Maple and Cedar Springs — after Simms, the building’s address was 2312 Cedar Springs.)

simms_det_truck_oriental-cleaners_radio-shop

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Here’s a close-up of the company truck and an easy-to-remember number when you needed to call for help with a broken-down vehicle.

simms_det_simms-truck

And here it is in an ad. That motorcycle is cool. For some reason I really want that sidecar to be filled with sloshing gasoline.

simms_ad_082630_detAd detail, Aug. 26, 1930

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And here’s the revolving rooftop beacon. (What looks like a spray of water is just damage to the surface of the photograph.) (…But a fountain on top of a gas station would be pretty amazing.)

simms_det_tower-cu

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You know you’ve got a cool building if you can include an instantly recognizable line drawing of it in your ads.

simms_cedar-springs-maple_060330_detAd detail, June 3, 1930

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I think the company might have disappeared before the 1930s ended. Because this is the only “old” “modern” map I’ve got, here’s where the Simms gas station had been located, courtesy of a 1952 Mapsco.

cedar-springs-maple_1952-mapscoMapsco, 1952

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Here are a couple of later photos of the building, post-Simms. The first one is from a grainy Shook Tires ad from 1938. The color postcard is from the 1960s when it was the C. S. Hamilton Chrysler dealership. The beacon is still there but, surely, it was no longer beaconing (unlike the Republic Bank “rocket” seen in the background, which was beaconing big-time). (See below in the comments for a 1940s photo of the building.)

shook-tires_ad_2312-cedar-springs_051338Shook Tires, 1938

hamilton-car-dealership_cedar-springs-at-maple_ca-1962_ebayC. S. Hamilton Chrysler, ca. 1962

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Sources & Notes

Photo — titled “Simms Oil Station (Dallas, Tex.): exterior view of front entrance, corner perspective” — is from the Atlantic Terra Cotta Company Architectural records and photographs, 1914-1941, Architectural Terra Cotta, Alexander Architectural Archives, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin; more info can be found here

simms-super-service-station_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_ca-1930_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

DFW Airport, Phase I — 1973

dfw-airport_construction_gifford-hill-ad_1973_ebay_photoAlien landscape, or DFW airport?

by Paula Bosse

A couple of ads letting the nation know that construction of the new Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was progressing and would soon be the biggest, bestest… um, BIGGEST airport ever! “Phase I” was completed by the end of 1973, and DFW opened for business in January, 1974.

The first ad, from Gifford-Hill (click to see larger image — transcription below):

dfw-airport_construction_gifford-hill-ad_1973_ebay

Here’s how we helped convert 18,000 acres into the world’s largest airport. 

With the completion of Phase I, the new Dallas/Ft. Worth Regional Airport is already universally lauded as the biggest, best equipped, most efficient jet port in the world. 

An estimated 42,000 persons will pass through this ultra modern facility every day. Not to mention several thousand employees. 

And by 1985, the passenger flow is expected to increase to over 100,000 daily. 

Of course a project of this magnitude didn’t just happen. It took years of planning and hard work by a number of different agencies and companies. In many different fields. 

For example, Gifford-Hill’s major contribution to this mammoth installation was raw materials. 

Over the past two years, our Basic Industries Group has supplied over 4 million tons of aggregates, 500,000 barrels of cement and 125,000 cubic yards of ready-mix concrete for the construction of runways, taxiways and aprons. 

And our Manufacturing and Services Group has supplied over 422,334 linear feet of sewer and culvert pipe for underground waste disposal. And 25,000 feet of prestressed concrete pressure pipe for water distribution within and around terminal buildings. 

But we’re not finished yet. Not by a long shot. Because construction is already underway on Phase II. And as the need grows, expansion will continue until the ultimate complex is completed in the year 2001. 

Since our land development division, Gifco Properties, owns over 5,000 acres in the vicinity of the new airport, we’re also involved in the development of new housing projects, commercial installations and industrial complexes in that area.

So, as you taxi down the runways at the new Dallas/Ft. Worth Regional Airport, remember, it’s the biggest and best air terminal in the world. And we helped make it that way. 

Gifford-Hill & Company, Inc. 
Dallas, Texas

dfw-airport_construction_gifford-hill-ad_HPHS-yrbk_19691969, Highland Park High School yearbook

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The second ad, from LTV, touting their automated AIRTRANS all-electric transportation system which carried people and cargo around the airport.

dfw-airport_airtrans_LTV_1973-ad_ebay

The word around the airport is LTV. 

AIRTRANS, designed and built by LTV Aerospace, a subsidiary of The LTV Corporation, helps make the new Dallas/Fort Worth Airport tick. By efficiently moving all the things that need to be moved, to from and around the largest airport in the nation. 

AIRTRANS is the most complete, fully automatic airport transportation system in the world. With 13 miles of door-to-door service to 53 doors – provided by 51 AIRTRANS personnel vehicles. All in a totally controlled environment. 

AIRTRANS is just one of the outstanding products being developed by the subsidiaries of The LTV Corporation. These companies are providing for today’s changing society – LTV Aerospace Corporation, Wilson & Co., Inc. and Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation. 

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And because AIRTRANS is getting its day in the sun, here’s a local ad for its troubled “surface” counterpart (I just learned that “SURTRAN” stands for “surface transportation”) — the bus/taxi/limo system designed to get people to the airport from Dallas or Fort Worth. As this ad says, a one-way bus ticket was $2.50 (about $15.00 in today’s money). SURTRAN seems to have been financially troubled from the beginning — SURTRAN service ended at the end of October, 1984.

surtran_sept-1973Sept., 1973

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End of Phase I:

dfw_19731973

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Sources & Notes

Gifford-Hill ad with color photo and LTV ad found on eBay.

dfw-airport_construction_gifford-hill-ad_1973_ebay_photo_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

American Airlines Flies to Groovy Dallas, Y’all

american-airlines_dallas_posterHowdy!

by Paula Bosse

Remember those “Panoramic Texas” license plates from a few years ago? The ones that featured everything Texas had to offer, including the space shuttle? That’s kind of what this American Airlines vintage travel poster reminds me of — if it were designed by someone who had never been to Dallas. You got your cowboy, your horse, your oil derrick, your trapeze artist/ballerina, your circa-1970 Mary Tyler Moore/Mary Richards, your great big cotton boll… and a football player who should probably be wearing different colors. All contained in a psychedelic cowboy boot with a flower for a spur.

Works for me! (I hope those weary travelers weren’t too disappointed when they stepped off the plane.)

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Sources & Notes

Image found on Amazon, here.

american-airlines_dallas_poster_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Lutheran Ministers Visit Dallas — 1911

open-streetcar_rppc_1911_ebayBest way to see the sights of 1911 Dallas…

by Paula Bosse

I’m always a sucker for photos of streetcars. I’m not sure I’ve seen one quite as open as this one.

This image was featured on a real-photo postcard — below the photo, the sender had written “Conference at Dallas, Texas. Sept. 8-12, 1911.”

The card was addressed to Miss Sidonie Wissmann in Matson, Missouri and was mailed from Palacios, Texas on Oct. 11, 1911.

Dear Sidonie,

Here you have a postal of Dallas, Tex. We are all on that “special” car taking a trolley ride through Dallas on a hot afternoon. If you wish to see me, look at the sixth seat from the front end of the car.

You must have some pretty cold weather up there. Saturday at about noon, the wind began to blow from the north. It grew stronger, and Sat. night it was pretty cool. I was at Francita’s [?] staying with Mr.  Luebben.  My bed was just before the north window. The wind blew with great force. The window was open. Instead of closing the window, I clung to the covers that were there (a thin quilt and a white spread) to keep them from flying away. I put everything but my face under the covers. So I lay in the north wind all night. Those “Northers” are feared by these southern people. I did not take cold. But several people were holding their nose the next day. When I left for Blessing in the P.M. I saw one man at the depot have a bad cold. Monday night I closed my windows in Palacios.

Some curious news!! Here you are: On account of the bad connections, I walked from Blessing to Palacios Monday A.M. 8:30-11:30. Twelve miles!! Hard work.

–Fred–

I checked The Dallas Morning News to see what kind of conference was held in Dallas in September, 1911 — it was the Texas State pastoral conference of the Missouri evangelical Lutheran synod. One of the 60 Lutheran ministers in attendance was Rev. F. H. Stelzer (Fred Stelzer), fresh out of seminary in Missouri — in fact, he was so fresh out of seminary that he had been ordained for only two weeks when he visited Dallas and wrote his sweetheart this card.

Fred Stelzer (1888-1978) and Sidonie Wissmann Stelzer (1888-1950) eventually married and had 8 children. They lived in Thorndale, Texas where Fred was the pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church for 40 years. But when he was a newly ordained 23-year-old minister, he visited Dallas where he rode a cool “special” streetcar to see the sights,and spent a miserable night trying to sleep in a freezing-cold room with an open window, under nothing more than a thin quilt and a white spread.

lutheran-tour_dmn_091111Dallas Morning News, Sept. 11, 1911

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Sources & Notes

Real photo postcard found on eBay.

open-streetcar_rppc_1911_ebay_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Misc. Streetcars — ca. 1940s

municipal-bldg_streetcar-draughon_ebayStreetcar passing City Hall

by Paula Bosse

A bunch of photos of Dallas streetcars found currently (or recently) listed on eBay.

Above, Commerce and Harwood, looking toward the Municipal Building. Below, Commerce and Harwood, looking south toward First Presbyterian Church.

streetcar-harwood_draughon_ebay

“Main Street” car and “Highland Park-SMU” car, with Cokesbury Bookstore (at St. Paul) in the background:

streetcar_cokesbury_ebay

“Boundary-Union Station” car, heading west on Commerce, with the Baker Hotel in the background (back when it was still a two-way street). “Smash-Up” — the movie advertised on the side of the streetcar — was released in 1947.

streetcar_boundary-union-station_ebay

“Trinity Heights” car, heading west in the 1500 block of Elm:

streetcar_w-a-green_elm-st_ebay

 “Highland Park-SMU” car:

streetcar_hp_smu_ebay

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Sources and Notes

All photos from eBay seller “bksales” (current Dallas streetcar items available from this seller are here).

municipal-bldg_streetcar-draughon_ebay_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Hoppy Holidays from Hop-a-Bus — 1984

xmas_hop-a-bus_DART-archives_1984_portalSeason’s Greetings from Dallas Transit System and friend…

by Paula Bosse

Aww, the Bunny Bus — surely Dallas Transit System’s most whimsical creation. 

The earliest days of the DTS Hop-a-Bus saw a fleet of five, 19-passenger (non-whimsical) mini-buses which shuttled people back and forth across downtown. You could “hop on” and “hop off” for short trips, for a nominal fare (a dime), traveling along Main Street between Houston and Pearl, Monday-Friday, during working hours.

The service was very popular and quickly outgrew the mini-buses — in March, 1976 they went full-size, but ridership of these two large buses was disappointly slow to grow, mainly because people couldn’t tell the difference between the Hop-a-Bus and every other downtown bus. So, in October, 1978, someone, in his or her infinite wisdom, decided to paint the two special buses pink and add a bunny face and aluminum bunny ears (I seem to remember a tail, but I think I’ve added that in my own imagination). Voilà! Instantly recognizable!

At first, a lot of people hated them (describing them as “grotesque”), but pretty soon, downtown denizens fell for their charming appeal, and ridership increased substantially (seriously, you could see those things coming from blocks away!). Tourists loved them: they provided great photo opportunities, and they made getting around an unfamiliar city very easy — when lost, just jump on a pink bus and you’ll probably get to where you need to go.

Photos of the two pink “bunny buses” appeared in newspapers around the country. They even moonlighted at nights and on the weekends when DTS rented them out during off-duty hours — most notably to the pink-loving Mary Kay corporation and to the bunny-loving Dallas Playboy Club (which used the buses to ferry patrons from the Central Expressway club to Dallas Cowboys games).

The iconic (yes, “iconic”!) buses amused and delighted Dallasites until November, 1986. The bunny-bus fleet had increased to five 1966 GMC buses (at one point there had been as many as seven), and even though the fare had increased to 25 cents, they were still very, very popular with the public. But the pink buses were discontinued at the end of 1986 and sold. And, let’s face it, the streets of downtown Dallas have never been quite the same. Imagine if they were still around (and they SHOULD be!) — Instagram would be overrun with millions of bunny bus photos.

Below are a few photos and a video of our decades-gone transit pal, the cute, friendly Bunny Bus. RIP.

hop-a-bus_birnbaum_ad-valorem-infinitum_SMU_screenshotvia Ad Valorem Infinitum (screenshot)

hop-a-bus_curbside-classic-dot-comvia CurbsideClassic.com

hop-a-bus

hop-a-bus_pinterestvia Pinterest

hop-a-bus_clarion-ledger_jackson-miss_020284Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, MI, Feb. 2, 1984

hop-a-bus_bring-back-the-bunny_FB-pagevia “Bring Back the Bunny” Facebook page

hop-a-bus_BW

Here’s a great history of the Hop-a-Bus in an article widely syndicated around the country in 1979 — it was written by Claudia Goad, spokesperson for the DTS (click for larger image).

hop-a-bus_wire-story_apr-1979_photo

hop-a-bus_wire-story_apr-1979_storyby DTS’ Claudia Goad, wire story, April 1979

And, finally, a look at a 1976 Channel 8 story on the month-old Hop-a-Bus, before it was transformed into a bunny (from the WFAA News archives at SMU).


via Jones Film Collection, SMU

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Sources & Notes

Top image is from the Dallas Transit System (DTS) 1985 calendar — the entire calendar can be found at the Portal to Texas History, here, from the DART Historical Archive.

There is a “Bring Back the Bunny” Facebook page, here.

xmas_hop-a-bus_DART-archives_1984_portal_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Take a Greyhound to the Texas Centennial — 1936

tx-centennial_greyhound-ad_hollywood-mag_1936_det“Dallas, please…”

by Paula Bosse

Thanks to the promoters of the Texas Centennial, advertisements placed in national publications in 1936 showed Dallas to be quite the desirable destination. The Centennial — the World’s-Fair-that-wasn’t-quite-a-World’s Fair — made Dallas the place to be in 1936. This ad for Greyhound Lines (a company which, incidentally, is now headquartered in Dallas) need only show a fab deco poster on a wall for people to want to jump on a bus and head to Big D.

The full ad is below. Nary a mention of “Dallas.” (Click to see a larger image.)

tx-centennial_greyhound-ad_hollywood-mag_1936

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Sources & Notes

Ad from Hollywood magazine, May, 1936.

tx-centennial_greyhound-ad_hollywood-mag_1936_det_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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