Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Air Travel

The Heart of Big “D”: Akard & Commerce

downtown_heart-of-big-d_postcard_akard-commerceLooking up the “canyon”… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

A postcard view of Akard, looking north from Commerce; the “canyon” is anchored at the south end by the Baker Hotel (behind the photographer), the Walgreens in the Adolphus Hotel building, and the Continental Air Lines ticket office in the Magnolia Building.

Looks like a hot, painfully sunny day in the canyon. Personally, I’d get out of the sun and hit that soda fountain….


Sources & Notes

This postcard is currently being offered on eBay, here. The seller is in Transylvania.

The Continental Air Lines ticket office opened in the Magnolia Building in early 1958 (click for larger image).

January, 1958

For more info on the buildings that lined the “canyon,” see the Flashback Dallas post “The ‘Akard Street Canyon’ — ca. 1962,” here.


Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


White Rock Train Station (And a Helicopter Ride)

white-rock-station_portalWaiting on the Texas Chief…

by Paula Bosse

I was so happy to get word from UNT media librarian and film/video archivist Laura Treat this morning that she had come across film footage of White Rock Station, the first suburban train depot built in the Southwest by the Santa Fe Railway (in 1955). The footage is from the “Spotlight on North Texas” collection, a collaborative project between the University of North Texas Libraries and the Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TAMI) to preserve North Texas film history. This footage is from home movies donated by Mr. Peter Pauls Stewart.

The 4-minute clip starts off with footage shot from a helicopter, showing brand new highways cutting through wide open land, followed by scenes of cute children and their cute dog, and then, beginning at the 3:00 mark, chilly-looking scenes of White Rock Station (which was located at about Jupiter and Kingsley on the edge of Garland, and which, today, looks disappointingly different) and a group of mostly men, some with cameras who appear to be train enthusiasts, waiting for the arrival of the Texas Chief. Doesn’t really look like Texas, does it? Below are some screenshots — watch the full clip on the Texas to Portal History site, here.



Above, two men set up a camera on a tripod as Mr. Stewart — the man who donated the footage — smiles at the camera and waits for the much-anticipated arrival of the train (which, be warned, is never actually seen in this film!).


Below a couple of aerial shots of the North Texas countryside.



UPDATE: In the comments below, Danny Linn writes about the aerial footage seen in the first minute or two of the clip: “… at the very beginning [of the clip is] a clear view of the old Highland Park Airport off Coit Road just north of Forest Lane. This portion of the clip also shows a fairly new Central Expressway near the future crossroad of LBJ Freeway.” Thank you, Danny! I assumed part of what we saw was in the LBJ-area, but wasn’t sure — another view of that area can be seen in a fairly startling photo of Preston and Valley View in 1958, here.


Sources & Notes

The main page of this clip (titled “The Peter Pauls Stewart Films, No. 5 — Helicopter and Railroad Rides”) can be found here, on the Portal to Texas History website; it is from the Spotlight on North Texas collection, UNT Media Library, University of North Texas. (Click picture to watch clip in a new window.)

I have to admit that I had never heard of White Rock Station until I wrote about it in 2015, a post which has been surprisingly popular. The post — “White Rock Station” — can be found here.

Click pictures to see larger images.

Thank you, Laura!


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


DFW Airport Under Construction — 1973

dfw_under-construction_ca-1973_UTAA bird’s-eye view of the old Harrington place (click for HUGE image)

by Paula Bosse

Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, during construction in 1973. DFW before it was DFW.


When DFW opened in January, 1974 — on 700 acres of land purchased from Irving rancher R. D. Harrington — it was served by only 8 airlines, had 3 runways and 56 gates. American Airlines Flight 341 from New York/Memphis/Little Rock was the first commercial flight to land at the airport, on Jan. 13, 1974. There was apparently an onboard battle to claim bragging rights to being the first passengers off the very first flight: a Fort Worth couple beat out a Dallas businessman for the honors — the Dallas man asserted, “I was the third person off the plane as the result of a shoulder block from the young lady who was the first person off” (Dallas Morning News, “First Flight A Scramble For History by Charlie Bates, Jan. 14, 1974).


Sources & Notes

Top photo titled “Airview of terminal buildings and highway through the airport at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport during construction, ca. 1973; from UTA Libraries, Special Collections — more info here.

Second photo is from the Texas State Historical Association 103rd Annual program (March, 1999), found on UNT’s Portal to Texas History site, here.

More on the history of DFW Airport can be found in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram article “40th Anniversary: DFW Ready to Soar Into the Future” by Andrea Ahles (Jan. 11, 2014), here.

DFW Wikipedia entry is here.

An aerial view of the airport today, from Google Maps, is here.

Photos are MUCH larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Bowling In the Sky — 1964

bowling_american-airlines_encylopedia-britannica-yrbk_jan-1964Sylvia Wene battles Dick Weber and turbulence… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

It’s a bowling alley. …In an airplane.

As publicity stunts go, this one was pretty good. It even had a cutesy name: Operation AstroBowl. American Airlines wanted to promote their great big Boeing 707 cargo planes, so someone came up with the idea of putting a bowling alley in one of them. Happily, a company that manufactured bowling alley equipment — American Machine and Foundry (AMF) — was keen to jump on the promotion bandwagon. They installed the regulation 79-foot lane — complete with automatic pin-setting equipment and gutters — in one of the American Airlines jet freighters. It took 4 days. Looking at the photos, it resembled a very large MRI tube.

Since they had the lane and the equipment in there, they pretty much had to get a couple of champion players on board to bowl a few mid-air frames. As luck would have it, the National All-Star Tournament (aka “The World Series of Bowling”) was — hey! — to be held in Dallas at Fair Park Coliseum a week after the stunt. Serendipity! Champions Dick Weber and Sylvia Wene were roped in to play a 5-mile-high game in the sky.

So much to promote!

Operation AstroBowl took place on January 6, 1964 at cruising altitude between New York’s Kennedy International Airport and Love Field. Sylvia won. Barely. But this story made it into countless newspapers across the country the following day, so, really, it was the publicists who won. Drinks, I’m sure, were on them.

bowling_american-airlines_AP-story_010764-photo_dick-weberDick Weber bowling at 500 miles an hour

AP story which appeared all over the country, Jan. 7, 1964



Sources & Notes

Top photo appeared in the Encyclopedia Britannica Yearbook and was brought to my attention by Steve Dirkx (thanks, Steve!).

Story and photos by the Associated Press.

If you’re on Facebook, a tiny bit of film footage can we watched here.

Hold the presses! I’ve been translated! Check out this bowling post in Portuguese (!), on a Brazilian bowling site, here.

All images larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


American Airlines, Planes-a-Plenty — 1951

american-airlines_russell-lee_briscoe-1“Dallas Terminal” / ©Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

by Paula Bosse

A few photos of Love Field, hangars, and American Airlines airplanes, all taken in 1951 by Russell Lee for a story in Fortune magazine.






Photos ©Dolph Briscoe Center for American History; all photos are by Russell Lee from the collection of his photographs at the University of Texas at Austin. I am unable to post links because I can no  longer find them on the website (!).

This time pictures aren’t larger when clicked. All apologies to fans of the wonderful Russell Lee, for these less-than-crisp images.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Fly United to Chicago in Only Eight Hours!

aeiral_united-air-lines_fairchild_ebay_rppcHow many buildings can you identify? (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Dallas, Texas as seen from United Air Lines passenger transport. The airplane has brought Dallas and Forth Worth within eight hours travel to Chicago and only one business day’s travel from New York.

Back when it took all day to fly to New York from Dallas.

This is another great aerial photo by the Fairchild Aerial Survey company, probably taken by Lloyd M. Long. Date-wise? Late-1920s? Before the Trinity was straightened (beginning in 1928), with land being cleared in the area that would become Dealey Plaza? 1928-ish? Or could it have been the very early 1930s? The United Air Lines promotional postcard was issued around 1932 or 1933.

It wasn’t until 1933 that United introduced its new Boeing “twin motor airline transports” and boasted that they would finally “bring the city within eleven and a half hours of New York City” (Dallas Morning News, Aug, 16, 1933).

Below is a photo from a Dallas newspaper ad showing one of United’s planes from the earlier, more carefree days of 1932, when passengers were still trudging through the skies at a more leisurely pace.

united-air-lines_ad-det_dmn_110432United Air Lines ad, detail, 1932

And an even earlier ad, from 1931, when a flight from Love Field to Chicago was nine hours long (today a direct flight from Love Field to Chicago takes about two hours and fifteen minutes). And if you wanted to continue to NYC, you had to board another plane and fly from Chicago to New York, adding another six and a half hours!

1931 ad


De Luxe Tri-Motored Ford Planes Manned by 2 Licensed Transport Pilots
NAT provides the most luxurious and modern plane service out of Dallas … every ship on the line is a Ford … tri-motored with the famous Wasp engines … two (instead of one) pilots … both licensed transport flyers. Meals aloft included in fare … magazines, maps, stationery … lavatories. 

Air Transportation is More Than a Plane in the Sky! 

When you fly with the pioneer, dependable National Air Transport division of United Air Lines, you ride with the largest air transportation corporation in the world. NAT and other divisions of United Air Lines have had 5 years’ experience … 25,000,000 miles of flying! … and employ only skilled ground crews and gov’t licensed mechanics. Fly NAT and enjoy the finest transportation equipment … U.S. lighted airway … radio … U.S. weather reports.


In an interesting side-note, the first pilot to fly a mail plane between Kansas City and Dallas (on May 12, 1926) was Richard Dobie, brother of Texas literary legend, J. Frank Dobie. In 1926 he flew a Curtiss Carrier Pigeon; in 1933, he’d worked his way up to the speedy and powerful Boeing. He flew for United for several years.


Sources & Notes

Top image is a promotional postcard, found on eBay.

Read more about the tri-motor airplane (manufactured by the Ford Motor Company and affectionately known as the “Tin Goose”) in the article “Ford’s Tri-Motor” by Edward J. Vinarcik (Advanced Materials and Processes, Oct. 2003) here.

All images larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Love Field, The Super-Cool 1950s Era

love-field_1957(click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Above, fantastic drawing, 1957.

Below, fantastic photo, 1957.


And, below, fantastic-er photo. 1959. Just too cool.



Top two images completely lifted from a blog post by architect Jacob Haynes, here.

Bottom image from … somewhere else, long forgotten.

These photos are big. Click ’em!


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

JFK’s “Last Hour In Dallas” — 1963


by Paula Bosse

How is a city supposed to respond when it is suddenly plunged into the international spotlight? Does it grieve and try to forget, or does it grieve and capitalize? Dallas has had over 50 years to deal with/come to terms with the assassination of President Kennedy, but sometimes it seems as if the City of Dallas is still shell-shocked and isn’t quite sure how to acknowledge it on an official level. Let’s face it, Dallas is known to the rest of the world for one thing: the Kennedy assassination (and perhaps the TV show, and maybe the Cowboys). Yes, we have the justly-renowned Sixth Floor Museum, but it took 26 years to open it!

The cottage industry that sprang up in the wake of the Kennedy assassination has been big business for decades, some of it generated by people who live in Dallas, but most of it by people who have probably never even been to Texas. Since 1963, the “assassination literature” (…and, yes, it’s called that) has mushroomed, with local contributions coming from Dallasites whose brush with the President before, during, or after the events of November 22, 1963 have probably been pored over by numerous people either trying to understand why what happened happened or by people searching for hidden conspiracy clues to explain what really happened.

One local resident who added to the assassination literature was John E. Miller who took photos of the arrival of President and Mrs. Kennedy at Love Field and then apparently hot-footed it over to Parkland when the news of the shooting broke. These photos were issued as postcards in 1964 in a packet of 12. (Click pictures for larger images.)

JFK_envelope_frontAbove, the front of the envelope containing the cards; on the back: “A Real Picture Treat For Years To Come.”

JFK_card_01From the back of the card: “No. 1, Arrival of President’s Escort Plane at Love Field, Dallas, Texas.”

JFK_card_02“No. 2, Presidential and Escort Planes at Dallas’ Love Field landed shortly after this picture was taken.”

JFK_card_03“No. 3, President John F. Kennedy and party leaving airplane at Love Field. (Mrs. Kennedy — pink hat.)”

(UPDATE: The two little girls in the photos above and below are most likely Carolyn Jacquess, in blue, and Debby Massie, in red. Their little group arrived at the airport before the president’s plane arrived, walked through the terminal and out onto the tarmac, right to where the plane taxied up to the small crowd of about 100 people. Just like that. There was no special invitation, and, other than the chain-link fence, no real security.)

JFK_card_04“No. 4, President John F. Kennedy and Party in foreground at Dallas’ Love Field.”

JFK_card_05“No. 5, Vice-President Johnson, Governor Connally, Mrs. Kennedy (pink hat), other members of party at Dallas Love Field.”

JFK_card_06“No. 6, Vice-President Johnson, Governor Connally, Presidential Party and Newspaper Men, Love Field, Dallas.”

JFK_card_07“No. 7, Forming of Presidential Parade, Love Field, Dallas.”

JFK_card_08“No. 8, After Assassination, TV Unit arrives at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.”

JFK_card_09“No. 9, Blood Bank Unit at Parkland Hospital on fatal day. Dallas, Texas.”

JFK_card_10“No. 10, Hearse carrying President John F. Kennedy’s body and Mrs. Kennedy from Parkland Hospital back to airplane at Love Field, Dallas.”

JFK_card_11“No. 11, Presidential plane awaiting President Kennedy’s body, Vice-President Johnson and Mrs. Kennedy, for return to Washington, D.C. (Note Presidential seal.)”

JFK_card_12“No. 12, Texas School Book Depository building from which authorities believe fatal shots were fired. (Note second window down on right corner of building.)”


Photos and captions © John E. Miller 1964, 3500 W. Davis, Dallas, Texas 75211. (Mr. Miller was a Dallas businessman who sold motor homes and trailers in Oak Cliff between 1945 and 1976. A photo of Mr. Miller is here).

Many thanks to “amyfromdallas” for scanning and contributing the images in this post. Thanks, Amy!

For other Flashback Dallas JFK-related posts, see here.

Click pictures for larger images.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Lucy, Desi, Dallas — 1956

lucy-desi_fw_bellaircraftLucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and their loaner ‘copter from Bell Aircraft

by Paula Bosse

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz came to Dallas and Fort Worth in 1956 to promote their new movie, “Forever Darling.” Their arrival times were heavily publicized, and throngs of fans showed up to welcome them — in Dallas at Love Field, and in Fort Worth at the Western Hills Hotel. For those who might have missed their arrivals, they still had a chance to see the couple at one of the personal appearances scheduled at the theaters showing their movie (in Dallas at the Majestic on February 10th, and in Fort Worth at the Hollywood on the 11th). Crowds were large and enthusiastic, and everyone appears to have had a genuinely fun time, possibly even Lucy and Desi, whose relationship in those days was frequently a bit shaky.

Best of all was the tidbit about how the famous couple traveled from Dallas to Fort Worth: by helicopter.

Two television stars will be sailing around above Dallas skyscrapers Saturday. …Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz will catch a helicopter ride from atop the Statler Hilton for a trip to Fort Worth. City Council officially sanctioned the ride at its Monday meeting. (Dallas Morning News, Feb. 7, 1956)

They left from the helipad atop the Statler Hilton and touched down at the helipad at the Western Hills Hotel in Fort Worth (hotels are nothing without helipads). There was some sort of cordial relationship between the Arnazes and the people at Bell Aircraft, because they availed themselves of this brand new deluxe chopper in New York as well as in DFW. When their promotional duties were finished, Lucy and Desi left Cowtown for California as guests of the president of the Santa Fe Railway — in his private car. Because that’s how you travel if you’re Hollywood royalty.


lucy-desi_dmn_020856-detFeb 8, 1956

lucy-desi_dmn_021156-photolucy-desi_dmn_021156-captionDMN, Feb. 11, 1956

(Leon Craker, I bet you had a great story about this for years after this momentous meeting.) 


In Fort Worth, Elston Brooks (whose amusing articles I’ve really enjoyed discovering these past few months), seemed underwhelmed and a little annoyed at the prospect of  “lovable Lucy and spouse” invading the city (click articles to see larger images):

lucy-desi_FWST_020556Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Feb. 5, 1956

Elson Brooks may not have been very excited, but when Lucy and Desi stepped out of that helicopter, the Fort Worth crowd went wild (click text for larger image):



lucy-desi_FWST_021256bFWST, Feb. 12, 1956


And here they are back in Los Angeles, with Desi Jr., at the end of a busy promotional tour. Desi is proudly wearing the cowboy hat he’d been given in Fort Worth. And he looks damn good in it.



Sources & Notes

Top photo of Lucy and Desi standing next to the 1956 Bell 47H-1 (“one of the world’s first executive helicopters”) is from the August 2012 issue of Vintage Aircraft Magazine; photo from Bell Aircraft. The article concerning this helicopter model is contained in a PDF here.

The bottom photo is from a Pinterest page, here.

UPDATE: I had originally identified the photo of Lucy and Desi with the train as having probably been taken in Fort Worth as they were about to depart for Hollywood, mainly because they’re wearing similar clothing from the FW appearance, but a rail historian noted that this photo was actually taken in California at the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal — he could tell because he recognized the part of the platform structure over their heads! (“I can name that song in TWO notes!”) The photo he directed me which shows the LAUPT platform (and, in fact, the same engine, two years earlier!), is here. They probably took the final photo for the Santa Fe company as thanks for providing them with transportation back home in the president’s private car. (Thanks, Skip!)


And because today is Lucille Ball’s birthday (which I know only because she shares a birthday with my aunt — happy birthday, Bettye Jo!), it seems like a good time to wheel out this strikingly beautiful portrait of Lucy, along with a wonderful photograph of her from about the same time (probably between 1928 and 1930).




Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


Swooning Over Love Field — 1940

love-field_1940Art Deco Love Field!  (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I’m a huge-fan of the modern 1950s-era Love Field (the one with the Mockingbird Lane entrance), but even that can’t trump this fantastic building! Designed by architect Thomas D. Broad, the new Love Field administration building and terminal — which faced Lemmon Avenue — was unveiled on October 6, 1940 to rapturous acclaim. The night view above is pretty breathtaking. Forget the airfield. For me, it’s all about this entrance. Those windows. And those doors. And that font! And those little airplane pictographs!

love-field_terminal_1940It wasn’t bad in the daytime, either — just nowhere near as dramatic. And in dire need of landscaping.

love-field_ca1940_frontAnd here it is from the field side. Still swoon-worthy. The back of this postcard reads:

One of America’s finest air terminals which takes care of more airline passengers, more air mail and more air express in ratio to population than any other air port in the country.


What happened to this beautiful building? I searched through the Dallas Morning News archives until I felt I had to throw in the towel, never finding a definitive answer. But here’s what I did find. When the brand-spanking-new terminal (the one we know today) opened in 1958, the 1940 terminal was vacated. A better word might be “abandoned.” Most assumed the building would be razed very soon after. But I got as far as September of 1964, and the old terminal was still standing. And it wasn’t pretty. This excerpt from a Dallas Morning News article is painful to read:

…The old terminal building cowers in desolation…. Virtually every window has been smashed, carpeting the deserted terminal with a dangerous floor of  broken glass. Loose wires stick out here and there, and blinds hang in twisted postures from broken cords. The building’s big sign DALLLAS is missing its D. (DMN, July 2, 1961)

(And even more thoroughly painful is the article in the Dallas News archives by Kent Biffle, “Ghosts Wait by Runway” — DMN, Feb. 2, 1961.)

Apparently, the old building had to remain standing until a new “much-debated” new multi-million-dollar runway was agreed upon.

The point at which I threw in the towel in my quest to discover when the old terminal building had been demolished was a DMN photo from September 25, 1964 with the caption “$4,000,000-Plus Runway Progress. The 8,800-foot parallel runway at Dallas Love Field, left center, is two-thirds completed and should be ready for use next spring.” I am assured the photo has a hard-to-see old terminal still decaying in it. I assume they razed that sucker pretty soon afterward. …Possibly.


Sources & Notes

Top photo from the post “The New Love Field” by Jacob Haynes, here.

Click pictures for larger images — the first two are HUGE!


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.


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