Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Air Travel

Dallas’ Aerial Police Reserve — 1921


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


Sources & Notes

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



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):


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


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


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. 


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


End of Phase I:



Sources & Notes

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



Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

American Airlines Flies to Groovy Dallas, Y’all


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.)


Sources & Notes

Image found on Amazon, here.



Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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.

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