Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Horse-drawn Conveyances

Dallas Ice Factory

dallas-ice-factory_dallas-observer_ebayIce… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Lordy, it was hot today. At one point I looked at my phone and it told me it was 112° (but thanks to the chill factor, it felt like a refreshing 110°). It’s 10:00 p.m. and it’s 100°. That’s too many degrees.

Above is a photo of a horse-drawn Dallas Ice Factory wagon and its driver. There was probably ice in there.

Here’s an ad from 1888 showing the factory:

dallas-ice-factory_1888-directory1888 Dallas directory

Here’s an ad from 1894 not showing the factory:

dallas-ice-factory_1894-directory1894 Dallas directory

Here’s a link to an 1899 Sanborn map showing you where the Dallas Ice Factory was located (in Old East Dallas, at Swiss and Hall): link.

That’s about all I can muster. It’s too dang hot.

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Sources & Notes

Photo from a 2011 eBay listing, reproduced in The Dallas Observer by Robert Wilonsky; now owned by Peter Kurilecz.

Ads from Dallas directories.

Heat from the sun.

And here’s an ice-factory-related post I actually did some work on, when I wasn’t feeling like a sweaty, limp dishrag (…a long, long time ago…): “Oak Lawn Ice & Fuel Co.”

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Oak Lawn Ice & Fuel Co.

oak-lawn-ice-and-fuel-co_krystal-morrisThe fleet… (click to see larger image) / Photo: Krystal Morris

by Paula Bosse

Above, another great Dallas photo shared by a reader — this one shows the Oak Lawn Ice & Fuel Co., which sold ice to independent dealers and to retail customers. Krystal Morris sent in the family photo — her great-great-grandfather J. F. Finney is standing next to the horse-drawn wagon.

The first mention I found of the Oak Lawn Ice & Fuel Co. was in a notice of “New Texas Charters” in Dec., 1912 (there was a classified ad from Dec., 1909, but that appears to be either another company with the same name or an earlier incarnation of the business seen above). Below, an ad from 1913:

1913_oak-lawn-ice_19131913

The company was located at 3307 Lemmon Avenue, at the MKT railroad track (now the Katy Trail) — on Lemmon between the railroad tracks and Travis Street (see the location on a map composed of two badly-cobbled-together Sanborn maps from 1921 here). The location is marked on a present-day Google map below (click to see a larger image):

lemmon-and-katy-trail_google-map

In 1917, the City of Dallas, in partnership with the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad began to eliminate grade crossings in the Oak Lawn area — one of those crossings was at Lemmon Avenue: Lemmon was to be lowered and the MKT tracks were to be raised. Oak Lawn Ice & Fuel Co. General Manager Clarence E. Kennemer (who, along with his brothers, operated something of an ice empire in Texas) was concerned about the negative impact of this construction on his business. (All images are larger when clicked.)

1917_oak-lawn-ice_dmn_013117_katy-crossing     Dallas Morning News, Jan. 31, 1917

To the surprise of many, the ice company was awarded damages by the city.

1917_oak-lawn-ice_dmn_120617_katy-crossingDMN, Dec. 6, 1917

Things apparently continued fairly well until 1920 when the company began to experience tensions with its residential neighbors. Early in the year, city building inspectors responded to nuisance complaints and ordered the company to move its horse stables as they were too close to adjoining residences (ice delivery even into the 1940s and possibly 1950s was often done via horse-drawn wagons). Later the same year, still-unhappy neighbors filed suit to “force the company to remove its plant from the thickly settled residence district” (DMN, Dec. 1, 1920). The ice company appears to have won the lawsuit, since the company (under various names) was at 3307 Lemmon until at least 1939 or ’40, but these problems might have led them to build a new plant at Cole and what is now Monticello in 1922 (as with the Lemmon location, this new plant was also built alongside the MKT tracks). The mere prospect of this new icehouse was met with loud protests by the new neighborhood — before construction even began — but a judge ruled in favor of the ice people. Construction went ahead, and the plant was a neighborhood fixture for many years. (See the location on a 1921 Sanborn map here; “Gertrude” — near the top edge — was the original name of Monticello Avenue.)

In 1923, ads for the Oak Lawn Ice & Fuel Co. began displaying both addresses: the original location, 3307 Lemmon, was now being referred to as “Plant No. 2,” and the new location, 4901 Cole, was being referred to as the “Main Office/Plant No. 1.”

1923_oak-lawn-ice_1923-directory
1923 Dallas city directory

By 1924 the company expanded as it absorbed other ice companies.

1924_oak-lawn-ice_sept-19241924

By 1925, “Oak Lawn Ice & Fuel Company” had become “American Ice Co.” (another C. E. Kennemer enterprise).

1925_american-ice-co_aug-19251925

By 1933, American Ice Co. was swallowed up by City Ice Delivery Co.

city-ice-delivery_1934-directory1934 Dallas city directory

In the late 1930s or early 1940s City Ice Delivery Co. was acquired by Southland Ice (the forerunner of the Southland Corp., owners of 7-Eleven convenience stores). The Lemmon Avenue location became a meat-packing plant sometime in the mid-’40s (if neighbors were bent out of shape by an ice company, imagine how they felt about a meat-packing plant!); the Cole location became a 7-Eleven store and later a Southland Corp. division office.

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But back to Jonathan F. Finney, the man standing next to the ice wagon in the top photo. He came to Dallas from Alabama around 1916 and bought a house at 3001 Carlisle Street, where he lived for most of his life in Dallas. His occupation was “ice dealer,” and he seems to have worked in both the wholesale and retail areas, as a driver, a salesman, and even for a while the owner of his own company. His great-great-granddaughter Krystal Morris (supplier of these wonderful family photos) says she believes he was the manager of the Oak Lawn Ice & Fuel Co. The 1932 directory lists him as foreman of the City Ice Delivery Co., and as he lived at 3001 Carlisle, it seems to make more sense he was working at the Lemmon Ave. location (which was less than half a mile away from his home) rather the Cole Ave. location. The actual address of the photo at the top is unknown, but it may show the Lemmon Ave. location when Finney was working as an independent ice dealer, standing beside his own wagon.

Below, the Finney family around 1920 (J. F., daughters Thelma and Viva Sue, and wife Wenona), and below that, their house at 3001 Carlisle (which was at the corner of Carlisle and Sneed — seen in a 1921 Sanborn map here).

finney-family_krystal-morris-photoFinney family, circa 1920 / Photo: Krystal Morris

finney-home_3001-carlisle_krystal-morris-photo3001 Carlisle, Finney family home / Photo: Krystal Morris

J. F. Finney, born in 1885, died in Dallas in 1962, long after the era of necessary daily ice deliveries to residences and businesses. The occupation listed on his death certificate was “painter” but I have a feeling “once an iceman, always an iceman.”

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Sources & Notes

All photographs are from the family photos of Krystal Morris and are used with her permission. Thank you, Krystal!

The history of ice delivery is very interesting, especially to those of us who have never lived in a house without an electric refrigerator. Here are links-a-plenty on the subject:

  • “Icehouses — Vintage Spaces with a Cool History” by Randy Mallory (Texas Highways, Aug., 2000) here (additional photos can be found in the scanned issue on the Portal to Texas History site, here)
  • “Keeping Your (Food) Cool: From Ice Harvesting to Electric Refrigeration” by Emma Grahn on the Smithsonian National Museum of American History blog, here
  • “Delivering the Ice: Ice Wagons” — from an online exhibit based on an exhibit that was on display at the Woods Hole Historical Museum in Woods Hole, Massachusetts during the summer of 2015, here
  • “Portals to the Past: Golden Days of Home Delivery (ice, as well as bread, milk, groceries, etc.) by Waco historian Claire Masters, here
  • “The Iceman Cometh” by Dick Sheaff from the Ephemera Society of America blog, here

Here’s a fantastic little clip of a woman ice deliverer manning the tongs (and wearing heels):


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And, lastly, the Southland Corp. to the rescue with an ad from Dec., 1948 with news of the arrival in Dallas of “genuine” ice cubes! “Now for the first time in Dallas: Genuine Taste-Free, Hard Frozen, Crystal Clear Ice Cubes delivered to your home!”

city-ice-delivery_southland-ice_dec-1948
1948

All images are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Munger Place, The Early Days: 1905-1909

munger-place-bk_ca-1905_degolyer-lib_SMU_construction_1Munger Place, the beginning… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Here are a few photos from a great item found in the collection of SMU’s DeGolyer Library: a promotional booklet on the wonders to be found at the new East Dallas development called Munger Place. The photos show the construction of what would become one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Dallas, developed by Robert S. Munger (of Continental Gin Co. fame) and his son C. H. Munger. (His son’s first name was “Collett” — as in “Collett Avenue,” which I had always thought was named after one of the elder Munger’s daughters. But it turns out that “Collett” was the maiden name of C. H.’s mother. I’ve only ever heard the street name pronounced like the woman’s name “Colette,” but I have a feeling it might have originally been pronounced as rhyming with “wallet.”) (UPDATE: According to a Munger relative, the street name *should* actually be pronounced to rhyme with “wallet.”)

munger-place-bk_ca-1905_degolyer-lib_SMU_cover

Location, location, location. Not quite within the city limits at this time, but close. (All images are larger when clicked.)

munger-place-bk_ca-1905_degolyer-lib_SMU_location

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munger-place-bk_ca-1905_degolyer-lib_SMU_construction_2

Caption: “At work.”

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munger-place-bk_ca-1905_degolyer-lib_SMU_paving

Paving.

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munger-place-bk_ca-1905_degolyer-lib_SMU_street-railway-construction

Caption: “Building street railroad.” (This appears to be Collett Avenue.)

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munger-place-bk_ca-1905_degolyer-lib_SMU_collett-and-junius

Caption: “At work at intersection of Collett Avenue and Junius Street.”

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munger-place-bk_ca-1905_degolyer-lib_SMU_collett-and-junius_2

Caption: “Collett Avenue, looking toward St. Mary’s from Junius Street.”

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munger-place-bk_ca-1905_degolyer-lib_SMU_gaston-and-collett

Caption: “Gaston Avenue — looking toward the city at intersection of Collett Avenue.” (Today this intersection looks like this.)

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munger-place-bk_ca-1905_degolyer-lib_SMU_swiss-avenue

Caption: “Swiss Avenue — this was a corn field, with barb wire fences and hedges, about a year ago.”

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munger-place-bk_ca-1905_degolyer-lib_SMU_map

Map of Dallas, circa 1905, with Munger Place highlighted.

munger-place-bk_ca-1905_degolyer-lib_SMU_map-det

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Think you might want to live in “The Place”? Here’s who you need to contact (interesting that the Walter Caruth house is mentioned here…):

munger-place-bk_ca-1905_degolyer-lib_SMU_developer

Collett Henry Munger — who lived in Munger Place, at 5400 Swiss — died from a heart attack at the young age of 48.

munger-collett_photo
C. H. Munger (1879-1928)

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The earliest mention of “Munger Place” I found in The Dallas Morning News was this classified from May 21, 1905:

munger-place_dmn_052105_early-mentionMay 21, 1905

Work was well underway by 1906:

munger-place_dmn_090106DMN, Sept. 1, 1906

A call for “an expert landscape gardener” went out that same year:

munger-place_dmn_101406_landscaperOct. 14, 1906

Not yet ready for lots to go on sale, the public was invited to head to East Dallas to take a look at the progress (“bring your friends and visitors to the Fair”).

munger-place_dmn_102106Oct. 21, 1906

This rendering of the Swiss Avenue entrance was, interestingly, prepared by the architectural firm of Sanguinet, Staats & Hill, who designed several Munger Place residences (including Collett Munger’s).

munger-place_dmn_010107_renderingDMN, Jan. 1, 1907

A sort of “teaser” ad (with a great photo of the intersection of Swiss and Munger) appeared in March, 1907:

munger-place_dmn_032407_ad_photoMarch 24, 1907

In April, 1907, it was announced that finally lots would be available for purchase (but only 40…), with big discounts for those who promised to build immediately.

munger-place_dmn_041407_adApril 14, 1907

“Let it rain…. NO MUD IN MUNGER PLACE at any time.” Apparently a big selling point in 1907!

munger-place_dmn_050307_no-mudMay 3, 1907

By 1909 things were really starting to come together for what quickly became one of the most exclusive (and highly restricted…) neighborhoods in the entire city.

munger-place_worleys-1909-directoryWorley’s Dallas directory, 1909 ad

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Sources & Notes

Photos of Munger Place under construction, map, and text on yellow background are from the promotional booklet “Munger Place: Dallas, Texas,” from the collection of the DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; the entire booklet has been scanned by SMU and is available for free download here.

The last image is an ad from the 1909 Worley’s Dallas directory.

Read “Munger Place: Report of Nomination for Landmark Designation as a City Historic District” prepared by the City of Dallas Department of Urban Planning (1980), here.

More on Munger Place and the Munger family can be found is these Flashback Dallas posts:

  • “Munger Place — 1908,” here
  • “Munger’s Improved Continental Gin Company,” here

All images are larger when clicked.

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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:

swiss-car_1

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Is that someone in the window looking down the street?

swiss-car_2

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

swiss-car_3

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

swiss-car_4

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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.

swiss-car_5

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

swiss-car_4-a

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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.

Main Street’s Varied Modes of Transport — ca. 1909

main-street_tsha-meeting-1977_portalPowered by oats, electricity, and gasoline… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Here’s Main Street, looking east, from about Field. This is another of those odd photos showing streets shared by horse-drawn buggies and automobiles. And an electric streetcar. The days of those horses clip-clopping down Main Street were limited. (And I’m sure the horses were much-relieved.)

This photo was taken sometime between 1909, when the Praetorian Building opened (it’s the tall white building in the background, with the Wilson Building behind it at the other end of the block), and 1911, when the street numbers changed (you can see the address of “303” next to the words “Santa Fe” — the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway offices were at 303 Main Street in the 1909 city directory).

Also seen in this photo are the tall Scollard Building (the one with the advertising painted on its side) and, one building away, the Imperial Hotel.

See what it looks like now, here.

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Photo from a pamphlet for the Texas State Historical Association’s annual meeting in Dallas in 1977, found on the Portal to Texas History, here. Sadly, the photo was printed in sepia ink, which, argh. As always, if you know of a sharper image, please let me know!

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Wilson & Co., Their Clydesdales, and the Dallas Jaycees’ Safety Committee — 1951

wilson-and-co_clydesdales_ebay_1951Giant horses at the ready… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I came across this undated photo a couple of years ago on eBay, and it took a little bit of digging to come up with just what was going on here.

The Wilson & Co. meat packing and processing business began in Chicago in 1916 and quickly became one of the nation’s largest meatpackers, right up there with Armour and Swift. It expanded across the country, and one of its plants was in Dallas — in Unit 3 of the Santa Fe complex of buildings, located on Wood Street, between Field and what is now Griffin. (This building was later known as the Ingram Freezer Building and was demolished in 1988.) The Wilson company was acquired by Dallas-based LTV in 1967, and was later “spun off” from LTV in 1981

The Wilson company had owned a prize-winning “six-horse hitch” of Clydesdale horses since 1917, and they were sent around the country to promote the company and its line of processed meats. Not only were the horses prize-winners at livestock shows, they were also incredibly popular with the public. (They had made a huge splash at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933, and it seems Budweiser took note of the promotional possibilities of the impressive animals, as the Anheuser-Busch Co. ended up buying the original team from Wilson that same year. So there were at least two competing Clydesdale teams clomping along the downtown streets of America, through at least the late ’60s.)

The photo above was taken when Wilson & Co.’s horse celebs visited Dallas in May, 1951. During their time in Big D they paraded through downtown at noontime and entertained workers on lunch breaks; at night they bunked in temporary stables in the service department of a Pacific Avenue car dealership. The photo at the top shows a public service event in which the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce promoted traffic safety in conjunction with the visiting horses. In the photo, the Wilson company employees (who have somehow managed to block the view of several thousand pounds of horseflesh and the huge 1890s wagon behind them) look happy during their little photo-op break from work. And in the background, we see the Adolphus Hotel (…built by the man behind Budweiser beer…), the Magnolia Building, and the Baker Hotel.

All this kind of makes me want a ham sandwich and a bottle of beer…. 

wilson_clydesdales_amazon
via Amazon

wilson-clydesdales_dmn_051151
May, 1951

wilson_1953-directory
Wood Street, Dallas city directory, 1953

wilson-and-co_1952-mapsco
1952 Mapsco

Below, a postcard advertising the appearance of the Wilson “Champion Six-Horse Team” at the 1936 Texas Centennial:

wilson-co_clydesdales_1936_ebay

wilson-co_clydesdales_1936_ebay_back

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Sources & Notes

Photo found on eBay in 2014; on the back is the stamp of photographer Denny Hayes.

Texas Centennial postcard from eBay.

See an unimpeded view of the famous six-horse team of Clydesdales (each of which weighed, on average, two thousand pounds) in a 1954 Cedar Rapids Gazette photo, here.

A couple of interesting tidbits about the Wilson company and about the horses:

  1. Thomas E. Wilson, the founder of the meatpacking company also founded Wilson Sporting Goods
  2. As a celebratory nod to the end of Prohibition, the famed Budweiser Clydesdales were purchased from Wilson in 1933 — this was Wilson’s original team from 1917. (Clydesdale horses generally live for 20-25 years.)

Pictures and clippings are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Dallas Fire Stations — 1901

fire-dept_engine-co-3_gaston-and-college_1901Fire horse in Old East Dallas relaxing between calls (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

A few turn-of-the-century photos of Dallas’ fire stations, from a 1901 photographic annual. These seven firehouses were built between 1882 and 1894. One of these buildings is, miraculously, still standing on McKinney Avenue, in the heart of Uptown.

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At the top, Engine Co. No. 3, at Gaston and College Avenues. In service: January, 1892. Equipment: an Ahrens Steamer, capacity 750 gallons per minute, and a Cooney Hose Carriage. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the present location (Gaston and Hall) here. (And since I just used it a few days ago, here’s a 1921 Sanborn map, showing Mill Creek running right through the property.)

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fire-dept_central-station_main-harwood_1901

Above, Central Fire Station, Main and Harwood Streets. In service: October, 1887. Equipment: a double-sixty-gallon Champion Chemical Engine and a City Hook and Ladder Truck. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the present location here (the site of the old City Hall/Municipal Building).

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fire-dept_mckinney-leonard_engine-co-1_1901

Engine Co. No. 1, McKinney Avenue and Leonard. Equipment: an Ahrens Steamer, 750 gallons per minute, and a Cooney Hose Carriage. In service: August, 1894. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the present location here. NOTE: This is the only one of these firehouses still standing. I wrote about it here.

UPDATE: Well, sort of. Thanks to a comment on Facebook, I researched this station a bit more and found that it was rebuilt and modernized at the end of 1909 — using materials from the original building seen above, built on the same plot of land. So instead of being 122 years old, the building on McKinney today is a mere 106 years old.

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fire-dept_commerce-hawkins_engine-co-2_1901

Engine Co. No. 2, Commerce and Hawkins Streets. In service: January, 1882. Equipment: an Ahrens Steamer, capacity 750 gallons per minute, and a Cooney Hose Carriage. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see a shot-in-the-dark guess at a present location here.

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fire-dept_ervay-kelly_hose-co-2_1901

Hose Co. No. 2 and Chemical Co. No. 2, Ervay Street and Kelly Avenue. In service: September, 1894. Equipment: a Cooney Hose Carriage and double-sixty-gallon Champion Chemical Engine. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the present location here (right behind where the word “Cedars”).

fire-dept_bryan-hawkins_hook-and-ladder-1_1901

Hose Co. No. 1 and Hook and Ladder Co. No. 1, Bryan and Hawkins Streets. In service: January, 1893. Equipment: Preston Aerial Truck with 75-foot extension ladder, and a Cooney Hose Carriage. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the approximate present location here.

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fire-dept_commerce-akard_engine-co-4_1901

Engine Co. No. 4, Commerce and Akard Streets, next door to the City Hall. In service: August, 1894. Equipment: an Ahrens Steamer, capacity 1,100 gallons per minute, and a Cooney Hose Carriage. See it on a 1905 Sanborn map here; see the present location here (just out of frame at the right was the City Hall; the block is now the site of the Adolphus Hotel).

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city-hall_1901_fire-dept-annual_portal

City Hall, Commerce and Akard Streets, now the location of the Adolphus Hotel. Half of the shorter building to the left housed the police department and Engine Co. No. 4.

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The “Historical” page from the book (click to read).

fire-dept-hist_dallas-fire-dept-annual_1901_portal

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Since there is no sign of the actual equipment in these photos, here’s what horse-drawn steam engines (Ahrens steamers) looked like at this time. (Photo from the Wisconsin Historical Society).

fire-steam-engine_wisconsin-hist-soc

UPDATE: I found this photo on Flickr, showing equipment from those early days being driven through the streets of Dallas during a fire prevention parade.

fire-department_pumper_flickr_coltera

UPDATE: Lo and behold, a photo from 1900 of Old Tige, the 600 gallons-per-minute steam pumper, built in 1884, which was in service with the Dallas Fire Department until 1921. (Old Tige can be seen in the Firefighters Museum across from Fair Park.) Found at the Portal to Texas History.

old-tige_1900_fire-dept-bk_1931_portal

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Sources & Notes

Photos by Clifton Church, from the Dallas Fire Department Annual, 1901, which can be viewed in its entirety on the Portal to Texas History, here.

A contemporary map of Dallas (ca. 1898) can be viewed on the Portal to Texas History site, here.

More Flashback Dallas posts on historic Dallas firehouses can be found here.

All photos larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

“Melons on Ice” — 1890s

wiley-grocery_1890s_haskins-coll_utaA sleepy little town… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

It looks hot in this photo from the 1890s. I bet those “Melons On Ice” in front of Wiley’s grocery store really hit the spot.

wiley-grocery_melons_det-1

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I love this photo. The Wiley Cash Grocery was in business for only a few years — from about 1892 to 1896. It was located at 153 Commerce, one block east of the brand new county courthouse.

wiley-grocery_1893-directory1893 Dallas directory

wiley-grocery-1893-map
1893 map of Dallas, det.

The business was owned by Anna E. Wiley (~1862-1930) and her husband Jesse P. Wiley (~1863-1942). When they arrived in Dallas around 1887 their address in the city directory was simply “¾ mile w of river.”

Even though the store seems to have been in Anna’s name, Jesse was forced to file a deed of trust in 1896 when the store was faced with crippling debt. The Wileys owed approximately $1,545 to creditors (about $45,000 in today’s money), but their assets were only about $1,500, plus $800 of “good accounts.” Unsurprisingly, the store was gone by 1897. (Click article below to see a larger image.)

1896-wiley-grocery_dmn_021596
Dallas Morning News, Feb. 15, 1896

This photo captures such an odd view of downtown Dallas — it’s hard to believe that the site once occupied  by the Wiley store is now the site of the John F. Kennedy Memorial. A present-day view can be seen here.

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This photo is from the Squire Haskins Photography, Inc. Collection, University of Texas at Arlington Libraries; additional info is here. See this great photo REALLY big here.

The map is a detail from an 1893 map of Dallas from the collection of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission; see the full map here.

All pictures and clippings are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Mail Wagon

mail-wagon_dallas-jewish-historical-societyPhoto: Dallas Jewish Historical Society

by Paula Bosse

My mailman-hating duck post of yesterday reminded me of this photo I’ve had tucked away in a digital file for months but have never used because I have no information about it. It shows several people — possibly a family? — gathered in and around a U.S. Mail wagon — “Collector No. 20.” The horse team is probably close by. As this photograph was found on the Dallas Jewish Historical Society website, one must presume that the people seen here are Jewish. Why they’re posing with an unhitched mail wagon is unknown, but it’s a cool photo.

I read a bit about these wagons, which were used to collect mail from boxes around the area and from train depots. The larger ones had a driver for the team of horses, a collector, and two clerks in the back who sorted mail as they headed back to the main post office. (Click for larger image.)

mail-wagon_dmn_100296Dallas Morning News, Oct. 2, 1896

Rural mail delivery began in Dallas in 1901, and wagons like this were eventually used to reach far-flung areas beyond the city. Some of them were set up to be mini mobile post offices, out of which the mail carrier could sell things like stamps and money orders while they were on their appointed rounds of delivering and collecting mail (these mobile post offices actually caused several rural post offices to close).

mail-wagon_FWST_032301
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 23, 1901

There were two main problems with these horse-drawn wagons which showed up time and time again in newspaper reports:

  1. They were constantly involved in collisions, mostly with electric streetcars slamming into them. I’m not sure why this happened so much — perhaps the trolleys were too fast and too quiet — but it was a constant problem.
  2. Also, these wagons, stuffed with letters and packages (and whatever goodies might have been contained therein), were often hijacked at gunpoint or stolen when left unattended. Kind of a holdover from frontier days of holding up stagecoaches.

The life of a turn-of-the-century mailman was fraught with danger.

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Sources & Notes

Top photo from the Dallas Jewish Historical Society; I’d love to know some — any! — information about who these people were and why they were posing with a mail wagon.

Read the 1925 memories of mail carrier James H. Jackson, who began his career with the Dallas post office in 1884, in the Dallas Morning News article “Dallas Postoffice Grew As City Grew” by W. S. Adair (DMN, Feb. 1, 1925).

Another Dallas-mailman-related story I found interesting can be found in my post “Jim Conner, Not-So-Mild-Mannered RFD Mail Carrier,” here.

Images larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Selling Kidd Springs Heights, 1909-1910

gaston-bldg_1910_cook-degolyerThe L. A. Wilson Co. is having a sale! (photo: SMU)

by Paula Bosse

The above photo shows a car-and-buggy convoy belonging to the L. A. Wilson Land, Loan & Investment Company, stretched out in front of the Gaston Building at Commerce and S. Lamar. There’s a “Sale To Day” and they’re really pushing property in the Kidd Springs Addition in Oak Cliff. The date “April 20, 1910” is written on the back of the photo, and if that’s true, the big show here might be rooted more in desperation than in enthusiasm. The Wilson company began selling the 30-or-so lots in the new Kidd Springs Heights neighborhood in July of the previous year. An ad that appeared seven months before this photo was taken announced that there were only ten lots left. It looks like this was an impassioned display to make Kidd Springs seem more exciting and move that remaining property. People love parades.

(This is another great photo to zoom in on to see the details. All images are larger when clicked.)

gaston-bldg_1910_cook-degolyer-det1

gaston-bldg_1910_cook-degolyer-det4

gaston-bldg_1910_cook-degolyer-det5

The L. A. Wilson Co. was a fairly large real estate company founded by Missouri-born Lewis A. Wilson (1851-1926); at the time of this photo, the company’s offices were in the Gaston Building at 213 Commerce. (In the photo immediately above, I think the man with the moustache is Mr. Wilson.)

wilson_dmn_070409-detDallas Morning News, July 4, 1909 (ad detail)

The first ad announcing the sale of lots in the Kidd Springs Heights area of Oak Cliff appeared on July 4, 1909. It included the two blocks north of what is now W. Canty, bounded by Turner Ave. on the west and N. Tyler (and Kidd Springs Park) on the east.

ad-wilson_dmn_070409-text

ad-wilson_dmn_070409-photosDMN, July 4, 1909

Four weeks later, a huge half-page ad ran in The Dallas Morning News, full of wonderful reasons why life would be better in Kidd Springs Heights:

“The newest theory of scientists is that one should sleep at least eighty or ninety feet above the level of the city – and thus escape the germs which are particularly active during the hours of darkness. Here then is the place for your home. Here then is the place for investment. Kidd Springs Heights is higher than the top of the court house. Up where the cooling breezes are found on the hottest of hot days; where the air is ozone-laden; where the nights are cool and refreshing and where insomnia soon becomes naught but a dim memory.”

The effusive sales copy is definitely worth a read (click ad below to read the full sales pitch).

wilson_kidd-springs-heights_dmnn_090109DMN, Aug. 1, 1909

Six weeks later the following self-congratulatory ad appeared. (It’s interesting to note that of the twenty lots sold, two of them had been sold to Mrs. L. A. Wilson, and one each had been sold to the two salesmen. The next year’s telephone directory showed that the Wilsons lived on Live Oak, and the two salesmen lived in boarding houses.)

wilson-kidd-springs_dmn_091209DMN, Sept. 12, 1909

It wasn’t until 1921 that the tiny little Kidd Springs Heights was annexed to the city of Dallas.

annexed_dmn_051421DMN, May 14, 1921

Things may be different today, but in 1909, these were the boundaries of Kidd Springs Heights.

kidd-springs-heights_google_2015

The most interesting odd thing about Kidd Springs Heights? There appear to be two brick archways placed (very awkwardly) across Turner Avenue from one another — each spanning the sidewalk. I can’t find any information about these, but it looks as if they were set right at the northern boundary of the Kidd Springs Heights Addition. Old maps (such as this one from 1919) show no development to the north of this boundary up into at least the ’20s (it doesn’t look as if this addition is even in Oak Cliff proper), so I guess they were there before those sidewalks and served as a welcoming gateway to a new development where germs did not dwell after nightfall.

arch_google900 block of Turner Avenue (Google Street View)

(Check out both of these markers on Google Street View, here. It’s pretty strange-looking.)

If anyone has information on these markers, please pass it along!

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Top photo is titled “L. A. Wilson Land Loan Investment Company, Gaston Building, Commerce Street” — the photographer’s name and the date are written on the back: W. R. Lindsay, April 20, 1910. It is from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University, and it can be viewed here. I have adjusted the color.

Lewis A. Wilson’s biography can be read in A History of Greater Dallas and Vicinity (1909), here. His photo:

wilson_hist-greater-dallas

The Kidd Springs Wikipedia entry is here.

The Sanborn map from 1922 showing this tiny neighborhood at about the middle of the page on the right can be found here. Note how few lots actually have houses built on them. (Taft is now W. Canty; Edwards is now Everts.)

The Murphy & Bolanz map can be seen here. (If the link doesn’t work, you may need to download the plug-in — information on how to do that is here.)

As always, click pictures for larger images.

 

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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