Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Interurbans

Interurban Coming Through

interurban_commerce-street_dart-archives
Street traffic used to be a lot different… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Great photo of Interurbans trundling down Commerce Street, past the Adolphus Hotel. …Wish I’d been there.

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Sources & Notes

Photo is from the Dallas Area Rapid Transit archives, but I neglected to note a linkable source. (Click photo to see a larger image.)

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

10th and Lancaster, Oak Cliff — ca. 1902

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_mcafee_degolyer_SMU_ca-1902Lancaster, intersecting Jefferson & E. 10th… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

This photo, taken around 1902, shows a northward-view of an intersection of the soon-to-be-annexed (or a just-annexed) Oak Cliff: Lancaster (the dark road running at a slight diagonal to the upper left of the photo), E. 10th St. (crossing Lancaster behind the “Eselco 10¢ Cigars” sign and running horizontally in the middle of the photo), and Jefferson, which contains the double tracks of the then-new Dallas-Fort Worth interurban railway.

The location of this photo can be seen on a 1905 Sanborn map here (in that map, 10th St. is at the right edge — to see the area just south of Jefferson — where the photographer snapped his photo — that map is here). The view today? Lancaster (which became N. Lancaster just north of E. 10th) no longer exists immediately north of 10th — that land is now occupied by Hector P. Garcia Middle School  — the location seen in the 116-year-old photo above can be viewed on Google Street View, here.

Let’s zoom in on this photo. Though grainy, it’s still really exciting to see views of Oak Cliff, just after the turn of the century (Oak Cliff was annexed by Dallas in 1903 but had been a thriving community for many years before that). Below, a couple of men are seated on a bench beneath a sign that says “Interurban Ticket Office,” a bicycle lies at the curb, men stand on the corner, and a horse-drawn buggy is parked underneath a sign that says “drugs.” Eselco brand cigars were ten cents apiece at the time (about $3.00 in today’s money). The “ticket office” sign helps date this photo, as the Dallas-Fort Worth interurban service (through Oak Cliff) began in July, 1902.

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_mcafee_degolyer_SMU_ca-1902_det-1

On the east side of Lancaster, a two-story building with “Britton & Collins Drugs” painted on the side dominates the block. The drug store was owned by T. Jefferson (“Jeff”) Britton and J. Willie Collins. Tennessee-born Britton (1874-1926) had opened a well-known drug store in downtown Dallas at the southeast corner of Elm and Akard in the late 1890s (seen here in 1900) — this attempt at an expansion into Oak Cliff does not seem to have lasted long: I find listings for this OC location in only the 1902 and 1903 city directories.

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_mcafee_degolyer_SMU_ca-1902_det-2

britton-and-collins-drug-store_1902-directory1902 Dallas city directory

Back to the interurban service (the arrival of which was, no doubt, both a welcomed convenience as well as a financial boon to Oak Cliff residents and businesses): here are the double tracks of the Northern Texas Traction Co.,  running along Jefferson. (More on this interurban line is at the bottom of this post.)

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_mcafee_degolyer_SMU_ca-1902_det-3

Below is a detail from a 1905 map showing this confusing intersection of E. 10th, Jefferson, N. Lancaster, and S. Lancaster. (As with all images in this post, click to see a larger picture.)

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_worleys-map-greater-dallas_1905_det

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Sources & Notes

This photo — titled “10th and Lancaster, Oak Cliff, 1900” — is part of the George A. McAfee photographs collection, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University; more information about this photo can be found here.

According to the DeGolyer Library, the photo has the following notation written on the back: “10th & Lancaster. Oak Cliff — looking toward Dallas. Taken 1900.” I think the photo was taken a little later — somewhere between mid-1902 and very early 1904: the Britton & Collins drug store was listed in only two Dallas directories (1902 and 1903), and the interurban service from Dallas to Fort Worth (which passed through Oak Cliff and past the “Tenth St. Station”) did not begin until July, 1902.

Everything you could possibly want to know about the Dallas-Fort Worth interurban line, including mechanical specs and several photographs, can be found in a PDF of the July 18, 1903 issue of the Street Railway Journal, here (the 10-page article “The System of the Northern Texas Traction Company” begins on p. 82). (Lots on “Lake Erie” at Handley can also  be found in this article.)

A few newspaper snippets from the first month following of the launch of the Dallas-Fort Worth interurban service.

oak-cliff_interurban_dmn_070102Dallas Morning News, July 1, 1902 (click to see larger image)

oak-cliff_interurban_dmn_070702_first-week-operationDMN, July 7, 1902

The one-way fare to FW from Dallas was 70¢, and a round-trip fare was $1.25 (a rather hefty $20 and $36, respectively, in today’s money, adjusted for inflation).

oak-cliff_interurban_tenth-station_dmn_071702DMN, July 17, 1902

oak-cliff_interurban_tenth-station_dmn_071102DMN, July 11, 1902

oak-cliff_interurban_el-paso-herald_072102El Paso Herald, July 21, 1902

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Ghost Rails of the Belmont Streetcar Line

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

by Paula Bosse

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

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

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

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

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

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

1908_interurban_sherman-dallas_dmn_011608
DMN, Jan. 16, 1908 (click to read)

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

interurban_sherman-dallas_dmn_070108
DMN, July 1, 1908

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

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

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

1914_matilda-richmond_lakewood-heights-ad_det_050314
May, 1914 (detail from Lakewood Heights real estate ad — see full ad here)

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

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

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

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

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

“Cow path” — ha!

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

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

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

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

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

belmont-car_lakewood-heights-ad-det_050314

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Sources & Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click pictures and clippings to see larger images.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Katy Building, Commerce Street

m-k-t_katy-bldg_flickr_coltera“The Katy Serves the Southwest…” (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

A couple of days ago I posted a photo of an M-K-T train leaving Dallas and, today, coincidentally, I came across a photo of the Katy Building, the railroad’s headquarters, at Commerce and Market. This photo shows Commerce looking west toward the Old Red Courthouse from Austin Street. An interurban car is heading east.

See the same view today, via Google Street View, here.

A photo I really love — which shows a view from about the same time looking east on Commerce — can be seen in a previous post, “Commerce & Record Streets — 1946,” here.

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Photo from Flickr, here.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Interurban Parlor Car: Perusing the News in Comfy Chairs

interurban-interior_tx-historian_jan81(Click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The height of comfort!

You know this photo was taken for promotional purposes, because none of the men has a reeking cigar clenched between his teeth.

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Texas Electric Railway Interurban ad reprinted in Texas Historian, Jan. 1981.

Interurbans were great. I wish we still had them. Read about what they were, here.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Interurbans: Freight Movers?

interurban-passenger_freight_1940sPeople-mover, above; freight-mover, below… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

When I saw this photo, I had no idea what I was looking at — what was that odd-looking thing in the foreground? A couple of rail enthusiasts informed me that it was an interurban freight engine on rail tracks beneath the old elevated interurban/streetcar trestle that spanned the Trinity. This is the Dallas side, with the Dallas Morning News building and the Hotel Jefferson in the background, to the north. (You can see the tracks running right next to the DMN in a photo in a previous post, here.) According to one of the experts:

The interurban did some exchange of freight cars with the regular railroads and the exchange tracks were under the streetcar/interurban viaduct. This track merged with the streetcar tracks at the foot of the viaduct right next to the DMN.

The interurban, though primarily a mover of people, also hauled freight. With more than 200 miles of track across North Texas, the Texas Electric Railway was the largest interurban railway operator in the South. But its glory days were starting to wane as the popularity of automobiles increased. By the ’20s, freight-moving was added to the company’s services, generating welcomed revenue.

The interurban freight depot — seen below in 1946 — was located just east of Ferris Plaza. At the left, part of a railroad freight car is visible, in the middle, an interurban freight car, at the right, an interurban (passenger) streetcar, and at the far right, an automobile. And some crazy person walking.

freight_interurban_denver-pub-lib_1946

But the automobile eventually proved too popular, and more and more people began using trucks for hauling. After 40 years in business, the Texas Electric Railway interurban ceased operations in 1948.

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When searching around for possible other images of engine 903 (as seen in the top photo), I found it hanging out over on eBay — described as being in the “Waco car house yards” in 1944. Small world.

engine-903_ebay

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Top image found on Flickr, here.

Photo of the freight depot taken by Robert W. Richardson on April 27, 1946; from the Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library, viewable here.

Bottom photo (cropped) from a  currently active eBay listing, here.

Interurban freight operation Wikipedia entry here.

Texas Electric Railway: Handbook of Texas entry here; Wikipedia entry here.

MANY photos of various Texas Electric Railway freight motors and locomotives, here.

And, lastly, great photos from around Dallas in CERA’s “Texas Electric and the Journey to DART,” here.

(Thanks to Bob J. and Robert P. for their helpful info!)

Click pictures for larger images.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Waiting For a Streetcar on a Sunny Winter Day in Oak Cliff — 1946

jefferson-addison_denver-pub-lib_1946Addison St. & Jefferson Blvd. in Oak Cliff — Feb., 1946 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I love streetcars, photos from the 1940s, fashions of the ’40s, and views of the Dallas skyline. And here are all of these things, in one great, GREAT photograph. We see people waiting for the streetcar on a sunny Saturday in February, 1946 — in Oak Cliff, at E. Jefferson Blvd. and Addison St. The people at the left (outside Helen’s Sandwich Shop) are about to catch the car that has just crossed the Trinity River and head into Oak Cliff; the people on the right are waiting to go to Dallas. The Oak Farms Dairy is just out of frame at the top left, and Burnett Field is just out of frame at the bottom right. The Dallas skyline looms across the Trinity.

Below, I’ve zoomed-in a bit and cropped this fantastic photograph into two images to show, a bit more intimately, details of an ordinary moment in an ordinary day of ordinary people. What once was such a commonplace scene — people waiting for a streetcar or interurban — now seems completely out of the ordinary and quaintly nostalgic. (Nostalgic on its surface, anyway — not shown is the interior of the car which had specific black-only and white-only seating areas for passengers.) (As always, click for larger images.)

jefferson-addison-det1

jefferson-addison-det2

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Photo by Robert W. Richardson, taken on February 2, 1946. From the Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library, viewable here. More on rail enthusiast, writer, photographer, and preservationist Bob Richardson, here.

The same stop can be seen in this undated photo (source and photographer unknown):

oak-cliff-streetcar-stop_addison-jefferson

Streetcars ran back and forth across the Trinity River on a special trestle just south of the Oak Cliff Viaduct/Houston Street Viaduct. It had been in use since 1887 (through various renovations) and was demolished in the early 1970s to build the present-day Jefferson Street Viaduct.

To see a photo by the same photographer showing a streetcar actually on the trestle over the Trinity, see the post “Crossing the Trinity River Viaduct — 1946,” here.

Streetcar enthusiasts are incredibly, well, enthusiastic, and they keep precise track of where cars operated over their life spans. The car from the photo — Dallas Railway & Terminal Co. car #605 — was a PCC streetcar, built by the Pullman-Standard company in 1945; it was sold to the MTA in 1958 and was in operation in Boston for many years. See cool photos of the very same streetcar in operation over the years in both Dallas and Boston, here (scroll down to “605”). To see what the retired car looked like in 2002 — a bit worse for wear — click here.

A distinctly less-wonderful view from roughly the same location, seen today, is here.

map_jefferson-addison_googleGoogle

Click pictures for larger images.

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 Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Ferris Plaza Waiting Station — 1925-1950

railway-info-bldg_1926From The Electric Railway Journal, 1926 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I came across the odd image above whilst digitally thumbing through a 1926 issue of The Electric Railway Journal (as one does…) and wondered what it was. It was definitely something I’d never seen downtown. Turns out it was a combination information bureau, covered stop in which to buy tickets for and await the arrival of interurbans and streetcars, a place to purchase a snack, and a location of public toilets (or, more euphemistically, “comfort stations”). It was located at the eastern edge of Ferris Park along Jefferson Street (which is now Record Street), with the view above facing Union Station. It was intended to be a helpful, welcoming place where visitors who had just arrived by train could obtain information about the city, and it was also a pleasant place to wait for the mass transit cars to spirit them away to points beyond. With the lovely Ferris Plaza (designed by George Dahl in 1925) between it and the front of the Union Terminal, this was considered The Gateway to the City long before Dealey’s Triple Underpass was constructed. (Click photos and articles to see larger images.)

ferris-plaza_park-and-playground-system_pubn_1921-23_portal

The “waiting station” was the brainchild of the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce which proposed the idea to the City of Dallas and, as it was to be built at the edge of a city park, the Park Board. The small (50 x 30) brick building — designed by Dallas architect J. A. Pitzinger — would cost $5,000 and would be paid for by funding from local businesses, including various transportation concerns (namely, the Northern Texas Traction Company). The “traction” companies would staff the information booth and sell tickets. The plans were accepted and permission was granted. Construction began in July, 1925, and the building was opened for waiting by October.

This improvement is the most recent of a number which have made of Ferris Plaza a beauty spot at the gateway of the city. Designed for a sunken garden, fringed with trees, the plaza is now adorned with a great fountain, illuminated with colored lighting at night, the gift of Royal A. Ferris. The new waiting station is in harmony with the general scheme of the plaza development, and combines beauty with utility. (Dallas Morning News, Sept. 20, 1925)

The little waiting station proved to be quite popular, and by the end of its first year the Northern Texas Traction Company (who operated interurban service between Dallas and Fort Worth) was very pleased, as interurban ticket sales at the station had become a solid source of company revenue. The Ferris Plaza station lasted a rather surprising 25 years. It was torn down in 1950, mainly because the interurbans had been taken out of service and there was no longer a need for it. Also, the park department was eager to get their park back and make it more “symmetrical.”

People would just have to wait somewhere else.

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ferris-plaza-info-bureau_rendering_pitzinger_dmn_031625Architectural rendering by J. A. Pitzinger (DMN, March 16, 1925)

ferris-plaza-waiting-stn_dmn_092025Nearing completion (DMN, Sept. 20, 1925)

railway-info-bldg_1926_text_smThe Electric Railway Journal (Nov. 6, 1926)

ferris-plaza_union-station_dpl_1936Union Station, 1936 — view from the “waiting station” (Dallas Public Library)

ferris-plaza_aerial_smu_c1949-det1949 aerial view, showing “waiting station” just above plaza’s circular fountain

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Sources & Notes

Top photo from The Electric Railway Journal, Nov. 6, 1926.

Very early photo and description of Ferris Plaza is from Park and Playground System: Report of the Park Board of the City of Dallas, 1921-1923, via the Portal to Texas History, here.

Photograph of Union Station from the Texas/Dallas History and Archives Division of the Dallas Public Library.

Aerial photo showing Ferris Plaza is from a larger view of downtown by Lloyd M. Long (the original of which is in the Edwin J. Foscue Map Library collection of the Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University, and which can be viewed here).

To read about the Ferris Park restoration project, see here.

For a few interesting and weird tidbits about the block that eventually became Ferris Plaza (including the fact that it was thought to be haunted and that it was once the site of a brothel), check out this page on Jim Wheat’s fantastic site.

Click pictures for larger images.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Interurban vs. Streetcar

interurban-vs-streetcarOh dear… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I’m not sure what’s happened here, but it looks like the interurban has emerged victorious.

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Sources & Notes

I don’t know the original source of this photo, but I came across it on the Northern Texas Traction History Group on Facebook. The electric-powered interurban car is the big red one on the left; the puny (but cute) electric-powered green streetcar is on the right. The view here is looking north on Record, from just south of Young Street, inside what would one day be called “Communications Center”: the Dallas Morning News Building is on the left, and the not-yet-built WFAA studios will later be to the immediate right (east). The long-gone Hotel Jefferson is north of Ferris Park (the hotel was catty-corner from Union Station, across Houston Street). In the distance you can see the tippy-top of the Old Red Courthouse, just above the green streetcar. Also, those now-gone smokestacks that were such a fixture on the skyline are straight ahead.

Click photo for larger image.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

“Speed With Safety” on the Crimson Limited — 1930

crimson-ltd_interurban_1930(Click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

A 1930 ad for the Crimson Limited deluxe interurbans (electrified railway trains) that ran between Dallas and Fort Worth, a couple of years before the company went into receivership, put out of business by the rise of automobile culture. Even though the writing was pretty much on the walls, the Northern Texas Traction Company fought hard to reverse the decline in ridership by introducing these fancy Crimson Limited cars:

“The most notable of their moves was the introduction of the Crimson Limited in October of 1924. The Crimson Limited was the name given to the upgraded interurban service to Dallas because the cars were painted bright red. The trailer car saw the most extensive upgrades. The bench seats in the rear half of the car were removed and replaced with wicker chairs. The rear doors were converted to windows giving the car a ‘parlor car’ appearance. Additional upgrades were implemented in 1927. Although the public approved of the new more luxurious trains and more modern streetcars, they continued to abandon mass transit for the automobile.” (–North Texas Historic Transportation, Inc.)

Wicker chairs? Pure LUXURY!

interurban-map

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The ad is from an old magazine I can’t cite because it’s stuck in a box in a closet somewhere.

The quote is from a page on the very informative North Texas Historic Transportation site, here.

For more on this topic, check out the nice, meaty, image-filled post (which includes an ad touting the somewhat vague “Special Conveniences for Ladies”) on the Hometown by Handlebar blog, here. (Hometown by Handlebar is a really great Fort Worth history blog that might prove I was separated at birth from a twin sibling I knew nothing about!)

Not quite sure what an “interurban” is? Fret not. Wikipedia’s here to help, here.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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