Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Motorcycles

Merry Christmas From the Dallas Police Department’s Parking Enforcement Squad

xmas_santa_DPDSanta on Elm Street (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I don’t know what the story is behind this photograph of Santa Claus riding on the back of a three-wheeled motorcycle (they were used by the Dallas Police Department to patrol downtown streets for parking violations). Maybe Santa’s sleigh has broken down and he’s thumbed a ride to get to a scheduled event at a department store. Let’s hope it wasn’t the result of said sleigh being parked in a No Parking zone and a rather too strenuous ticket dispute by Mr. Claus necessitating a visit to the station to discuss the situation further. (Look at the brick-paved street!)


I’m not sure of the original source of this photo, but I want to thank reader Chris Walker for sending this to me. Thank you, Chris!


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Get Your “Flying Merkel” at the Texas Motorcycle Co. — 1911

tx-motorcycle-co_flying-merkel_dallas-high-school_yrbk_1911“All shaken to pieces?”

by Paula Bosse

I might have bought a Flying Merkel in 1911 for the name alone.

The Texas Motorcycle Company was at 1605 Commerce. This ad is from 1911, but see what that block of Commerce looked like two years later in the detail of a larger photo, below. The motorcycle company was next to Worley’s, in the building with the Knight Tires/Stutz Auto signs.


Imagine two years before: Commerce would have been filled with Flying Merkels on test drives, zipping in and out of traffic!


Sources & Notes

Ad from the 1911 Dallas High School yearbook.

Photo is a detail from a larger photo contained in my earlier post “Horses, Carriages, Horseless Carriages — Commerce Street, 1913,” here.

Read about the 1911 Flying Merkel, here.

One of these bikes recently sold for more than $200.000!


Click pictures to see larger images.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Harley-Davidson Sales Co. Ad — 1929

ad-harley-davidson_directory_1929-smBeyond sidecars…

by Paula Bosse

I have to say, I love this delivery vehicle!


Advertisement from the 1929 city directory. Harley-Davidson — 2700 Commerce Street, at Henry — was in Deep Ellum, in the same block currently occupied by Angry Dog.

Click picture for larger image.


Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Dallas Police Department & Their Fleet of Harleys — 1951

ad-harley-davidson_dpd_19511951 ad (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Group photo day!

Like so many cities all over the country — whether large or small — the motorcycle division of the Dallas Police Department is equipped with Harley-Davidsons exclusively. Effective traffic regulation is assured through the use of 35 solo Harley-Davidsons and 29 Servi-Cars. Traffic experts recognize that no other method matches motorcycles for efficiently handling so many phases of traffic control work and accident prevention.


1951 Harley-Davidson ad from … somewhere — probably eBay.

Back in 1910, the DPD was perfectly happy with Indian motorcycles, as can be seen in a previous post, “Dallas Motor Cycle Cops — 1910,” here.

Click ad for much larger image.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Lazy Weekends, Cruising White Rock Lake — 1972

1white-rock_city-folk_1972_EPACruisin’ ’70s-style (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Back before the days of joggers and bikers, one used to be able to drive around White Rock Lake. All the way around. No dead ends, no detours. People used to cruise it on the weekends — the road would be packed solid. I assume the homeowners grew weary of this and put an end to things by having the road chopped up to prevent continuous cruising. Figures. Here’s a look at one weekend in April of 1972, from a series of photos taken by the Environmental Protection Agency as part of their Documerica project which documented areas of environmental concern. Things all look pretty good here, except for the final photo showing ducks paddling alongside trash at the water’s edge — a scene that might make the Keep America Beautiful Indian shed another tear.

A description of these photos (provided, I think, by the EPA):

City folk come in droves each weekend to once-isolated White Rock Lake. Some come to picnic, sail or fish. Some just want to be where the action is [man].

Another caption:

Once-unspoiled and rather isolated, White Rock has become a city dweller’s weekend mecca, attracting people looking for ‘action’ as much as those seeking relief from urban pressures.










These photos — from the EPA’s Documerica project (“to photographically document subjects of environmental concern”) — can be found at the National Archives site, here.

Like outtakes from Dazed and Confused, man…. You can practically hear “Brandy, You’re a Fine Girl” wafting through the air.

Click pictures for larger images.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“Dallas Motor Cycle Cops” — 1910

dallas-police_motorcycles_1910_bReady and on the job… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

These photos of the Dallas Police Department’s “Motor Cycle Cops” appeared in a police publication from 1910.  We see them astride their machines, — one in a bowler hat — waiting for their call. Above, the “cops” are identified as B. G. Ford and A. W. Schulz; below, T. R. McSwain and S. R. Dean.


I can’t vouch for the models of the bikes, but this ad for Indian Motorcycles appeared just pages away.



From a book with almost no publication info; it is presented simply as Dallas Police Department (Dallas, 1910). It’s got great photos and can be found on the Portal to Texas History site, here.

By 1951, the DPD’s allegiance had shifted to Harley-Davidson, as can be seen in the post “The Dallas Police Department & Their Fleet of Harleys — 1951,” here.


Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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