Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Streetcars

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.

 

McKinney Avenue Postcard Views

mckinney-avenue_postcard_ebayMcKinney Ave., large houses, streetcar tracks… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Just a quick post of two picture postcards of McKinney Avenue (the images drained of their added color give a more realistic idea of the original photographs). These views are unrecognizable in today’s Uptown.

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maple-mckinney_streetcar_ebay

maple-mckinney_streetcar_ebay+bw

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Sources & Notes

Both postcards found on eBay.

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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.

San Antonio Extra: The Texas Transportation Co. and the Pearl Brewery Electric Freight Trolley

texas-transportation-co_cook-coll_degolyer_smu_san-antonioT. T. Co. No. 1, at your service… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I come across a lot of interesting Texas photos that have nothing to do with Dallas, so I think I might, on occasion, post them here, knowing that someone else is also likely to find them interesting. Like the one above.

This photo is from the incredible gift that just keeps giving, the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, held by the DeGolyer Library at SMU. Most of the items in the collection have a Dallas connection, but there are several others of general Texas interest.

When I saw this photo I wasn’t sure what it was. It looked like an electric trolley, but I’d never seen a shape like that before. It turns out it was, indeed, an electric freight locomotive. It was one of two locomotives that belonged to the Texas Transportation Co.’s tiny fleet of two — this was engine No. 1. The T.T.C. operated a freight service on their very short 1.3-mile track for 113 years (1887-2000), serving primarily the Pearl and Lone Star breweries of San Antonio, running freight to and from the breweries and the Southern Pacific rail yard. (More at Wikipedia, here.)

Here’s a later photo of the locomotive (October, 1928), now emblazoned with the Pearl Beer logo.

texas-transportation-co_1928_denver-public-library

As hard as it is to believe, this electric freight trolley ran along the streets of San Antonio until the year 2000, when it became a victim of the Pabst Brewing Company’s acquisition and shuttering of the Pearl Brewery. Without the brewery, there was no need for the trolley to continue to run. A month before it stopped running, a man shot video footage of the locomotive(s) trundling through San Antonio. I particularly liked seeing the locos push freight cars as well as pull them (seen at about the 12:50 mark). (Read the notes of the man who shot the video on the YouTube page under “Show More.”)

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Sources & Notes

Top photo — titled “T. T. Co. No. 1. Texas Transportation Co.” — is from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist Unviersity; more information about this photo can be found here.

Second photo — titled “Texas Transportation Co. locomotive, engine number 1, engine type Electric” — is from the Otto C. Perry Memorial Collection of Railroad Photographs, Western History Department, Denver Public Library; more information on this photo can be found here.

A great short, illustrated history of the Texas Transportation Co. and the various locomotives that ran on its rails can be found at the Don Ross Group website, here (be sure to read the reminiscences of a man who worked at the Pearl Brewery as a college student in 1960 at the bottom of the page).

I wrote about electric interurban freight-hauling locomotives in the Flashback Dallas post “Interurbans: Freight Movers?”

Click photos to see larger images.

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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.

Dallas Rapid Transit, Est. 1888

dallas-rapid-transit_cyclone_cook-coll_degolyer_smu-detRide the Cyclone to Fair Park… (click for larger image) 

by Paula Bosse

The Dallas Rapid Transit Railway chugged into town in 1888, going from charter to operation in seven months. And that included laying their own track. The “dummy” steam engine (a locomotive designed to appear more like a friendly little streetcar and less like a hulking locomotive) seen above, carried passengers from the Windsor Hotel at Commerce and Austin through South Dallas (via S. Lamar and Forest Ave., now MLK Blvd.) to Fair Park. It started business just in time to ferry crowds to the State Fair. The fare was 20 cents, which seems pricey, but this might have been “surge” pricing charged only during the “Greatest Fair and Exposition in the World.” (According to the Inflation Calculator, 20¢ in 1888 would be the equivalent to more than $5 in today’s money.)

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Dallas Morning News, Oct. 14, 1888

The new street railway was particularly appreciated by developers looking to sell land in southern Dallas, still considered a “suburb” in the 1880s. Residential streetcar service was essential to prospective builders and buyers, and as soon as the Rapid Transit line was up and running, its name was popping up in South Dallas real estate ads for additions with names like Chestnut Hill, Edgewood, and South Park.

chestnut-hill_edgewood_dmn_031689
DMN, March 16, 1889

In March of 1890 — after a year and a half of steady growth — the Dallas Rapid Transit Railway went electric, tossing out their old steam-powered cars (not even 18 months old!) for brand new, ultra-modern cars powered by electricity. (For a bit of perspective, parts of the country were still relying on the really old-fashioned mule-drawn streetcars.) Dallas’ first electric-powered streetcar hit the rails on March 9, 1890.

dallas-rapid_dmn_031090_electric
DMN, March 10, 1890

Understandably, the sight of these newfangled streetcars was quite the topic of fascinated conversation. How exactly did they work, anyway? The Dallas Morning News published an article with helpful information for the Dallasites of 1890 (and 2016!). (Click to see larger image.)

dallas-rapid_dmn_032390_electric
DMN, March 23, 1890

The photo below (which appears in the great book McKinney Avenue Trolleys) is a staged publicity photo with a woman at the helm, showing that the new electric streetcar was so easy to operate that “even a woman” could do it. In tow behind the sparkling new electric streetcar was the old, past-it steam car, with its engineer racing to try to catch up with the new technology. Get with it, man, it’s 1890!

dallas-rapid-transit-railway_mckinney-ave-trolleys-bk_towing-dummySouthern Traction, April 10, 1973 (via McKinney Avenue Trolleys)

dallas-rapid-transit-railway_mckinney-ave-trolleys-bk_dplDallas Public Library photo (via McKinney Avenue Trolleys)

Initially, the track was only 4 miles long, but that had more than doubled soon after the switch to electric cars.

dallas-rapid-transit_dmn_100190
DMN, Oct. 1, 1890

Things seemed to be going well. The company was expanding, speeds were increasing, and … “No dust” !

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DMN, Oct. 27, 1891

But … in 1894 the company went into receivership and was sold in December of that year for $35,000.

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DMN, Dec. 5, 1894

It appears that the company struggled on under different owners and slightly different names through at least 1909, but instead of those twilight years being filled with reflective contemplation and bass fishing, they were spent mired in endless lawsuits.

But let’s not dwell on the sputtering end of a business — let’s look back to the beginning, when the H. K. Porter Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was proud to show off its new light locomotive with the noiseless steam motor which was headed, full of hope and enthusiasm, for the little city that could, Dallas, Texas.

dallas-rapid-transit_cyclone_cook-coll_degolyer_smu

dallas-rapid_dmn_032288
DMN, March 22, 1888

dallas-rapid_dmn_091088
DMN, Sept. 10, 1888

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The steam-powered Cyclone — seen at the top — went on an adventure through the streets of downtown in 1889 when, under a full head of steam, it jumped the tracks and kept on going down paved streets until it crashed into a curb on Main!

cyclone_dmn_043089
DMN, April 30, 1889

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Sources & Notes

Image at the top (and bottom), “Dallas Rapid Transit, ‘Cyclone’ Locomotive No. 1,” from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University; more information here.

Read an interview with J. E. Henderson, president of the Dallas Transit Railway company, commenting on his new street railway (“The New Rapid Transit,” DMN, Oct. 14, 1884) here (yes, it IS difficult to read!).

The two photos of Dallas Rapid Transit electric streetcars are from the book McKinney Avenue Trolleys by Jim Cumbie, Judy Smith Hearst, and Phillip E. Cobb (Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2011). If you’re interested in this topic, this book seems pretty essential!

The history of early streetcars in Dallas can be read in the  pages of the WPA Dallas Guide and History here (scroll to the bottom of the page and continue to the following page).

Photos and clippings are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

University Park’s “Couch Building” Goes Up In Flames (1929-2016)

goffs_fire_dmn-081216_ashley-landis-photo
Photo: Ashley Landis/DMN (click for huge image)

by Paula Bosse

Yesterday, fire erupted in the old University Park building at the northwest corner of Hillcrest and McFarlin. The building — which housed Goff’s Hamburgers and several other businesses — is, today, a pile of rubble. I’ve always loved this building — every time I’d drive past it I’d smile, happy that the only truly distinctive non-SMU building along that part of Hillcrest was still standing. And now it isn’t.

The building — which was built in 1929 across Hillcrest from McFarlin Auditorium — had a rocky start. SMU really, really didn’t want it to be built.

A. B. Couch (1895-1970) came to Dallas around 1914 from Waco to attend pharmacy school. In 1921, a few years after becoming a pharmacist, he opened his own drugstore, the University Pharmacy, at the southwest corner of Hillcrest and Roberts avenues (Roberts was renamed McFarlin Boulevard in 1928).

university-park-pharmacy_couch_1920-rotunda
Coming soon… (1920 SMU Rotunda yearbook)

Business must have been good, because in February of 1923, Couch bought the vacant property across the street. Three years later, he applied for a permit to build a business on the property, and that’s when the Robitussin hit the fan.

It’s a bit confusing, but, basically SMU, the original owner of the property (and all that surrounded it), put their land west of the campus (west of Hillcrest) on the market, but it could be sold only with specific restrictions — there were several of these restrictions, but the two cited most frequently were that land in this University Park Addition was to be developed solely for residential purposes, and that these homes were to be occupied by white people only. Somehow, in transferring property and re-deeding and re-re-deeding — and all sorts of other real estate transactions I don’t understand — the contract for the large lot purchased by Mr. Couch was drawn up with the restrictions omitted (“an oversight”). Couch was insistent on building businesses on the land he’d purchased, and SMU was adamant that he not be allowed to. Cue the lawsuit. (An overview of this case — in the appeals court — can be read here. It’s interesting, if confusing.)

The court case dragged on and on, through injunctions and appeals, and, finally, in December of 1928, the Supreme Court of Texas ruled in favor of Couch. (Click to see a larger image.)

couch_FWST_120628_supreme-court-of-tx-ruling
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dec. 6, 1928

In the spring of 1929, Couch released the drawing of the two-story F. J. Woerner-designed building he planned to build:

couch-bldg_woerner-rendering_1929

He also announced that he would build in this same block, a $125,000, 1,000-seat cinema: the Mustang Theater, which, though not yet built, had been leased for 10 years to R. J. Stinnette, who ran the Capitol Theater downtown. The building was designed by W. Scott Dunne, the architect of many of Dallas’ movie theaters (the Texas Theatre, the Arcadia, the Melba, the Dal-Sec, etc.).

mustang-theater_scott-dunne_rendering_1929

It doesn’t appear that the Mustang Theater was ever built, probably because the Varsity Theater in Snider Plaza (a stone’s throw away) had been announced that very same week (the Varsity opened in the fall of 1929).

So, forget the Mustang. Couch’s building — which was called, yes, “The Couch Building” — opened in 1930 or ’31. Its official address was 3402 McFarlin, but the address of the new location of the University Pharmacy was 6401 Hillcrest. There were a couple of stores next to the pharmacy, and offices upstairs (it seemed a popular location for doctors and real estate agents). Mr. Couch lived next door, at 3404 McFarlin (in a house which was, ironically, destroyed by fire in 1932).

That simple but lovely building stood on that corner for almost 90 years. Until yesterday. Sorry about that, A. B.

a-b-couch_pharmacist_1940sAndrew Bateman Couch, pharmacist

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Below a photo taken on June 13, 1947, showing the “Highland Park/SMU” streetcar sitting at the end of the line, just south of Snider Plaza, with an 18-year-old Couch Building behind and to the left of the streetcar.


couch-bldg_061347_ebay

Below, the same view of Hillcrest looking south, from the 1965 SMU Rotunda yearbook. (Note that the University Pharmacy had moved back to the southwest corner of Hillcrest and McFarlin. Couch sold the drugstore business in 1943, and the new owner opened it across the street in a new building, back in its original 1921 location.)

drag3_smu-rotunda_19651965 SMU Rotunda

goffs_google_november-2015Google Street View, Nov. 2015

goffs_google_nov-2015_frontGoogle Street View, Nov. 2015

goffs_rubble_dmn-photo_081316_ting-shen-photographerDMN photo, Aug. 13, 2016 — Ting Shen, photographer

hillcrest-mcfarlin_map_goffs
Google Maps, Aug. 13, 2016 

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Sources & Notes

Top and bottom photos are from the Dallas Morning News; see their coverage here, here, and here. That top photo is VERY large on The News’ website — look at all the detail of the brick and decoration.

Footage of the fire and its aftermath, from WFAA, can be watched here (scroll down to see all video footage).

Photo with the streetcar is from eBay; I saw it in the Retro Dallas, Texas Facebook group, posted by Dallas historian Teresa Musgrove Gibson.

Take a look at the 1921 Sanborn map, here. This building would be built at what is the northwest corner of Roberts (later McFarlin) and Hillcrest. University Park is pretty wide open in 1921.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Twin Standpipes of Lakewood Heights: 1923-1955

lakewood_water-towers_reminiscencesAbrams and Goliad, y’all… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The two large water towers pictured above loomed over the East Dallas neighborhood of Lakewood Heights for over 30 years. They sat at the southwest corner of what was then known as Greenville Road (not to be confused with Greenville Avenue) and Aqueduct Avenue — the streets are known today as Abrams Road and Goliad Avenue. The towers replaced a previous (single) water tank, which, by the early 1920s, was proving inadequate for the needs of an exploding Lakewood area.

These water tanks — called “standpipes” — were really big: each was 100 feet tall, 60 feet in diameter, and held two million gallons of water. They were erected in October, 1923 and, rather surprisingly, stood until 1955. Even though I grew up in this part of town, I never knew about these tanks until a couple of years ago when I saw a photo in a Dallas history group. It’s hard to believe those industrial behemoths were smack dab in the middle of what is now a jam-packed residential neighborhood.

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Here are a few photos featuring cameo appearance by the omnipresent tanks. In the first one, from the 1930s, they can be seen at the top right, ghostlike in the distance.

lakewood-shopping-ctr_streetcar-tracks_ca1938_reminiscences

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Then there’s this fantastic aerial shot of what would later become the fully developed Lakewood area (and beyond). Looking east, White Rock Lake is in the distance, and the two towers — brand new when this photo was taken in 1923, and taller than anything else in the photograph — are at the left.

east-dallas_lakewood_fairchild_1923_cook-coll_degolyer_smu

Let’s zoom in a bit:

east-dallas_lakewood_fairchild_1923_cook-coll_degolyer_smu_det

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And here is a really wonderful photo which was posted in the Dallas History Facebook group by Mary Doster from the collection of her husband Jim Doster, showing Abrams, looking north, in 1925. (The location of the twin tanks was actually outside the Dallas city limits in 1919 — see the boundary on a 1919 map here.) I never get tired of seeing streetcars, especially traveling down streets I drive everyday.

water-tanks_abrams_dallas-hist-FB-jim-dosterCollection, Jim Doster

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A few articles about the tanks’ beginning in 1923.

water-towers_dmn_022723Dallas Morning News, Feb. 27, 1923

water-towers_dmn_100723a
DMN, Oct. 7, 1923

water-towers_dmn_100723b
DMN, Oct. 7, 1923

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Here’s a screenshot from a silent film produced by the City of Dallas waterworks department, showing them at traffic-level, with a view to the northwest from Abrams.

stand-pipes_lakewood_TAMI_water-dept-film_6.39

The tanks were dismantled in 1955 (pertinent articles are listed below, in the “Notes” section). Their fate, post-dismantling? One of them was destined to be reassembled in Tarrant County for the Hurst-Euless-Bedford water system, and the other one was “to be kept as stand-by storage for the city” (DMN, June 7, 1955).

standpipes_dmn_060755
RIP in HEB…

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Sources & Notes

First two photos from the book Reminiscences, A Glimpse of Old East Dallas.

Aerial photo — titled “East Dallas — 1923” — is a Fairchild Aerial Surveys photograph, from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more information is here. (I have adjusted the color.)

Screenshot is from a City of Dallas silent film, shot for the water department — the film is in the TAMI collection here, and the standpipes pop up at the 6:39-ish mark. Thanks to John Botefuhr for posting the link to this film on the Lakewood 1925-1985 Facebook group.

More on the tanks’ removal in 1955 can be found in these Dallas Morning News articles:

  • “Familiar Old Landmark To Be Removed” (DMN, March 20, 1955)
  • “Offers Vary on Standpipe” (DMN, April 26, 1955)
  • “East Dallas Landmark Coming Down” (DMN, June 7, 1955 — has photo taken from inside the tank looking up as dismantling was underway)

The present-day view seen in the top photo — looking south on Abrams — can be seen on Google Street View here.

A very interesting Sanborn Map from 1922 — before the twin tanks were built, but still showing the “Lakewood Heights Water Works” — can be found here. There’s, like, nobody living there, man.

I’d love to see other photos of these particular “standpipes” — if anyone has any, forward them to me and I’ll include them in this post. Contact info is at the top.

As always, images are magically larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Gateway to Junius Heights

junius-streetcar_junius-gates_DPL_sm
Welcome to Junius Heights! (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

If you’ve driven along Abrams Road, between, say, Beacon and the Lakewood Country Club, you’ve probably passed two tall stone pillars which stand across Abrams from one another, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “What are those things?”

These things:

junius-heights-pillars_google-street-viewGoogle Street View here

They were built as gateway markers to the Junius Heights neighborhood in about 1909 — they’re just not in their original location anymore. They were originally on either side of Tremont Street, half a block east of Ridgeway. They’ve been moved, but they’re only a stone’s throw from their original site.

In 1973, when the city was in the midst of widening and connecting Abrams with Columbia, the 30-foot pillars were situated on a roadway which was going to be demolished. The pillars would have been destroyed were it not for the efforts of a small group of preservation-minded neighborhood residents who managed to raise enough money to have the historic East Dallas structures dismantled and moved. It took a while for the money to be fully raised, but the pillars were placed on their new sites in 1975.

The thing that is most interesting about the saving of these columns is that this took place at a time when this part of East Dallas — Swiss Avenue included — was on something of a downslide. Many of the houses were in disrepair and many residents had moved out, seeking newer homes and better (i.e. newer) neighborhoods. Thankfully, in the early 1970s people began to focus on historic preservation, and the area began to make a slow comeback. Thanks to the preservation efforts of these people, their persistence in gaining “historic district” status for Junius Heights and Munger Place, and their successful fights on zoning issues, the areas surrounding these stone pillars are once again highly desirable neighborhoods, full of homeowners who are good caretakers and thoughtful preservationists.

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When researching this post, it was very difficult to determine when the pillars had been built. For some reason 1917 seemed to be a popular guess, and it was repeated in several articles I came across. But it was actually earlier. The earliest photo I’ve found (and I was pretty excited to have stumbled across it!) was one that first appeared in a November, 25, 1909 ad for a new development called “Top o’ Junius Heights.” (All photos and clippings are larger when clicked.)

ad-junius-heights_dmn_112509-det

Here’s the full ad:

junius-heights_dmn_112509Dallas Morning News, Nov. 25, 1909

Note how similar this entrance looks to the entrance to Fair Park from the same time:

fair-park-entrance_1910_flickr_coltera

The same photo was used in another ad a few months later. If you live in Junius Heights, perhaps you can find your house in the diagram:

ad-junius-heights_dmn_050810DMN, May 8, 1910

The pillars were actually built as a gateway — the columns connected at the top, spanning Tremont. Lots in Junius Heights first began to be sold in 1906; in 1909, the second addition — called “Top o’ Junius Heights” — began to be offered for sale. The opening of the second addition appears to be when the gateway might have been built. Not only did this gate serve as an entrance to Junius Heights, it actually separated the two additions (see clippings below). It was also a handy landmark, and for many years it stood at the end of the Junius Heights streetcar line (which ended at Tremont and Ridgeway).

Below, part of an ad for Top o’ Junius Heights that appeared in The Dallas Morning News on Nov. 28, 1909, in which the “big stone gate entrance” is mentioned:

junius-heights-ad_dmn_112809_det

Part of another ad for Top o’ Junius Heights:

junius-heights-gates_dmn_050110_ad-det
DMN, May 1, 1910

And part of an ad for just plain ol’ Junius Heights, mentioning that the gate can be seen as a boundary:

junius-heights-gates_dmn_090410_ad-detDMN, Sept. 4, 1910

Here’s a detail from a 1922 Sanborn map which might make the location of the gate a little easier to visualize (and, again, these streets no longer look like this): the blue line represents the streetcar line (which ran all the way to Oak Cliff — the photo at the top of this post shows the Hampton streetcar), and the red circles are about where the pillars were originally planted. (The full map is here.)

junius-heights-gate_1922-sanborn_sheet-394

It was pretty exciting finding that photograph from 1909, but it was also pretty exciting seeing a photograph posted in the Dallas History Facebook group by Jerry Guyer which shows a dreamy-looking view of the gate as seen from the yard of the home owned by his great-uncle, A. P. Davis, who lived at 5831 Tremont between 1911/12 and 1921/22 (see what the house looked like back then, here).  The house was on the northwest corner lot of Tremont and Ridgeway (it is still standing), only half a block away from the gate. This detail of that photo is fantastic!

junius-gates_ca-1920s_guyer_dallas-history-fb

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Another very early photo of the pillars/columns/gateway can be seen in this photo. (I’m afraid it’s a little odd-looking as I took a photo of it on the wall of The Heights restaurant in Lakewood and lights are reflecting off the picture. Please check this large photo out in person. Not only are there other great historical photos on the walls, but the coffee is great.)

junius-heights-gateway_the-heights-restaurant

Here is the same photo as the one at the top. Note that this “gateway” has actual iron gates and that there are smaller secondary pillars on the opposite side of the sidewalks. Also note that the pillar on the right actually extends into the narrow street.

junius-streetcar_junius-gates_DPL

And here’s another view I just came across (I’ve added so much since I originally wrote this post!), from a DVD called Dallas Railway & Terminal — this from 1951 or 1952, showing the Junius streetcar coming through the “gates” (sorry for the low-res):

junius-gates__early-1950s_streetcar-video

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Sources & Notes

Top photo is from the Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library (with special thanks to M C Toyer); DPL’s call number for this photograph is PA87-1/19-59-193.

Photo of the view of the gate from the home of Andrew P. Davis is from the collection of Jerry Guyer, used with permission.

More info on Junius Heights and the saving of the pillars can be found on the Preservation Dallas site, here.

A few Dallas Morning News articles on the fight to save the pillars:

  • “Residents Try Saving Pillars From the Past” by Lyke Thompson (DMN, May 30, 1973, with photo of pillar)
  • “Columns Come Down” (DMN, June 2, 1973, with photo)
  • “Cash Raised for Pillars” (DMN, June 7, 1973)
  • “Cornerstone Placed In East Dallas Area” by Michael Fresques (DMN, July 29, 1973, no photo, but description of pillars lying in pieces, awaiting funds to reconstruct them)
  • “Junius Dedicates Columns” by Doug Domeier (DMN, June 16, 1975, pillars finally relocated, with photo of preservationist Dorothy Savage standing beneath one of the pillars)

East Dallas and Old East Dallas are fiercely proud of their history and fight for preservation issues.

old-east-dallas_dmn_072775
July, 1975

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It’s a bit difficult for me to visualize where these pillars were originally. Here’s a 1952 map showing Tremont with the approximate location of the columns before they were moved.

junius-heights-columns_1952-mapsco
1952 Mapsco

And here’s a present-day map, showing the post-Abrams extension. I’m not sure exactly where those pillars originally stood, but it was near the intersection of Tremont and Slaughter seems to have been between Ridgeway and Glasgow (location edited, thanks to Terri Raith’s helpful comments below) — this location is circled in red on the map below; the locations of the pillars today are in blue.

junius-heights-columns_google

All images are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Commerce & Record Streets — 1946

streetcar_commerce-record_051046_ceraCommerce St. looking east from Record (click for huge image)

by Paula Bosse

If it’s a photo of downtown in the ’40s, with people on the streets, retail storefronts, and streetcars, I’m going to love looking at it. Like this one. A lot of people might be hard-pressed to identify the location of this photograph, even if they were standing in the exact spot the photographer stood in. If you look at today’s view from the same vantage point (here), just about everything in the immediate foreground (west of the Pegasus-topped Magnolia Building) is gone — except for, most notably, the beautiful MKT Building at Commerce and Market, one of my favorite downtown buildings.

This is the intersection of Commerce and Record streets, when Record still extended from Elm to Jackson; the Old Red Courthouse was behind the photographer, to the left. Today, the Kennedy Memorial is at the left where the people are waiting for a streetcar; the George Allen Courts Building is across the street — at the right, in the block with the travel bureau; and the block containing the Willard and Davis Hat building — across Commerce from the Katy Building — is now a parking lot.

As with every photograph like this I see, I wish I could step into it and walk around the downtown Dallas of 1946. Maybe pop into Ma’s Cafe for a Dr Pepper before I hop on a streetcar and just ride around on it all day until someone kicks me off.

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Below are a couple of magnified details (both are much larger when clicked).

streetcar_commerce-record_051046_cera-det1

streetcar_commerce-record_051046_cera-det2

Below is a listing of the businesses in this 600 block of Commerce, between Record Street and the MKT Building.

600-block-commerce_1945-directory1945 Dallas directory

(The tall building on the right with the travel bureau on the ground floor is the Plaza Hotel at 202-204 Record Street. The Yonack Liquor Store on the corner is at 200 Record, with entrances on both Commerce and Record.) 

Here’s a detail of a photo taken about the same time, showing an aerial view of Commerce Street.

aerial_commerce-st_1940s_foscue-lib_smuFoscue Map Library/SMU

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Top photograph was taken on May 10, 1946 by Richard H. Young; it can be viewed on the CERA (Central Electric Railfans’ Association) website, here. (If you’re interested in Dallas streetcars, this page has some GREAT photographs!)

The caption of the photo from the above website: “May 10, 1946 — New Dallas Railway & Terminal Co. double-end PCC car 620, at speed, southbound, turning into Record St. from Commerce St. (Ervay-7th Line).”

The aerial photo was taken by Lloyd M. Long in the 1940s and is titled “Downtown Dallas looking east (unlabeled); it is from the Edwin J. Foscue Map Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University. This is only a small portion of the full photograph — the full photo is here.

Since there is an exact date for this photo, here is a large Skillern’s ad from that day’s newspaper. Coincidentally, there was a  Skillern drugstore on the northeast corner of Commerce and Record — it is in this photo, behind the lamppost at the bottom left. Let’s see what was on sale May 10, 1946. (I would kill for a set of those Pyrex bowls!)

skillerns-ad_dmn_051046

And, lastly, who doesn’t love a map?

map_commerce-and-record_1952-mapsco 1952 Mapsco

Everything is bigger when clicked!

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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