Flashback : Dallas

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Year-End List! Most Popular Posts of 2015

interchange_hwys-67-and-80_THC_flickr_lgY’all loved it: I-30 & Buckner, about 1948 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The final Flashback Dallas post of the year — and the last list! Today: the most popular posts of 2015, as determined by the number of hits to the website. I’m so happy that the blog continues to attract new readers, because I’m still excited to write each new post, even after two years of what some might consider excessive posting! Thanks to everyone who reads, “likes,” shares, and comments on the posts, here, on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter! Thanks for a great (and surprisingly productive!) 2015, and let’s all have an even better 2016!

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Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2015

1. thumb_interchange_hwys-67-and-80_THC_flickr_sm “THE 67-80 SPLIT NEAR MESQUITE — ca. 1948.” This one has me stumped. I mean, it’s a cool photo (it’s at the top of this post — click it to see a super-gigantic image), but its crazy popularity has been completely unexpected. It became the top post of the year after only a couple of days — it was posted less than three weeks ago, and it’s still going strong. Perhaps I need to focus more on the Buckner/R. L. Thornton area more! By FAR, the most popular post and photo of the year!

2. thumb_construction_jan-1925 “THE BEGINNING OF THE END FOR ROSS AVENUE’S DOWNTOWN MANSIONS — 1925. A look at the beautiful and imposing homes that once stood in the block of Ross Avenue, now replaced by the Dallas Museum of Art and First United Methodist Church. This is another post which was surprisingly popular, posted in November and still racking up hits daily.

3. thumb_water-detention-vault “COLE PARK WATER DETENTION VAULT.” I found this COOL video when we were in the midst of heavy flooding in the spring, and now I know where all that storm water goes.

4. thumb_male-car-hops_AP_1940 “CARHOPS AS SEX SYMBOLS — 1940.” I had two posts this year which had a life of their own throughout Internetland: this one, about carhops in skimpy outfits, and the one above about, yes, city infrastructure — the alpha and omega of Dallas history.

5. thumb_republic2_parrish_1_1968 “AN INCREDIBLE VIEW FROM REPUBLIC TOWER 2 — 1968.” A collection of several photos taken by a teenager in 1968, all of which are fantastic!

6. thumb_pecan-tree_small “CELEBRATE THE PECAN TREE’S 150th CHRISTMAS!” Our beloved Pecan Tree turned an unbelievable 150 years old this year! Posted only last week, this has been shared more than any other post of mine on Facebook.

7. thumb_ad-funeral-home_mckinney-routh_directory-1929-det “NOT DEAD YET AT McKINNEY & ROUTH.” Yes, you’ve probably dined in this old funeral home at some point over the years….

8. thumb_st-pauls_nursing-stn_1910_utsw_sm “ST. PAUL’S SANITARIUM — 1910.” I love all of the photos of the former Old East Dallas landmark in this post, but there’s one that stands out for me: the photo of the “mattress sterilization room.” Somehow I forgot to include that in my personal favorite photos of the year, so I’ve gone back and added it to that list.

9. thumb_cash-register_ncr_tx-centennial_ragsdale “THE GIANT CASH REGISTER AT THE TEXAS CENTENNIAL — 1936.” Who doesn’t love a giant cash register?

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10. thumb_white-rock-station_glen-brewer_062468 “WHITE ROCK STATION.” Didn’t know there was a popular suburban passenger train depot near Jupiter & Kingsley? There was!

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Top 3 Posts from 2014 — posts from last year, all of which received more hits in 2015 than they did in 2014!

1.  “THE WORLD’S LARGEST SANTA & THE CHRISTMAS TRAGEDY — 1953.” This was actually the second most popular post of 2015, and will probably leap to the top of the stats every Christmas.

2.  “THE TRINITY RIVER AT THE CITY’S DOORSTEP.” This great photo of the river before it was straightened is justifiably popular!

3.  “THE LIGHTHOUSE CHURCH THAT WARNED OF SIN’S PENALTY WITH A BEAM OF BLUE MERCURY VAPOR SHOT INTO THE SKIES ABOVE OAK CLIFF — 1941.” I’m not exactly sure why, but this old post went crazy this year. This building is still my favorite undiscovered gem in the city.

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Still the Most Popular Flashback Dallas Post EVER…

Hard to see how this one will ever be toppled from its throne, originally posted in 2014: “HENRY STARK’S ‘BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF DALLAS’ — 1895/96.”

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Thanks again for a fun 2015!

For all the “Year-End  Best of 2015” lists, click here.

For the “Year-End Best of 2014” lists, click here.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Year-End List! My Favorite Posts of 2015

oak-downs_hurst_bwLove Field-area dog racing? (photo: Robert Hurst)

by Paula Bosse

I’m not sure how many Flashback Dallas posts I wrote this year, but it was a lot — somewhere between 250 and 300. I realize I churn out a lot of these, and I appreciate everyone who checks in trying to keep up with what, admittedly, feels like a flood of Dallas-related information. In the past few days I’ve made inevitable year-end lists, and sometimes even I’m surprised by how much I’ve written in a relatively short time. I’m even more surprised to find that I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed writing all of them, which is why it’s hard to narrow them down to my top 15 or so. But I’ll give a try. Here are the posts I most enjoyed researching and writing over the past year. (Click titles to read the full posts.)

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1. “OAK DOWNS: DALLAS’ BRIEF FLIRTATION WITH GREYHOUND RACING.” I never would have guessed that Dallas had a dog racing track, but then a reader sent me an amazing photo (seen above), and I dove in. I researched this thing to death, and I’m going to blame the fact that I wrote it almost a year ago for no longer remembering exactly how parimutuel betting works. This may be the only thing I’ll ever write in which I’m able to use a socially-conscious Mickey Mouse comic strip, quote extensively from a Texas governor’s speech on gambling legislation, and insert the phrase “dog-riding monkeys.” For these reasons and more, this is my favorite post of the year. Thank you, Mr. Hurst, for sharing your wonderful photos with me!

2. “WHEN A VIRGIN SACRIFICE AT FAIR PARK ALMOST CAUSED AN INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT — 1937.” I’d always wanted to know more about The Greater Texas & Pan-American Exposition, which was held at Fair Park the year after the very successful Texas Centennial, so when I saw a postcard touting an “Aztec Sacrifice” as one of its attractions, I knew the time had come to finally look into the Pan-American Exposition. And it was pretty fun, especially reading about the ridiculous brouhaha that erupted over the re-enactment of, yes, a human sacrifice.

3. “MARDI GRAS: ‘OUR FIRST ATTEMPT AT A CARNIVAL FETE’ — 1876.” So many fun and weird things happened during Dallas’ first Mardi Gras celebration….

4. “UNIVERSITY PARK’S MONARCH BUTTERFLY WRANGLER.” This, I think, is the post that has stuck with me the most. Every time I see a butterfly now, I think of Carl Anderson and his love of the Monarchs.

5. “TRACKING DOWN A PHOTO LOCATION & DISCOVERING A CITY PIONEER: D. M. CLOWER, THE MAN WHO BROUGHT THE TELEPHONE TO DALLAS.” I hesitated writing this because I thought a post about the step-by-step procedure I took to solve the mystery of where a photo had been taken would be too dry and dull, but I was happily surprised to see how many times this was shared all over Facebook and how excited people were to realize that digging for historical facts could be a fun detective game and that slogging through seemingly tedious searches often pays off with the discovery of something really, really interesting you never guessed you’d find. “Research porn.”

6. “THE NELLIE MAURINE: WHEN A PLEASURE BOAT BECAME A RESCUE CRAFT DURING THE GREAT TRINITY RIVER FLOOD OF 1908.” I’d been meaning to write about the 1908 flood, but it just seemed too big to tackle, until I stumbled across two “real photo” postcards of a boat called Nellie Maurine.

7. “ORSON WELLES IN DALLAS — 1934-1940.” I loved writing this.

8. “SNAG BOAT DALLAS — 1893.” Yeah, we should probably let the Trinity River just be a river instead of trying to “tame” it.

9. “F. J. HENGY: JUNK MERCHANT, LITIGANT.” There’s money in junk. Enough to keep an attorney on permanent retainer.

10. “THE DALLAS AQUARIUM: THE BUILDING EMBLAZONED WITH SEAHORSES — 1936.” I loved going to the Fair Park aquarium when I was a child, and reading and writing about this left me feeling all warm and nostalgic.

11. “TEATRO PANAMERICANO / CINE FESTIVAL — 1943-1981.” J. J. Rodriguez is kind of an unsung icon in the history of Dallas’ Mexican-American community. AND he owned one of the coolest buildings ever to house a movie theater in Dallas!

12. “THE DALLAS NEWS SPECIAL: FAST TRAIN TO DENISON — 1887.” G. B. Dealey had the brilliant idea to use trains to implement same-day newspaper delivery to areas well beyond Dallas. The ride-along articles that appeared in The Dallas Morning News about this brilliant idea (probably written by Dealey himself) are fantastic — self-congratulatory, hyperbolic, and, surprisingly, sweetly poetic all at the same time.

13. “MOVIE HOUSES SERVING BLACK DALLAS — 1919-1922.” I think Deep Ellum will always be the most interesting part of town for me, and I love imagining what it must have been like when it was a thriving area filled with people, shops, cafes, and movie houses.

14. “2222 ROSS AVENUE: FROM PACKARD DEALERSHIP TO ‘WAR SCHOOL’ TO LANDMARK SKYSCRAPER.” I still wonder what happened to that art deco facade that was carefully removed and packed away to use on another project that never saw the light of day.

15. “THE ELEGANT MUNICIPAL BUILDING — 1914.” A look at what may be Dallas’ most classically beautiful building.

Runner-Up #1: “CARHOPS AS SEX SYMBOLS — 1940.” My viral post of 2015. The photo of two young men in cowboy boots and short-shorts was shared everywhere — it even led to my being interviewed on KERA radio. Popular and fun to write!

Runner-Up #2: “HOT LEAD: LINOTYPE MACHINES AT THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS — 1914.” This led to a brief obsession with all-things-Linotype for me. Seriously. Those machines are incredible. Etaoin shrdlu rules, OK!

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For all the “Year-End  Best of 2015” lists, click here.

For the “Year-End Best of 2014” lists, click here.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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