Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Weather

A Flooded Sportatorium

sportatorium_flood_squire-haskins_UTA_boys-1_det
Boys gotta do what boys gotta do… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Imagine it has flooded around the Sportatorium: what would you expect seven boys and their dog to do? Well, here they are doing about what you’d expect. (The image above is a detail from the undated photo below, by Squire Haskins — see this photo really big on the UTA website here.)

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Another photo, this one with a Huck-Finn-meets-Iwo-Jima-Memorial vibe (full-size on the UTA site here):

sportatorium_flood_squire-haskins_UTA_boys-2

My closer-up detail (click to see larger image):

sportatorium_flood_squire-haskins_UTA_boys-2_det

Another view (original full-size image here):

sportatorium_flood_squire-haskins_UTA_no-boys

Closer up, with a Grand Prize Beer billboard, cars (on Industrial?), and a sign for the next-door Plantation nightspot:

sportatorium_flood_squire-haskins_UTA_no-boys_det

No wrasslin’ tonight, y’all.

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Sources & Notes

All photos by Squire Haskins, from the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries, Special Collections. More info can be found on the first photo here, the second photo here, and the last photo here.

The Sportatorium was located at 1000 S. Industrial (now Riverfront), at Cadiz (see map here). Maybe a little too close to the Trinity….

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved

 

A Rainy Opening Day of the State Fair of Texas — 1967

sfot_rain_1967_wbap_unt_fair-park_texas-carthageA damp day at the fair… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

It’s  been raining pretty heavily today. And the State Fair of Texas is underway. I always feel bad for the people visiting and working at the fair when it rains like this. What a disappointment!

It rained so much on Opening Day of the State Fair in 1967 that the downtown parade ended up being canceled, as did the ceremonial ribbon-cutting which was to have been performed by Governor John Connally. That day — Oct. 7, 1967 — was also Rural Youth Day, and newspaper reports estimated that more than 100,000 “farm boys and girls” from more than 200 Texas counties had traveled to Dallas for what turned out to be a soggy day at the fair. (But kids never seem to mind being out in the rain as much as adults do.)

Watch rainy footage of the parade preparations downtown and wet-haired teenagers at the fair in an atmospheric clip shot by WBAP Channel 5 News cameramen, collected and digitized by UNT (see bottom of this post for more info). The 1:47 film footage can be viewed here (be sure to watch it in full-screen mode).

Below are a few screenshots.

sfot_rain_1967_wbap_unt

At the top, a girl from Carthage, wearing a Future Farmers of America jacket (it was Rural Youth Day, and the FFA was well represented) as well as a couple of ladies in coif-preserving plastic rain bonnets.

Below, a rain-drenched downtown.

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El Chico float getting soaked.

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Marching band guys taking shelter.

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Grandma as human umbrella.

sfot_rain_1967_wbap_unt_boy_grandmother

Quadrupedestrians. (Pretty sure horses shouldn’t be trotting along sidewalks….)

sfot_rain_1967_wbap_unt_horses_sidewalk

A break in the precip — rides are revved up.

sfot_rain_1967_wbap_unt_fair-park_ride

Menacing clouds as seen from the top of the Comet.

sfot_rain_1967_wbap_unt_fair-park_top-of-roller-coaster


sfot_rain_san-antonio-express-news_100867
San Antonio Express-News, Oct. 8, 1967

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Sources & Notes

Screenshots are from the video titled “News Clip: 1967 Texas State Fair Begins, Parade Rained Out.” It is part of the KXAS-NBC 5 News Collection and was provided by UNT Libraries Special Collections to The Portal to Texas History, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. More info — including the video itself — can be accessed here.

More rainy-day SFOT weather can be seen in this clip from 1970, courtesy of SMU.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Flooding Along Gaston

flood_flooding_gaston-avenue_ebayI do believe some of these vehicles have drifted out of their lanes…

by Paula Bosse

It’s been a rainy, flood-y day — why not post a picture of part of Big D underwater? The photo above appeared on eBay several months ago, minimally described as capturing a scene of a flooded Gaston Avenue in Old East Dallas (Peak’s Suburban Addition). I took a virtual drive down Gaston via Google Street View to see if I could find the exact location of the photo, and it looks like it was taken in the 4600 block of Gaston at Annex (Gaston, between Carroll and Fitzhugh). The two houses on the left in the photo above are still standing, the house on the right has been replaced by an apartment building. Below is a Google view from 2014. (The most recent Google Street View capture is here.)

gaston-annex_google-feb-2014Google Street View, Feb., 2014

Stay dry!

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Sources & Notes

Top photo from eBay.

Color image from Google Street View.

A 1961 Clarence Talley ad featuring the same (or very similar) dropside VW pickup is here. Speaking of Volkswagens and flooding, might as well watch a 1967 TV commercial showing that, yes, a VW Beetle does float, here.

Click pictures to see larger images.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Prelude to the Great Flood of 1908

commerce-st-bridge_1908_cook-degolyerApril 20, 1908… (click for larger image) / SMU

by Paula Bosse

The greatest flood Dallas has ever known — the disastrous flood of 1908 (read about it here) — happened in the spring of 1908. The Trinity River reached its highest crest of more than 52 feet on May 26. The photo above was taken on April 20 — five weeks before that.

On April 20, 1908 — the day this photo was taken — The Dallas Morning News reported that after three weeks of rain the Trinity had finally crested at “nearly 39 feet.” This flooding was the worst in 20 years and the third worst on record.

In a mere five weeks, though, every record regarding the Trinity River and flooding in Dallas would be broken. Those people who had ventured out to survey the river from the Commerce Street Bridge that April day had no idea what was in store for them in just 35 days.

Let’s zoom in on this photo and look at some of the details of the crowd and the bridge (all images are larger when clicked).

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Above: are refreshments being sold?

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“NOTICE: $25.00 FINE FOR DRIVING FASTER THAN A WALK ACROSS THIS BRIDGE.”

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The editorial cartoon below appeared on the front page of The Fort Worth Telegram next to a story with the headline “Dallasites Flee Flooded Homes; River is Rising.”

flood_FWST_042008_help-them
FWT, April 20, 1908

In May, this photo (by Henry Clogenson) showing “Highest Water in the History of Dallas” appeared in The Dallas Morning News:

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DMN, May 26, 1908

Another photo by Clogenson:

trinity-river_flood_1908_LOC-lg

For comparison, here’s the bridge at a calmer time:

commerce-street-bridge_legacies_fall-1995

Flood memorabilia? Check out the book and stationery department at Sanger Bros.

flood_postcard-sales_dmn_060408_sangers-ad-detJune, 1908

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Sources & Notes

Top photo titled “Commerce St. Bridge, Trinity River, Dallas, Tex., April 20, 1908” from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; the photo and more information can be accessed here.

The wide-angle photo of the Commerce Street Bridge, taken by Henry Clogenson, is from the Library of Congress, here.

“Calmer” photo of the Commerce Street Bridge is from the Fall, 1995 issue of Legacies, from the article “Bridges Over the Trinity” by Mary Ellen Holt.

Read the Dallas Morning News article “Trinity Flood Crest Has Reached Dallas … Great Damage is Reported” (DMN, April 20, 1908) here.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Forest Avenue-Area Flooding, South Dallas — 1935

flooding_forest-avenue_lloyd-long_052035_ebayBeyond the levees… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Sometimes the Trinity River is a puny little trickle, sometimes it’s a raging torrent. Here are aerial photos taken from around Forest Avenue (now MLK Blvd.) by Lloyd M. Long, showing the major flooding of May, 1935.

Here is the lead sentence from The Dallas Morning News, May 21, 1935 (the day after these photos were taken):

With sections of South Dallas inundated for the first time since the record 1908 flood, numerous bridges and highways and thousands of acres of lowlands hidden by its swirling, muddy currents, the roaring Trinity slowly was receding Monday night at Dallas after reaching a crest of 42.10 feet at 11 a.m. (DMN, May 21, 1935)

flooding-levee-district-from-forest-ave_lloyd-long_052035_ebay

There was great rejoicing that that the new-ish levees had held the waters and prevented the wide-scale flooding seen in 1922. But once you got to the Forest Avenue bridge (which ran below the Corinth St. viaduct and the Santa Fe railroad trestle), things got real bad real fast. In the photo above, the levee protection ends exactly at the railroad trestle — the Forest Avenue bridge is mostly underwater. The river above the trestle: a beautiful feat of engineering; below: water, water everywhere.

Below the Forest Ave. bridge where the levee protection ended, flood conditions were far worse than those created by the 1922 inundation. (DMN, May 21, 1935)

Again, sometimes the Trinity is just a trickle….

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Sources & Notes

Both photos (by Lloyd M. Long) are from 2017 eBay auctions: the top photo here, and the bottom photo here.

More on Dallas flooding can be found in these Flashback Dallas posts:

  • “The Nellie Maurine: When a Pleasure Boat Became a Rescue Craft During the Great Trinity River Flood of 1908,” here
  • “One of the Victims of the Great Trinity Flood: The T & P Railroad Trestle — 1908,” here
  • “The Trinity River at the City’s Doorstep,” here
  • “Cole Park Storm Water Detention Vault,” here

Maybe it’s just me, but I was really taken with that little L-shaped building in the top photo which was, briefly, its own island. What was it? It was part of the Guiberson Oil Well Specialty Corporation, founded in 1919 at 1000 Forest Avenue — the building seen in the photo was built in 1926. It’s still standing (here) and appears to be part of Faubion & Associates, a manufacturer of retail display cases and store fixtures.

Click photos to see larger images.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

How to Keep Cool During a Heat Wave — 1951

summer-heat_081451

by Paula Bosse

The photo above appeared in newspapers around the country in August, 1951 above this caption:

What the well-dressed Texas gal will wear during the current heat wave might be something quite novel. Here, Dallas secretary Mildred Walston starts a new trend in her efforts to keep cool. She uses two fans and a cool pan in which to slosh her feet. Later in the afternoon, Aug. 14, when the temperature hit 103 degrees, Mildred’s boss broke down and sent her off to the nearest swimming pool.

Mildred Walston Fulenwider (1915-1962) worked for many years in the motion picture business in Dallas and was a founding member of WOMPI (Women of the Motion Picture Industry), organized in Dallas in 1952.

I’m going to have to remember that fan-pointed-at-feet-soaking-in-pan-of-cool-water trick.

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Sources & Notes

Photo from the old Bettmann/Corbis site.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

A Rainy Day at Main and Akard — 1932

main-akard_frank-rogers_011632_legacies_fall-2013Fedoras, cloches, umbrellas… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

A nice photo of a rainy day downtown, almost 85 years ago. The photo — taken on January 16, 1932 by Dallas photographer Frank Rogers — shows the intersection of Main and Akard (the people with umbrellas are crossing Akard Street, heading east). Marvin’s Drug Store (which occupied the ground floor of what was later known as the Gulf States Building) was on the northwest corner, and the A. Harris department store occupied the first five floors of the Kirby Building (originally the Busch Building) on the northeast corner — both buildings are still standing. A similar view of this intersection today, via Bing, can be seen here.

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Photo from the Fall, 2013 issue of Legacies, viewable at the Portal to Texas History, here.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The 1957 Tornado, Seen From Old East Dallas

tornado_live-oak_040257_rusty-williams_dplThe view from Liberty & Live Oak… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Great shot of the historic Dallas tornado (which killed 10, injured at least 200, and left about 500 people homeless) as it was plowing through Oak Cliff and West Dallas on April 2, 1957, seen from the 2800 block of Live Oak.

Aside from the tornado, this is an interesting view looking toward downtown, the Medical Arts Building, and the Republic Bank Building (that rocket must have been Dallas’ tallest lightning rod at the time!). The building containing the strip of businesses at the right still stands (I love these buildings — there are a lot of them in the older parts of town) — a present-day view can be seen on Google, here. What stood out to me was a Burger House — I didn’t know of any other than the one on Hillcrest, but this one stood at 2811 Live Oak from 1950 or ’51 until about 1976.

Below, the businesses in the 2800  block of Live Oak — between Texas and Liberty — from the 1956 city directory (click for larger image):

live-oak_1956directory

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Sources & Notes

Top photo from the book Historic Photos of Dallas in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s by Rusty Williams (Nashville: Turner Publishing Company, 2010); from the collection of the Dallas Public Library.

Film footage of the tornado can be found in several videos on YouTube, here.

One of the newspaper reports on the tornado which captures the terror felt by those in the twister’s path and is well worth reading in the Dallas Morning News archives is “‘Roar of Thousand Trains’ Precedes the Killer Funnel” by James Ewell (DMN, April 3, 1957). Of particular interest is the story of T. M. Davisson who hid with a customer in a large empty steel tank on his property.

A previous Flashback Dallas post — “Tornado As Learning Tool — 1957” — is here.

Photo and clippings are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Brimstone Baths, Lake of Fire: Welcome to Summer

summer_knott-cartoon_dmn-071722NOT from a Chamber of Commerce brochure…

by Paula Bosse

Summer in Dallas is HELL ON EARTH. Welcome, newcomers!

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Cartoon by Dallas Morning News staff cartoonist John Knott — it appeared in the July 17, 1922 edition of the DMN.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Cole Park Storm Water Detention Vault

water-detention-vaultWhy, yes, this IS in Uptown… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Underneath Cole Park (which is behind North Dallas High School and between Cole and McKinney), is a “storm water detention vault” — a cavernous space where storm water runoff goes when the capacity of the Mill Creek storm sewer system has been exceeded. It can hold 71 million gallons of storm water. …71 million gallons!

From a 2014 Facebook post from the Turtle Creek Association:

Completed in 1993, the vault’s 13 chambers, each of which rises five stories tall and runs the length of more than two football fields, are designed to fill with water during extreme rainfall. These massive vaults capture the storm water from Central Expressway and slowly release it into Turtle Creek via the Mill Creek Outfall by the footbridge in William B. Dean Park (next to the Kalita Humphrey Theater).

I had no idea that Dallas had anything like this until I saw the short film, below, in which Gilbert Aguilar, Assistant Director of the City of Dallas’ Department of Street Services, takes us on a tour of the “detention vault.” This is an absolutely mind-blowing look at something very, very few Dallasites know about. The City of Dallas probably wouldn’t be willing to grant access to movie-makers, but, seriously, this would make an INCREDIBLE movie set — perhaps less aesthetically appealing than the sewers of Vienna featured in The Third Man, but what it lacks in character it makes up for in sheer gigantic-ness.

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The video, “Living With the Trinity: Cole Park Vault,” is on YouTube, here. Though not credited in the video itself, it is, presumably, a production of local filmmaker, Mark Birnbaum, whose website is here.

Top image is a screengrab from the video.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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