Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Welcome! / Thank you!

Happy 4th Anniversary, Flashback Dallas!

tx-centennial_stamp_cook-coll_degolyer_SMU

by Paula Bosse

This weekend marks the fourth anniversary of this blog. It’s hard to believe, but, completely coincidentally, this is my 1,000th post! That’s a lotta Dallas. (Some might argue that’s too MUCH Dallas….) There are now just over 9,000 Flashback Dallas followers across various social media platforms, and it’s always nice to know there are others out there who share my interest in Dallas history. Thank you to all who read, follow, share, and comment. It wouldn’t be as much fun if I were just typing for myself.

Thank you! And now, Year 5!

–Paula

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Sources & Notes

“Texas Centennial Exposition Stamp” from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more information on this image can be found here.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Happy 3rd Anniversary, Flashback Dallas!

postcard_greetings_pre-1909_cook-coll_smuCook Collection/DeGolyer Library/SMU

by Paula Bosse

Today marks the third anniversary of this blog. It seems like I’ve been doing this a lot longer, if only because I’ve been pretty immersed in it for the past three years. I say this all the time, but researching and writing about Dallas history is one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. I’ve written 851 posts about Dallas’ past (compiled in a continuously updated list which can be found at the link on this page) — about big things and small things — and I’ve learned more about my hometown in the past three years than I had in all the years before I started doing this. It’s gratifying to know that a lot of people out there read the blog: as of this morning, the number of followers of this mini archive stands a few short of 7,400. I sincerely appreciate all of you who read, comment, and share my posts. Thank you!

On to Year 4!

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Postcard (postmarked 1909) from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more info on the postcard can be found here.

It shows Main Street looking east toward the white Praetorian Building in the background, Dallas High School (Crozier Tech), the Old Red Courthouse, and the Park Hotel (better known to most of us as the Ambassador Hotel on S. Ervay), built in 1904 as the Majestic Hotel and then renamed by new owners as the Park Hotel in June, 1907. Someday I’ll write more about this history of this still-standing 113-year-old building  — it’s just one of a dizzying number of subjects I’ve researched pretty thoroughly but haven’t gotten around to writing about yet — there are just too few hours in the day…).

Click postcard to see larger image.

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Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Thank You, Preservation Dallas!

wilson-house_FB-page_cover-photoThe historic Wilson House, home of Preservation Dallas (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

I was invited by the nice people of Preservation Dallas to be part of their Summer Sizzlers Series and to present my first-ever lecture/talk: on how I write the blog and what resources I use. Somehow I managed to stand in front of a packed roomful of people (one of my greatest fears) and talk for 90 minutes (!) — and, surprisingly, I think my presentation was mostly coherent. I have to admit, a lot of it’s a hazy blur, but I was happy to find that it was an enjoyable experience. I had a great time, and it was nice to talk to so many people who are as interested in Dallas history as I am.

Thank you Irene Allender, David Preziosi, and Donovan Westover for inviting me and for hosting such a nice event!

preservation-dallas_logo_2016

preservation-dallas_summer-sizzlers

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Photo at top shows the beautiful Wilson House, built in 1899 at the corner of Swiss and Oak and current home of Preservation Dallas. Read more about the house here; read about the Wilson Block Historic District here. Take a virtual Google Street View tour of the wonderful two blocks’ worth of historic houses here. (Photo from the Preservation Dallas Facebook page.)

After the lecture, I had several people ask about the PowerPoint 2016 presentation I’d made. This was the first time I’d ever used PowerPoint, and it worked really well for showing many (MANY!) photographs to the audience. For those of you who came up and asked me about it, the very, very well done YouTube tutorial I used to teach myself PowerPoint is here. It’s in 10 segments — about 3 hours in all — you might not need everything in it, but I found it very helpful.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“Hidden in Plain Sight” on Central Track

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by Paula Bosse

Thanks to Pete Freedman and Central Track for publishing “Hidden In Plain Sight,” my look at Dallas’ gay bar scene of the early 1970s, complete with 16 photos from 1975 showing establishments (and even a couple of neighborhoods) that no longer exist. Read the article here.

Thanks to Tim Bratcher who drew my attention to these great photos and to JD Doyle for archiving the original article on his Houston LGBT History site.

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UPDATE: I’m happy to report that this article made Central Track’s “15 Most Read Stories of 2016”!

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Digital Collections of SMU’s Central University Libraries: The Gold Standard

umphrey-lee-snack-bar_rotunda_1956My father in the Umphrey Lee snack bar? (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

This past week I was invited by SMU’s Cindy Boeke (whose full title is Digital Collections Developer, Norwick Center for Digital Services, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University) to tour several of the CUL special collections libraries, which include the DeGolyer Library, the Hamon Arts Library (which includes the Bywaters Special Collections and the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection), the Edwin J. Foscue Map Library, and the SMU Archives. I had a behind-the-scenes look at the journey an item takes on its way to being digitized, beginning with the acquisition of the collection itself, the cataloging of the collection, and the research, annotation, and imaging of each item. Another important part of the process is the often mundane but necessary grant-writing which must be done to obtain funding to do much of the above. These collections at SMU are huge, but a remarkably efficient group of SMU library staff and students tackle the herculean task of getting everything cataloged and up online, accessible to everyone. At the end of February, 2016, over 51,000 items have been published online. And there is a vast, exciting amount still to come!

For me, the online digitized database of SMU’s Central University Libraries is the absolute best for researching historical Dallas images. (I should note that Dallas history is only part of the wide-ranging collection of photographs, manuscripts, films, etc., concerning everything from Western Americana to the Mexican Revolution to trains and railroad history to artists’ sketchbooks, etc.) I’m most interested in Dallas photographs, and SMU really has no equal in what they provide online: large, high-resolution images without watermarks, accessible to anyone with a computer, tablet, or phone. It is an unbelievable treasure trove of historical images, and I’ve been lost in it for hours at a time.

I know this might come dangerously close to appearing to be some sort of paid promotion, but it’s not. We are very lucky here in Dallas to have these SMU collections available to us. I wish ALL institutions with historical holdings would also throw open the doors to their archives’ vaults and share their collections online freely. (I would be remiss if I didn’t mention UNT’s wonderful Portal to Texas History site here, which, along with SMU, does just that.) We are living in a digital age, and to be unable to access some of Dallas’ other deep and varied collections of our own city’s history is incredibly frustrating, as I think it must also be for the institutions themselves — digitization of large collections takes time and money, both of which are often in short supply. SMU’s online presence is what all other libraries and institutions should model themselves after. Thank you, Norwick Center for Digital Services, for truly bringing SMU into the Digital Age.

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On a more personal note, even though I use the online digital catalog of SMU’s collections all the time for this blog, it can also be a great source to use to explore your family’s history if family members have attended SMU. My mother and my father both attended SMU, and thanks to the digitization of EVERY SINGLE ROTUNDA YEARBOOK (!), I was able to find photos of my parents I’d never seen before.

The photo at the top of this post shows the then-new Umphrey Lee Student Center snack bar and appeared in the 1956 Rotunda yearbook. I was browsing through the “Campus Memories” photos from the SMU Archives, and when I saw this photo, I immediately recognized the back of my father’s head! A KA fraternity brother of his doesn’t think it’s my father in  this picture, but my mother, my brother, and I all think that that the student in the white shirt in the foreground with his back to the camera is almost certainly my father, who was a grad student in 1956. If it weren’t for the Campus Memories collection (which is FANTASTIC, by the way), I’d never have seen this photograph. And because the Rotunda database is searchable by names (see below for link), I was able to find a photo of my still-teenaged father in some sort of large, uniformed squadron (“Squadron A”) in 1953 — a zoomed-in detail of the photo is below:

PRB_squadron-A_rotunda-19531953

And I’m not sure I would have seen this photo of my mother taken a few years later, looking incredibly cute and perky as an officer of the honorary Comparative Literature fraternity, Beta Kappa Gamma. (My  mother is on the back row, between the two tall men.)

beta-kappa-gamma_rotunda_19561956 (mustachioed professor Lon Tinkle is in middle row, far right)

Or this photo a few years after that when she was the president of the group. She always laughs when she recalls how one of the rituals that came with the office was pouring tea from the group’s silver tea service.

mew_rotunda_19591959 (with sponsor Dr. Gusta Nance at right)

Again, thank you, SMU!

prb-mew-rotundaDick Bosse, Margaret Werry

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Main search page for SMU’s Central University Libraries is here. Pack a lunch. You might be here a while.

Norwick Center for Digital Services info is here.

Top photo is titled “Students in Umphrey Lee Student Center Snack Bar” — it was taken in 1955 and appeared in the 1956 Rotunda, SMU’s yearbook; it is from the SMU Archives, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University, and it is accessible here. (I’ve cropped it a bit at the top and bottom.)

All other photos are from various editions of the Rotunda yearbook, all of which are online.

Every single edition of the Rotunda — from the very first yearbook for the inaugural 1915-1916 class — has been scanned in is entirety and is available online. This incredible resource is here. It takes a little while to figure how to navigate through the yearbooks — instructions are here. It can be very slow to load — but it’s worth the wait.

More from the SMU Archives (including the archived campus newspaper) is here.

Lastly, I would like to thank Cindy Boeke of the Norwick Center for inviting me to visit the Central University Libraries. I’d also like to thank Anne Peterson of the DeGolyer Library, Jolene de Verges, Sam Ratcliffe, and Ellen Buie Niewyk of the Hamon Arts Library, the SMU archivist Joan Gosnell, and all of the other CUL staff members and students I met on my visit to the SMU campus. Keep up the great work!

Click pictures for larger images.

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Happy 2nd Anniversary, Flashback Dallas!

skyline-1914_cook_degolyer_smuDallas, New Year’s Day, 1914 (click for larger image) (photo: SMU)

by Paula Bosse

Two years! Time really does fly when you’re having fun. Without duplicating the entirety of my anniversary post of last year, I just want to thank everyone who reads this blog. I’m still excited and enthusiastic to delve into and explore Dallas’ past, and whenever I sit down at my computer to research something or write about a photo or a person or a forgotten moment of the city’s history, I know I’ll always come across something interesting. I haven’t been disappointed yet.

My mini Dallas archive here is now at 639 posts (which, I have to say, I find pretty unbelievable), and I’ve recently surpassed 5,000 followers. It’s encouraging to know there are so many people interested in the history of our city, a city often accused of having no regard for the importance of its own past. There are a lot of us who do care.

Thank you for reading!

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Photo is titled “Dallas Sky Line, January 1st, 1914,” taken by Jno. J. Johnson; it is from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University, and it can be viewed here. (I’ve manipulated the color.) The photograph may have been taken from the roof of the still-standing Butler Brothers building, about where the City Hall now stands, looking north. (Johnson’s photo of the 1913 skyline can be seen here.)

I want to take this opportunity to personally thank the Central University Libraries of SMU — and especially the DeGolyer Library — for providing so much of their collection online in such high-quality images. It is, hands down, the best digital collection of historical Dallas images available online. Thank you, SMU!

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Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Thank You, Justin Martin / KERA 90.1!

kera-logo

by Paula Bosse

Thank you, Justin Martin, for inviting me to KERA 90.1 for my first-ever radio interview! I was a little nervous, but Justin was the perfect host, on and off the mike.

To listen to the interview, click here.

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After the interview, Justin took me on a quick tour around the KERA radio and TV studios, which was great. Here’s Big Bird and a Teletubby friend watching over the station’s goings-on, like benevolent fluorescent gargoyles. (Okay, I looked it up: the green Teletubby’s name is “Dipsy.”)

big-bird_teletubby_KERA_083115

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Below are the two posts Justin asked me about, for those who want more of the background I might have been a bit too flustered to describe fully and/or coherently.

The male carhops in short-shorts: if I’ve posted one thing that has gone viral, it’s the photo of Love Field-area male carhops, which has been shared all over the place. The original post — “Carhops as Sex Symbols — 1940” — can be found here.

Also, the straightening and moving of the Trinity River: “The Trinity River at the City’s Doorstep” is here (see the comments of that post for more information and links to further information about the moving of the river).

Thanks again, KERA!

For those who might want to follow my frequent posts, see the “Twitter/Facebook” tab at the top of the page to learn how to receive notifications for new posts and for links to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

500 Posts?!

image

by Paula Bosse

Unbelievably, when I uploaded the previous post, I was informed that it was my 500th post. Even though I’ve written each and every one of them over the past 18 months, that still seems a little hard to believe. 500!

Thanks to everyone who reads Flashback Dallas. It’s been a lot of fun!

I’m having unresolved computer issues at the moment and am unable to post anything new for the time being. But after 500 posts, I might need to take a nap and venture away from my desk for a while!

Thanks again to all of you for your continued interest and support!

–Paula

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

How To Access the Historical Dallas Morning News Archive

lintel-pediment_dmn-bldg_belo_smu_1930sThe old Dallas Morning News building  (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

(UPDATED Sept. 11, 2018. This continues to be one of the most popular and most frequently accessed of all Flashback Dallas posts. The online DMN archives — via the Dallas Public Library website — is frequently updated/redesigned. I try to update this page after each potentially confusing update. Scroll down for step-by-step instructions on how to access the DMN archives.)

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Yesterday I wrote about how I tracked down the location of a photograph with very little information to go on. I hesitated to include the step-by-step process I used to discover the location, because I was afraid that it would be a little too tediously arcane for most people. But, apparently I was wrong. I’ve been surprised by how popular the post has become. It’s gotten many more hits than most Flashback Dallas posts usually do. I’ve seen it shared all over Facebook, and it’s generated more comments and emails than I expected. It’s gratifying that people seem to be interested in the actual process of historical research. Even though I don’t necessarily consider myself a historian (I studied Art History in college, and my background is in bookselling), I’m happy to be able to share historical events and forgotten local tidbits with an audience that finds them as interesting as I do. I consider myself a writer and researcher, and sometimes all the fun is in the researching.

Since I began this blog in February of 2014, I’ve been asked several times how I access the Dallas Morning News archive. Without question, the DMN is the single most valuable resource in the study of Dallas history. Years ago, one would have had to trudge to a library and crank up a microfilm or microfiche reader. Luckily, we are in the digital age, and every edition of the DMN from 1885 to the end of 1984 has been scanned and digitized and can be viewed from the comfort of one’s own home. (Also available in this database are various Fort Worth newspapers — from The Fort Worth Register to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram — from at least 1897 to 1990, which is, of course, very handy!) You can view the paper page by page, article by article, photo by photo, comic strip by comic strip, ad by ad. It’s incredible. You’ll get lost in it for hours. Want to know what was going on 100 years ago today? Easy! Here’s the front page of the DMN from July 30, 1915:

front-page_dmn_073015DMN, July 30, 1915

So how do you do it? First off, you have to live in the city of Dallas — bad news for those of you living outside the city limits, I’m afraid. (UPDATE: THERE IS A WAY FOR NON-RESIDENTS TO ACCESS THE ARCHIVE — FOR A MONTHLY FEE. SEE UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF THIS POST.) For those of us who do live inside the city limits, not only can we access the database whenever we want, but it’s also FREE. All you need is a Dallas Public Library card (information on how to get a free card is here; the DPL’s FAQ is here).

So your first step is to get a library card. Once you have a card, go to the Dallas Public Library site’s “My Account” page, here, to sign up for the free account. You’re now ready to plunge in.

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HOW TO ACCESS THE “DALLAS MORNING NEWS ARCHIVES”

  • Log in to your Dallas Public Library account.
  • Click on “DATABASES.”
  • Scroll down, click on “MAGAZINES, NEWSPAPERS & JOURNALS.”
  • Scroll down, click on “DALLAS MORNING NEWS ARCHIVE.”
  • This gets you to a screen where you can search through DMN archives from 1885 to 1984 (results will show scanned images/articles as they appeared in the newspaper when originally published), as well as DMN archives for articles published after 1984 (these results will be text-only — no images). Wave goodbye to big chunks of time as you sit in front of your computer searching and reading and searching and reading.

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ACCESS FORT WORTH PAPERS ONLY:

  • Follow the instructions above. When you reach the main search page, click “Fort Worth Star-Telegram” under “SHORTCUTS” in the left column. This brings up archives for both the FWST as well as The Fort Worth Register. Full scans are available for editions published between 1897 and 1990; after that, it’s text-only.

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ACCESS THE FULLY SCANNED “HISTORICAL” DALLAS AND FORT WORTH PAPERS SIMULTANEOUSLY:

  • Follow the steps above. When you reach the main search page, at the top of the left column, under “Search by” click “COLLECTION,” then click on “America’s Historical Newspapers” — you can now search the fully scanned Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Register, and Fort Worth Telegram/Star-Telegram, going back to 1885.

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ACCESS OTHER TEXAS AND U.S. NEWSPAPERS: To search other (text-only) newspapers (almost none of which go back more than 10 or 15 years), see the options in the left column after having reached the main search page. Consider filters where you can pick several papers to search at once, excluding those that you don’t need. It’s always confusing after a major re-do of a site, so you just have to play around with it until you figure out how everything works. …Then have everything change again when you finally get comfortable with it.

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Note: I find it easiest to SET THE “SORT” OPTION TO “CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER” (so that the results are shown from oldest to most recent) — the default is “Best Matches First” which drives me crazy because the first match is rarely the best, and everything is out of order.

Note: The difference between the “historical” and post-1984 Dallas Morning News archives is that the “historical” (1885-1984) search results include images of fully scanned editions of the newspaper — you see everything the way it looked in the actual newspaper: you can see entire pages as well as individual articles, photos, illustrations, comic strips, ads, classifieds, etc. You do not see any of this in the post-1984 results — the information is still useful, but it’s not as interesting and, maddeningly, not as comprehensive. I tend to use one or the other, otherwise, too many non-applicable results are returned.

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It takes a good bit of time to figure out how to use the search engine quickly and effectively — it has a lot of weird little idiosyncrasies that can cause you to miss out on lots of things you’re searching for (apostrophes, initials, and numbers can be extremely problematic) — but once you start to wander around, you’ll be amazed at what an incredible treasure trove is at your fingertips.

Thank you, Dallas Public Library and Dallas Morning News!

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Sources & Notes

Photo at top: “Lintel and pediment above doorway, Commerce St. entrance,” ca. 1930s, from the Belo Records collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; photo and details are here.

The best newspaper database for those interested in Texas history is UNT’s Portal to Texas History Texas Digital Newspaper database, here. They have tons of scanned and digitized historical Texas newspapers (excluding The Dallas News), AND it’s free and available to everyone. Below are a few of their offerings of particular interest to Dallasites:

  • The Dallas Herald — absolutely ESSENTIAL for Dallas goings-on between 1855 and 1887, here
  • The Southern Mercury, the agriculturally-leaning paper published in Dallas, 1888-1907, here
  • The Dallas Express — a newspaper printed by and for the city’s African-American community — ALSO essential — sadly, only the years 1919-1924 have been scanned, here
  • The Jewish Monitor — published in Fort Worth, serving the DFW (and Texas) Jewish community, 1919-1921, here
  • The Texas Jewish Post, 1950-2011, here

Check out all the Texas newspapers UNT has scanned: go to the Advanced Search page and scroll down the “Collections” menu bar to see the full list.

**If you need some research done, I might be able to help. I have access to several resources and am pretty thorough. Let me know what you’re looking for and inquire on hourly rates by clicking the “Contact” tab at the top of the page.**

Enjoy!

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7/31/15 — UPDATE: GENEALOGYBANK.COM — HOW TO ACCESS THE HISTORICAL DALLAS MORNING NEWS ARCHIVE IF YOU ARE NOT A DALLAS RESIDENT: While looking for something completely unrelated, I came across a comment by someone who said he accessed the Dallas Morning News archives — historical and modern — through a site called GenealogyBank.com. It sounds like something similar to Ancestry.com where you are given access to several different types of resources used in genealogical research. The website indicates the cost is $19.95/month or $69.95/year. There is a free 30-day trial (but if you don’t cancel it and explicitly tell them you are canceling, they will automatically charge you and you will NOT get your money back). This is the first I’ve ever heard of this site, so I have no idea whether it’s good or bad. (The parent company of GenealogyBank is NewsBank, the company that manages the DMN archive accessible through the Dallas Public Library.) I did ask on a Dallas history group tonight, and a trusted member said that he uses it all the time. He posted a few screenshots, and it’s very similar to the archive accessed through the library’s website. For those interested, you might want to try the free trial to see if it’s something you’d be interested in subscribing to. This is pretty cool, because it offers people who live outside the city limits the ability to access the DMN archives for a relatively small fee each month. I am not promoting or endorsing this site because I had never even heard of it until an hour or two ago. I’d love to hear feedback from people who try it out. The Genealogy Bank website is here. A review of the site from About.com is here. I encourage you to check other consumer sites for pros and cons. I hope this is helpful for those of you who, for some reason, choose to live away from Dallas!

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Copyright © 2015-2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Thank You, Peter Simek / D Magazine!

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by Paula Bosse

Thank you, Peter Simek, for the link to the Flashback Dallas post “Cole Park Storm Water Detention Vault” on the D Magazine FrontBurner blog! My original post — which I wrote as the period of torrential flooding was just beginning — has been shared quite a bit, and it is far and away this blog’s most popular post so far this year. Thanks for all the shares, and thanks again, D Magazine! Read Peter Simek’s post “Why Central Expressway Doesn’t Flood During Torrential Rain,” here.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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