Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Year-End Best of 2015

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.

Year-End List! My Favorite Photos Posted in 2015

allen-st-taxi-co_cook-degolyerNeed a cab? They’re waiting for your call… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Today I’m posting my favorite photos used in Flashback Dallas posts over the past year. I try to use photos and images that haven’t been seen very often, so I tend to go through a LOT of photos in search of cool and interesting little nuggets of forgotten Dallas history. I’ve seen a lot of photographs over the past year, but the ones listed below are the ones that, for whatever reason, resonated with me the most. To see a larger image of each photo, click it; to see the original post the photo came from (with its source), click the linked title.

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1. “The Allen Street Taxi Company.” Hands down, this photo (seen at the top of this post) is my favorite of the past year, found deep in the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection of SMU’s invaluable DeGolyer Library. The Cook Collection is an incredible collection of historical photographs made available online this year by SMU. I love this photo, and I feel I’ve looked at it for hours. There’s so much to see in it. Check out the original post (linked above) to view several magnified details of a photo that screams out for magnified details.

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2. “An Incredible View From Republic Tower 2 — 1968.” Photo looking down on the famed Republic “rocket,” taken by teenager Bill Parrish in 1968. (Thanks for allowing me to use your photos, Bill!)

republic2_parrish_1_1968

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3. “The Continental Gin Company Complex — 1914.” Parts of this complex of buildings still stand and are recognizable today. (SMU’s Dallas Hall can be seen as a ghostly apparition in the distance.)

continental-gin-bldg_1914_cook-degolyer-smu-bw

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4. “Back at the Ranch with Yves Saint Laurent — 1958.” I mean … it’s perfect! Wonder why YSL is posing with a Texas longhorn? Check out this post!

YSL_dfw_longhorn_1958

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5. “One of the Victims of the Great Trinity Flood: The T&P Railroad Trestle — 1908.”

flood_t-p-trestle_1908_legacies

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6. “Radio Broadcasting, 1922-Style” and “WFAA Radio’s ‘Altitudinous Antenna System'” — a two-fer: inside and outside Dallas’ first commercial radio station.

wfaa-control-room_belo_smu_1922

wfaa_towers_1920s_belo-coll_degolyer

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7. “South Pearl, In the Shadow of Downtown — 1950s.”

farmers-mkt-area_repub-bank-bldg_1950s_portal

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8. “Ervay, Live Oak, and Elm: Just Another Wednesday Night — 1953.” A chilly night in downtown Dallas. My favorite part of this photo is at the extreme left, under the Walgreen’s sign, where a woman passes under a streetlight as she heads home from work (see this magnified detail by clicking the link above).

ervay-live-oak-elm_haskins_uta_010753

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9. “The Wilson Building Under Construction — 1902.”

wilson-bldg-construction_cook_degolyer_smu_1902_bw

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10. “WWII-Era Elm Street … In COLOR — 1945.” Great photo, from Noah Jeppson. Seeing Dallas in this era IN COLOR is incredible!

elm-street-color_1940s_jeppson-flickr

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11. “George Cacas, The Terrill School’s Greek Ice Cream Man — 1916.” Just a couple of schoolboys buying ice cream from a Greek merchant in Old East Dallas.

terrill_ice-cream_yrbk_1916-cacas

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12. “The Dallas Skyline Seen From the Trinity Industrial District — 1950.” A view of the city not often seen.

trinity-industrial-district_1950_flickr

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13. “The Vision in the ‘Miracle Window’ — 1931.” Another view one doesn’t come across often  — this one showing a typical house in the African-American Freedman’s Town area of what was then known as “North Dallas.”

vision_corbis_1931

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14. “The Dallas Athletic Club Building — 1925-1981.” A view of the rooftop of the then-under construction Dallas Athletic Club. This photo appeared in a catalog for a manufacturer of construction materials, and I feel confident it hasn’t been seen since that catalog came out in 1924. Pretty cool!

dac-rooftop_berloy-ad_1924-crop

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15. “Views From a Passing Train — 1902.” Pacific Avenue (which was once a railroad thoroughfare for the Texas & Pacific Railway) doesn’t get enough love. Here’s a photo taken by a traveling Philadelphia architect — probably from the back of his train — looking west on Pacific toward Bryan.

edmunds_pacific-bryan_free-lib-phil_1902

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And the runners-up — you always have to have runners-up!

“Nolan Ryan’s Celebratory Pancake Breakfast — 1972.” Taken in Dallas, but before he was a Texas Ranger.

nolan-ryan

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“The Republic Bank Building and Spain’s ‘Casa de Los Picos.'” One of the Republic Bank Building’s instantly recognizable exterior aluminum panels, seen in an ad for the Minnesota company that manufactured them. Another image that’s been tucked away for far too long! It’s really grainy, but I LOVE this photo!

flour-city-ad_dmn_120154-panel

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“St. Paul’s Sanitarium — 1910.” The ominous “mattress sterilization room” in what looks like St. Paul’s dungeon.

st-pauls_mattress-sterilization-room_1910_utsw

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“The Gypsy Tea Room, Central Avenue, and The Darensbourg Brothers.” A photo I used only a detail of (showing only Percy Darensbourg — at the right on banjo), but this is the full photo, showing Lee Collins’ band in Dallas in 1925 or 1926. Fantastic photo of musicians who would have played clubs in the South, including stops in Deep Ellum and North Dallas.

lee-collins-band_dallas_1920s

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“An Afternoon Outing with SMU Frat Boys & Their Dates — 1917.” And, lastly, my favorite face of the year (although Percy, above, is a close second!): a young, unidentified woman who looks sweet, smart, and kind, enjoying a day’s outing to Exall Lake in Highland Park.

smu_omega-phi_porch_1917_degolyer-det2

She even has sweet, smart, and kind-looking feet!

smu_omega-phi_porch_1917_degolyer-det1

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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.

Year-End List! My Favorite (Non-Photo) Images Posted in 2015

skyline_1960_dmn_100260I feel a sudden yen for a mid-century cocktail….

by Paula Bosse

It’s the end of the year, the traditional time for lists! Today I’m posting a list of my top ten favorite images that I’ve posted over the past year — either art or postcards (my favorite photographs of the year will be posted tomorrow). For more info on the images — and to see the post they appeared in — click on the title of the post (sources are generally at the bottom). Most images are larger when clicked — some are quite a bit larger.

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“The Dallas Skyline, Vibrant & Sophisticated — 1960” (above) — an idealized rendering of the downtown skyline, oddly missing Pegasus.

“‘Trailerville’ by Charles T. Bowling — 1940.”

bowling_trailerville_1940_dmaDMA

“Winter Scene: The Belo Mansion & The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart — ca. 1902.”

cathedral_snow_flickr-coltera

“The Fine Black Land Is Around Dallas, Texas.”

old-red-courthouse_early

“The State Fair of Texas: ‘This Is Where All My Money Has Gone.'”

state-fair_ebay

“Love Field, The Super-Cool 1950s Era.” (Super-cool photos also in this post!)

love-field_1957

“Main Street — ca. 1942.”

main-street-canyon_ebay

“‘Cemetery at Twilight’ by Frank Reaugh.”

reaugh_cemetery-at-twilight_nd_UT_ransom-ctr

“‘Along the Tracks’ in the Fair Park Area.” (Painting by Jerry Bywaters.)

bywaters_along-the-tracks_fair-park_smu_1947

“Texas Texas Texas Texas Texas Texas Texas — 1930” (Woodrow Wilson High School yearbook endpaper.)

woodrow_texas-endpaper_1930-yrbk

Honorable Mention: Not specifically Dallas-related, but it IS Texas-related: “‘Used Books & Guns’ — 1967.”  I’ve updated the post with a photo, which may or may not be the actual San Antonio bookstore which appeared as an illustration in a children’s book.

used-books-and-guns_SASEK

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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.

Year-End List! My Favorite Dallas Ads Posted in 2015

ad-acme-screen-co_terrill-yrbk_1924“This town ain’t big enough…”

by Paula Bosse

It’s the end of the year, the traditional time to make lists. Over the next few days I’ll be posting some of my favorite Flashbacky moments from 2015.  First up, ads. I’ve really been remiss is posting ads this year for some reason. I love old ads (in fact, before this blog, I maintained an advertising blog for several years — Retro Adverto — I haven’t updated it since I began Flashback Dallas, but I hope to pick it back up some day).

Click ads for larger images. To see the original post these ads came from (which includes sources and no doubt pithy commentary), click the title of each ad.

And thanks for reading in 2015!

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“‘They Shall Not Pass’ — Acme Screen Co. Ad (1924)” (seen above).

“You Know What They Say: Big Feet, Big Cigars — 1877.”

ad-ben-loeb-cigars_dallas-herald_070777

“‘When “Big D” Lights Up’ –Phelps Dodge Ad (1969).

ad-phelps-dodge_1969_ebay

“‘A Perfect Auto Tent’ — 1921.”

ad-dallas-tent-awning_dmn_061221

“The Interurban Parlor Car: Perusing the News in Comfy Chairs.”

interurban-interior_tx-historian_jan81

Honorable Mention: “New Year, New Teeth — 1877.” This gets its own little category because the ad is slightly amusing, but the story behind the dentist who took this ad out is MUCH more interesting!

ad-dentist_1878-directory

ad-dentist_new-year-gift_dal-herald-123077

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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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