by Paula Bosse
2016 will be over in a matter of hours, and 2017 is barreling straight at us like a freight train that can’t be stopped. At the end of the year, we are besieged by “Best Of” lists — and, hey, here’s another one! It’s also a time to reflect and, I don’t know … ponder and nod knowingly about all that’s happened.
Flashback Dallas has been monopolizing my time for almost three years now. I’ve written over 800 Dallas history posts — which is shocking even to me. (Where did I find the energy?) The blog has gotten over half a million page-views and has over 7,000 followers across the hills and dales of social media. No one is more surprised by these numbers than I am. I’m so happy that there are other people out there who seem to be as interested in the history of Dallas as I am!
I’ve posted my personal favorite Flashback Dallas photos and posts over the past few days, and now it’s time to post the readers’ favorites. As always, I appreciate everyone who reads and comments, here and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Let’s all have a happy and productive 2017! (To see the original full-length posts, click the links highlighted in blue.)
1. “BONNIE PARKER: ‘BURIED IN AN ICE-BLUE NEGLIGEE’ — 1934”
People will never tire of reading about Bonnie & Clyde. This post — which was basically just a transcription of a handwritten account by a Dallas mortician detailing how he prepared Bonnie Parker’s badly disfigured body for public viewing — was far and away the top (new) Flashback Dallas post of 2016. The account — on Adolphus Hotel stationery — is from the George W. Cook Collection at SMU’s DeGolyer Library. And it really is great.
2. “PRESTON AND VALLEY VIEW: THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM — 1958”
Everyone loves aerial photos that show what the city looked like before endless asphalt sprawl hit us over the head and stole our souls. And this view of what would soon become LBJ Freeway was incredibly popular. I tear up a little every time I see it.
3. “4th OF JULY AT WHITE ROCK LAKE — 1946”
This wonderful photo of White Rock picnickers and swimmers, taken near the Bath House on July 4th, 1946, is so jam-packed with interesting little vignettes that it was a perfect candidate to zoom in on (see all the magnified details at the link above). Great photo! [EDIT: Sadly, this photo has been removed — with luck it (and this post) will return!)
4. “NORTH DALLAS HIGH SCHOOL, THE PRE-BEATLES ERA”
This post, which featured lots of photos from the 1960, 1962, and 1963 NDHS yearbooks, was shared all over the place. NDHS grads are a proud people. (The companion post — here — contained ads from these same yearbooks.)
5. “NORTHPARK — 1965”
There’s nothing like a good series of photos about the nostalgic memories of shopping to get Dallasites’ pulses racing. NorthPark seems to rank pretty high in the heart-cockle-warming department.
6. “VALDI WILCOX (1948-2004)”
This was a story I stumbled on completely by accident. I saw a full-page photo in a 1948 issue of The Dallas Morning News of an attractive young couple and their baby out for a stroll in Lake Cliff Park. They seemed so happy and full of hope. I thought it would be interesting to trace the life of the unseen baby in the baby carriage. Her story was unexpectedly tragic.
7. “A FEW ADS FROM THE PAGES OF THE 1963 AND 1967 KIMBALL HIGH SCHOOL YEARBOOKS”
High school yearbooks are a great source of photos, ads, and pop culture. Oak Cliff nostalgia is always popular.
8. “SOUTH CENTRAL EXPRESSWAY UNDER CONSTRUCTION — 1955”
I love this photo, and I hate this photo. On one hand, it’s kind of cool-looking, on the other, it shows the absolute devastation inflicted upon South Dallas by the construction of South Central Expressway. See the original post for the charming fire station that was demolished along with huge swaths of a once-vibrant neighborhood.
9. “BELMONT & GREENVILLE: FROM CARUTH FARMLAND TO HUB OF LOWER GREENVILLE”
A research-heavy post I’m happy to see on this list. A look at the history of one block in Lower Greenville.
10. “‘GREETINGS FROM DALLAS, TEXAS’ — 1955”
If I had a “viral” post this year, it was this one. This completely innocuous post featuring a very un-Dallas-looking postcard was posted as a joke. But, lo and behold, it began to be shared all over Facebook and Twitter and caused a surprising amount of discussion. There were a lot of people who were insistent that this Colorado-looking image was taken in the DFW area. Somehow the story was picked up by The Dallas Morning News and was printed in the actual newspaper edition! Crazy man.
Speaking of viral posts, the granddaddy of them all in Flashback Dallas-land is “CARHOPS AS SEX SYMBOLS — 1940” — it is the most-viewed post I’ve ever written, and, in fact, this 2015 post was this year’s top post. Seems people can’t get enough of male carhops in satin short-shorts and cowboy boots.
Again, thank you to everyone who has read, is reading, will read, will have read, and has considered-but-never-really-gotten-around-to reading anything I’ve written. It’s always more fun when you can share fun and unusual Dallas factoids with other like-minded people! Let’s hope 2017 is packed with more good stuff!
See all three 2016 “Best Of” Flashback Dallas lists here.
See all Flashback Dallas Year-End lists — past and present — here.
Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.