Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Year-End Best of 2019

Year-End List: Most Popular Posts of 2019

greenville-reservoir-house_jan-2018_paula-bosseMy “fixer-upper” dream house on Greenville Avenue…

by Paula Bosse

Another year is finally grinding to a close, and that means the appearance of one last “year-end” list, ranking the popularity of posts from the past year (one of which rather surprisingly shot up the list after having been posted only 8 days ago!).

As always, thank you to everyone who reads, comments, shares, and enjoys Flashback Dallas. I’ll be embarking on Year 7 in a couple of months, and I’m happy to say that I still enjoy writing about Dallas history as much now as I did when I started in 2014. Thanks to all of you for coming along for the ride.

Here are the most popular Flashback Dallas posts of 2019, starting with the most popular. To see each full post, click on the title; to see larger images, click on the picture.

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1.  “MY DREAM HOUSE AT THE GREENVILLE AVENUE RESERVOIR” (August)

The fact that this is the #1 post of 2019 amazes me. I see this little “house” all the time, and I have loved it since I was a child, when I dreamed of living in it, imagining it a huge, magical place inside — like Snoopy’s dog house. I guess others have also been fascinated with this very out-of-place little building at Greenville and Mockingbird. We should form a club. (And I kind of STILL want to live there!)

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majestic-hotel_portal_postcard2.  “THE MAJESTIC HOTEL / THE PARK HOTEL / THE AMBASSADOR HOTEL: R.I.P. — 1904-2019” (May) 

I wrote this the day the much-loved landmark in The Cedars burned down — luckily I had been collecting images of the hotel with the intention of one day writing about it and was ready when the disaster happened. I still haven’t driven past where the building used to stand. It had a good long run, but it still had many good years in it.

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3.  “CASA LINDA AERIALS — 1940s” (August) 

I love the main photo in this post which shows the Casa Linda Plaza shopping area at Garland Road and Buckner Boulevard before much of anything other than the theater had been built, with White Rock Lake and the still-in-operation firehouse in the background. As a lack of housing in post-war Dallas reached a crisis point, eastward expansion was inevitable. 

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4.  “BEAUTIFUL LAKE CLIFF — ca. 1906” (August)

This post is filled with pretty postcards that make a person feel incredibly nostalgic for a time and place they’ve never actually known. It would be nice to take a trip back to the Oak Cliff of a hundred or more years ago to visit the Lake Cliff seen in these postcards, in the days when it was one of the city’s most popular amusement destinations.

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5.  “THE LEGENDARY CHRISTMAS CARDS OF ANN RICHARDS AND BETTY McKOOL” (December)

This Christmas post — from last week! — catapulted to the fifth most popular post of the year. I think Ann and Betty would be happy with that — I know I am! (Incidentally, I’ve just added another card to the collection — I hope to add more as they become known to me — I’m aiming for a full set of images!)

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6.  “THE STAR LOUNGE, 4311 BRYAN” (May)

I can’t say exactly what it is about this photo that everyone seems to love, but… everyone seems to love this photo. It helps that there is some interesting history in the 4300 block of Bryan, involving dynamite, extortion and racketeers in the 1930s, followed by a period of space-theme lounges in the ’60s, followed by adult bookstores in the ’70s. Old East Dallas has got it going on.

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7.  “RIP TORN AND ANN WEDGEWORTH’S DALLAS WEDDING — 1955” (July) 

I loved Rip Torn — if I see he’s in a movie, I’ll watch it — and I’m glad this post was so popular. Sometimes I feel like I’m playing “Six Degrees of Separation” when I hear news of the death of a notable person: I bet myself that I can find some sort of connection the Dearly Departed had with Dallas. I actually knew that Rip had ties to Dallas because I had previously written about actress Ann Wedgeworth and remembered that she had married Rip at what is now First United Methodist Church downtown. The old yearbook photos in the post are pretty great. R.I.P, Rip.

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8.  “GLORIA VANDERBILT’S 4 HUSBANDS… AND THEIR DALLAS CONNECTIONS” (June) 

I had employed that “Six Degrees of Separation” thing when I heard that Gloria Vanderbilt had died. It still surprises me, but I managed to connect each of her four husbands (Pat DiCicco, Leopold Stokowski, Sidney Lumet, and Wyatt Cooper) to Big D, which was a fun exercise and surprisingly interesting.

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9.  “SUPER-COOL ROGER MILLER IN DALLAS — 1960s” (October) 

I apparently share a love of Roger Miller with many of the readers of Flashback Dallas. This post, which includes a couple of video clips of Roger in Dallas, steadily racks up hits. His quipped response to a Channel 8 reporter’s question of whether he was “serious” when he wrote “You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd” is classic.

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10.  “TEMPLE EMANU-EL, AT THE ‘NORTHERN LIMITS OF DALLAS’ — 1957” (January) 

Photos of the brand-new location of the not-yet-landscaped Temple Emanu-El in North Dallas served as the springboard to write about this historic Jewish congregation founded in Dallas in 1873. The aerial photo from 1957 showing loads of empty land around Temple Emanu-El above Northwest Highway was one of my favorite photos posted in 2019.

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Below are the top 3 all-time most popular Flashback Dallas posts:

  1. “HOW TO ACCESS THE HISTORICAL DALLAS MORNING NEWS ARCHIVE” (2015)
  2. “BONNIE PARKER: ‘BURIED IN AN ICE-BLUE NEGLIGEE’ — 1934″ (2016)
  3. “CARHOPS AS SEX SYMBOLS — 1940” (2015)

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Sources & Notes

See all three 2019 “Best Of Flashback Dallas” lists here.

See all Flashback Dallas Year-End lists — past and present — here.

Thanks again for reading — may 2020 be a happy and productive year for us all!

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Year-End List: My Favorite Posts of 2019

political-paranoia-2_1964_jones-collection_SMU_rockefeller-2Betty McKool onstage in “Political Paranoia II”

by Paula Bosse

2019 is finally dragging to a close. This has been a difficult year for me and my family as we have struggled with health issues involving an older relative. There were weeks which passed during which I wrote nothing here, which is unfortunate, because immersing myself in this blog — in the researching and the writing — is not only fun and satisfying, it’s also a good distraction when stress is ratcheting up pretty high. But things might be settling down a bit, and I hope to return to more regular posting in 2020. But as far as 2019, here are my personal favorite Flashback Dallas posts of the past year. (Pictures are larger when clicked; read original posts by clicking titles.)

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1.  “‘POLITICAL PARANOIA’ AND THE NORTH DALLAS DEMOCRATIC WOMEN’S CLUB, FEAT. FUTURE GOVERNOR ANN RICHARDS” (December)

This is my favorite post of the year, partly because it has a personal connection to my family’s past, and partly because I had a role in identifying just what this 1964 film was and who some of the players were (including a politically active Dallas housewife who would go on to become governor of Texas). The film is an important find for reasons having to do with Texas history, Dallas history, Ann Richards history, Texas Democratic Party history, women’s history, and social and cultural history. And it’s just a fun snapshot of a very specific time in local politics. The screenshot above shows charismatic Betty McKool onstage as Nelson Rockefeller, a (very wealthy) Republican candidate for President in 1964. (Image source: G. William Jones Film and Video Archive, Hamon Library, SMU)

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2. “THE LEGENDARY CHRISTMAS CARDS OF ANN RICHARDS AND BETTY McKOOL” (December)

This post was the direct result of the “Political Paranoia” post — Betty McKool’s son saw it and sent me scans of many of the Christmas cards that his mother and her close friend Ann Richards created for years and which, even at the time, had attained a sort of legendary cult status. The ridiculous and irreverent cards were much anticipated every year. I never thought I’d ever be able to find more than a couple of them, but thanks to Mike McKool Jr., I’ve seen more than I ever expected to — and was able to share them! This post just made me happy. (Image source: Mike McKool Jr.)

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3.  “RUBBER STOCKPILE: FORTY-ONE MOUNTAINOUS PILES OF TIRES — 1943” (May)

I found an odd postcard on eBay showing armed guards standing in front of huge piles of tires. What’s with all those tires? Why were they being guarded by men with guns? And most importantly, where in Dallas was that mountain of tires? I loved diving in and researching this. I don’t know how interesting it was for people to actually read (and it was pretty long), but this was definitely one of the most fun research tasks I assigned myself all year. (Image source: eBay)

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4.  “THE GRAND ELM STREET ILLUMINATION — 1911” (June)

This is another one of those posts where I just really wanted to know the story behind an unusual-looking postcard. I did a ton of research on this forgotten “big moment” in Dallas history, and I loved it. (Image source: eBay)

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5.  “BURIED ALIVE AT THE FAIR PARK MIDWAY — 1946” (October)

And yet another instance of seeing an image and wondering “What is this?” and then plunging in to try to find out answers to all the questions I had. And, again, I loved it — I loved reading about this guy and his indisputably weird vocation. I posted this on Halloween because it’s kind of creepy, and I think I’m safe in saying that this post got fewer hits than any other thing I wrote all year! Hardly anyone clicked over to read it — I’m going to blame it on readers’ phobias and not my sparkling way with words! (Image source: George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU)

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6.  “STONELEIGH PHARMACY / STONELEIGH P” (February)

A look at an old Dallas favorite which has had two separate identities. The Stoneleigh Pharmacy opened in 1923 as a sort of companion to the Stoneleigh Court hotel across the street and  had a good long run, until 1980 when, sadly, it burned down — burned ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE GROUND. But in 1981, the Stoneleigh P rose from the ashes and, thankfully, is still going strong. Long live the Stoneleigh P! (Image source: The Dallas Morning News, Oct. 14, 1923)

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7.  “THE ZODIAC ROOM” (May)

Other than a few Fortnight celebrations, I didn’t grow up popping into Neiman’s, so I knew not of the Zodiac Room, other than it was a place where elegant women went to have elegant foodstuffs like tea and cucumber sandwiches, and that Helen Corbitt (whom I knew only from seeing her name on a couple of my mother’s cookbooks) was somehow affiliated with it. I wrote about it mainly because I came across scans of the children’s menu on Instagram. As I wrote in the post, “My whimsy-threshold is pretty low, but I love the utterly charming drawings which grace the front and back covers…” — and that was more than enough reason to write about the famed Zodiac Room. (Image source: @reflectionofaman Instagram feed; artwork by Alma Shon)

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8.  “THE STAR LOUNGE, 4311 BRYAN” (May)

This is such a great photo — and this Old East Dallas block is still recognizable today, if not quite as interesting-looking. At one time this block contained several bars with Space-Age names: the Star Lounge, the Orbit Lounge, the Rocket Lounge, the Space Lounge, and the Apollo Lounge. That would have been the place to head to for some great (and probably delightfully seedy) bar-hopping! As I wistfully say to myself all the time while writing about Dallas’ bygone days, “Born too late, man — born too late.” (Image source: City of Dallas Historic Preservation Program archives)

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9.  “MICHAEL G. OWEN JR., DALLAS ARTIST” (November)

This is the fourth post I’ve written about Mike Owen. I’m not quite sure how that happened, but I now feel that, surely, I must be a Michael G. Owen Jr. expert! A large heretofore unknown painting by Owen — who is known mostly for his work as a sculptor — was to go up for auction, and that was the impetus for my writing this post about the little-known artist. (The painting sold for an amazing $228,000.) (Image source: David Dike Fine Art)

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10. “BEAUTIFUL LAKE CLIFF — ca. 1906” (August)

This post is made up almost entirely of lovely hand-colored postcards. It’s a shame places like this aren’t around anymore. (Image source: George W. Cook Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU)

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BONUS FAVE: “THANK YOU, CANDY’S DIRT! THANK YOU, PRESERVATION DALLAS!” (June)

A high point of 2019 for me was the totally unexpected announcement that I had been chosen to receive the 2019 Education Award from Preservation Dallas for my work on Flashback Dallas. It was very flattering to be acknowledged for the work I’ve done, but I hesitated about going to the awards ceremony because I’m a major introvert, and the prospect of being given an award — in public! — even if it was only one in a night filled with many awards — would cause some definite amount of anxiety and/or embarrassment. But I talked myself into it and went, and I’m so glad I did. First off, the event was held in the beautiful Lone Star Gas Building, which was fantastic (those elevators!). But more than that, going to the event gave me an opportunity to meet people who actually read the blog and who came up to me to tell me they were fans! You don’t get that very often when you do all your work alone at home. Social contact isn’t so bad after all! It was a wonderful night, and memories of it have helped keep my head above water as I’ve slogged through this difficult year. The very nice article about me by Deb Brimer, which she wrote for Candy’s Dirt, was also a wonderful boost. So, thank you, Deb, and thank you, Preservation Dallas! I’ve just uploaded a short video of the remarks about my award (me, me, me!) presented that night by David Preziosi, executive director of Preservation Dallas, here. (Image source: me!)

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I enjoyed writing all the posts that appeared on the blog this year, but these had some little extra something for me. How many of my favorites were also the readers’ favorites? That list will be posted tomorrow.

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Sources & Notes

See all three 2019 “Best Of Flashback Dallas” lists here.

See all Flashback Dallas Year-End lists — past and present — here.

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Year-End List: My Favorite Images Posted in 2019

braniff-poser_oil-well_ebay(Braniff Airways, Inc., Copyright 1926 2019)

by Paula Bosse

The end of the year means lists. Here are my favorite images — photos, postcards, artwork — posted in 2019. (All images are larger when clicked.)

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I love vintage travel posters, and the mid-century posters done for Braniff Airways are among my favorites (see a whole bunch here). The one above satisfies my love of this period of commercial art, as well as my love of Texas kitsch and, yes, oil-well imagery. It also happens to be one of the most recent additions to Flashback Dallas, having been posted only yesterday (!) in the post “Orphaned Factoids: Year-End Grab Bag, 2019.”

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The rest I’ll go through chronologically, starting with a 1955 photo by Joe Scherschel which was part of a Life magazine spread on the Republic National Bank Building, with several photos featuring the iconic “star” design seen on the embossed aluminum panels that cover the exterior of the building. The photo of the staff uniforms emblazoned with that design is just great — from the January post “Republic Bank Branding — 1955.”

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More Texas kitsch, from a Dallas Chamber of Commerce-approved matchbook cover, was seen in the January post “Enjoy That Dallas, Texas Hospitality.”

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I love aerial photos, especially ones that show huge expanses of undeveloped land in areas which are now heavily developed, like this one, also from Joe Scherschel of Life magazine, showing brand-new Temple Emanu-El in 1957, looking north from Northwest Highway, with an empty swath of North Dallas behind it. From the January post “Temple Emanu-El, At the ‘Northern Limits of Dallas’ — 1957.”

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I have fond (if somewhat vague) memories of the original Stoneleigh Pharmacy (now the Stoneleigh P, totally rebuilt after a fire), and I was very excited when I came across a photo of that block from its very earliest days in 1923. It’s a fuzzy, grainy, low-res photo from The Dallas Morning News, but just seeing it evokes a kind of Proustian response of instant nostalgia. From the February post “Stoneleigh Pharmacy / Stoneleigh P.”

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Another great aerial — this one from the 1940s showing the Casa Linda shopping center in East Dallas — showed up in the February post “Casa Linda Aerials — 1940s.

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In March I posted a photo of the first house I ever lived in which turns out to have been part of the historic Cole farm. The stone house was on Cole, near North Dallas High School, and my parents swore it was the coldest place they had ever lived. By serendipitous happenstance I was sent both a photo of the house around 1900 (seen below, from the Warlick family archives) as well as a photo of the house a few years before it was torn down — two photos I never thought I would see! From the post “My First Home — 3809 Cole Avenue.”

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This is a great drawing of a map of Dallas neighborhoods by artist Ashley Bond (whom, I discovered, was the father of “Tommy” from the Our Gang/Little Rascals comedies) — it appeared in a Dallas Chamber of Commerce publication. From the March post “‘Birdseye View of Greater Dallas’ by Ashley Bond — 1925.”

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This photo of a block of Bryan Street in Old East Dallas is just fantastic. It is from the City of Dallas Historic Preservation Program archives and was featured in the May post “The Star Lounge, 4311 Bryan.”

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Also from May, a photo of the last location of The Aldredge Book Store, my father’s store on Maple Avenue. The building was demolished a few years ago to make room for a driveway for the next-door Stoneleigh Hotel, and this is one of the only pictures I have of the place. The photo was taken by my brother, Erik Bosse, and was featured in the post “The Aldredge Book Store — 2909 Maple Avenue.”

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The 115-year-old Ambassador Hotel burned down in May — I wrote a post which contained a lot of old postcards of the building in its various incarnations, and this postcard from its time as the Park Hotel is my favorite, with the Hughes Brothers building on the left, the hotel in the center, and City Park on the right. From the post “The Majestic Hotel/The Park Hotel/The Ambassador Hotel: R.I.P. — 1904-2019.”

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I love odd photos and postcards where you’re staring at them, shaking your head, and saying “What am I looking at here?” This is one of those images. I loved researching this moody commemoration of the lighting of Elm Street’s new streetlights in 1911 — another instance where wondering what something is leads to learning about a really interesting forgotten piece of history. From the June post “The Grand Elm Street Illumination — 1911.”

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Maybe it’s the pinks and greens and lush feel of this very “pretty” image, but I really love this Butler Brothers postcard. From the June post “Butler Brothers Building, As Seen From the Praetorian.”

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I had no idea there was a Wilson Building Jr. This great postcard was featured in the July post “The Wilson Building and the *New* Wilson Building — 1911.”

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I wrote about actor Rip Torn and his Dallas connections when he died in July. One of the photos I included was the one below of his first-cousin, Sissy Spacek, from the 1968 Quitman High School yearbook, showing her looking mod and groovy (and mostly unrecognizable). From the post “Rip Torn and Ann Wedgeworth’s Dallas Wedding — 1955.”

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Also from July was this cool postcard of the Magnolia Building, from the post “Urban Landscape with Biplane.” All that’s missing is King Kong.

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My “dream house” is a small industrial building at Mockingbird and Greenville made to look like a small house. I’ve loved it my whole life and took this photo several years ago. From the August post “My Dream House at the Greenville Avenue Reservoir.

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I’m not sure why I love this Methodist Hospital postcard so much, but I do. From the November post “A Few Random Postcards.”

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And there were two photos I really liked which I came across this year and added to older posts.

This appropriately eccentric photo of Salvador Dali at Union Station in 1952 is from the Hayes Collection at the Dallas Public Library and was added to the 2015 post “Salvador Dali Brings ‘Nuclear Mysticism’ to Dallas — 1952.”

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And this photo of the MKT passenger depot, formerly at Ross and Market was added to the 2014 post “Leaving Dallas on the Katy Flyer — ca. 1914.”

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That does it for my 2019 image faves!

Lists of my favorite posts of the year and the most popular posts of the year are coming soon!

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Sources &  Notes

See all three 2019 “Best Of Flashback Dallas” lists here.

See all Flashback Dallas Year-End lists — past and present — here.

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Copyright © 2019 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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