Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Year-End Best of 2021

Year-End List: Most Popular Posts of 2021

kodachrome_main_1950_noah-jeppsonMain St., just west of St. Paul, 1950 (photo via Noah Jeppson)

by Paula Bosse

Here we are at the end of another year. Adios, 2021 — I can’t say I’ll miss you. Another year dominated by an inescapable global pandemic, another year of angst and frustration. My output has been fairly paltry this year, but whenever I was able to spend some time working on this blog, I always felt a weird sense of relief — it is someplace I enjoy escaping to, if only for a short while. As always, I appreciate everyone who stops by and takes the time to read. Thank you for your virtual friendship! Fingers are crossed that 2022 won’t continue to be so grueling. 

My final post of 2021 contains the year’s Most Popular Posts, determined by page-views, clicks, likes, shares, etc. Here are the most-read Flashback Dallas posts of 2021, starting with the most popular. To see each full post, click on the title; to see larger images of the thumbnails, click on the picture.

**

kodachrome_commerce-lamar_trolleydodger_twitter

1.  “DOWNTOWN DALLAS IN COLOR — 1940s & 1950s” (August)

This post was so popular it left all the others in the dust. As much as I love black-and-white photographs, color-saturated photos bring both an immediacy as well as a sort of exoticism to 70- or 80-year-old street scenes of downtown Dallas. I love these photos, and, frankly, I would have been surprised if another post could have managed to surpass it in popularity. 

*

coffee-linda_WFAA_SMU_june-19702.  “LINDA COFFEE, THE DALLAS ATTORNEY WHO TOOK ROE v. WADE TO THE U.S. SUPREME COURT” (September)

Seeing 27-year-old Dallas attorney Linda Coffee in a WFAA-Channel 8 News interview from 1970 a few months ago made a huge impression on me. She had already been working on the local Roe v. Wade case for several months, and she was being interviewed following her first big win in the long journey which would eventually take her and her co-counsel Sarah Weddington to the United States Supreme Court where they successfully argued that women have the constitutional right to decide whether they want to have a baby or terminate a pregnancy. This cataclysmic court decision had a profound impact on women’s rights and on American social culture. The current “revisiting” of the issue to the Supreme Court is no doubt what has helped propel this post to the rank of second-most-popular post of the year. Linda Coffee should be better known. I hope this post introduces her to more people.

*

dfw-airport_construction_gifford-hill-ad_1973_ebay_photo3.  “DFW AIRPORT, Phase I — 1973” (July)

This one kind of came out of left field. I’m not sure why there was such a big response to this post which contained ads touting the impending arrival of the massive new airport, but I have to say, I’m a big fan of the photo used by the Gifford-Hill company showing unpaved roads and big heaps of dirt which would one day be magically transformed into Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

*

xmas_northpark_trees_1971_instagram

4.  “CHRISTMAS AT NORTHPARK — 1970s” (December)

I just posted this a week ago, and, wow. I knew people loved the NorthPark of their childhood, but I was still a little surprised at the sheer number of hits this post got. Thank you, Raymond Nasher!

*

snider-plaza_safeway_ebay_15.  “SNIDER PLAZA SAFEWAY: HILLCREST & LOVERS — 1930s” (June)

Snider Plaza appears several times in this year’s “best of” lists. The University Park shopping area seems to hold as much of a special place in Flashback Dallas readers’ hearts as it does it mine.

*

ursuline_1921-yrbk_east-view

6.  “URSULINE ACADEMY — 1921” (January)

This post is filled with photos from the 1929 yearbook of Ursuline Academy, back when it was still a prominent landmark of Old East Dallas. Imagine if we could have saved that amazing building….

*

casa-view-village-shopping-center_dallas-mag_april-1955

7.  “CASA VIEW HILLS/CASA VIEW VILLAGE — 1955” (August)

Who knew architectural schematics of strip shopping malls (which, are, let’s face it, mostly parking lot…) would be so popular? People love their funky Casa View.

*

zz-top_dusty-hill_woodrow-wilson_1965-yrbk

8.  “DUSTY HILL, 1949-2021” (July)

The Dallas-born-and-reared member of ZZ Top, Dusty Hill, died this year. This post contains photos of the young musician from the pages of the 1965 Woodrow Wilson High School yearbook. RIP, Dusty.

*

aerial_south-from-pacific_color

9.  “AERIAL VIEW: MOVIE ROW FROM THE REAR (February)

This is such a great photo (or maybe a screenshot) of a seldom-seen view of downtown Dallas, looking south from Pacific to the Statler Hilton. I only wish I know where I found it!

*

varsity-theater_1929_galloway_1600

10.  “SNIDER PLAZA & THE VARSITY THEATER — 1920s” (July)

It’s back again. More love for UP’s Snider Plaza as people flocked to check out photos of it from its earliest days.

**

And that wraps up 2021. Thank you for spending some it with me! On to 2022….

***

Sources & Notes

See all three 2021 Year-End “best of” lists here.

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

kodachrome_main_1950_noah-jeppson_sm

*

Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Year-End List: My Favorite Posts of 2021

kodachrome_bryan-n-ervay_1954_shorpyBryan and N. Ervay in fabulous color, 1954

by Paula Bosse

Last year I wrote this in the year’s wrap-up: “2020 is, without question, one of the worst years most of us have experienced. COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down and, for many of us, has left us mourning the loss of family, friends, and economic stability. 2021 cannot come too soon.”

Spoke too soon! COVID continues in 2021, and even though we now have vaccines to protect us, it’s still leaving carnage in its wake. And what Texan can forget the Great Freeze of February, which was unbelievable and unbelievably scary for those of us whose power and heat were inconsistent (or non-existent). And then my family had to deal with a loved one spending (so far) 4 months — a third of the year! — in hospitals and physical rehab. Things have taken their toll from every direction. Unsurprisingly, I produced fewer posts in 2021 than in any previous year, by quite a lot. I don’t want to jinx it, but let’s hope 2022 will be the year when our fortunes finally turn around!

Below are my favorite posts from the past year. I’m afraid I didn’t have the time or, in some cases, the energy or inclination, to plunge myself into research as I’ve done in previous years. But I’ll be back! Thank you, everyone, for hanging in there. We all deserve a break! Are you listening, 2022? (Pictures are larger when clicked — read the original posts by clicking the titles.)

**

1.  “DOWNTOWN DALLAS IN COLOR — 1940s & 1950s” (August)

This is my favorite post of the year. I love the saturated color of Kodachrome slides, and the photos immediately above and below are just beautiful. Because I’m so used to seeing historical photos in black and white (which I love…), it’s a real shock when I see familiar sites from 70 or 80 years ago in heart-stoppingly warm and vivid color. The photo below, from 1950, shows Commerce Street looking west from Lamar. It is my single favorite photo of the year. I never knew the Dallas seen in these photographs, but, thankfully, someone memorialized this fleeting moment by simply taking a photo of a street scene in downtown Dallas. Just another day. I wish I could escape for a while into the photos included in this post.

kodachrome_commerce-lamar_trolleydodger_twitter

*

2.  “BLACK DALLAS — 1973” (November)

I work with the fine folks at the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection at SMU, where I do many of the things I do here: researching and writing. My involvement with the Jones Collection explains why I reference their WFAA Collection so often. Recently, footage produced by KERA-Channel 13 has been added to the daily offerings uploaded to the SMU Jones Film YouTube channel, and these clips are great. This one is my favorite: an almost-8-minute-long report titled “KERA Report on Crime in Dallas – June 1973.” What’s incredible about this footage is that it shows places in the predominantly African-American neighborhoods of South Dallas and “North” Dallas (Hall Street, State-Thomas, etc.) which were rarely documented — and many of the places shown no longer exist. I can’t tell you how excited I was to watch this footage for the first time. My resulting post is basically just a heads-up to people, alerting them to cool film footage they might want to watch, with a ton of screenshots. Even without a huge amount of effort of my part, this is still one of my favorite posts of the year.

pussy-cat-lounge_june-1973_kera-collection_jones-collection_SMU

*

3.  “LINDA COFFEE, THE DALLAS ATTORNEY WHO TOOK ROE v. WADE TO THE U.S. SUPREME COURT” (September)

In my job with the Jones Collection, I have been working for several months on WFAA reports from 1970, and when I came across footage of an unidentified young woman discussing a legal case involving abortion, I asked my mother (who was heavily involved in women’s political groups in the ’70s and ’80s) if she recognized the woman, and she did — it was Linda Coffee, the (VERY!) young woman who, along with Sarah Weddington (who died this week), took their Dallas case, Roe v. Wade, to the U.S. Supreme Court and won, securing the constitutional right of women to obtain legal abortions in the United States. I became a little obsessed with Linda Coffee and began to read a lot about this important woman, wondering how she felt living in the shadow of her glamorous, flashy co-counsel, Sarah Weddington, when she (Linda) is the one who filed the case and did the important early work on it. I love this woman, and I’ve loved learning about her — not only did she change modern culture and broaden women’s rights, she also attended the same high school I did (Woodrow Wilson) and lived in a house ONE BLOCK from where I grew up. I can’t believe I had known nothing about her before seeing this Channel 8 clip. I’ve been adding to this post since I wrote it in September — there’s a second Channel 8 interview with her, from 1971, and there’s also one from just a couple of weeks ago (!) in which she discusses the present-day sad state of affairs surrounding her landmark case. She celebrated her 79th birthday on Christmas Day — Happy Belated Birthday, Linda! And thank you.

coffee-linda_supreme-court_WFAA_SMU_dec-1971

*

4.  “SNIDER PLAZA & THE VARSITY THEATER — 1920s” (July)

I didn’t grow up in the Park Cities, but because of family friends and my mother’s job, I feel like I spent an inordinate amount of time wandering around both Highland Park Village and Snider Plaza as a child, the latter of which was definitely the funkier of the two. Snider Plaza looks and feels a lot different these days, and I don’t go there all that often anymore (RIP, Peggy Sue), but it’s still a place I’m always happy to visit. I love the photos in this post which show Snider Plaza in its earliest days.

snider-plaza-fountain_1927_galloway_dpl_1200

*

5.  “ROSS GRAVES’ CAFE: 1800 JACKSON — 1947” (May)

Some of my favorite posts have been about people who aren’t really notable figures but are, instead, “just folks” — like Ross Graves, an entrepreneur who owned several businesses, including a cafe on the edge of downtown and a night club. He was something of a bon vivant, and his exploits made the society/gossip pages of prominent Black newspapers (another fascinating bit of history too often overlooked). I loved this.

graves-cafe_marion-butts_dpl_1947_cashier

*

6.  “SMU CAMPUS, AN AERIAL VIEW FROM THE NORTH — 1940s” (April)

I had never seen this aerial view of the SMU campus, which was taken by ace photog Squire Haskins with a view toward the south (Hillcrest is at the right). It’s great. As is the second photo with a similar view from a few years later, suggested by a reader. I zoomed in on interesting bits of the Haskins photo, including “Trailerville,” temporary men’s dormitories, and a Texas National Guard Armory (later the site of Mrs. Baird’s Bread).

smu-campus_from-the-north_squire-haskins_UTA_nd

*

7.  “SIMMS SUPER SERVICE STATION, CEDAR SPRINGS & MAPLE — 1930” (October)

Such an incredible photo of a cool building which once stood on land now occupied by the Crescent, at Maple and Cedar Springs. More zooming-in is involved. I’m definitely a sucker for old gas stations.

simms-super-service-station_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_ca-1930

*

8.  “GENE de JEAN LIFTS A CURSE ON DALLAS — 1970” (November)

Another gem from the WFAA archives concerns a “warlock”/prankster who appears on Commerce Street to remove a curse he says was placed on the city in 1963. He’s seen doing his curse-lifting thing, blessing a few confused bystanders, and departing in a velvet-covered Cadillac. This is the sort of thing I live for.

gene-de-jean_WFAA_090470

*

9.  “SNIDER PLAZA SAFEWAY: HILLCREST & LOVERS — 1930s” (June)

More Snider Plaza. Imagine the whole shopping area looking like this building. Heaven! I love to see old photos of grocery stores, even when the interiors look a little disappointing. But if you love stacks of canned food, these photos are for you! You never know what you’ll stumble across on eBay.

snider-plaza_safeway_ebay_1

*

10.  “LUTHERAN MINISTERS VISIT DALLAS — 1911” (April)

I love learning about a stranger’s life story simply because I’ve stumbled across a random photo on eBay. After seeing this postcard and poking around doing a little research, armed with only the info gleaned from the message, I ended up getting to know the man who sent this long-forgotten 110-year-old card to his sweetheart. There’s also a very nice photo of an open “touring trolley.” Win-win.

open-streetcar_rppc_1911_ebay

*

And, a bonus favorite: “DALLAS BOOK SCENE — 1940s” (May)

A look at the top bookstores in Dallas in the 1940s.

cokesbury_legacies

*

There ends my Top 10 (plus 1) list of personal favorite posts for 2021. Tomorrow… the most popular posts of the year.

***

Sources & Notes

See all three 2021 Year-End “best of” lists (as they’re posted) here.

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

kodachrome_bryan-n-ervay_1954_shorpy_sm

*

Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Year-End List: My Favorite Images Posted in 2021

kodachrome_commerce-lamar_trolleydodger_twitterThe downtown Dallas I wish I’d known…

by Paula Bosse

As another year comes to a close, it’s time to dig through images I’ve posted over the past 12 months and share those which I’ve particularly liked. They’re in no particular order. The images are larger when clicked; see the linked articles in the descriptions for more info and for image sources.

**

The photo above, from 1950, is probably my favorite of the year. Kodachrome slides make everything 10 times better. It’s a great, nostalgic, lively, perfect photo, showing Commerce Street looking east from Lamar. It will shock you to see what this exact same view looks like today, which you can take a look at — if you dare — in the original post, “Downtown Dallas in Color — 1940s & 1950s.”

*

This aerial view of White Rock Lake in winter (taken by Squire Haskins) is just beautiful. It can be seen in “Snow at White Rock Lake: The Bath House and Winfrey Point,” which I posted in the midst of the historic deep-freeze of February, during a brief window of opportunity in which I had power. 

snow_white-rock-lake_bath-house_squire-haskins_UTA_nd

*

Speaking of WRL, I really like this postcard showing “A Drive in White Rock Valley,” which has a postmark of 1912 — before the lake, and before paved roads in the area. The scenery might have been pretty, but this would not have been a smooth, relaxing Sunday drive for vehicle occupants or for axles. This postcard appeared in the post “Miscellaneous Dallas #2.”

white-rock-valley_postcard_1912_ebay

*

The image below is a screenshot from a fantastic 7-minute piece from KERA, filmed in 1973 and showing the predominantly African-American neighborhoods of South Dallas and “North” Dallas (around Hall Street and the State-Thomas area) — many of the places seen in the film no longer exist, such as the Royal Cafe, which once stood at 2726 Forest Avenue (now Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.). I love all the signs in the cafe’s window, including a poster for a show at the Longhorn Ballroom. I could have chosen most of the screenshots from the film as favorites — see all of them (and the film itself) in the post “Black Dallas — 1973.”

royal-cafe_june-1973_kera-collection_jones-collection_SMU

*

The photo below showing the Neiman’s facade decorated for the first French Fortnight was a new addition to Flashback Dallas in 2021 (it appeared in “A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #17”), but it has ended up in a post I wrote all the way back in 2014, “Neiman-Marcus Brings France to Big D — 1957,” where it replaced a black-and-white version of the photo which I had originally posted. I love this.

n-m_french-fortnight_stanley-marcus-papers_degolyer-lib_SMU_color_1957

*

I really like this view of the Municipal Building that I posted recently. I try to avoid posting images with watermarks, but I’d never seen this before, and it’s cool. From “Municipal Building — Bird’s-Eye View.”

municipal-bldg_hilton-hotel_ebay

*

Another bird’s-eye view of downtown (including the Municipal Building) is this “Aerial View: Movie Row from the Rear.” I think it was a screenshot from a film I came across somewhere, but my notes are shockingly incomplete. Whatever, it’s great, and it’s a view you don’t see very often.

aerial_south-from-pacific_color

*

I’ve loved Snider Plaza since I was a child. It’s a bit much these days, but I have such fond memories of it that I will probably always put it in the “love” category. Here’s what the Varsity Theater stretch looked like in its earliest days (1929) — from the post “Snider Plaza & The Varsity Theater — 1920s.”

varsity-theater_1929_galloway_1600

*

This postcard showing swimmers at the Gill Well Natatorium (once located along Maple Avenue near Reverchon Park) was included in the post “A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #16 and was then added to the 2017 Flashback Dallas post “The Gill Well,” which remains one of my all-time personal favorite posts.

gill-well-natatorium_texas-swimming-and-diving-hall-of-fame

*

I love this color photo of a “Belmont” streetcar which would have traveled up and down the tracks on Matilda, a block from where I grew up. It’s a little like seeing an old photograph of a relative you’ve never met. The photo originally appeared in “A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #15 and was then added to another of my favorite posts, “Ghost Rails of the Belmont Streetcar Line, from 2018.

streetcar_belmont_color_ebay

*

Another great photo shows the Palace Theatre (Elm and Ervay) — as well as the U.S. Coffee & Tea Co. — from the post “Art Landry Is At The Palace — 1927.” 

palace-theatre_u-s-coffee_frank-rogers_1927_DPL

*

I will never tire of seeing glamorous photos of downtown, especially at night when it was lit up like Broadway. This photo is fantastic. From “Showtime on Elm Street.”

theater-row_night_majestic-melba-tower-palace_portal

*

I’d never heard of it, but I’ve become quite enamored of the long-gone Vel-Mar drive-in (8516 Lake June Road, in Pleasant Grove). I really want some of that root beer. From the post “Pleasant Grove Eat Spots, including El Charo and the Vel-Mar — 1950s & 1960s” (there are several other photos of the Vel-Mar in that post).

samuell-high-school_1959-yrbk_vel-mar

*

“Soldier Fishing from a Viaduct — 1948.” Say no more.

soldier-fishing-viaduct_feb-28-1948_DPL

*

Next up: softball girls. This photo of (Fort Worth, shhhhh…) softball players appeared in the post “A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #16” and was then added to the 2016 Flashback Dallas post “Girls’ Softball in Dallas, Hugely Popular.”

baseball_teammates-of-fort-worth-cats_william-langley_nd_portal

*

Also appearing in “A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #16” were these two postcards showing the fabulous light display at Fair Park during the Texas Centennial in 1936. They were added to the 2016 post “Albert Einstein ‘Threw the Switch’ in New Jersey to Open the Pan-American Exposition in Dallas — 1937,” which has several other images of the incredible Fair Park lighting display which continued into 1937.

tx-centennial_night_hall-of-state_lights_flickr_baylor

tx-centennial_night_administration-bldg_lights_ebay

*

This shot of the Dallas skyline is wonderful. From “Nighttime Skyline — 1965.”

skyline_st-marks-yrbk_1965_dallas-power-and-light

*

More Dallas-at-night in this completely unexpected painting by Dallas art legend Jerry Bywaters, featuring the Kip’s on Northwest Highway — from “Jerry Bywaters: ‘City Suburb at Dusk’ — 1978.”

bywaters_city-suburb-at-dusk_1978_amer-art-review_2008

*

I was very taken with one Ursuline girl who posed saucily for the school annual in 1921 — Velma Rich is front-row-center in her class photo, and she is undeniably the center of attention. That photo was included in the post “Ursuline Academy — 1921.” (The group photo is followed here by the pertinent detail.)

ursuline_1921-yrbk_1-year-high

rich-velma_ursuline_1921-yrbk

*

And, lastly, just because it might have been a “discovery,” I found a photo which I think might show ZZ Top member Dusty Hill at 15 or 16, pictured with the Woodrow Wilson High School orchestra, holding his cello. He’s not identified, but Dusty did play cello in the Woodrow orchestra, and this looks like him to me. This awkwardly-cropped photo from the 1965 WWHS yearbook can be found in the post “Dusty Hill, 1949-2021.”

zz-top_dusty-hill_woodrow-wilson_1965-yrbk-cello

**

And those are my favorite images that appeared in Flashback Dallas posts in 2021. 

Coming soon are my personal favorite posts and the most popular posts of the year….

***

Sources & Notes

See sources for the images by clicking the linked posts in which they originally appeared.

See all three 2021 Year-End “best of” lists (as they’re posted) here.

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

kodachrome_commerce-lamar_trolleydodger_twitter_sm

*

Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

%d bloggers like this: