Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: Zooming in on Details

East on Elm

elm-street_gentrys_city-of-dallas-websiteShouldn’t there be cars?

by Paula Bosse

There has been some heavy-duty editing to this post!

Here’s an interesting photo I stumbled across last night on the City of Dallas website. There wasn’t any information about it, but it appears to be a view to the east, taken from the 1400 block of Elm Street (where Exchange Place — originally Scollard Court — intersects). See what it looks like today on Google Street View here.

The main landmarks are what I call the Wilson Building Jr. (the tall dark building in the distance, located on Elm near Ervay), the Praetorian Building (the tall white building at the right, at Main and Stone), and L. W. Gentry’s photography studio in the middle of the photo at the right.

Gentry’s was upstairs at 1304 Elm from about 1904 until about 1911. In 1912, Gentry moved a block down the street to 1502 Elm, at Akard, where he took over the upstairs studio of photographer J. C. Deane. (I wrote about Deane and this building here.)

There is a sign reading “Empress” at the left. That was the Empress Theatre, which was at 1409 Elm from about 1912 to 1915. Directly across the street is a 3-story building with a sign for the Spirella Corset Parlors at 1410 Elm.

Back to the left, across the street, is the hard-to-read sign for Studebaker Bros. of Texas at 1405 Elm. Directly across the street is the new Kress Building (you can see part of the distinctive “K” from the company’s logo at the top right). Kress was at 1404-8 Elm — the building was erected in 1911 and opened that same year in November.

The “new Wilson Building” was also built in 1911, and Gentry’s took over the space above T. J. Britton’s store at Elm and Akard in 1912. And all these places appeared in the 1912 directory (except for the Empress, which was open in 1912 but might not have made the listing deadline). So I’m going to guess that this photo is from 1912 or 1913.

gentry_1912-directory_1502-ELM1912 Dallas directory, Elm Street

But this photo looks older than 1912. So many horses! The only vehicle not pulled by a horse in this photo is the streetcar. Where are the cars? In 1911, Dallas was pretty car-crazy — you’d expect to see at least ONE horseless carriage in there somewhere. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but in 1911, there were about one thousand automobiles registered in Dallas County, and the city was quickly becoming a major distribution hub for car companies (“Dallas Automobile Center of the Southwest,” Dallas Morning News, Dec. 31, 1911). (Check out this photo from 1911 taken a couple of blocks away. The only animals seen are actually riding IN an automobile!) Were cars banned from Elm Street? Seems unlikely. …I’m pretty sure I’m overthinking this.

(Ironically enough, the full entry for Studebaker Bros. which appears in the 1912 directory reads: “Carriages, wagons, buggies, street sprinklers, harness.” Nary a mention of an automobile. That arrived the following year.)

It might just be that I’ve had a very stressful couple of weeks, and it was really late when I originally wrote this. But I’ve had a refreshing night’s sleep, and I’m still fixating on this car thing. (Shouldn’t there be cars on Elm Street in 1912?) So I’m just going to stop looking at this photo, assume that it was snapped when all cars in the area were just out of frame, and wrap this thing up.

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Here are a few zoomed-in details.

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I love these decorative lamp posts (more examples can be seen in a post I really enjoyed writing, “The Grand Elm Street Illumination — 1911”).

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Sources & Notes

Photo found on the City of Dallas website, here (banner photo).

I have edited this after seeing the reader comment below. I realized that I was basing the original location on Lemuel W. Gentry’s first studio, which was a block or two west from the one seen in the photo. (I kept saying to myself, “That building looks so much like the one the Deane studio was in.” Because… it was the exact same building!) Thanks, NotBob.

Here’s a closer shot of Gentry’s studio around 1915 — on the southeast corner of Elm and Akard, right across the street from the new Queen Theatre. (This photo originally appeared in this post.)

queen_cinema-treasures

NOW we see cars!

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Pacific Avenue Warehouse District

pacific-warehouse-district_ebayLooking west on Pacific, from about Good Street

by Paula Bosse

Wandering around the eBay “sold” archives, I came across this unusual photo taken in a not terribly scenic part of town. After checking addresses of these businesses in the 1932 city directory, it looks like the photographer (who appears to have been seated in a car) snapped this shot on N. Pacific Avenue, a block or so west from Good Street (now Good-Latimer). Deep Ellum-adjacent. The view is southwesterly, toward downtown. The businesses are mostly warehouses. See what this view looks like today, 90 years or so later, via Google Street View, here.

I was excited to see two familiar 19th-century buildings which I’ve written about and feel a weird kinship with: the abandoned and shuttered old Union Depot (which I wrote about here) and the Union Depot Hotel (which I wrote about here) — located about where Pacific takes a slight jog to the right. It’s like seeing old friends.

Here are some rather grainy magnifications of the eBay “snapshot” (click to see larger images).

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Below: the Western States Grocery Co. was located at the southwest corner of Hawkins and Pacific. The Home Furnishings Co. was at 2301-2311 Elm Street (at Preston). Many of the buildings in this view (except for the 5-story-ish tall building straight ahead and to the right) can be seen in this 1921 Sanborn map. (Is that the pre-Pegasus Magnolia Building seen in the distance behind the 5-story building at the right? If so, that would mean that this photo was taken before 1934.)

pacific-toward-downtown_ebay_det-1

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The building seen below in the foreground at the left is the old Union Depot. I’ve seen so many photos of this building — but it looks TINY here! Just across the street (railroad tracks) from it (in the building seen immediately below the “Radios” sign) is the old Union Depot Hotel. The H&TC railroad used to run between them — Central Avenue later (basically) became Central Expressway. I was really excited to see these two buildings.

The taller building seen in the background, behind the Hart Furniture sign, can be seen in this 1921 Sanborn map — the 5-story building at the southwest corner of Pacific and Preston was home to the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills (another story was added around 1935).

pacific-toward-downtown_ebay_depot-and-hotel

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The Combs Transfer & Storage Co., the Packer Transfer & Storage Co., and the Baldwin Piano Ware Room were all at 2507-2509 Pacific. It looks like the two buildings seen in this detail (the short one and the taller one) have somehow miraculously survived the insane redevelopment of everything on all sides of it (I’ve haven’t been to Deep Ellum in a few months, but these two buildings seem to be the ones which you can see in the most recent Google Street View). Also, looming like a ghostly whisper in the background (above “Combs”) is the Medical Arts Building.

pacific-toward-downtown_ebay_medical-arts-bldg

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I wonder why someone decided to take this photo? I’m glad they did, because it’s not a view I’ve ever seen. I love finding photographs taken in places that most people wouldn’t think were interesting enough to document for posterity. Like this one. Thanks, anonymous photographer!

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I just picked the closest historical map I had easy access to — the 1952 Mapsco. My guess is that the photograph is from the 1930s. The star is about where the photo was taken — just west of what is now Good-Latimer, just before Pacific becomes Gaston — with a view to the west.

pacific-toward-downtown_mapsco_19521952 Mapsco (det.)

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Sources & Notes

Photo found on eBay — it looks like the item sold a couple of weeks ago, in Sept. 2022.

pacific-warehouse-district_ebay_sm

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Elks-a-Plenty — 1908

dmn-bldg_decorated-for-elks-convention_1908_cook-collection_SMU_full

Begirt with ruffles and studded with elks…

by Paula Bosse

Conventions have always been important to Dallas. One of the most important conventions ever to descend upon the city was the annual convention of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks in July 1908. There were approximately 38,000 attendees, but when you added to that number spouses and various others with business, social, or just looky-loo interests, it was estimated that more than 100,00 out-of-towners clogged the streets of our fair burg during the time of the convention. Dallas was a sizeable city in 1908, but the sudden swarming into town of 100,000 people (twice the actual population of the city!) must have been… challenging. (And profitable!)

Dallas welcomed the Elks with enthusiasm and open arms. Everyone knew they were coming, and everywhere there were splashes of the Elk colors, purple and white. A special (and later notorious) semi-permanent arch was erected to span Main Street at Akard. And businesses competed with one another to see who could decorate their building with the most spectacular and festive bunting.

Above is a photo of the Dallas Morning News Building at the northwest corner of Commerce and Lamar, crammed full of flags, bunting, pennants, cowbells, lights, little statues of elks, medium-sized statues of elks, and large statues of elks. (There is an elk in every window.) It also had a large clock erected which was perpetually stuck at an Elk-y 11:00 and a parallelogram-shaped sign which lit up to flash the Elk greeting “Hello, Bill!” So… a lot. But what might seem like overkill — like The News was trying a little too hard to be noticed… the Elks loved it. LOVED IT. They loved it so much that they awarded the newspaper an award of $250 for the best decorated building in the city (that would be about $8,000 in today’s money!). Scroll down to read a breathless description of these decorations, with details of absolutely everything that was flapping, clanging, flashing, billowing, and throbbing at Commerce and Lamar in the summer of 1908. (I have to put this sentence from the article here because I love it so much: “To the bottom of each of these flags are attached small cowbells of different tones, so that with every strong whiff of wind there is a discordant but merry jingle.”)

So, those elk statues. I mean… they’re fantastic. Little elks in every window, illuminated by a single electric bulb positioned “between the forefeet” of each mini-elk. And then there are the larger ones appearing to step out of — or off of — the building. But back to those little elks — are you wondering what happened to them after the conventioneers headed back home? Wonder no more!

elks_news-bldg_belo-ad_071808

Dallas Morning News, July 18, 1908

That would have been a great souvenir!

The photo at the top of this post (by Frank B. Secrest of Hunt County) was issued that summer as a postcard. The News did not miss an opportunity to mention it:

elks_news-bldg_dmn_080708

DMN, Aug. 7, 1908

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And because I love to zoom in on these sorts of photos, here are a few magnified details:

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Here is a lengthy description of the decorations, from The Dallas Morning News — direct from the horse’s mouth:

To decorate The News Building in celebration of the coming of the Elks has been the labor of two men for more than a month, and of a dozen for two days: for, though it was only three days ago that the first bit of color appeared on the outer walls, the preparations were begun in the seclusion of a workshop early in June. The draping of the building with bunting and flags was done under the direction of W. T. Senter of the National Decorating Company of St. Louis, and of Edward A. Gebhard, librarian of The News. In working out their scheme they have used 4,200 yards of bunting, purple, white and purple, and twenty-four immense flags, and disposed of it in such artistic fashion as to avoid a sense of crowding.

PURPLE, WHITE AND PURPLE RUFFLES

The building is thrice begirt with big ruffles of purple, white and purple. But, to begin at the topmost, three large flags, one the United States, another the Texas and the other The News’ flag, float high above the Lamar street side of the building. To the bottom of each of these flags are attached small cowbells of different tones, so that with every strong whiff of wind there is a discordant but merry jingle. From one to the other of the flagstaffs hundreds of small pennants in the colors of the Elks flutter gayly in the breeze. Festooned from the heavy cornice which crowns the building are heavy folds of purple, white and purple so arranged that with every vagrant breeze it swells and sinks like the surface of water. Once on the Lamar street side, over the entrance, again at the corner and once on the Commerce street side this bunting is gathered around an immense United States flag, fashioned fan-shape. Poised on the cornice of the building at the corner, as if surveying the land preparatory of a leap, is the graceful figure of an elk, five and a half feet high, made out of plaster of Paris, painted and enameled until he glistens.

The two lower ledges of the building are draped in similar fashion, except that the streamers at these places are narrower than those that festoon the cornice. Above the main entrance on the Lamar street side and extending from below the second story to the third-story ledge is the piece de resistance. Here set in an embrasure of the building, is a clock dial twelve feet in diameter. The gilt letters marking the divisions of the circle are two feet high. The hands point to the hour of 11. The pure white head and shoulders of an elk seven feet high are shown in the center one foot forward, as if he were about to emerge from the fluffy mass of purple and white bunting that forms the background dial. On each side an immense flag is gathered in a way to make it fan-shaped. Circling the clock dial are six large incandescent lights.

WHOLE HERD OF ELKS

From the third-story corner of the building, above which stands a five and one-half foot Elk, as if surveying the country from a precipice, are festooned two twelve-foot flags that fall almost to the second-story ledge of the building. One is gathered around on the Commerce and the other on the Lamar street side. And there yet remains to speak of the most distinctive feature of the whole scheme of decoration. The News, in preparation for this event, had made a whole herd of elks. There are forty-two of them, each thirty-two inches tall, and one, mounted on a pedestal, stands poised from the ledge of every window in the building. They are pure white, made of plaster Paris, painted twice and then enameled. Between the forefeet of every one is an electric bulb. The elks are from models designed by Mr. Gebhard and were cast in The News Building.

BRILLIANT ILLUMINATION

Of course the whole building is brilliantly lighted. In addition to the electricity used ordinarily, which lights the exterior of The News Building pretty well, bulbs have been studded profusely midst the decorations and over the Lamar street entrance is a parallelogram of electric lights which illuminate the sign, “Hello, Bill!”

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The article then launches into more self-promotion, with an, admittedly, interesting description of the layout of the News Building:

ATTRACTS GENERAL ATTENTION

The building of The News attracted general attention from the thousands of visiting Elks. Many expressed their surprise that a city the size of Dallas had such a complete, modern building and equipment, and the compliments concerning The News as a newspaper have been very pleasing.

The News Building has all the modern fireproof features. It occupies a space of 300×100, having three floors and a basement, the whole being used by the newspaper. Its business office is one of the handsomest in the State, and, as one visitor remarked, it looks more like a prosperous bank than the ordinary newspaper office.

The first floor is given up to the business and circulation departments, the press room and the mailing department. In the basement are the paper storage rooms and the power department. On the second floor are the editorial rooms, telegraph rooms and the general circulation department and the newspaper job department, besides the Employes’ Library and Recreation Room. On the third floor are the composing and the linotype rooms, the stereotype room and the engraving department.

INDIVIDUAL ELECTRIC MOTORS

Every piece of machinery in the house is operated by its own individual electric motor. Power is supplied from two immense engines and generators combined, the engine room being one of the show places in the building, having a metal ceiling and white glazed brick on the walls, with a cement floor. The press room contains two three-deck presses, one quadruple press and one sextuple press.

TWO DAILY NEWSPAPERS

The Dallas News is the offspring of The Galveston News, which was established in 1842. The two papers are under the same management. The publication offices of The News, Galveston and Dallas, 315 miles apart, are connected by special wires for interchange of news matter. The Galveston paper supplies the southern part of the State and the Louisiana border, while the other covers all North Texas and goes well into Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

THREE SPECIAL TRAINS

For upward of a quarter of a century the two papers have operated at their own expense, every day in the year, three special newspaper trains, one running Galveston to Houston, one Dallas to Denison and the third Dallas to Fort Worth. The Dallas News covers hundreds of thriving towns throughout its territory, many of them before breakfast time, through its unrivaled facilities of distribution. Starting in 1885, The Dallas News has been a continuous success, and has achieved an enviable reputation wherever American newspapers are known. As an advertising medium it is in a class by itself so far as papers in this section of the country are concerned. Starting at 1885 with thirty-three classified ads in its Sunday issue, it now runs each Sunday about 2,000. It is a success because it is enterprising and because it is clean, both in its news columns and in its advertising columns; because it is fair-minded and because its efforts have always been uplifting from a moral and intellectual standpoint and fair to every interest.

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And then it launches into many, many testimonials from Elk visitors on how much they love the decorations. This is the first. You get the idea.

J. T. McNulty of Baltimore, grand trustee of the Elks, prominent in National circles of the Knights of Columbus and a central figure in the Ancient Order of Hibernians of America, who has traveled largely and visited every State in the Union, being prominent in business and political circles said: “I have been to many conventions, my son, and have seen many decorations, but the one at The News plant, in my estimation ‘takes the cake,’ figuratively and literally speaking. It is the most unique, the most artistic and the most beautiful I have ever seen in all my attendance at conventions in this country, and I have attended many of them. I was agreeably surprised at the way Dallas has decorated, but nothing gave me such a shock of pleasurable surprise as the first sight I had of The News’ decorations.”

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And this is the dark and grainy photo that ran with the article:

dmn-bldg_elks_dmn_071508_photo

DMN, July 15, 1908

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I kinda want an elk statue now. Also, according to the article, I now know the Morning News has its own flag. Can someone point me to more info?

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Sources & Notes

Top photo — titled “[The News, First Prize for Decorations, Dallas, Texas]” — is from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University; more info on this photograph (postcard) can be found here.

Lengthy quote is from the article “Dallas News Building Decorated In Honor of the Elk’s Grand Lodge Which Is Now Holding Its Annual Session and Grand Jubilee in This City,” The Dallas Morning News, July 15, 1908.

More Elks-related Flashback Dallas posts:

And more photos of this beautiful Dallas News Building can be found in these posts:

dmn-bldg_decorated-for-elks-convention_1908_cook-collection_SMU_full_sm

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Simms Super Service Station, Cedar Springs & Maple — 1930

simms-super-service-station_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_ca-1930Let us vulcanize your tires!

by Paula Bosse

If you call yourself a “Super Service Station,” you’d better be pretty super. And the one in the photo above is pretty super. It opened in 1930 at the intersection of Cedar Springs and Maple (on the northernmost tip of the land now occupied by the Crescent). 

Construction of the station and attached retail spaces was announced in 1929 by the Dallas-based Simms Oil Company (headquartered in the Magnolia Building, with a refinery on Eagle Ford Road in West Dallas) — it was reported that the impressive building would cost about $40,000 (about $615,000 in today’s money). It would be the 34th Simms service station in the city but it would be the first SUPER service station. Its grand opening at the end of April, 1930 was a big event, broadcast over KRLD radio, with singers, music, and flowers for the ladies. No business was conducted during the grand opening — it was strictly an open house, offering prospective customers the opportunity to walk among the gas pumps and admire what the company called “the last word in service station art.”

simms_cedar-springs-maple_grand-opening_043030_detDetail from grand opening ad, April, 1930

The filling station will be equipped with ten electrically operated gasoline pumps. Every kind of automobile repairs and battery and tire vulcanizing service will be offered. (Dallas Morning News, Oct. 20, 1929)

The building is of terra cotta in modernistic design with the well-known Simms color scheme of blue, white and red used. […] On top of the structure is a beacon bearing the Simms triangle. It will revolve with flood lights playing on it all the while. (DMN, April 27, 1930)

I never think of businesses of that period being open 24 hours a day, but this one was. Super!

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Here are a few zoomed-in close-ups of the top photo, which shows the Cedar Springs side of the building. (Click pictures to see larger images.)

At the left of this detail you can see a glimpse of Maple Avenue, which, at the time, was still lined with large, expensive homes.

simms_det_to-maple

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In the shadows, a man who no doubt has prodigious vulcanizing skills.

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In addition to housing a gas station, the building had 6 retail spaces — 3 on Maple and 3 on Cedar Springs. One of the businesses seen here places the date of this photo at 1930, when The Radio Shop was located at 2304 Cedar Springs (the next year it appears to have moved around to the Maple side of the building). Next to it is the Fishburn Oriental Cleaners at 2308 Cedar Springs. (The official address of the Simms station was 2623 Maple, but it was usually just listed as being at the southeast corner of Maple and Cedar Springs — after Simms, the building’s address was 2312 Cedar Springs.)

simms_det_truck_oriental-cleaners_radio-shop

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Here’s a close-up of the company truck and an easy-to-remember number when you needed to call for help with a broken-down vehicle.

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And here it is in an ad. That motorcycle is cool. For some reason I really want that sidecar to be filled with sloshing gasoline.

simms_ad_082630_detAd detail, Aug. 26, 1930

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And here’s the revolving rooftop beacon. (What looks like a spray of water is just damage to the surface of the photograph.) (…But a fountain on top of a gas station would be pretty amazing.)

simms_det_tower-cu

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You know you’ve got a cool building if you can include an instantly recognizable line drawing of it in your ads.

simms_cedar-springs-maple_060330_detAd detail, June 3, 1930

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I think the company might have disappeared before the 1930s ended. Because this is the only “old” “modern” map I’ve got, here’s where the Simms gas station had been located, courtesy of a 1952 Mapsco.

cedar-springs-maple_1952-mapscoMapsco, 1952

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Here are a couple of later photos of the building, post-Simms. The first one is from a grainy Shook Tires ad from 1938. The color postcard is from the 1960s when it was the C. S. Hamilton Chrysler dealership. The beacon is still there but, surely, it was no longer beaconing (unlike the Republic Bank “rocket” seen in the background, which was beaconing big-time). (See below in the comments for a 1940s photo of the building.)

shook-tires_ad_2312-cedar-springs_051338Shook Tires, 1938

hamilton-car-dealership_cedar-springs-at-maple_ca-1962_ebayC. S. Hamilton Chrysler, ca. 1962

Mohr Chevrolet moved in around 1968.

mohr-chevrolet_1975-directory1975 Dallas directory

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Sources & Notes

Photo — titled “Simms Oil Station (Dallas, Tex.): exterior view of front entrance, corner perspective” — is from the Atlantic Terra Cotta Company Architectural records and photographs, 1914-1941, Architectural Terra Cotta, Alexander Architectural Archives, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin; more info can be found here

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

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

SMU Campus, An Aerial View from the North — 1940s

smu-campus_from-the-north_squire-haskins_UTA_nd(Squire Haskins Collection, UTA Libraries)

by Paula Bosse

When you see aerial views of the SMU campus, they’re usually looking to the north, toward Dallas Hall. Which is one reason this photo by ace photographer Squire Haskins is interesting. It’s also noteworthy because it shows “Trailerville,” the trailer camp set up on the campus from 1946 to 1953 for married war-vet students, and it also shows the pre-fab men’s dormitories, which look like army barracks. Housing in post-WWII Dallas was was very, very tight, and people had to make do and were crammed into all sorts of spaces. (See a very large image of this photo on the UTA website here.)

For reference, Mockingbird Lane is running horizontally at the top (I was wondering if that might have been the Mrs. Baird’s bakery (built in 1953) at the top left, but it’s not far enough east), Bishop Blvd. is in the center, and Hillcrest Avenue is at the right. And there’s also a whole lot of empty land — a startling sight if you’ve seen the present-day bursting-at-the-seams campus.

Here are a few blurry close-ups. First, Trailerville (which I’ve been meaning to write about for years!) — just northeast of Ownby Stadium:

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Men’s dorms in temporary buildings which were removed in 1952/53:

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And something that isn’t the Mrs. Baird’s Bread factory (scroll down to see what it was):

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Thanks to the comments below by reader “Not Bob,” it appears that the photo of the long building at the top left corner — on the site later occupied by Mrs. Baird’s Bread — was once an armory for the 112th Cavalry (Troop A) of the Texas National Guard. The building was originally built in 1921 as the headquarters of the Wharton Motor Company, a short-lived automobile and tractor manufacturer. It appears to have closed by 1922 and the company was bankrupt by 1924. The 112th Cavalry (with about 40 horses) moved in at the end of 1927 — they were forced to move out by the end of 1930 because of neighbor complaints (and a lawsuit) about the horses being in such close proximity to residences. By the time of the photo above, it was the Town and Country food business which rented freezer-locker space to the public. Mrs. Baird’s Bread decided to build on the site in 1949 (with the intention, presumably, to raze the existing building) — construction began in 1952 and the factory opened in 1953 (incidentally, the factory was designed by legendary Dallas architect George Dahl). (I should write about the Wharton building sometime — it has an interesting history.) 

The commenter (“Not Bob”) also linked to a similar view of the campus in 1955, post-Trailerville:

smu_from-the-north_1955_degolyer-library_SMU_cropped(DeGolyer Library, SMU)

By then, Central Expressway had been built and Mrs. Baird’s was cranking out that delicious aroma that filled the neighborhood for decades:

smu_from-the-north_1955_degolyer-library_SMU_det-mrs-bairds

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Sources & Notes

“Aerial view of the campus of Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas” is by Squire Haskins, from the Squire Haskins Photography Inc. Collection, University of Texas at Arlington Libraries; more information on this photo can be found here (click thumbnail photo to see larger image).

“1955 aerial view of campus from the north” — by William J. Davis — is from the collection of the DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University; more information on this photo is here.

smu-campus_from-the-north_squire-haskins_UTA_nd_sm

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

World War I Cadets, Commerce Street — 1918

ww1_cadets_commerce-street_1918_natl-archives_fullStanding at attention in the 2100 block of Commerce

by Paula Bosse

Great photo by John J. Johnson showing high school cadets standing in formation in the 2100 block of Commerce Street — the view is to the west (the Adolphus Hotel can be seen all the way at the end of the street, on the right). Here are a couple of zoomed-in details (click to see larger images).

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The official Records of the U.S. War Department description of this photo:

ww1_cadets_commerce-street_1918_natl-archives_description

The buildings in the foreground are, amazingly, still standing — over a hundred years later (a rarity for downtown Dallas buildings). See the same view today on Google here.

The Ajax Rubber Co. building the cadets are standing in front of is the “Waters” building (2117 Commerce), which has been very nicely restored by the East Quarter people:

ww1_cadets_commerce-street_google-street-view_2020Google Street View, Feb. 2020

Below, a clipping from the 1917 Dallas directory, showing the businesses on Commerce between Pearl and Preston (now Cesar Chavez):

ww1_cadets_commerce-street_1917-dallas-directory

Two years after this photo was taken — in 1920 — the Magnolia gas station (better known as the KLIF building) was built on the spot the cadets were looking at. See that building in the post “Magnolia Gas Station No. 110 — 1920.”

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Sources & Notes

This photo, titled “Dallas High School Cadets,” was taken by Dallas photographer John J. Johnson (usually seen as Jno. J. Johnson) on June 11, 1918. It is from the American Unofficial Collection of World War I Photographs 1917-1918, Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs 1860-1952, National Archives — more info on this photo can be found on the National Archives site here.

Other Flashback Dallas posts on World War I can be found here.

ww1_cadets_commerce-street_1918_natl-archives_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Magnolia Gas Station No. 110 — 1920

magnolia-gas-station_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_frank-rogersDallas’ finest filling station… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The building seen above turns 100 this year. You know it — you’ve probably said, “I love that building!” at some point in your life. It was built by the Magnolia Petroleum Co. on the triangular piece of land where Commerce Street, Jackson Street, and Cesar Chavez Blvd. meet (Cesar Chavez was originally Preston Street). Before the building’s construction, this intersection was known as “Five Points” — after its construction, it was known as “Pershing Square” (notable for its inconveniently placed middle-of-the-street horse- and dog-watering fountain, which I will write about in the future).

This distinctive brick and terra cotta “semi-Gothic” building was built in 1920, with two stories and a basement; Magnolia service station #110 was on the ground level, and regional offices of the company were above (the massive Pegasus-topped Magnolia Building had not yet been built). Lang & Witchell, Dallas’ premier architects, designed the building.

magnolia-petroleum-station_dmn_091919Dallas Morning News, Sept. 19, 1919

magnolia-petroleum-station_dmn_113019DMN, Nov. 30, 1919

After the 10-pump service station opened, The Dallas Morning News noted that there were 64 gas stations in Dallas (18 were Magnolia stations) — this station was the largest and most expensive to build. Cost of the land and construction was estimated at $175,00 — the equivalent today of about $2.5 million dollars.

Businesses seen in the photo occupying the three-story building across the street at 2114-16 Jackson are Service Truck Co. of Texas, Tigert Printing Co., and Merchants Retail Credit Association. That building was sandwiched between residences (the house on the left is out of frame). All the way at the right of the photo is a glimpse of rooming houses. Across Commerce was an entire block of auto dealerships and auto supply houses (not seen in this photo). See the service station and environs on a 1921 Sanborn map here.

Let’s zoom in on this great Frank Rogers photo to see some of the details. First, a better look at that three-story office building on Jackson. (All photos are larger when clicked.)

magnolia-gas-station_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_frank-rogers_det-1

Pulling back a bit, you can see the rooming houses through the arches. You can also see details of the gas station as well as decorative elements of the exterior of the building, including sculptural depictions of magnolias. (I love this cropped detail. Taken out of context, you’d never guess you were looking at Dallas.)

magnolia-gas-station_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_frank-rogers_det-5

Moving up, you can see the word “Magnolene,” the Magnolia Petroleum Co.’s brand of motor oil; you can also see the words “Commerce Street” (“Jackson Street” is carved into the Jackson side of the building — see here).

magnolia-gas-station_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_frank-rogers_det-2

Here’s a closer look — “Magnolene” is, I think, long gone (as are those cool windows), but “Commerce Street” and “Jackson Street” live on today. Also, check out that very appealing street light. 

magnolia-gas-station_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_frank-rogers_det-3

And another, closer look at the gasoline pumps and customers. There is so much incredible detail in the design of this building — when was the last time you saw such an aesthetically appealing gas station?

magnolia-gas-station_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_frank-rogers_det-6

Here’s a photo from a 1922 ad for Atlanta Terra Cotta Co., which supplied several Magnolia stations in Texas with building materials — this was taken from the Jackson Street side (see the full ad here).

magnolia-petroleum-station_manufacturers-record_121422_ad-det

Here’s the building a couple of decades later:

magnolia-petroleum-station_KLIF-bldg_dallas-public-library_crop

And here it is as many Dallasites remember it, as the studios of KLIF radio, “The Mighty 1190,” where the DJ’s booth was at the “point” and passersby could watch from the street. Later it was the home of the Dallas Observer for many years. (I’m not sure of the original source of this photo, but if anyone knows or has a better quality image, let me know!)

KLIF_color

This shows the building a little earlier — it’s a cropped photo that appeared on the album cover “KLIF — KLIFF Klassics,” from about 1969 — you can see the DJ’s booth lit up.

klif_kliff-klassics_vol-iv_album-cover_ca-1969_flickr
via Flickr

Today the building is part of an “adaptive reuse” development called “East Quarter” — I read that the building was slated to house a restaurant (or two), but I don’t know what the current status of that project is.

It’s nice to know that a favorite building from my childhood is still around. Happy 100th!

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Sources & Notes

Top photo is titled “Magnolia Filling Station, Pershing (Dallas, Tex.): exterior view of front entrance, corner perspective” by Dallas photographer Frank Rogers; it is from the Atlantic Terra Cotta Company Architectural records and photographs, 1914-1941, Architectural Terra Cotta, Alexander Architectural Archives, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin; more info can be found here.

The same photo appeared uncredited accompanying the Dallas Morning News article “Filling Stations of Dallas Are Finest” (DMN, April 10, 1921). 

The photo taken from the Jackson Street side is from an ad for the Atlanta Terra Cotta Co. which appeared in Manufacturers Record (Dec. 14, 1922). (The Atlanta Terra Cotta Co. of Georgia and the Atlantic Terra Cotta Co. of New York were separate companies but were under the same management.)

The photo from the 1940s/1950s is “[Pershing Square in downtown Dallas, Texas]” — I have cropped it; from the Ford Motor Company Building Collection, Dallas Public Library (call number: PA85-39/16).

Here is another photo from the same collection as the main photo in this post — this shows another Magnolia filling station in Dallas, this one a smaller, more traditional station (more info here).

magnolia-filling-station_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT

magnolia-gas-station_atlantic-terra-cotta-co-coll_UT_frank-rogers_sm

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Happy Halloween from Karl Hoefle — 1955

halloween_hoefle_curiosities-blog_1955_med
Getting ready for the big day, polishing her broom… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Before Karl Hoefle entered the consciousness of most Dallasites with his fun phone book covers, he was a hard-working commercial artist. This 1955 Halloween-themed drawing was done for a magazine cover, and, like those phone book covers, he rewards the observant viewer with lots of little jokes. It might help to zoom in and look at some of the details.

The first one is a little fuzzy, but the calendar is from the A-1 Witchcraft Supply House: “Everything for the discriminating witch. See the all-new ’56 jet broom with ‘floating ride.'”

halloween_hoefle_curiosities-blog_1955_det_calendar

The witch has some handy-dandy Bonson’s Broom Polish (“with added anti-sliver compound”).

halloween_hoefle_curiosities-blog_1955_det_broom-polish

Her bookshelf contains works such as My Ghoul in Life, the Encyclopedia of Witchcraft (Standard Revised Edition), and Haunting Melodies. And the smiling ghost portrait adds a nice homey touch.

halloween_hoefle_curiosities-blog_1955_det_bookshelf

A crumpled-up note on the floor reads “Call Merlin.”

halloween_hoefle_curiosities-blog_1955_det_merlin

Mice are scaring each other, and the V8 Jet Broom appears to be revving.

halloween_hoefle_curiosities-blog_1955_det_boo

Thank you, Karl!

halloween_hoefle_curiosities-blog_1955_det_sig

Happy Halloween!

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Sources & Notes

This illustration by Karl Hoefle was drawn for the September-October, 1955 issue of Among Ourselves, a local publication for the Pollock Paper Corporation Employees. I found this image in an old post on the website of the fab establishment in Lakewood, Curiosities. The post from 2014 is here — it includes two more Among Ourselves covers by Hoefle.

I’ve written only one Karl Hoefle post so far: “1971 Yellow Pages Cover: SMU Gets the Karl Hoefle Treatment,” here.

More Halloween posts can be found here.

All pictures are larger when clicked/tapped.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

10th and Lancaster, Oak Cliff — ca. 1902

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_mcafee_degolyer_SMU_ca-1902Lancaster, intersecting Jefferson & E. 10th… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

This photo, taken around 1902, shows a northward-view of an intersection of the soon-to-be-annexed (or a just-annexed) Oak Cliff: Lancaster (the dark road running at a slight diagonal to the upper left of the photo), E. 10th St. (crossing Lancaster behind the “Eselco 10¢ Cigars” sign and running horizontally in the middle of the photo), and Jefferson, which contains the double tracks of the then-new Dallas-Fort Worth interurban railway.

The location of this photo can be seen on a 1905 Sanborn map here (in that map, 10th St. is at the right edge — to see the area just south of Jefferson — where the photographer snapped his photo — that map is here). The view today? Lancaster (which became N. Lancaster just north of E. 10th) no longer exists immediately north of 10th — that land is now occupied by Hector P. Garcia Middle School  — the location seen in the 116-year-old photo above can be viewed on Google Street View, here.

Let’s zoom in on this photo. Though grainy, it’s still really exciting to see views of Oak Cliff, just after the turn of the century (Oak Cliff was annexed by Dallas in 1903 but had been a thriving community for many years before that). Below, a couple of men are seated on a bench beneath a sign that says “Interurban Ticket Office,” a bicycle lies at the curb, men stand on the corner, and a horse-drawn buggy is parked underneath a sign that says “drugs.” Eselco brand cigars were ten cents apiece at the time (about $3.00 in today’s money). The “ticket office” sign helps date this photo, as the Dallas-Fort Worth interurban service (through Oak Cliff) began in July, 1902.

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_mcafee_degolyer_SMU_ca-1902_det-1

On the east side of Lancaster, a two-story building with “Britton & Collins Drugs” painted on the side dominates the block. The drug store was owned by T. Jefferson (“Jeff”) Britton and J. Willie Collins. Tennessee-born Britton (1874-1926) had opened a well-known drug store in downtown Dallas at the southeast corner of Elm and Akard in the late 1890s (seen here in 1900) — this attempt at an expansion into Oak Cliff does not seem to have lasted long: I find listings for this OC location in only the 1902 and 1903 city directories.

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_mcafee_degolyer_SMU_ca-1902_det-2

britton-and-collins-drug-store_1902-directory1902 Dallas city directory

Back to the interurban service (the arrival of which was, no doubt, both a welcomed convenience as well as a financial boon to Oak Cliff residents and businesses): here are the double tracks of the Northern Texas Traction Co.,  running along Jefferson. (More on this interurban line is at the bottom of this post.)

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_mcafee_degolyer_SMU_ca-1902_det-3

Below is a detail from a 1905 map showing this confusing intersection of E. 10th, Jefferson, N. Lancaster, and S. Lancaster. (As with all images in this post, click to see a larger picture.)

oak-cliff_tenth-and-lancaster_worleys-map-greater-dallas_1905_det

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Sources & Notes

This photo — titled “10th and Lancaster, Oak Cliff, 1900” — is part of the George A. McAfee photographs collection, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University; more information about this photo can be found here.

According to the DeGolyer Library, the photo has the following notation written on the back: “10th & Lancaster. Oak Cliff — looking toward Dallas. Taken 1900.” I think the photo was taken a little later — somewhere between mid-1902 and very early 1904: the Britton & Collins drug store was listed in only two Dallas directories (1902 and 1903), and the interurban service from Dallas to Fort Worth (which passed through Oak Cliff and past the “Tenth St. Station”) did not begin until July, 1902.

Everything you could possibly want to know about the Dallas-Fort Worth interurban line, including mechanical specs and several photographs, can be found in a PDF of the July 18, 1903 issue of the Street Railway Journal, here (the 10-page article “The System of the Northern Texas Traction Company” begins on p. 82). (Lots on “Lake Erie” at Handley can also  be found in this article.)

A few newspaper snippets from the first month following of the launch of the Dallas-Fort Worth interurban service.

oak-cliff_interurban_dmn_070102Dallas Morning News, July 1, 1902 (click to see larger image)

oak-cliff_interurban_dmn_070702_first-week-operationDMN, July 7, 1902

The one-way fare to FW from Dallas was 70¢, and a round-trip fare was $1.25 (a rather hefty $20 and $36, respectively, in today’s money, adjusted for inflation).

oak-cliff_interurban_tenth-station_dmn_071702DMN, July 17, 1902

oak-cliff_interurban_tenth-station_dmn_071102DMN, July 11, 1902

oak-cliff_interurban_el-paso-herald_072102El Paso Herald, July 21, 1902

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

Prepping for the 1932 State Fair of Texas Midway

state-fair-of-texas_1932_gimarcBackstage” at the SFOT… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

We usually see photos of the State Fair of Texas as the fair is underway, with everything already built, assembled, painted, and manned. But what happens before the gates open each year? Here’s a great photo (from pack rat George Gimarc, of Dallas dj fame) showing what things looked like in 1932 as workers prepped midway attractions for the fair’s opening. Let’s zoom in and look at a few details (all images are larger when clicked).

sfot_1932_gimarc_det-3Axle problem?

sfot_1932_jungle-killers-det_gimarc“ALIVE. Jungle Killers from the Wilds of Sumatra.” And someone — or some creature — named “Big Ben.”

sfot_1932_beckman-gerety-det_gimarcAbove, in the background at the right you can see a partial sign for Beckman & Gerety, providers of midway entertainment for fairs and carnivals around the country. (I don’t  know who these two men are, but they do not appear to be Fred Beckman and Barney Gerety, who can be seen here.)

When George Gimarc sent me this photo, he also sent me images of the State Fair of Texas envelope he found it in (see the envelope here). Below are details from the front and back.

sfot_1932_envelope_logo_gimarc

sfot_1932_envelope_back_det_gimarc

“Alice Joy in ‘Dream Girl Follies’ with Henry Santrey’s Band in the Auditorium.” Alice Joy was fresh from two years as NBC’s “radio dream girl” and was the namesake-headliner of this spectacular three-and-a-half-hour revue at the Music Hall which featured a bevy of chorus girls, acts-a-plenty, and “hot jazz novelties.” 4,000 people witnessed the show’s opening night. Probably gave those jungle killers from the wilds of the Sumatra a run for their money.

There was a lot going on at the 1932 State Fair of Texas. Check out this (comprehensive) ad from the opening weekend (click it!). Cars! Football! Alligator wrestling! Hoot Gibson’s Rodeo (“famous outlaw broncs”)! An aviation show! Everything!

sfot-1932_oct-9-1932_adOct. 9, 1932 (click to see large image)

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Sources  & Notes

Photo and color images from the collection of George Gimarc, used with permission (thank you, George!).

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

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