Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

From the Vault: Nolan Ryan’s Extreme High-Carb Breakfast at the Sheraton — 1972

nolan-ryanAnticipation…

by Paula Bosse

Why was future-Texas Ranger Nolan Ryan being served 302 pancakes at the Sheraton on September 26, 1972? Find out why in the 2015 Flashback Dallas post “Nolan Ryan’s Celebratory Pancake Breakfast — 1972,” here.

Happy (belated) Opening Day!

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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The L. P. Sigler Jewelry Store, Peak & Elm

peak-and-elm_cook-collection_degolyer_SMUNorth Peak & Elm, southeast corner… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Dr. Lough Phillip Sigler (1884-1951) was an optometrist who moved to Dallas from Denton County in 1908; the following year he opened a jewelry and watch store inside an Old East Dallas pharmacy at 4301 Elm Street, at the northeast corner of Elm and North Peak, eventually expanding into the adjoining storefront. In 1930 he moved across the street into a brand new building at the southeast corner of Peak and Elm: 132 N. Peak, seen in the photo above.

This type of neighborhood retail strip of shops and cafes was a common site throughout the city, and there are several still standing, most of which I’ve seen in Old East Dallas and Oak Cliff. I love these strips, and, thankfully, the one seen in the photo still stands.

peak-and-elm_googleGoogle Street View, 2016

The jewelry company founded by Dr. Sigler had an amazingly long life: the store opened at Peak and Elm in about 1910 (at the northeast corner) and remained in business (at the southeast corner) until well into the 1970s. The business which currently stands at 132 N. Peak is a very charming Mexican restaurant called Peak & Elm Cocina y Bar (check it out!).

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Sources & Notes

Top image — “Peak & Elm Sts.” — is from a real photo postcard in the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more information on this photo can be found here.

If I had to guess the date of the image, I’d guess around 1930 when Sigler moved into the new location. The strip appears to have been built in 1929, with its first tenants showing up in the 1930 city directory. See it today on Google Street View, here.

Just as an interesting historical note, directly across Peak from Sigler’s jewelry store were car barns and machine shops for some of the city’s electric railway streetcars — they can be seen in a 1922 Sanborn map here. Those blocks are currently occupied by Dallas Area Rapid Transit facilities.

The 1922 map showing blocks occupied by Mr. Sigler’s store(s) is here (his first location at 4301-03 Elm is seen, but the building which housed his later store at 132 N. Peak is not seen as it would not be built for another seven or eight years). 

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

From the Vault: Garrett Park

garret-park_color

by Paula Bosse

Springtime! This postcard of Garrett Park screams springtime. The park is still there, between Lowest Greenville and Munger Place, it just doesn’t look anything like this anymore. I’ve updated the 2014 Flashback Dallas post “Garrett Park Aburst in Spring Flowers” with new text and a few new images, here.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Eccentric Medford Compound On the Old Eagle Ford Road: 1945-1950

medford_trinity-cafe_west-dallas_FB_dallas-historyYou need it, he’s got it… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Above, 409-413 Singleton Blvd. in West Dallas, not long after the name of the street had been changed from Eagle Ford Road. The name-change happened in 1942 because of “unfavorable incidents in the past which had been associated with Eagle Ford Road” (The Dallas Morning News, April 26, 1942) — “Singleton” was Vernon Singleton, a former Oak Cliff County Commissioner. Today, this area is part of the super-hipstery Trinity Groves neighborhood; the block seen in the photo is now mostly occupied by a parking lot and looks like this.

Back then, “Eagle Ford Road” would have conjured up all sorts of unsavory images of bad behavior and illegal activities, and, even now, one tends to think immediately of the area’s most notorious exports: Bonnie and Clyde. Immediately after World War II, the population of West Dallas (an area which would not become part of the City of Dallas until its annexation in December, 1952) was about 12,000, and its residents were generally poor and living in substandard housing with inadequate water and drainage and little in the way of sanitary facilities.

The “complex” above — which consisted of, basically, the Trinity Cafe, a grocery/drug/dry-goods store, and a residence — was perhaps a bit more colorful than most of the businesses that lined Eagle Road/Singleton Blvd. in post-war West Dallas. The property was owned by Richard Elbert Medford (1864-1950), who, as one of the signs says, was also known as “The Rev. R. E. Medford, Preacher” (although I’m not sure if he was an actual ordained minister or just a self-styled preacher). In 1944 or 1945 — after several years of selling mattresses — Medford took over the collection of rickety buildings seen in the photo above, sold a wide-ranging collection of unrelated stuff, and painted a lot of signs. He remained in business there until his death in 1950 at the age of 86 (the cause of death was “senile exhaustion” which I gather means “died of old age”).

The signage in the photo is … well … it’s fantastic. It’s verging on Outsider Art. Medford offered everything, including (but not limited to):

  • Real estate
  • Beer
  • Notary Public services (deeds, mortgages, birth certificates…)
  • Keys
  • Appliance repair
  • Lawn mowers
  • Oil
  • Fish bait (minnows, crawfish, worms, and “flys”)

He also offered religious advice (“Repent & Be Babtised By Emmersion For Your Sins You Will Be Saved”).

Mr. Medford’s personal life was not a happy one, and perhaps the unrelenting family dramas caused him to become more and more eccentric as the years went by. Many of his children found themselves caught up in the crime and violence West Dallas had become known for.

  • One teenage son was shot and wounded during an attempted robbery in 1930, two months before one of his daughters married at the age of 13.
  • Another son, who was 11 years old, was killed when he attempted to intervene in a fight between his sister and her husband and was fatally kicked in the abdomen by his brother-in-law.
  • Another son was a habitual criminal who committed an eyepopping range of crimes and was in and out of city, county, state, and federal correctional facilities throughout his life. (This son, Homer, was also married for a short time to the ex-wife of Clyde Barrow’s brother L. C. Barrow, but that marriage hit the skids when she shot Homer, sending him to the hospital with critical —  but not fatal — wounds.)
  • And in 1951, after Rev. Medford’s death, the son who had been shot in 1930 while attempting to break into a store in Irving, shot and killed his wife and young son before killing himself.

So, yeah, Rev. Medford’s life was a rough one, and there were definitely some dark days in hardscrabble West Dallas. I’d like to think his store, plastered with its kooky signs, offered him some respite from the incessant melodramas percolating all around him.

medford_trinity-cafe_west-dallas_1940sSingleton Blvd., late 1940s, not yet part of Dallas

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The location of the Medford house/cafe/store, seen on a 1952 Mapsco (click for larger image).

medford_1952-mapsco1952 Mapsco

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Sources & Notes

I came across the photo years ago on the Dallas History Facebook group. There was no source, but there appears to be a copy of this photograph in the Jim Doster Collection at the Dallas Pubic Library titled “Meford [sic] Trinity Cafe on Singleton Blvd.,” incorrectly dated as 1930 (call number PA97-7/147). I’m sure a higher resolution image of this would offer up quite a few amusing details and discoveries.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

From the Vault: Irish Eyes Are Not Smiling Long — Pat Hannon’s 101 Bar

101-bar_ca-1917

by Paula Bosse

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and though this story about the 101 Bar on N. Ervay is only vaguely St. Patrick’s-y, it’s going to have to do. Read about Pat Hannon’s supremely bad timing in opening a bar, in the 2016 Flashback Dallas post “The 101 Bar: Patrick Hannon, Prop. — ca. 1917,” here.

Sláinte, y’all.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Ray Hubbard Estate, Lakewood

ad-evervess_mrs-ray-hubbard_1948_detA country estate in the heart of Lakewood, 1948… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Lakewood has a lot of beautiful homes — large and small — but the (very large) Raymond E. Hubbard estate at the corner of Lakewood Boulevard and Brendenwood Drive is quite the show-stopper. Built in 1934, the two-and-a-half-acre property is about a mile from White Rock Lake and was known for years for its spectacular landscaping and gardens, much of which was the personal handiwork of owner Ray Hubbard (1893-1970). Hubbard amassed his wealth as an independent oilman during the boom years, but he was known in his later life for his lengthy tenure as president of the Dallas Park Board.

From a 1938 Dallas Morning News article:

Mr. Hubbard is that phenomenon known as a natural tiller of the soil. In the short space of two years he has taken a barren hill and transformed it into a blaze of beauty in the form of a rock garden he designed himself. In the symphony of color, he has even had the subtlety to plant a few onions because there is a blue-green cast to the leaves of the onion that is found in no other plant. Carnations, pansies and pinks mingle in profusion as well as a thousand other oddities you have never seen the likes of  before. (“Edens in Preview,” DMN, April 10, 1938)

In 1948, his wife, Janet Hubbard, was seen in an ad for Evervess Sparkling Water, with photos of both Mrs. Hubbard and a view of the impressive “backyard” of their Lakewood home. (Click ad to see larger image.)

ad-evervess_mrs-ray-hubbard_1948Saturday Evening Post, 1948

I came across this ad a few years ago but had no idea where the house was located or who Ray Hubbard was, other than the probable namesake of the lake which bears his name (the Rockwall-Forney reservoir was named Lake Ray Hubbard in January, 1967, in honor of Hubbard’s devotion to civic affairs and his decades-long service to Dallas parks). I was surprised to learn that this was the somewhat mysterious and foreboding-looking house I’d passed years ago, looking run-down and deserted, surrounded by overgrown shrubs and bushes. The 2012 Google Street View looked like this:

hubbard-house_google-street-view_oct-2012Google Street View, Oct. 2017

Back then the overgrown approach to the house looked like this, and was probably something of a thorn in the side of the Lakewood Boulevard residents.

Since Google Street View was so out-of-date, I decided to drive by the house today to see what it looked like in 2018. It’s beautiful!

hubbard-house_lakewood-blvd_031519_PBphoto: Paula Bosse

The reason for the transformation? The property was bought and restored by Hunter Hunt (grandson of one-time richest man in the world — and White Rock Lake resident — H. L. Hunt) and his wife, Stephanie Hunt. And they did a wonderful job! If I had some, I’d raise a toast to the couple with an ice-cold glass of Evervess Sparkling Water!

ray-hubbard-estate_google-earth_2017
Google Earth, 2017

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hubbard_ray-e-hubbard_find-a-grave

Even though I now know who Ray Hubbard was, I’ll probably still find myself unintentionally (and, okay, sometimes intentionally) calling the lake named after him “Lake Ray Wylie Hubbard” (another former Dallas resident of note, but we’ll leave that for another time…).

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Sources & Notes

Ad found on eBay. This image is from an item offered several years ago, but as luck would have it, another seller has it for sale right now, here. Perhaps if you’re friends with Hunter and Stephanie Hunt, this would make a nice stocking stuffer. (This Evervess advertisement seems to have been part of a 1948 ad campaign featuring society women, their homes, and their favorite sparkling water: another ad, featuring Mrs. Homer Lange and her Chicago home, can be seen here.)

Photo of Ray E. Hubbard is from Find-a-Grave; read a biographical sketch about Mr. Hubbard’s life on the site, here. Not included in this information was that during Hubbard’s 27 years heading the Park Board (1943-1970), the Dallas park system expanded from 4,400 acres to more than 15,000 acres, and the number of parks increased from 54 to 150.

Read about Stephanie and Hunter Hunt and their Hunt Institute at SMU, here.

If anyone knows the original architect of the Hubbard house, please let me know!

For more on Lakewood Boulevard, I really enjoyed the 1992 Lakewood Advocate article “Lakewood Boulevard’s First Resident Looks Back On the Area’s Development; Mrs. Barnett’s Late Husband, Marshall, Built the First House on Lakewood Boulevard in the 1920s,” here.

See a 1932 view of the 7100 block of Lakewood Blvd. (with White Rock Lake at the end of the street), here; this photo was taken two years before the construction of the Hubbards’ house, which would  be built three blocks to the west (Dines and Kraft photo from the Flashback Dallas post “‘Reminiscences: A Glimpse of Old East Dallas,'” here).

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Heart of Big “D”: Akard & Commerce

downtown_heart-of-big-d_postcard_akard-commerceLooking up the “canyon”… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

A postcard view of Akard, looking north from Commerce; the “canyon” is anchored at the south end by the Baker Hotel (behind the photographer), the Walgreens in the Adolphus Hotel building, and the Continental Air Lines ticket office in the Magnolia Building.

Looks like a hot, painfully sunny day in the canyon. Personally, I’d get out of the sun and hit that soda fountain….

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Sources & Notes

This postcard is currently being offered on eBay, here. The seller is in Transylvania.

The Continental Air Lines ticket office opened in the Magnolia Building in early 1958 (click for larger image).

continental-air-lines_jan-1958
January, 1958

For more info on the buildings that lined the “canyon,” see the Flashback Dallas post “The ‘Akard Street Canyon’ — ca. 1962,” here.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

From the Vault: Film Row at Night

theater-row_night_telenews

by Paula Bosse

Lined with movie theaters and dazzling neon, Elm Street never looked more vibrant than it did in its cinema-centric heyday of the 1930s through the 1950s.

Check out four fantastic postcard views of Dallas’ Theater Row/Theatre Row/Film Row/Movie Row in a Flashback Dallas post from 2014, “Theatre Row — A Stunning Elm Street at Night.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Adolphus Hotel’s “Coffee Room” — 1919

coffee-room_adolphus_tea-and-coffee-trade-journal_march-1919_photoJonesing for some java? Belly on up… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

You know who was really, really happy about Prohibition? The coffee, tea, and soft drink industries. In fact, they were absolutely giddy.

Have you ever wondered what happened to the nation’s thousands and thousands of bars when it became illegal in the United States to sell alcoholic beverages? What about all the hotel bars? Apparently many hotels renovated their old bars into something new and novel called a “coffee shop” or a “coffee room.”

The photo above shows what the vested interests of The Tea & Coffee Trade Journal deemed the “coffee room” of the elegant Adolphus Hotel.

coffee-room_adolphus_tea-and-coffee-trade-journal_march-1919Tea & Coffee Trade Journal, March, 1919

Yes, there were coffee urns, but it was actually the Adolphus Lunch Room. Though beverages are not mentioned in the menu seen below, it’s interesting to read what dishes were available to the Adolphus visitor in 1919 (of course the really well-heeled guests were not noshing in a lowly —  though quite attractive — “lunch room”). The most expensive item on the menu is the Adolphus Special Sunday Chicken Dinner for 90¢ (which the Inflation Calculator tells us is the equivalent of about $13.00 today). (Click to see a larger image.)

adolphus_lunch-room_menu_dec-1919
Dec., 1919

And, yes, I believe that is a spittoon at the register.

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Sources & Notes

Photo from the article “The Renaissance of Tea and Coffee” from The Tea & Coffee Trade Journal (March, 1919). See other photos and read how Prohibition was spurring on this alcohol-free “renaissance” in the article, here.

Many, many historical photos of spittoons can be found in this entertaining collection of the once-ubiquitous cuspidor. …Because when else will I be able to link to something like this?

As a sidenote, the Adolphus Hotel was, of course, built by and named for Adolphus Busch, the co-founder of Anheuser-Busch. Mercifully, the beer magnate died pre-Pro — before Prohibition.

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Elks Lodge, Pocahontas & Park

elks-lodge_postcard1817 Pocahontas Street, 1914 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The postcard image above shows the lovely Dallas Elks Lodge No. 71 which once stood at 1817 Pocahontas, at the northwest corner of Pocahontas Street and Park Avenue in the Cedars area, just south of downtown — it had a spectacular view of City Park, which it faced.  Designed by architect H. A. Overbeck (the man behind the still-standing Dallas County Jail and Criminal Courts Building and the long-gone St. Paul’s Sanitarium), the lodge was built in 1914; the land and the construction of the lodge cost $45,000. Surprisingly, this lodge served the Elks for only six years — they returned downtown, where they took over and renovated the old YWCA building on Commerce Street.

The building on Pocahontas became another clubhouse when it was purchased in 1920 by a group of Jewish businessmen who opened the exclusive Progress Club/Parkview Club (read about the building’s acquisition in a May 14, 1920 article in The Jewish Monitor, here); in 1922 the 65 members of the Parkview Club presented the clubhouse to the Young Men’s Hebrew Association (YMHA). In 1927, use of the building had expanded, and it became the Dallas Jewish Community Center and the headquarters of the Jewish Welfare Federation — in fact, this was the home for these organizations for more than thirty years, until 1958 when the move was made to the new Julius Schepps Community Center in North Dallas. The building ultimately fell victim to the construction of R. L. Thornton Freeway and was demolished in the early 1960s.

But back to the Elks. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was a social club/fraternal order founded in New York in 1868. Dallas Lodge No. 71 was chartered on January 28, 1888 — it was the first Elks Lodge in Texas and one of the oldest clubs in Dallas. And, after 130 years, it’s still around, now located in Lake Highlands. There aren’t a lot of things that have lasted that long in this city!

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Below, the Overbeck rendering of the Elks’ new home (click for larger image)

elks_dmn_120213_new-lodgeDallas Morning News, Dec. 2, 1913

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A week before its official dedication on Sept. 7, 1914:

elks-lodge_dmn_083014DMN, Aug. 30, 1914

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Colorized and made into an attractive postcard:

elks-club_new_postcard

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In the 1930s, when it was the Jewish Community Center:

jewish-community-center_1817-pocahontas_1930s

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Where it was:

elks-lodge_ca-1912-map_portal1912-ish map detail

Also, see it on the 1921 Sanborn map (as “B.P.O.E. Home”) here.

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The announcement of plans for the construction of the Pocahontas Street lodge:

elks_dmn_112313_new-lodgeDMN, Nov. 23, 1913

And its dedication, on Sept. 7, 1914:

elks_dmn_090814_new-homeDMN, Sept. 8, 1914

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Sources & Notes

Source of postcards unknown. Other images and clippings as noted.

The 1888 report of the first meeting of the Dallas Elks Lodge No. 71 can be read in the Dallas Morning News article “Order of Elks in Dallas; A Lodge Instituted Here Yesterday” (DMN, Jan. 29, 1888), here.

A history of the various Elks’ locations in Dallas between the 1880s and the 1920s can be found in the article “Elks Plan To Have Modern Club Home” (DMN, July 30, 1922), here.

elks_dmn_012903DMN, Jan. 29, 1903

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Copyright © 2018 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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