Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Kimball High School, Off Campus — Ads, 1959-1961

Browsing the Elvis releases, 1959

by Paula Bosse

A few years ago I posted several Oak Cliff-centric ads found in the 1963 and 1967 Kimball High School yearbooks (see those ads here). I’m back for another installment.


Above, a photo I really love, showing five Kimball girls checking out Elvis records at Priest Music (2447 W. Kiest Blvd). No, they don’t look like high school girls, and, yes, they are. The man at the right is, apparently, the owner, Frank M. Anderson (whom, I think, changed the name of the store to Music Hall the following year?). I posted this ad on my Facebook page last week, and one man wrote, about the owner: “Frank, the owner. His shop was known for its collection of Jazz and Classical albums. We became friends as I got into Jazz thanks to the Great Pete Fountain!” And because, why not, here’s a recent Google Street View of the Kiestwood Village sign which was probably there at that little shopping strip when Frank and the girls were photographed for this ad. 



Dairy Mart (2739 S. Hampton):




Moreno’s Patio (245 Wynnewood Village):



Ketchum & Killum (334 W. Kiest) — a sporting goods store with perhaps the best name ever:



If you’re in need of some bandages or Mercurochrome after being a little too curious at Ketchum & Killum, head over to Page’s Pharmacy (3220 Falls Dr.):



For all things “fun,” Playland (3900 W. Illinois):



Sources & Notes

All ads from the 1959, 1960, and 1961 yearbooks of Justin Kimball High School in Oak Cliff.

More Kimball yearbook ads can be found in the Flashback Dallas postA Few Ads From the Pages of the 1963 and 1967 Kimball High School Yearbooks.”



Copyright © 2023 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Tex-Mex in a Can (with Bonus Chili-Burger Recipe) — 1953/1954


by Paula Bosse

So the other day I was browsing through eBay, hoping to find something Dallas-related that I’d never seen before. And a Cuellar’s (“QUAY-YAR”) recipe pamphlet popped up. And it is fantástico! I remember El Chico frozen dinners, but I don’t remember El Chico canned foods, and that appears to be what the Cuellar family of Dallas started off with when they decided to branch off from their expanding Tex-Mex restaurant dynasty. The canned foods first appeared in late 1949 or early 1950 under the “El Chico” brand, and just as it was really starting to take off nationally, the company was forced to rename the line “Cuellar’s” in 1953 because of a copyright lawsuit; in 1954, after a year of court appeals, they were allowed to go back to using “El Chico.” (Read more about this manufacturing business in my previous post, “El Chico Foods/Cuellar Foods.”) Initially, the company produced only canned goods. Including, yes, tortillas in a can. TORTILLAS. IN. A. CAN. It appears this circular tin originally came with a dreaded key to open it, like Spam and canned hams. So if you wanted some tortillas, you really had to put the work in (and make sure you were current with your tetanus shots).

In addition to the tortillas (which I assume were flour tortillas, but I’m not entirely sure about this), the line of El Chico canned Tex-Mex foods included staples such as chili con carne (with beans and without), tamales (wrapped in corn shucks), enchiladas, beans (fried and not), enchilada sauce, tamale sauce, hot sauce, green chiles, jalapeños, menudo, “taco filler,” taco sauce, Mexican-style spaghetti (!), something called enchimales, and Mexican-style rice (I have never heard of cooked rice in a can). And, I’m sure, many more products. One newspaper ad touted the fact that you could concoct a full meal for a family of 6 using only 5 El Chico canned foods for $1.85 (which, somewhat shockingly, is the equivalent today of about $22.00).

el-chico_norman-OK-transcript_041251El Chico canned food ad, April 1951

But back to that recipe pamphlet I stumbled across on eBay, which would be from 1953/1954, the period when El Chico was forced to use the “Cuellar’s” name for their canned foods. The recipes are interesting — not only were these dishes unfamiliar and “exotic” to most people in the U.S. at the time (meaning that El Chico felt the need to inform readers that “‘tacos’ in Spanish means ‘sandwiches'” and that quesadillas were “cheese turnovers”), but the recipes also have occasional odd little flourishes which seem unusual and may indicate restaurant hacks or traditional preparation tips I am unaware of (guacamole salad calling for a teaspoon of butter, for example). You’ve got recipes for alarming dishes such as “Tongue a la Cuellar” (first ingredient: “one large or two small tongues”). not-alarming-but-unusual dishes such as scrambled eggs made with a can of chili and hominy, as well as the more mundane dishes like tacos (in which the cook is instructed to use toothpicks to keep the tortilla “closed” during deep frying).

But my very favorite recipe is something so spectacular that I can’t believe this hasn’t made its way to the State Fair of Texas food tents. Seriously, if any of you SFOT food vendors or maverick entrepreneurs decide to develop this dish, please remember you learned about it from me as you rake in the cash!

Okay. Take a deep breath, because this is just GREAT.


  • Place a can of Cuellar Chili con Carne in refrigerator overnight.
  • Remove both ends of can and push chili con carne out
  • Using sharp knife slice chili into approximately 1/4” slices
  • Dip slices in regular pancake batter and fry in deep fat
  • Have buns ready with slices of cheese melted on same
  • Place fried patty, along with diced onion, on buns and serve — will make from 8 to 10 chili-burgers

Wow! It’s a chili-burger without a burger. How does this even work? Granted, this was back in the day when canned chili was very, very fatty — I remember opening cans of (delicious) Wolf Brand chili as a kid and marveling at the orange congealed grease (come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I probably used the open-can-at-both-ends-to-push-it-out technique, a la jellied cranberry sauce, and it retained its can-shape in a saucepan until heated). But wouldn’t these slices just disintegrate while deep frying, even if they were really cold (frozen even) and really congealed? My brother has suggested it might work along the lines of a Baked Alaska, in which the ice cream inside the dessert doesn’t melt as it bakes. Regardless. The joy I’ve gotten from reading this recipe and envisioning a bizarro dish made from deep-fried slices of canned chili dipped in pancake batter makes up for the fact that I will never attempt to make it (molten, melting “chili patties” on a hamburger bun would not only be unbelievably messy to eat but perhaps physically painful as well). But I fully endorse and applaud the concept of the Cuellar Chili-Burger — it’s brilliant! “Fair food” ahead of its time. Thank you, Cuellar test kitchen! (Dear readers: PLEASE MAKE THIS AND SEND ME PHOTOS!)








For authentic Mexican Foods you should select only the Cuellar label. The emblem of the “Sombrero” and the “Smiling Mexican” will always be your assurance of the very finest of ingredients, blended for flavor-association and pleasing, invigorating taste treats that are invariably thrilling. So different! So exotic! So wonderfully blended that you will make Cuellar Foods a regular eating habit in your own home — and a new and exciting experience for your guests.

Cuellar Foods, Inc.
Dallas, Texas





Sources & Notes

Most images in this post are from the recently ended eBay sale, here (scroll down).

This pamphlet inspired my previous post, “El Chico Foods/Cuellar Foods,” which contains a history of El Chico’s food manufacturing business.



Copyright © 2023 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

El Chico Foods/Cuellar Foods

enchimales_canned_introduced-1968_portal_detEl Chico’s Enchimales with Gravy, ca. 1968

by Paula Bosse

I give you the “Enchimale,” a product introduced under the El Chico label in 1968. A news release described the delicacy thusly: “Wedding bells are ringing at El Chico for the marriage of the enchilada and the tamale, and the new product is called the Enchimale. […] This food is in the shape of a tamale, filled with fresh meat, with a mild enchilada sauce over it” (Dallas Morning News, Oct. 31, 1968). (So… a tamale?) I gather this was a short-lived product. (See the “Sources & Notes” section at the bottom of this page for an unusual and unrelated — I hope — recipe for enchimales which appeared in a newspaper in Spokane, Washington in 1950.)

This photo caught my eye while I was looking into the history of El Chico’s manufactured foods. Especially their canned foods, which I was unaware of. I’m not surprised they existed — I remember their frozen food line — I just have no memories of canned foods from El Chico.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. You’ve probably heard the story of Mama Cuellar and the Cuellar brothers and their El Chico empire (if not, a good article is here). As far as their Dallas restaurants, the Cuellar brothers opened their first El Chico restaurant in 1940 at 3514 Oak Lawn (next door-ish to Lucas B & B, which opened in Oak Lawn in 1953). This location closed in either 1954 or 1955.

el-chico_oak-lawn_d-mag_nov-2013El Chico No. 1, Oak Lawn, via D Magazine

el-chico_oak-lawn_no-1_portalEl Chico No. 1, Oak Lawn, via Portal to Texas History

Six years later, they opened their second location in Lakewood at 2031 Abrams.

photo_el-chico-no-2_lakewood_portalEl Chico No. 2, Lakewood, via Portal to Texas History

Their third Dallas location opened near the Inwood Theater in 1949 at 5526 Lovers Lane.

el-chico_inwood-village_1953_inwood-village-websiteEl Chico No. 5, via Inwood Village website

When that location opened, the family was operating 11 restaurants in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Kansas. Things were good in Cuellar-land.

At the end of 1949, the Cuellars decided to begin manufacturing canned food products, with the aim to sell Tex-Mex staples nationally under the label “El Chico Foods.” The new factory was located at 162 Leslie St., in the then-pretty-new Trinity Industrial District. (They later moved waaaaaaaaaaay up north, to 1925 Valley View Lane.)

el-chico-canning-coEl Chico Canning Co., 162 Leslie St., Dallas

El Chico canned foods began to show up in DFW grocery stores in March 1950. Make way for canned chili, enchiladas, tamales (in corn husks), enchilada sauce, and hot sauce.


1950_canning-co_FWST_031750-det-2Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Mar. 17, 1950

Soon to follow were other foods, including the mystifying canned tortillas — thanks to the photo below, I now know that it was possible to buy tortillas in a can, which was opened with a key. Just like Spam, or a canned ham. (Not sure what the “El Chico Show” was, but apparently it was broadcast on Channel 5 — at least in October 1950.)

el-chico_canned-products_KXAS-NBC-5-collection_102450_portalOctober 1950, via Portal to Texas History

Business boomed! After only 9 months, production tripled. After 2 years El Chico canned foods were in more than 30 states.

But in March 1953, the Cuellar family was sued in federal court for copyright infringement by a man named Benito Collada who owned a well-known nightclub in Greenwich Village called “El Chico,” a name he copyrighted in 1931. He demanded that the Cuellars change the name of their restaurants and their canned foods. The judge handed down an unusual verdict in which both sides were able to claim partial victory (or partial loss): the Cuellars were allowed to keep “El Chico” as the name of their restaurants, but they had to bid adios to the name on their canned foods.

The company regrouped and rebranded. The name of their Tex-Mex products became “Cuellar’s,” and the label even came with a pronunciation guide: “QUAY-YAR.”


Apparently, sales dropped. Steeply. The Cuellars fought their way through the appeals process, determined to retain the “El Chico” name on their manufactured foods, and, in September 1954 they won the right to once again sell canned foods under the El Chico brand.


Sales really increased when they added frozen dinners to their line — their factory on Leslie Street installed a huge freezing system — they were able to freeze 6,000 frozen dinners at a time in 90 minutes.

el-chico_frozen_smithsonianvia Smithsonian Institution

el-chico_shopper_shelves_smithsonianvia Smithsonian Institution

el-chico_shoppers_frozen_smithsonianvia Smithsonian Institution

Along with the typical frozen dinners you’d expect, El Chico also sold frozen tortillas. In the photo above, there is a box of frozen tortillas in the shopping cart and in the freezer case. As I recall, I think I liked the frozen Mexican dinners as a kid, but frozen tortillas and tortillas in a can sound equally unappealing.

The frozen dinners ultimately took over the manufacturing side of Cuellar foods, and at some point, the canned products eventually faded away. As I said, I remember the frozen dinners, but I don’t remember the canned foods at all. But I find them so interesting that that they are going to get their very own post — check out that post here.


Sources & Notes

Top (cropped) image is from the Frank Cuellar Sr. Collection, University of North Texas Special Libraries Collection, Portal of Texas History, and can be found here (the full collection may be browsed here).

Several images in this post are from the Smithsonian Institution’s “Guide to the El Chico Restaurants Collection.”

Read a good history of the Cuellar empire in “The Family Who Sold Tex-Mex to America” by Nancy Nichols, D Magazine (Nov. 2013).

So. “enchimales.” I did a quick search on the word and found mentions back to 1934 for a cafe selling something with this name in Shreveport. For all I know, this is a traditional Mexican dish which I’ve just never heard of. BUT, I wonder whether any actual Mexican-related dish would bear any resemblance to the enchimales recipe devised by Mrs. Vincent Katzenberger of Garfield, Washington which appeared in Spokane’s Spokesman-Review newspaper? It was the 14th-place (!) winner in the “Meltin’ Pot” international cooking competition. Here’s a short synopsis of Mrs. Katzenberger’s dish, which is made like enchiladas: in a tortilla, place a filling of onions, cheddar cheese, and a can of olives (all of which has been passed through a meat grinder) — on top of that filling, plop one canned tamale; roll up this filled tortilla and place it in a baking dish; repeat a dozen or so times; cover everything with tamale sauce; bake; when done, serve on a lettuce leaf and top with sprinkles of Parmesan cheese. The recipe is here. If you make this, please let me know how it came out.



Copyright © 2023 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

From the Vault: Restaurant Week

coffee-room_adolphus_tea-and-coffee-trade-journal_march-1919_photoThe Adolphus lunch counter awaits…

by Paula Bosse

I’ve been a bit too busy to write anything recently, so I’ve taken the lazy way out and posted links to old posts on my Facebook and Twitter feeds. This week I’ve shared links of Flashback Dallas posts on a theme: restaurants (and a bar…). I enjoyed reading them again — you might, too. Here are they are.


“THE ADOLPHUS HOTEL’S ‘COFFEE ROOM’ — 1919” (from 2018)

Take a look at the Adolphus Lunch Room (and its cuspidor) in the photo above. This was at a time when the world was about to have to readjust to life during Prohibition — bars were out, coffee and tea rooms were in.

After sharing this photo on Facebook — a photo from 1919 — a reader commented that it pre-dated Prohibition (the national crackdown came in January 1920). But Dallas County had voted to go “dry” in October 1917, jumping the gun before most other places. But only Dallas County. In 1917, the surrounding counties were wide open, and bars just across the county line were more than eager to take gobs of money from the flood of Dallas’ beer- and whiskey-seekers, while prim and proper Dallas teetotalers (who apparently really knew how to get the vote out) sipped daintily on their tea and coffee. Before Prohibition went into effect in Dallas (Oct. 21, 1917) there were 183 bars listed in the city directory — the following year, there were none. I wrote about a poor guy who went into the bar business in Big D at exactly the wrong dang time.

“THE 101 BAR: PATRICK HANNON, PROP. — ca. 1917” (2016)




Lunch ladies, school menus, tongue salad. The school menu in the 1920s and ’30s was loaded with unusual and/or unappetizing “food.”




Read about the long-lived Roth’s, which opened in Oak Cliff along Fort Worth Avenue around 1940 by a Hungarian immigrant who had a very, very interesting family.



“ROSS GRAVES’ CAFE: 1800 JACKSON — 1947” (2021)

Cafe owner Ross Graves was a busy, busy man. Check out this post about his active and “swellegant” career.



“‘CARHOPS’ — A SHORT DOCUMENTARY, ca. 1974” (2015)

You can’t have “Restaurant Week” without mentioning the fabulous drive-ins. I encourage everyone reading this to watch the short documentary linked in this post (it’s a mere 14 minutes long!). “Carhops” was filmed in the early 1970s and contains interviews with J. D. Sivils (Sivils), Jack Keller (Keller’s), and B. J. Kirby (owner of Kirby’s Steakhouse, and son of drive-in entrepreneur Jesse Kirby who founded what many consider the very first drive-in — with the very first carhops — the Pig Stand). Watching this wonderful piece of cultural history, I am reminded how much I continue to grieve the loss of the once-common, so-thick-it-hurts Dallas accent. RIP, twang.



Sources & Notes

See each original post for image credits.

If you would like to follow me on social media, I am on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.



Copyright © 2023 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“You Can Get That Famous Marathon Gasoline in Oak Cliff” — 1930

marathon_transcontinental-oil_gas-station_smithsonian_1930Somewhere in Oak Cliff, 1930, via Smithsonian Inst.

by Paula Bosse

Rejoice, Oak Cliff residents of 1930: you’re getting five Marathon gas stations! I’m not sure why these stations were only in Oak Cliff and no other part of Dallas, but they were (a sixth station joined this elite group a year or so later).

I have a fascination with old gas stations, but I have to admit I’m not familiar with Marathon Gasoline or Marathon Oil products or the Transcontinental Oil Co. (they  had a refinery in Fort Worth), but for whatever reason, the Marathon stations in Dallas — all emblazoned with an image of the Greek runner Pheidippides — appear to have faded away by about 1942 when I guess the last straggler finally crossed the finish lane, collapsed, and died. Farewell, Pheidippides.

The photo above shows one of those first 5 stations in Dallas. The location is not specified. 

Marathon stations in the O.C. in 1930:


  • No. 1: Jefferson & Llewellyn Sts. (539 W. Jefferson)
  • No. 2: Zangs Blvd. & Beckley Ave. (1111 N. Zang)
  • No. 3 Jimtown Rd. & Montreal Ave. (2120 W. Clarendon Dr.) (in 1931, residents petitioned the city to change the name of the street to “Clarendon” because they thought “Jimtown” was too déclassé)
  • No. 4: Zangs Blvd. & Davis St. (137 W. Davis — this was the station that lasted the longest, appearing to have closed by the time the 1942 city directory was published)
  • No. 5: Polk & Davis Sts. (938 W. Davis)
  • (No. 6: 1804 W. Jefferson)

It doesn’t look like any of the old buildings are still standing, but there IS one of the exact same design still standing in Miami, Oklahoma — a group restored it and even added period gas pumps (which someone later stole) — see it below. 

marathon-station_miami-okla_google-street-view_2016Miami, OK, Google Street View July 2016

Not all of the Dallas stations had the same design — a press release describes the stations of possessing “distinctive architecture.” Another of the Oak Cliff locations looked very different (and certainly more distinctive):

Somewhere in Oak Cliff, 1930

The one above is the same design seen in this local ad:

marathon_transcontinental-oil_gas-station_042730-adApril 1930

marathon_transcontinental-oil_gas-station_050430_adMay 1930




Sources & Notes

Top photo is from the American Petroleum Institute Photograph and Film Collection, National Museum of American History, Archives Center, Smithsonian Institution — more info can be found here.

I seem to post a lot about gas stations. Here are a few notable posts:



Copyright © 2023 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The Bullen Store, Exposition Avenue — 1896-1936

bullen-store_exposition-avenue_ca-1905Exposition Ave., ca. 1905 (photo: Bullen family, used with permission)

by Paula Bosse

If you’re reading this, you probably have a fascination with old buildings. When was it built? What had it been? How has it not been torn down? One such building — which, though interesting, doesn’t really strike one as particularly old — is the small building at 507 Exposition Avenue, a few blocks from Fair Park. Actually, the thing that jumped out at me was the sign on the building reading “J. M. Hengy Electric Co.” — back in 2015 I wrote a long post about the exceedingly litigious Hengy family (“F. J. Hengy: Junk Merchant, Litigant”) (J. M. was the grandson of F. J.). The Hengy Electric Co. was in business at that location from at least the 1930s until at least the 1960s. I’m not sure why the current owners kept this sign, but I’m glad they did, because it’s why I noticed it.

This building was most likely built in the 1890s, and it was home to a grocery store owned by J. W. Bullen (John Wesley Bullen Sr.), a Tennesse native who came to Texas in the late 1870s and, after a few years of farming in the area, settled in Dallas. He worked for the Santa Fe railroad for a while before opening this grocery on Exposition Avenue in the 1890s — easy to give directions to because the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe (GC&SF) Railway tracks ran right alongside the store. Bullen’s grocery was a neighborhood mainstay for at least 40 years. He retired in 1936, and he and his wife, Mary, eventually moved to California to live with their daughter. J. W. Bullen died in California in 1948, at the age of 89 — his life spanned the Civil War to the advent of television.

Below, J. W. Bullen is shown with his brothers, Thomas, James, and Joseph — he is at the bottom right.

bullen-j-w_sitting-right_ancestryvia Ancestry.com

I came across the photo at the top of this post on the Dallas Historical Society discussion forum (“The Phorum”) back in 2017 (it’s taken 5½ years for me to finally write this!) — the thread is here. A Bullen relative posted this photo, and I was ecstatic to see it! It’s such a great image — I have never seen a photo of Exposition Park from this period. (I asked Mr. Bullen — the man who posted this photo — if I could reproduce it, and he very nicely gave me permission.)

I would guess that the photo dates from sometime around 1904-1906, when the Glenn Brothers meat market occupied the space next door (originally 214 Exposition and later 505 Exposition).

1905-directory_bullen-glenn-bros1905 Dallas city directory

The Hengy business originally occupied the Glenn Bros. space for several years, from at least 1930. After Bullen’s retirement, Hengy moved into the larger space at 507 Exposition. Today it is occupied by Big Sky Construction.

Google Street View, May 2022

The railroad tracks have been pulled up, but below are two Google Street Views from 2012 showing where they once were — they couldn’t have been much closer to Bullen’s store! That’s got to have rattled the merchandise (and the store’s occupants) several times a day.

507-exposition_google-street-view_sept-2012Google Street View, Sept. 2012

507-exposition_google-street-view_sept-2012_bGoogle Street View, Sept. 2012


The address of Bullen’s store was originally 216 Exposition Avenue. After the citywide address change in 1911, it became 507 Exposition Avenue. The store was in business by at least 1896, but a newspaper article on the 62nd wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Bullen says that the business began in 1893. At this time, development of Exposition Park was exploding (see the 1889 ad I posted yesterday, here).


If you look at Sanborn maps of this area (the 1899 map is here, the 1905 map is here, and the 1921 map is here) you see that almost all of the buildings in the area are houses (designated by the letter “D,” for “dwelling”). Having only ever known the area in recent times, it’s hard to imagine this ever having been an almost entirely residential neighborhood. And, back in the 1890s, it was also full of livestock.

bullen_dmn_120397_stolen-horsesDallas Morning News, Dec. 3, 1897


Here’s a map of Dallas from 1898, with Bullen’s store way on the edge of the world, under the star.

1898-map_bullen-store_expositionvia Portal to Texas History




Sources & Notes

Photo is from the family collection of Joseph Bullen II, used with permission.

I would LOVE to see historical photos of the Expo Park area — from any time, really, but especially from the time it was primarily residential. If you have any photographs, please let me know!

See this building today on Google Street View, here.

Biographical information on J.W. Bullen from “J. W. Bullens Observe Their Anniversary” (Dallas Morning News, Nov. 22, 1942).

More Flashback Dallas posts on Exposition Park can be found here.



Copyright © 2023 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Exposition Park: No Swamps, No Malaria — 1889


by Paula Bosse

In 1889, Parry Bros. were developing 80 acres of Capt. William H. Gaston’s old stomping grounds — aka the Gaston Homestead. The ads came fast and furious. One sentence stands out:

The natural drainage of Exposition Park, under the guiding hand of our civil engineer, has become practically perfect. There are no swamps or other sources of malaria contiguous to this property. 

Sounds good to me!

(I always thought the Fair Park area was prone to flooding, but perhaps the area I’m thinking of is not “contiguous to this property.”)




Sources & Notes

Ad from The Dallas Morning News, Oct. 24, 1899.



Copyright © 2023 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Businessmen’s Lunchtime Mobilization Drills — 1917

wwi_businessmen_noon-drills_dmn_040117_photoDrilling behind the depot, March 1917

by Paula Bosse

In March 1917, just days before the United States entered World War I, it was announced that there would be lunchtime military training drills in downtown Dallas for any man who wished to participate. This was part of the “Preparedness Movement” which was sweeping the country, in which citizens readied themselves for war. The idea for these drills came from Oswin K. King, a Dallas sportswriter, and they were organized and conducted by Capt. M. G. Holliday, with help from other officers of the Texas National Guard. The drills were held “in the rear of the old Santa Fe station, Murphy and Commerce streets. There is a vacant block there and the central location makes it ideal for the purpose” (“Military Drills for Business Men Planned,” Dallas Morning News, March 25, 1917). (See this location on a 1905 Sanborn map, here.)

Seems like a good time to insert a photo of the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe depot (when it was still in operation), behind which all this drilling activity was taking place:

santa-fe-depot_ca-1899_fire-dept-souvenir-bk_portalca. 1899, via Portal to Texas History

Military-style drills involving local civilians hadn’t really been done like this before, and news of this swept the country’s newspapers. It was a BIG story. Dallas became the city everyone copied. Cities all over the United States began their own drilling exercises, and Capt. Holliday was kept busy traveling around Texas to advise towns on how to establish such civilian units for themselves. There was a lot of marching in formation going on in April 1917.

Two weeks in, drill-mania had taken over Dallas. It was estimated that 600 men were showing up daily for the downtown noon drills, and that many more — perhaps as many as 2,000 — had joined smaller groups and clubs which were drilling on their own all over town. There was a large contingent in Oak Cliff, lots of students in high schools and at SMU, policemen, letter carriers, businessmen, etc. There was even a suggestion that women should form their own groups. Any way you looked at it, the endeavor was a success (or at least fervently supported). Capt Holliday said that, should the need arise, a large body of troops could be immediately organized in Dallas — perhaps two regiments’ worth. 

This training lasted about a month, which seems like sufficient time for bank clerks and grocerymen and automobile mechanics and upholsterers to get the hang of doing whatever this was. By the spring of 1917, Dallas was prepared.


The April 1, 1917 Dallas Morning News article accompanying the photo above is transcribed here:


First City in United States to Start New Drills in Rudiments of Soldier Knowledge

From Few Dozen the First Day to 600 or More Saturday, Shows Rapid Increase of Interest in the Noon Drills. Captain in U.S. Cavalry and Number of Non-Commissioned Officers Instructing Men and Rudiments of Knowledge of Soldier Life

Dallas enjoys the distinction of being the first city in the United States to inaugurate the new mobilization of business men for the purpose of learning the rudiments of military training. There were those who said it could not be done, but the movement has gotten under full swing and the attendance is increasing daily.

Oswin K. King, of the Evening Journal, originated the idea, and becoming enthused of the possibilities, Mr. King suggested the matter to Captain M. G. Holliday of the 12th United States Calvary. Captain Holliday at once took up the plan as suggested by Mr. King and agreed to supervise the work. 

For several days now, hundreds of Dallas business men have been in line on the spacious vacant property to the south of the Commerce Street station of the Santa Fe Railroad. The site is convenient to hundreds of business offices and not over five minutes’ walk from the skyscraper district.

That interest is increasing in the movement is evidenced by the number of business men who are enrolling. From a few dozen on Wednesday, last, to 400 on Thursday, and probably 200 more Friday and Saturday, shows that Dallas men are anxious to learn the rudiments of military training.

The idea is to teach the rudiments of close-order formation, including everything in what is known as the “Soldier’s School Without Arms.”

The instruction will continue indefinitely. Captain Holliday is assisted by several non-commissioned officers and civilian military experts.


WWI_noon-drills_dmn_032517DMN, Mar. 25, 1917 (click for larger image)


wwi_businessmen_noon-drills_dmn_041317DMN, Apr. 13, 1917


Sources & Notes

Top photo from The Dallas Morning News, April 1, 1917, sent to me by Julia Barton (thanks, JB!).

Photo of the Santa Fe depot is from a Dallas Fire Department publication from 1899, provided by the Dallas Firefighters’ Museum to the Portal to Texas History — more information is here.

More Flashback Dallas posts on the WWI era can be found here.



Copyright © 2023 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Year-End List: Most Popular Posts of 2022

williamson-store_4207-w-clarendon_1915_ebay_rppc_cCockerell Hill, we salute you!

by Paula Bosse

2022 will soon be history, and I can’t say I’ll be sad to see it go. These recent years have been trying times for many of us. I feel I’ve just been slogging through, hoping that “normal” times will return soon (I implore you, 2023!). 2022 saw the fewest number of new posts from me since I created this blog, a fact which kills me, because I would love nothing more than to do this every day, all day long. (As I mentioned in my previous post: if you know how I can earn a living doing just that, please let me know. Or if you are seeking a Dallas-history researcher (etc.), please contact me!) It’s hard to believe, but I am about to embark on my 10th year of writing about Dallas history here at Flashback Dallas. I’ve really loved it, and I truly appreciate all of you who stop by to read! 

This final post of 2022 showcases the year’s Most Popular Posts, determined by page-views, clicks, likes, shares, etc. These are the most-read Flashback Dallas posts of 2022, 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.


williamson-store_4207-w-clarendon_1915_ebay_rppc_c1.  “THE SUNNY SIDE GROCERY — 1915”  (May)

I’m kind of stumped by this one. It was hugely popular when I posted it back in May, and it just keeps getting hits. I have no idea why. I thought the photo was interesting when I saw it, but it’s not that interesting. Perhaps this is just the world’s way of telling me that I need to post more Cockrell Hill content. Represent!



2.  “TRIPLE UNDERPASS — ca. 1936”  (December)

Wow. This was posted only about a week ago — and it has rocketed all the way up to the #2 spot … for the year. But it totally deserves it. It’s a great photograph. 




See my previous post where I listed my personal favorites of 2022 to read my teardrop-dabbing bittersweet overview of this indispensable and amazing resource. …I enjoyed it while I could. 




The high ranking of this one surprised me. Perhaps it’s because I am not as familiar with Oak Cliff history and its landmarks as I should be. When I started writing this, I had never heard of this beautiful, historic house (which is still standing). But now I’m a fan.  



5.  “OLD LAKE HIGHLANDS”  (August)

Team Oak Cliff vs. Team East Dallas. I’m not sure which is more fervent in neighborhood pride, but it’s clear that those groups really love where they live. O.C. just nosed out East Dallas in this list (even though both trailed Cockrell Hill significantly!). The great bird’s-eye-view photo of Old Lake Highlands and White Rock Lake helped rack up strong numbers.




This post has shown up in all three “best of” lists this year. In a nutshell: angry man fills his drug store with clouds of bug spray in an attempt to chase off peaceful students protesting his refusal to serve non-white customers at his lunch counter. And there’s film of it. Despite the subject matter, I enjoyed writing this.




This post about people doing crazy things in the name of entertainment is also represented in all three “best of” lists. This was a lot of fun to research. (I never did find out how many “Bettys” there were.)




The popularity of this post also surprised me. I was determined to find out the location of this house, but all I had to go on was a grainy photo from an ad for metal window casements. I tracked it down and ended up with something very interesting. Thank you, eBay, for the useful ephemera.


elm-and-ervay_looking-north_squire-haskins_DPL9.  “ELM & ERVAY — EARLY ’60s”  (June)

I love these photos, but I wish I had higher resolution copies. I almost didn’t post these because the image quality isn’t great. (I’m sure the Dallas Public Library originals — by the fantastic photographer Squire Haskins — are crisp and wonderful.) Lack of sharpness notwithstanding, I love these photos (especially the second one).



10.  “THE FOUNTAIN: ‘A RESORT FOR GENTLEMEN’ — ca. 1911”  (August)

I’ve looked at SO MANY postcards of Dallas that it’s always a bit of a shock when I come across one I’ve never seen before. Like this one. I love the fact that people were mailing picture-postcards of bars to the fam back home. “Wish you were here!”


SPECIAL MENTION: Two old posts had more hits than any of the posts above, one of which is a bit sobering: “‘DALLAS IS A MAJOR TARGET AREA! — KNOW WHERE YOUR NEAREST FALLOUT SHELTER IS.” Interest in this post on the threat of nuclear war exploded (as it were) in February, when Russia invaded Ukraine. That post received more hits this year than it has cumulatively in all the years since I originally wrote it in 2018.

The overall most popular post of the year is the perennial #1 Flashback Dallas post of every year since it was originally posted in 2016, “BONNIE PARKER: ‘BURIED IN AN ICE-BLUE NEGLIGEE’ — 1934,” a detailed description of the preparation of Bonnie Parker’s body for burial/viewing.

Top post of all-time remains “HOW TO ACCESS THE HISTORICAL DALLAS MORNING NEWS ARCHIVE,” which, after years of updating, has gotten a bit bloated and is probably quite confusing at this point — it needs to be pared down substantially. Raise a glass, because within the next month or so, this evergreen will finally be toppled from its reign as All-Time Most Popular by memories of Bonnie Parker’s mortician.


And that wraps it up for 2022, Thank you so much for reading!


Sources & Notes

See all three 2022 Year-End “best of” lists here.

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



Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Year-End List: My Favorite Posts of 2022

snider-plaza_brown-bks_university-park_6600-1934_sinclalirSnider Plaza filling station, 1934

by Paula Bosse

Another year comes to an end. I have posted so little in 2022! I miss posting more frequently, but life has thrown a few unexpected obstacles in my path this year. I hope to get back to writing more in 2023, because I miss it when I don’t do it. (If you, dear reader, know how I can make a living doing this sort of thing full-time, I’m all ears!) Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read what I’ve written. (If you’d like to receive notifications about new posts, click on the “Follow” button at the bottom of the page — you’ll then be prompted to enter an email address.)

Below are some of my favorite posts of 2022. I’ve singled one out as maybe being my favorite — the rest are in chronological order. Click titles to see the original post.



This post was the result of learning about the most exciting Dallas-history-related thing I came across this year: the University Park Brown Books, city records which contain a staggering amount of information about individual homes and commercial buildings in University Park, from at least the early 1930s to the early 1970s. And almost all contain at least one photograph of the house or business. So. Many. Photographs. And all of this is fully digitized. I can’t tell you how wonderful this is. …But now, after bathing in that giddy happiness, I’m plunged into dark despair, because it appears that this amazingly helpful online resource is no longer available to the general public. I’m guessing you have to be a resident of University Park to access these online records now. Please say it isn’t so, UP Public Library! It appears that my links still work to see individual pages, but gone is my ability to happily wander down residential streets, or around Snider Plaza, or along the Miracle Mile to just see what everything used to look like. I’ve tried several times to access the Brown Books again, but… no luck. But please check out this post to see the sorts of things available to those who know the secret handshake. (Below, Luby’s on Hillcrest, 1948; above, a Sinclair gas station in Snider Plaza, 1934.) 




This was an interesting post to research and write because my mother actually participated in this event in 1961 — and because she is in the film footage! The lunch-counter sit-in was originally organized by SMU theology students after a Black classmate was not allowed to sit at the drug store’s lunch counter. When the peaceful (in fact, silent) protesters would not leave, the owner called in an exterminator to fill the store with a cloud of insecticide in an attempt to get them to leave. It’s such a crazy, hateful, inhumane thing to do. My mother had recounted this event several times when I was a child, and it was sobering to watch it actually happen.



3.  “‘NO MICE, NO FLIES, NO CAFFEINE, NO COCAINE’ — 1911”  (January)

Advertising sure has changed a lot over the years. There really was a time when consumers weren’t sure whether their refreshing carbonated soft drinks contained bits of vermin and/or cocaine. This post has interesting info on the Pure Food and Drug Act and contains several ads which show how companies like Dr Pepper responded to an in-the-news trial involving a deceptive-advertising lawsuit brought by the U.S. Government against Coca-Cola. (I admit, though, that the title of this post is one of the reasons I like it so much.)



4.  “THE GASTON-CARROLL PHARMACY — ca. 1929”  (February)

This post was the direct result of someone sending me an email and asking a question about the building she works in (and which, miraculously, I had a photo of). I’ve passed this building many times over the years but never really even noticed it. It was a lot of fun to research.




I stumbled across this ad for windows on eBay. It shows a beautiful house identified only as being a residence in Dallas designed by architect Anton Korn. I was proud of myself for eventually figuring out where this house was (and still is). Best of all was that a woman who grew up in the house (and whose family still owns it) replied — her comment is my favorite thing about this post.




I love this large tile mosaic mural which is hidden away in a nondescript shopping center office building at Preston and Forest. I took these photos in 2014, and I was surprised to find it, because it’s completely hidden. It’s even more hidden these days — I’ve been informed by several people who went to see it after I wrote this post that it is no longer in a public place. So this cool piece of local artwork is only viewable in photos (and it’s in a cramped hallway, so it’s very difficult to photograph). Come on, Preston-Forest Shopping Center — open this up again! It’s great!




I really loved researching this. I still get queasy thinking about what these fearless daredevils did for a living. 




This is a topic that, on the surface, seems dull and dry, and why in the world would anyone write about parking problems in downtown Dallas? I know! Dullsville! But I really enjoyed writing this. Somehow, I managed to include the new Earle Cabell Federal Building, “people-moving” systems like the vaguely futuristic-looking AirTrans (then in development in Garland), and, yes, Lee Harvey Oswald into a post about the pressing problem of there not being enough parking spaces in the Central Business District in 1971. I contend that just about anything can be made interesting and entertaining. Even this.



9.  “S. MAYER’S SUMMER GARDEN, EST. 1881”  (July)

This is one of the first photos I remember seeing when I started to become really interested in Dallas history. I saw it several times, but I didn’t know what it was or where it had been located. I just never got around to finding out more about it. …Until I was looking for something to write on July 4th — that’s when I came across an ad I had clipped years ago but had forgotten about. The ad, from 1882, was for a July 4th celebration at Mayer’s beer garden. It was a pretty impressive ad! That place had everything (including a ZOO). So I wrote this post and had a great time doing it. (I’m still wondering what a 19th-century “illuminated Chinese balloon” resembling a porcupine looked like….)




10.  “CLAES OLDENBURG IN DALLAS — 1962”  (July)

I loved writing this one. I was an Art History major, and I’m always happy when I’m able to write about Dallas art. For me, the generally unseen 1962 WFAA news film footage I write about here — showing Pop Art icon Claes Oldenburg and his wife, Patty Mucha, cavorting at the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts — is historically important, and I was very excited when I first saw it. Unfortunately, it took Oldenburg’s death this year to get me to finally write about it. RIP, Claes.




My weird “bonus” fave — I still can’t get over the fact that HPHS had a RODEO CLUB! 



Those are my Top 10 personal favorite posts for 2022. Coming next… the most popular posts of the year.


Sources & Notes

See all three 2022 Year-End “best of” lists (as they’re posted) here.

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



Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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