Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

From the Vault: Turn-of-the-Century Maple Avenue

maple-ave_colteraThose homeowners had it all…

by Paula Bosse

Stoneleigh-Hotel-area Maple Avenue doesn’t look like this anymore. As beautiful as this neighborhood was, there were apparently a lot of desperate men living in some of those idyllic houses: it seems to have been suicide-central. More about this in the original 2015 post, “Turn-of-the-Century Maple Avenue,” here.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“Serving the Southwest From Dallas” — 1928

industrial-dallas-inc_nations-business-mag_060528_illusAll roads lead to Dallas…

by Paula Bosse

Industrial Dallas, Inc. was a nonprofit corporation formed by directors of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce to boost national awareness of Dallas’ favorable business climate and its role as a major hub of business and manufacturing in Texas and in the neighboring states Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. The idea was to promote Dallas in a series of advertisements placed in national business-oriented magazines; the three-year campaign (1928-1931) had a budget of $500,000 (the equivalent of $7,000,000 in today’s money) and was led by banker and Dallas booster (and future mayor) R. L. Thornton. Despite the fact that this campaign coincided with the first years of the Great Depression, Industrial Dallas, Inc. was considered a success: it attracted hundreds of new companies to Dallas and firmly established the city’s national reputation as an important commercial center and as a dynamic young city offering limitless business opportunities.



Not everyone was smitten with these Dallas ads, however. Texans who did business beyond the “acceptable” concentric circles of the Dallas, Inc. map were annoyed, as can be seen in this amusing piece by a writer for the Waco newspaper (click to see larger image).

Waco News-Tribune, Dec. 12, 1928

The map:



Two Industrial Dallas, Inc. ads appeared it the June 5, 1928 issue of the magazine Nation’s Business (the top illustration is a detail, the second is a full-page advertisement).

The ads were intended to run only three years — until spring of 1931 — but they continued to run until at least the very beginning of 1932. In 1959, Industrial Dallas, Inc. was resurrected for another publicity blitz (led by Dallas Power & Light president C. A. Tatum, Jr.), and ads again appeared in national publications for three years. One of this later series of ads can be seen here.

An interesting little sidebar about this campaign was that it was expressly credited with attracting the Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. to build a new “Master Super Service Station” at the northwest corner of Ross and Harwood in 1929 as part of the company’s multi-million-dollar national expansion program. The company purchased what was then the home of the Knights of Columbus, but it had been known since its construction around 1900 as the grand Conway residence, a palatial house designed by architect H. A. Overbeck for prominent lumber dealer J. C. Conway (it was the childhood home of his daughter Gordon Conway, a noted fashion illustrator). It was reported that after the Firestone Co. purchased the property, Harvey Firestone, Jr. had two carved mahogany mantels removed from the house and shipped to the home he was building “in the North.” It’s sad that such a lovely home (seen here) — not even 30 years old! — would be torn down to build a service station. But time and tide wait for no man. Especially in Dallas.

Images larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Map of Downtown Dallas, For the Curious Conventioneer — 1962

big-d_aia-convention_aia-journal_aprill-1962Welcome to Convention City! (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

In May, 1962, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) had their national convention in Dallas. The April, 1962 edition of the AIA Journal contained a boosterific article on Big D’s exciting architecture, a handy bibliography of previous Journal articles on specific Dallas projects and architects, a few photos, and a helpful map of downtown, containing, I suppose, the Big City sites that the visiting architect might find worth a look. In addition to your staples like Neiman-Marcus, the relatively new Statler Hilton, and the Republic Bank Building, it also contained a lot of … odd things. Like Magicland, M & M Leathercraft, and Ring and Brewer Western Wear. AND a lot of bars. A lot. Some of them pretty seedy. And several of which employed the talents of “exotic” dancers. (Hey, what happens in Dallas stays in Dallas.)

The map is actually pretty good — even though many of the simply-drawn buildings look absolutely nothing like their real counterparts (I mean … come on, architects!) — it’s helpful because it shows exactly where so many of these off-the-beaten-path bars and restaurants and shops were located. For instance, I’ve heard my aunt talk for years about her favorite Happy Hour destination back in the ’60s, but it wasn’t until I saw this map that I actually knew where Victor’s Lounge was: across Commerce from the Statler Hilton (right next to the architect’s favorite Dallas stop, Warehouse Cut-Rate Liquors).

Check it out. The alphabetical key is printed on the map, the numerical key is below. Click the map so you, too, can find out where exactly Sol’s Turf Bar was and which thoroughfare one needed to take to reach the Sportatorium (’cause if there’s anything architects love more than magic tricks, it’s professional wrestling!).


2. Magicland; Phil’s Delicatessen
3. Rheinishcherhoff Restaurant
4. Cattlemen’s Restaurant
5. Majestic Theatre
6. Capri Theater
7. Tower Theater; Sigel’s Liquors
8. Corrigan Tower
9. Tower Petroleum Bldg.
10. Miller Bros. Jewelry
11. Ring & Brewer Western Wear
12. Filet Restaurant
13. Mexico City Restaurant
14. First National Motor Bank
15. Rio Grande Life Bldg.
16. National Bank of Commerce
17. E. M. Kahn Department Store
18. Texas Bank Bldg.
19. Wholesale Merchants Bldg.
20. James K. Wilson Co.
21. Santa Fe Bldg.
22. WFAA Radio Station
23. Oriental Cafe
24. Davis Bldg.
25. First National Bank
26. Cullum & Boren Sporting Goods
27. Palace Theater
28. 211 North Ervay Bldg.; Forget-Me-Not Gift Shop
29. Praetorian Bldg.; Shoe Center
30. Eatwell Cafe
31. Black Angus Restaurant
32. Mobil Bldg. (Magnolia Bldg.)
33. Golden Pheasant Restaurant; Hoffman’s Men’s Wear
34. Melody Shop; Shoe Center
35. Sol’s Turf Bar
36. Copper Cow Restaurant
37. Reynolds-Penland Department Store
38. E. M. Kahn Co.
39. Dreyfuss & Son
40. Volk’s Department Store; Rogers Factory Shoe Store
41. Mercantile Security Bldg.
42. Dallas Mercantile Bldg.; Tall Fashions
43. Victor’s Lounge
44. Warehouse Liquors
45. Town & Country Restaurant
46. Skeffington’s Men’s Wear
47. Lone Star Gas Co.
48. M & M Leathercraft
49. National Bankers Life Bldg.
50. Zoo Bar
51. Steak House Unique
52. Dallas Power and Light
53. 209 Browder Bldg.
54. Bell Telephone Co.
55. Federal Reserve Bank
56. Community Chest
57. Employers Insurance
58. Reserve Life Bldg.
59. Life Bldg.; Moore-DeGrazier Jewelry Co.
60. Theater Lounge (burlesque)
61. Horseshoe Lounge
62. Carousel Club (burlesque)
63. Colony Club (burlesque)
64. Brockles Restaurant


Photo and map from the April, 1962 issue of AIA Journal. The entire issue is contained in a PDF, here. The Dallas content begins on page 39 of the PDF. The bibliography — which contains articles that I’d actually love to read! — can be found on page 83 of the PDF.

Images larger when clicked.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The “Akard Street Canyon” — ca. 1962

downtown-dallas_aia-journal-april-1962Looking north toward Main, and beyond… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

A view of the dowtown “canyon” — looking north on Akard from just south of Main, published in 1962, but probably taken in 1961 — possibly from the Baker Hotel.

A few of the tall buildings which made up the walls of the “canyon“:

Adolphus Hotel — northwest corner of Commerce and Akard, built in 1911/12, designed by architects Barnett, Haynes & Barnett. The Adolphus — the oldest building in this group and the tallest building in the city when it was built — is definitely one the canyon’s anchors, but in the photo above it is mostly — if not entirely — out of frame at the left foreground.


Magnolia Building — northeast corner of Commerce and Akard (seen at right foreground of photo); called the “Mobil Building” in the 1962 Dallas directory, built in 1922; Alfred C. Bossom, architect. Now the Magnolia Hotel.


Adolphus Tower — southwest corner of Main and Akard, built in 1954; Wyatt Hedrick, architect (click pictures to see larger images). The building is currently being remodeled for office use.


Southwestern Life Building — southeast corner of Main and Akard, built in 1911/12; Otto H. Lang, architect. Bill Clements (before he became Governor of Texas) bought the building on spec in 1965, then had it demolished in 1972. It was a parking lot for many years. It is now Pegasus Plaza, an attractive open area.


Gulf States Building — northwest corner of Main and Akard; originally known as the Marvin Building, built in 1927, with a later addition of upper stories designed by Lang and Witchell. Converted to lofts.


Kirby Building — northeast corner of Main and Akard. The Kirby Building — the beautiful white building at center right in the top photo — was designed by the same architects who designed the Adolphus Hotel, Barnett, Haynes & Barnett, with a 1924 annex designed by Lang and Witchell. When construction began in 1912, the building was originally called the Busch Building, named after Adolphus Busch, whose hotel was just a stone’s throw away (it was called the Great Southern Life Building from 1918 to 1922 and was renamed “Kirby” when it was purchased in 1922 by John H. Kirby). When the building opened in 1913, its most prominent tenant was the A. Harris department store, which occupied the first five floors and the basement. On December 31, 1960, it was announced that the parent company of pioneer Dallas department store Sanger’s (which, at the time of this announcement was part of the Federated Stores chain, but which had opened as Sanger Bros. in Dallas in 1872) had acquired another pioneer Dallas department store, A. Harris & Co. (established in 1892, though Adolph Harris had been in business in Dallas since 1887). The newly christened “Sanger-Harris” store settled into the old Harris space in the Kirby in 1961. It’s hard to tell, but it looks as if there is both an “S” on the corner of the building in this photo (for “Sanger’s”?) as well as the “A. Harris & Co.” sign affixed to the Akard side of the building. The A. Harris store had been a Dallas landmark at Main and Akard for almost 50 years, but it seems the sign would have come down by the time of the official change in name (which happened on July 10, 1961). So perhaps this photo was taken between January and July of 1961, when both stores were actually operating under the same roof and accepting either store’s credit card. The Kirby is now a snazzy apartment building.


Mayfair Department Store — 1414 Elm, southwest corner of Elm and Akard. Built in 1946, this Dallas outpost of a department store chain was designed by George L. Dahl and has been converted to apartments.


Dallas Federal Savings and Loan Building  —  1505 Elm, northeast corner of Elm and Akard. This blue, gray, and white building was built in 1956/57 and was designed by George Dahl. One of Dallas’ earliest movie theaters — the Queen Theater, built in 1912 — was demolished in 1955 to make way for the new office building. (A brand new parking garage was built at the same time.) Converted to condos and apartments.

dallas-federal-savings-and-loan_1505-elm_1957_sm     dallas-federal-savings_parking-garage_1957_ad-det

Fidelity Union Tower — northeast corner of Pacific and Akard, built in 1959/60, designed by Hedrick & Stanley; called the Mayflower Building for a short time. Now the Mosaic, converted to residences.


511 North Akard — between Patterson and San Jacinto, built in 1958/59, designed for the Relief and Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention by architects Thomas, Jameson & Merrill. Currently apartments, with a 7-Eleven at street-level.


All but one of these buildings are still standing, and most have been converted into apartments and condos. The view up Akard today (here) doesn’t look as much like a canyon as it did 55 years ago, due mainly to the loss of the Southwestern Life Building at Main and Akard.

Below is a photo looking south on Akard, with the Baker Hotel (on Commerce) straight ahead. That “third wall” formed by the Baker makes things a little more “canyon-esque.” (Note the Queen Theater at the left.)


And, finally, a postcard of “The Akard Street Canyon” which tourists could share with the family back in Poughkeepsie.



Top photo from the April, 1962 issue of AIA Journal (which is scanned in its entirety in a PDF, here).

Adolphus Hotel postcard from the Portal to Texas History.

Bird’s-eye view of the Gulf States Building from the collection of the Dallas Public Library.

Photo looking south on Akard from Pinterest.

Sketches and renderings of buildings mostly from ads, almost all of which appeared when the building in question opened.

For several photos showing the view south on Akard over the years, see the Flashback Dallas post “Akard Street Looking South, 1887-2015,” here.

Click pictures to see larger images.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

The WFAA Studios, Designed by George Dahl, Rendered by Ed Bearden — 1961

wfaa_george-dahl_ed-bearden_postcard“Communications Center…”  (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

Above, the WFAA studios, seen in a wonderful painting by Dallas artist Ed Bearden. The image is from a postcard touting the brand new ultra-modern building designed by one of Dallas’ top architects, the prolific George L. Dahl. The building still stands at Young and Record streets, next to the home of its then-sister-company, The Dallas Morning News (appropriately, the News building was also designed by Dahl … as was the soon-to-be HQ of The News, the old Dallas Public Library at Commerce and Harwood).

The super-cool mid-century “WFAA AM-FM-TV broadcasting plant” was completed in 1961. It opened to much fanfare in April of that year, with star-studded festivities featuring personal appearances by a host of ABC stars such as Connie Stevens, Johnny Crawford, and Nick Adams. If catching a glimpse of “Cricket” or the Rifleman’s son didn’t wow you, the public was also invited to tour the building and gawk at its state-of-the-art radio and television studios. This large 68,000-square-foot building allowed WFAA radio and WFAA-TV to be housed under the same roof. Before this, the AM and FM radio stations were broadcasting from studios atop the Santa Fe Building, and Channel 8 was broadcasting from their television studios on Harry Hines, at Wolf (studios which they sold to KERA at the end of 1959).

Aside from the innovative “folded-plate” concrete roof, one of the first things I noticed about this building was the staircase behind a “wall” of plate glass — I was instantly reminded of the staircase from the old Rogers Electric building (now Steinway Hall) on the Central Expressway service road at McCommas — all it needed was a gigantic ficus tree. (Unsurprisingly, that building — built in 1959 — was also designed by the very, very busy George Dahl.)

Cool building, cool architectural design, cool artistic rendering.


Below is an early pre-construction rendering of the WFAA building, from 1959.



And a photo from the early 1970s.



And here’s a view taken from the side of the building in 1963, looking toward Young Street.



The early-’70s photo above was taken from this ad from the 1974-75 Texas Almanac. Ah, “Communications Center.” (I have to say, I’ve never heard of “WFAA-FM Stereo 98” nor their slogan “The Velvet Sound of Beautiful Music.” In fact, by the time this edition of the Almanac was published, WFAA-FM no longer existed — it had changed both its name — to KZEW — and its format — to rock.)



Color postcard found on the entertaining blog Texas Pop Culture; see the post — which includes scans of the reverse side of the card — here.

Bearden’s signature is a bit hard to make out — the slightly distorted magnified signature can be seen here.

The more I see of Ed Bearden’s work, the more I like it. See his Dallas skyline from 1958 here; see his Dallas skyline from 1959 here.

Photo of the Channel 8 news vehicles is from the Belo Records collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more info on this photo is here.

More on architect George L. Dahl can be found at the Handbook of Texas, here, and at Wikipedia, here.

Read more about the history of FM radio in Dallas — including histories of WFAA-FM and KZEW — at the indispensable website of local broadcasting history — DFW Retroplex, here.

Click pictures to see larger images.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

From the Vault: The Dallas Skyline As Seen by Commercial Artist Lee Albertson — 1969

ad-phelps-dodge_1969_bw_small“When Big D lights up…”

by Paula Bosse

This is not one of the legendary phone book covers of Karl Hoefle, but the work of a commercial artist who produced several similar city-skyline ads for Phelps Dodge. This one is a lot of fun to zoom into and see in detail — see a much larger image here.

But it’s even better in color. See the color version in my original post — “When ‘Big D’ Lights Up — Phelps Dodge Ad (1969)” — here.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“Meet Me in Dallas, On June the 23rd…”

jeannie-c-riley_flickrJeannie C. Riley

by Paula Bosse

Until last week, I don’t think I’d ever heard the 1969 song “The Back Side of Dallas,” sung by Jeannie C. Riley, who had had the blockbuster hit “Harper Valley PTA” the previous year. How have I never heard this? I was going to post it last week until I realized that it would be better to wait until today, because of this line from the song: “Meet me in Dallas on June the 23rd, his letter read.” And here we are, June 23rd.

The song, written by Jerry Foster and Bill Rice was released in October, 1969. It wasn’t the huge, crossover, multi-award-winning monster hit that “Harper Valley PTA” was, but it did earn Jeannie another Grammy nomination (she lost to Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” — if you’re going to lose, that’s a pretty great performance to lose to!).

Like “Harper Valley PTA,” it was one of several songs of the era which brought country music into the somewhat seedy realm of 1960s American culture. “The Back Side of Dallas” is about a small-town girl who finds herself a lonesome “working girl” in Dallas, chain-smoking king-size cigarettes, drinking in dingy bars, and popping pills. This ain’t no Kitty Wells song, y’all. (I’d love to hear Miranda Lambert — who also has an incredible country voice — cover this.)


Jeannie C. Riley — born in Anson, Texas in 1945 — was one of the first certifiable sex symbols in country music, always gorgeous, outfitted in miniskirts and go-go boots, with sky-high hair teased to a fare-thee-well. AND she had an absolutely fantastic voice. Below is video of a 24-year-old Jeannie C. Riley singing “Back Side of Dallas” on Del Reeves’ Country Carnival in 1969 (Del Reeves had some great songs in the ’60s, but his TV persona was a little too Dean Martin-wannabe for my taste … and … oh dear … that set!):


I prefer the studio version, below. I’ve listened to this song dozens of times now, and I haven’t gotten tired of it yet!


And here’s Jeannie singing it in 2011, still sounding great! (Her thick Texas accent is the absolute best, and her laugh is fantastic.) She talks about the song a bit at the beginning with Jerry Foster, one of the writers of the song — the song itself starts at about the 3:10 mark.


And, to round out this “June the 23rd” post, a few photos of Jeannie C. — surely one of the most photogenic faces and bad-ass vocalists in the history of country music. As my father used to say, “hot damn.”






Most, if not all, photos of JCR from Pinterest.

Record label image found here.

A biography of Jeannie C. Riley is here.

“Harper Valley PTA” — you know you want to hear it. This is a great live version she did on, I think, the Wilburn Brothers Show, with Harold Morrison on dobro.


Click pictures to see larger images.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Dallas History on “Jeopardy”

delta_jeopardy_061917“What is….”

by Paula Bosse

Yesterday an old Flashback Dallas post from 2014 got a TON of hits. As the hits continued to rack up all day, I thought, “This is really weird.” The reason? Jeopardy! Even better, FINAL Jeopardy! Do you know the answer (…phrased in the form of a question)? See if you do, here.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“Pickle Brine Ryan” — 1968

baseball_nolan-ryan_pickle-juice_1968_corbisBrining the blisters away….

by Paula Bosse

I give you a 21-year-old Nolan Ryan soaking his pitching finger in pickle juice. As one does.

Years before the future Baseball Hall of Famer made it to DFW, young Nolan was the star pitcher of the New York Mets. He was prone to blisters on the middle finger of his pitching hand, so Mets trainer Gus Mauch put him on a strict pickle juice regimen of soaking the affected finger between innings to toughen the skin and prevent blisters from popping up at inopportune moments. And, of course, this weird pickle juice thing became really big news in May, 1968. Sportswriters jumped all over it, and a few began calling him “Pickle Brine Ryan,” because it sort of rhymes.

The delicatessen where Ryan’s pickle juice of choice was purchased tried to cash in on what they hoped would become a fad by placing jars of the brine in the window with a sign proudly proclaiming that they were the source of the famous “Mets’ Pitching Juice.” According to a UPI story, when another pickle company offered the Mets five gallons of their pickle juice, trainer Mauch responded, “Gosh, you could embalm a whole swimming team with five gallons!”

And the rest, as they say, is history.



Photo ©Bettmann/CORBIS, from May 6, 1968; it appeared in newspapers with the following caption:

While teammates relax before a game, using anything handy for a pillow, New York Mets’ pitcher Nolan Ryan (left) soaks his pitching fingers in pickle juice. That’s right — pickle juice! Ryan says the juice toughens his fingers so that he doesn’t get blisters.

I wonder if he kept it up? By the time he got back home to Texas and signed with the Rangers, I’d love to know that he upped his brine game by using pickled jalapeño juice.

An earlier Nolan Ryan-related Flashback Dallas post — “Nolan Ryan’s Celebratory Pancake Breakfast — 1972” — is here.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Country Music — Every Saturday Night on Channel 11

country-music_saturday-night_channel-11_ktvt_1969The warm-up for wrestling…

by Paula Bosse

I have a surprisingly deep knowledge of classic country music. And it can all be traced back to sitting with my father every Saturday night as he watched the jam-packed lineup of country music TV shows on KTVT-Channel 11.

Followed by wrestling.

Which I also have a surprisingly deep knowledge of. If only by osmosis.

Thank you, Channel 11, for providing this bonding time with my father, which I didn’t really appreciate as a child, but I do now.

(And, yes, I’m happy that my antiquarian bookseller father and Comparative Literature-degree-holding mother often took our family to the Sportatorium to see both country music package shows and wrestling matches. You can’t say our family wasn’t well-rounded.)


1969 ad from an odd little local publication (which probably used to belong to my father) called Country and Western — The Sound That Goes Around the World, published in DFW by PegAnn Production.


Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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