Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Tag: Dallas TX

Victor’s Lounge — 1913 Commerce

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Victor’s-sponsored bowling team

by Paula Bosse

My posting has been a bit erratic recently. My brother and I have been clearing out my late aunt’s home. It’s one of those inevitable tasks that no one wants to have to do, but as sad as it’s been, it’s also been comforting to see glimpses of my aunt’s life that I had only vaguely heard about — or had never heard about. Going through her photos, I see what a full life she had, how much she traveled, and that she had decades-old friendships.

One of the places she talked about with great fondness was, of all things, a bar: Victor’s Lounge, which was at 1913 Commerce Street, directly across from the Statler Hilton. The Dallas Morning News described it as “a favorite with the downtown office crowd.” My aunt worked for an insurance company in the Mercantile Building, and nearby Victor’s was the place where she and her co-workers gathered after work (and, I think, for lunch). She even participated in a ladies’ bowling league on a team sponsored by her favorite hang-out. The photo at the top shows the team of fun-looking women (my aunt Bettye Jo is on the far right). She still had the crisply-ironed shirt in her closet! 

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Victor’s was opened by Victor Ballas (who later opened the Purple Orchid a block away at 2016 Commerce). Born in New York, Ballas arrived in Dallas as a child, went to Forest Avenue High School, and had several businesses, one liltingly called “Ballas of Dallas.” My aunt said he always looked after his customers, especially the single women when they were being aggressively hit on by male patrons. Ballas died on Christmas Day, 1971 of a heart attack — he was only 53.

Victor’s opened as a cocktail bar in 1957 or 1958 with a regular piano player (for many years it was Tony Rizzo), but ads indicate that it became more of a restaurant than a bar in the 1960s.

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The Commerce Street location closed in 1971 — it was replaced at the end of that year by the Wild West Saloon, another cocktail bar (but one which included topless entertainment). 

I heard so much about Victor’s over the years from my aunt that when I recently stumbled across odd shots of the place in random film footage I was pretty excited

I wish we could have gotten a drink there together, Bettye Jo. And maybe hit the lanes at your favorite alley and bowled a few frames.

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victors_1962-map_det1962 (click to see larger image)

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Sources & Notes

Top photo and photo of bowling shirt from the collection of Paula Bosse.

The three color images are screenshots from films in the G. William Jones Film Collection, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University. The first is from the WFAA NewsFilm Collection, the second and third from a promotional film for The Dallas Morning News; all are from the 1960s.

Map is a detail from a 1962 map featured in the Flashback Dallas post “Map of Downtown Dallas, For the Curious Conventioneer — 1962.”

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

From the Vault: Thanksgiving Celebrations in 19th-Century Dallas

millsap_turkeys_bosse_102112Turkeys crossing the road in Millsap, TX (photo: Paula Bosse)

by Paula Bosse

Another Thanksgiving has arrived. I’ve been busy this Thanksgiving season working with my brother to clear out my late aunt’s home as we prepare to sell it (she died in April of COVID-19, one of many, many reasons this year has been such a difficult one), and, as a result, my updating of this blog has been a little sparse lately. So today’s post will be a look back at Thanksgiving posts from the past.

Flashback Dallas posts tagged “Thanksgiving” are here.

The individual posts are:

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I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving. If your celebrations this year aren’t as festive and as full of family and friends as usual, just know that things will (hopefully!) be better next year.

This year I’m thankful that I had my aunt Bettye Jo in my life for as many years as I did. And for everyone else who has lost a loved one in this awful year or suffered hardships they couldn’t have imagined last Thanksgiving: we’ll get through this.

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Sources & Notes

Photo of turkeys crossing the road was taken by me on a drive through Millsap, Texas (Parker County) in October, 2012.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Kennedy Memorial and the County Courthouses — Early 1970s

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by Paula Bosse

A view of the new John F. Kennedy Memorial, the not-new Old Red Courthouse, and the not-old-but-not-really-new “new” County Courthouse, in a postcard photo by Bob Glander.

The text on the back of the postcard reads:

The old and the  new County Courthouses with the Kennedy Memorial. The new Courthouse was dedicated Feb. 4, 1966 and the Kennedy Memorial June 24, 1970, Dallas, Texas. Photo by Bob Glander.”

See the same view — from Main and Market — today, via Google Street View, here.

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Sources & Notes

Postcard found somewhere online.

Previous Flashback Dallas posts with images to compare imagined and actual views of the “Courthouse Complex”:

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Ads from St. Mark’s Yearbooks — 1960s

st-marks_1968-yrbk_walls-delicatessen_photoWall’s Delicatessen, Preston Royal, 1968

by Paula Bosse

I love ads. Here are several from various editions of the Marksman, the yearbook of St. Mark’s School of Texas, a North Dallas landmark. Above, another North Dallas landmark, Wall’s Delicatessen in the Preston-Royal shopping center. The full ad is below (all images are larger when clicked).

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The Pit Club, at the Bronco Bowl.

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Jack in the Box, 3545 Forest Lane (west of Marsh).

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ICEE — “Get a glob of your favorite flavor.” (The ICEE/Slurpee machine was a Dallas product, courtesy of the John E. Mitchell Company, which I wrote about in 4 separate posts — the main one is here, with links to the 3 posts about its WWII munitions work linked in the first sentence.)

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Reynolds Penland, Preston Center.

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The Dallas Music House, Preston Royal.

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While we’re at it, Melody Shop — 4 locations, none of which is NorthPark (yet).

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Speaking of NorthPark, looks what’s coming. “Soon.”

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Another mall, way across town, Big Town, “a city of shops.”

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A change of pace: a city of medical institutes, the Leland Fikes Research Center (including what is now Carter BloodCare), on Harry Hines Blvd. (color photo is here). (A history of the former Wadley blood center can be found in this 1984 article from D Magazine.)

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The Torch, 3620 W. Davis.

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Dominique, 7713 Inwood Road.

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Preston State Bank (formerly the Highland Park State Bank), 8111 Preston Road. Their “Presteen” checking accounts were for high school and college students.

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Vick’s Steakhouse — “House of D’lish Foods” — Northlake Center (E. Northwest Highway and Ferndale, Lake Highlands). (According to a full-page newspaper ad from 1963 — which you can see here — the steakhouse was actually part of “Vick’s Northlake Dining Center” which was comprised of the steakhouse, Vick’s Northlake Cafeteria, and Vick’s Northlake Club, the latter being a private club which charged $10 a month, the equivalent of more than $75 in today’s money!)

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Zuider Zee, 5427 Inwood Road.

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Beard Plumbing Co., “installers of larger mechanical work,” 510 W. Davis. (I thought the fountain pictured might be the one in One Main Place, but that fountain (which, incidentally, was designed by the same man who designed the fountain at Lincoln Center in New York, J. S. Hamel) — did not make its appearance until the end of 1968.)

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UPDATE: Found an earlier ad in the St. Mark’s yearbook identifying the fountain as being in the Dallas Trade Mart:

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John Niland’s Kings of Bar-B-Que, 5423 W. Lovers Lane — one of many Dallas restaurants owned by current or former Dallas Cowboys.

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Fox & Jacobs Construction Co., 12020 Denton Drive. I’ve heard of Fox & Jacobs houses all my life but didn’t realize until a few years ago that it was a Dallas company and not a national one. A history of F & J can be read in a 1978 D Magazine article here.

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Lucas B & B, 3520 Oak Lawn — the granddaddy of the 24-hour diner.

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Neiman-Marcus — “There’s only one way a St. Mark’s man can go… up!”

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Pandemonium, 2621 McKinney Avenue. “There is only one way for a St. Mark’s man to go… groovy!”

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Sources & Notes

Ads are from the 1965, 1966, and 1968 editions of the St. Mark’s School of Texas yearbook, The Marksman.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

VOTE!

election-returns_1928_frank-rogers_dplWatching returns on Elm St. (photo: Dallas Public Library)

by Paula Bosse

Today is Election Day! If you haven’t already gotten out to vote, today is your last chance. Do it!

One of my favorite “discoveries” I’ve stumbled across since doing this blog is learning how Dallasites (and other Americans across the country) once got continuously-updated news of election returns: crowds gathered to watch results which were projected onto the side of a building. The photo above shows people in the early 1920s standing in front of the Dallas Times Herald building (the one with the pillars, at 1305 Elm) watching returns projected from the newspaper offices onto a building across the street. Before TV and radio and 24-hour news coverage, this was the way many large cities kept their citizens informed on election night. 

Read more about that interesting slice of history in the Flashback Dallas post “How Dallas Used To Get Election Returns.”

Also of Election Day interest, check out these posts:

Happy voting!

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Copyright © 2020 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:

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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):

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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.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Highland Park High School: Photos from the 1964 Yearbook

girls-bikes_HPHS-yrbk_1964HPHS senior cyclists after school…

by Paula Bosse

A few random of photos of extra-curricular activities featured in the 1964 Highlander, the yearbook of Highland Park High School.

Above, the caption in the yearbook reads: “Senior cyclists Gay Crowell, Carol Webster, and Margaret Paxson prepare to pedal home.”

Below, “ROTC cadets salute the inspecting officers at the annual federal inspection.”

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Below, “Ralph Cousins gives Donna Guest and Rick Sable a doubting look as Eloise Hancock tells of her adventures on the Midway during High School Day at the State Fair.”

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Below, “Maintaining an international atmosphere, French teacher Neil Jarrett leaves his Volkswagen in the teachers’ parking lot.”

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“Early morning finds girls repairing damage caused by gusty March winds.”

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Below, a before-and-after photo featuring a student with the amazing name of “Kitten Quick” (!): “Vice-President Joe Tom Wood, Treasurer Kitten Quick, Sponsor Mrs. Rita Palm, Secretary Susie Urquhart, and President Lewis McMahon resist the temptation to play in the snow-filled schoolyard…”

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“…but finally succumb to testing the depth of Dallas’ record snowfall.”

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And, lastly, a huge snowman! “‘Seniors ’64’ marks the 14-foot snowman, built during Dallas’s record 7-inch snow.” (A record 7.4 inches of snow fell on Dallas in January, 1964.)

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Sources & Notes

All images from the 1964 Highlander, the yearbook of Highland Park High School.

Other Flashback Dallas posts featuring items from HPHS yearbooks can be found here.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Highland Park High School: Ads from the 1964 Yearbook

charcos_ad_5300-lemmon_HPHS-yrbk_1964_photoCharco’s on Lemmon — with “14 friendly electronic speakers”

by Paula Bosse

Here are a few ads from the 1964 Highlander, the yearbook of Highland Park High School — some of the ads feature HPHS students. (Click ads to see larger images.)

Above, Charco’s, 5300 Lemmon Avenue (James R. Inman, manager). The full ad is below. This was the third “Charco’s Circle-Thru” drive-in, following the first location at 6375 E. Mockingbird (at Abrams), which opened in 1957, and the second location at 10218 Garland Road.

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Danny’s Waffle Shop (Danny L. Edwards, owner), 171 Inwood Village. Featuring students Chris James and Suzy Corgan up on the roof.

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Sanborn’s Hi-Fi-Center (Charles Larsen, president), 5551 W. Lovers Lane. Featuring Peggy Merritt and Jan Hugenin.

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The Army-Navy Surplus and Salvage Store at 4538-40 McKinney Avenue (Julia Cooper, owner). Featuring students Liz Wilson, Gay Crowell, and Suzanne Shepard. 

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S & S Tea Room, 25 Highland Park Village (Dr. Raymond C. Libberton and Mildred A. Libberton, owners). Featuring waitress Lyn Ashmore with students Suzanne Presley, Bev Vaughan, and Susan Behrman. (Dr. Libberton was still a regular presence at the restaurant until his death in 1976 at the age of 104.)

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Midnight Coiffures, 5628 Lemmon and 4826 Gaston (Esther Groves, owner). “Dallas’ only midnight salon.” This is a great idea!

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Centex Construction Co., 4606 Greenville Avenue (Tom H. Lively, president).

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Dr Pepper, national headquarters located at Mockingbird and Greenville. Ad featuring teen bridge players Nancy Naber, Sue Fincher, Johnetta Alexander, and Melinda Anderson. “Frosty, Man, Frosty.”

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La Tunisia, 200 N. Exchange Park (Iqbal Singh Sekhon, general manager — he previously managed Safari in North Dallas at Preston and Royal).

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Sources & Notes

All images from the 1964 Highlander, yearbook of Highland Park High School.

Other Flashback Dallas posts which have dipped into the HPHS yearbooks can be found here.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

George Dahl’s Proposed Massive “Lone Star” Entrance to Fair Park

tx-centennial_proposed-lone-star_george-dahl_dma-catalog_1972_portalWhat could have been at Fair Park: a really, really big star…

by Paula Bosse

As this year’s State-Fair-of-Texas-that-wasn’t draws to a virtual end, I thought I would post this image I came across a while ago — I’d never seen it before, and it’s something of a mystery. It appeared in a 1972 Dallas Museum of Art exhibition catalog called “1930s Expositions” (link at bottom of post). One of the expositions covered in the catalog was the Texas Centennial Exposition held at Fair Park in 1936. Most of the buildings we see today were built in 1935/1936, and the entire sprawling project was led by visionary chief architect George L. Dahl of Dallas. The description of this image reads:

“The monumental scale of the central area of the Exposition was set by the massive pylons which formed the entrance to the Centennial. How even more heroic would have been George Dahl’s proposed ‘Lone Star’ entrance.”

Whoa! Can you imagine that gigantic star spanning the entrance? A sort of  Colossus of Rhodes for Big D! (Big Tex is as close to a Colossus as we’re going to get.)

I searched and searched but could find nothing more about this incredibly dynamic Dahl vision. The closest I got was not what I was looking for, but it was still pretty interesting.

“Erection of a star-shaped building at a cost of $1,000,000 will be asked of the Legislature… This structure would be administrative headquarters for the central exposition in Dallas.” (Dallas Morning News, Dec. 9, 1934)

My first thought was, “Is that thing a building?” And then I searched on “star-shaped building” and found that there had been an extremely controversial “star-shaped building” built as the “Texas Building” at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. Super-wealthy Texan E. H. R. Green was so appalled at the building’s design (by St. Louis-born Texas architect C. H. Page) that he resigned from the state commission in protest, saying this:

“I am not in any way to be identified with the official responsibility of the building that portrays Texas as a freak and that is what that star-shaped building does. No one ever heard of such a type of architecture before. I want a building that will impress those who see it with the idea Texas has some dignity.” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 12, 1903)

St. Louis built it anyway. It was kind of freaky — especially with a replica of the State Capitol dome awkwardly plonked down in the middle (gilding the lily, man…) — but it was, apparently, quite popular. See a ground-level photo of the Texas Building here — and here’s a drawing:

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FWST, Jan. 31, 1904

That was an odd little detour. Anyway….

About that star over the Parry Avenue entrance to Fair Park — I’d love to know more about it. I’d love to see a better image. Anyone know anything? I wonder if Dahl’s plans and drawing for this giant Lone Star might be resting comfortably in the Dallas Historical Society archives?

Here’s the entrance design which was ultimately decided on — the one we still see today at Parry and Exposition. Yeah, there’s a star there, but now that I’ve seen what we could have had, it seems kind of puny. What it lost in overall heft it gained in height, I guess. But just imagine what it COULD have been!

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Sources & Notes

Top image is from the 1972 Dallas Museum of Art catalog for the traveling show “1930s Expositions” (page 16); a scan of the catalog can be found at the Portal to Texas History here, and at the DMA website here.

Color postcard found on eBay.

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

“A Man’s Shop With a Texas Man’s Viewpoint” — 1945

irby-thompson_western-wear_tx-country-day-school-yrbk-1945

by Paula Bosse

Back when men wore Western pearl-snap shirts embroidered with cardinals, leaves, and acorns — and, if this ad is anything to go by, they wore them proudly and unironically.

Frankly, I’d like to see a return to this style.

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“Wherever Texas men gather to relax and play
you’ll see fine sports clothes by Irby-Thompson.”

Western Suit: $115 (equivalent in today’s money to about $1,660)
Sport Coat: $45 (today, $650)
Slacks: $20 (today, $290)
Tie & Handkerchief: $5 (today, $73)

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Sources & Notes

Ad found in the pages of the 1945 Texas Country Day School yearbook. 

Irby-Thompson (housed in the Mercantile Building), was opened in 1944 by Collis P. Irby and J. S. Thompson; in 1948 Irby and his former store manager, Count Mayes, bought out Thompson and became Irby-Mayes.

Related: see the Flashback Dallas post “Irby-Mayes Ad With a Cameo by the Merc — 1948.”

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Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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