Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Tag: Historic Dallas

Miscellaneous Postcards

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by Paula Bosse

I’ve seen so many Dallas postcards that it’s always a little bit of a jolt when I see one I’ve never seen before, like the one above. The Praetorians Life Insurance exhibit was inside the Varied Industries building (below). So much is written about the architecture of Fair Park — but we don’t hear a lot about the interiors. I don’t think there are many color photos in existence. This is a colorized image, but the colors in real life were pretty vibrant. Even the floors were fantastic! One of my favorite “finds” was the ad at the top of the post “State Fair Coliseum/Centennial Administration Building/Women’s Museum/Women’s Building” — it’s a color photo (!) which shows glimpses of the interior, the furniture, and, best of all, the custom linoleum.

tx-centennial_varied-industries-bldg_postcard_pinterestvia Pinterest

And speaking of the Fair Park Coliseum, this is a great postcard (with a 1911 postmark):

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And here’s the Magnolia Building — it never gets old:

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The “new” Cotton Exchange Building, at St. Paul and San Jacinto (I wrote about the old and new Cotton Exchange buildings here — scroll down to #4):

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Highland Park Presbyterian Church (circa 1940s): 

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The Inn of the Six Flags — along the DFW turnpike in Arlington. I’d never seen this postcard — and the resolution is pretty bad — but I post this almost entirely to drink in that unbelievably pastoral view of 1960s Arlington.

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Here’s another view:

inn-of-the-six-flags_pool_postcard_portal_dallas-heritage-villagevia Dallas Heritage Village

A bird’s-eye view of the Stemmons Corridor, with handy labels:

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And, lastly, a cool view of a cool skyline:

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Sources & Notes

Unless otherwise noted, all postcards found on eBay.

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

When SMU Theology Students Were Sprayed with Insecticide at a University Park Lunch-Counter Sit-In — 1961

university-pharmacy-protest_WFAA_jan-1961_1Bright’s Drug Store, 6327 Hillcrest, University Park

by Paula Bosse

This week the G. William Jones Film & Video Collection at SMU posted another fantastic clip from their WFAA News archive on their YouTube channel. This one shows an incident I had heard about since I was a child. It shows a peaceful “sit-in” demonstration at the University Pharmacy at the southwest corner of Hillcrest and McFarlin, across from the SMU campus. The sit-in was organized by theology students at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology to protest the owner’s refusal to serve Black customers at his lunch counter. The student demonstration was conducted by a group of silent students — it was a peaceful protest without violence. Until, that is, the owner, pharmacist C. R. Bright, called in a fumigator to set off a cloud of insecticide inside the pharmacy in an extreme attempt to run off the protestors. The students did not leave until Bright closed the drug store. Many of the students then picketed in front of the business as anti-protestor demonstrators showed up to heckle and jeer, some waving little Confederate flags handed out by Bright. My mother, who lived nearby at the time and had recently graduated from SMU (but was not a theology student) was there, and she says she can still feel the burn of that pesticide in her throat and says that no one present that day could believe a person would do what Bright did. (And she’s in it! She’s seen sitting at the counter, engulfed by a cloud of insecticide.)

Here is the silent clip from January 9, 1961 (the direct link on YouTube is here):


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I took the photo below at an exhibit at the downtown Dallas Public Library in 2017. It shows the students outside the pharmacy as a crowd jeers at them.

university-drug-store_strike_DPL-exhibit_apr-2017via Dallas Public Library

In 1961, there were only 4 or 5 Black students attending SMU. Black students were allowed to attend only the theology and law schools — there were no Black undergraduates until 1962, when Paula Elaine Jones became the first African American full-time undergraduate student at SMU.

In 1961, African Americans were routinely refused service at white-owned establishments in Dallas (as they were in the rest of the Jim Crow South). The sit-in at the University Pharmacy was the result of a Black theology student being refused service at Bright’s lunch counter. There had been a small demonstration at the drug store a couple of nights before the one seen in the film above — it ended when Bright closed early. 

The sit-in that grabbed the headlines began around 10:00 on the morning of Monday, Jan. 9, 1961, when 60-75 SMU students, including Black theology students Earl Allen and Darnell Thomas, entered the drug store and sat silently at the counter and in booths. Allen and Darnell were refused service. In protest, the large group of students refused to leave. After about an hour, Bright was quoted by a WBAP news reporter as saying, “This is a good time to kill some cockroaches…” and called an exterminator service. When the exterminators arrived, they turned on fumigating machines inside the business, filling the place with clouds of kerosene-based insecticide which covered the students, the lunch counters, the dishes, the food, and the store’s merchandise. (Bright was a pharmacist, who was no doubt aware of potential physical harm this would cause.)

The students sat there, breathing through handkerchiefs and holding their ground, silent. A University Park policeman, Lt. John Ryan was there, but the police were not actively involved (although Ryan did have a handy gas mask). After half an hour, the students left when Bright closed the store. Bright re-opened an hour or two later (the lunch counter remained closed). Students silently picketed as hecklers jeered.

The SMU student newspaper — The SMU Campus — covered the sit-in. The article contained an unsurprising, unapologetic quote from the 75-year-old C. R. Bright: 

Bright steadfastly refuses to integrate his lunch counter. Says the drug store owner, “We are not serving them now and we’ll never serve them.” He continues to explain that it “is against my principle” and “I know it would wreck my business.” (The SMU Campus, Feb. 1, 1961)

Bright retired soon after and sold the business to an up-and-coming young whippersnapper named Harold Simmons, who went on to build a multi-multi-multi-million-dollar empire from that first business investment.

university-drug-store_smu-archivesvia DeGolyer Library, SMU

university-pharmacy_smu-rotunda_1965via 1965 SMU Rotunda

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UPDATE, BURY THE LEDE DEPT: Thanks to comments by two readers, I have learned that Christopher R. Bright was the father of former Dallas Cowboys owner H. R. “Bum” Bright. Oh dear.

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Sources & Notes

All screenshots are from WFAA news footage from the WFAA News Film Collection, G. William Jones Film & Video Collection, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University; the clip has been posted to the SMU Jones Film channel on YouTube here.

Read coverage of the sit-in (as well as a critical editorial which called the protest “immoral”) in the Feb. 1, 1961 edition of The SMU Campus, the student newspaper — it can be accessed on the SMU Libraries website here, or it can be read in a PDF I’ve made, here

Read a lively account of the sit-in in a WBAP-Channel 5 news script here (via the Portal to Texas History).

For those with access to the Dallas Morning News archives, the incident is covered in an article by Jim Lehrer: “Protesting Students Sit In, Walk Picket Line at Store” (DMN, Jan. 10, 1961). 

Another great clip showing a historical lunch-counter protest in Dallas (the city’s first, I believe) in April of 1960 is also available on the SMU Jones Film YouTube channel — it can be viewed here. Here is a description of what’s happening in the footage: “Rev. Ashton Jones, a white minister from Los Angeles, and Rev. T. D. R. V. Thompson, Black pastor of the New Jerusalem Institutional Missionary Baptist Church, 2100 Second Avenue, together visit segregated lunch counters in downtown Dallas department stores; the peaceful sit-in protests take place at the counters of the Kress Department Store, the H. L. Green Department Store, and the Tea Room of Sanger Bros. department store. This was the first publicized demonstration against Dallas’ segregated eating establishments, and several members of the media — both white and African American — are covering the historic event (Silent).”

Lastly, in a related Flashback Dallas post, there was a previous University Pharmacy which was located, at separate times, on the northwest and southwest corners of Hillcrest and McFarlin — the owner of the very first University Pharmacy built the Couch Building, which can be seen in the background of the top photo of this post. That earlier post, “University Park’s “Couch Building” Goes Up In Flames (1929-2016),” can be found here. A pertinent 1965 photo from that post which shows Simmons’ University Pharmacy, the Couch Building, and the Toddle House (which was also the site of a 1961 sit-in by SMU students) can be seen here.

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Two Men, Two Steeds, Two Derbies: A Nice Ride Through City Park — 1907

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by Paula Bosse

Out for a leisurely ride through the park. Have derby, will travel. 

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Sources & Notes

This real-photo postcard from January, 1907 was addressed to 19-year-old Gussie Holland, then studying in Maryland. Gussie was the daughter of the Dallas publisher and former mayor, Franklin Pierce Holland. Found on eBay.

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Dallas Entertainment Awards — 1961

dallas-entertainment-awards_1961_cover_SMUAnd the winner is…

by Paula Bosse

Here’s an interesting piece of Dallas entertainment history: a program for the 1961 Dallas Entertainment Awards, held in the Century Room, the swanky nightclub in the Adolphus Hotel. The awards were nicknamed “the Billy award,” or “the Billys.” Dresscode: “semi-formal.” Here are a few highlights.

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BEST RADIO PERSONALITY

Nominees are: Nick Ramsey (KVIL), Ted Cassidy (“Profile of an Orchestra,” WFAA), Meg Healy (KIXL), Hugh Lampman (“Music ’til Dawn,” KRLD — the previous year’s winner), Irving Harrigan & Tom Murphy (“Murphy and Harrigan Show,” KLIF), Jim Lowe (WRR), and Chem Terry (KRLD). 

So – Ted Cassidy? Yes, that is the same Ted Cassidy who later played “Lurch” on TV in The Addams Family (he also played “Thing”). He worked for WFAA radio for a few years and is a trivia answer in JFK-related quizzes regarding Dallas media coverage of the assassination.

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BEST MALE VOCALIST

Nominees are: Mark Carroll, Marty Ross, Earl Humphreys (the previous year’s winner), Skip Fletcher, Charlie Applewhite, Ron Shipman, and Trini Lopez.

Skip Fletcher? Yes, a member of those Fletchers. When he wasn’t frying up corny dogs he did a little singing, and even released at least one 45.

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R. J. O’DONNELL MEMORIAL AWARD FOR SHOWMAN OF THE YEAR

Nominees are: Tom Hughes, Paul Baker, Raiberto Comini, Lanham Deal, Norma Young, Pearl Chappell, and Lawrence Kelly. (The previous year’s winner was Charles R. Meeker Jr.) A few names there which should be familiar to aficionados of Dallas live theater.

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Producers of the event were Breck Wall and Joe Peterson, creators of the naughty “Bottoms Up” revue, which is probably still running somewhere. Some biographical information on the pair (click for larger image):

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Master of Ceremonies was Tony Zoppi, who wrote a column about the local nightclub scene for The Dallas Morning News. Whenever I read his old columns, I think that he must have had the BEST job in town — writing about the Dallas nightlife scene when it was at its sophisticated and sometimes seedy Mad Men-era apex.

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And — a bit of a change of pace — a little bio of real estate titan Leo Corrigan, who owned the Adolphus, where the show was being held — he was, unsurprisingly, receiving an “Appreciation Award.”

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And a couple of drawings of Dallas entertainment notables: Pappy Dolson, owner of Pappy’s Showland and legendary agent of strippers, and Joe Reichman, the leader of the Century Room orchestra who was billed as “the Pagliacci of the piano.”

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A few interesting ads include a little “howdy” from Jack Ruby (who was well known to several of the people mentioned above, some of whom testified to the Warren Commission about their relationships with him). 

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An ad for Villa Fontana, a gay club, formerly known as Le Boeuf Sur Le Toit (The Bull on the Roof), then managed by Bob Strange. Gay clubs were illegal at the time, so you didn’t see a lot of ads for them. (I wrote an article for Central Track about some of the gay clubs in Dallas in the early ’70s — with photos — here.)

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And, the 24-hour greasy spoon known to generations of Dallasites, Oak Lawn’s Lucas B & B.

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Here’s the photo enlarged. Unless something earth-shattering has happened that I don’t know about, that great sign is still standing on Oak Lawn near Lemmon, long after the restaurant closed.

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See the rest of the 44-page program — lots more photos, lots more nominees — in a PDF from the DeGolyer Library at SMU, here.

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Sources & Notes

All images are from “Dallas Entertainment Awards — 1961,” from the Diane Wisdom Papers, Archives of Women of the Southwest, DeGolyer Library, SMU Libraries; more information and a link to the fully-scanned program is here.

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

New Year’s Day in Dallas: Black-Eyed Peas and the Cotton Bowl Classic — 1960

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by Paula Bosse

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

What better time to share this seasonal article from the Christmas, 1959 edition of The Shamrock:

Next to a helping of black-eyed peas, about the most important thing to Texans on New Year’s Day is a good football bowl game. And to Texans, there is no bowl game more important than the Cotton Bowl contest played each year in Dallas. Many even would rather do without their “black-eyes” than to miss this annual grid classic. 

Texans have long been noted for their bragging and their love of football. In the Cotton Bowl game, they believe they have something which warrants a little boasting. Since 1937 when the classic was inaugurated, they have succeeded in showing the nation that they, too, can stage top grid productions.

There’s more to the Cotton Bowl Festival than a football game, however. The host city of Dallas resembles a three-ring circus during the week preceding the big game. The game is played on New Year’s Day except when that holiday falls on Sunday. In that event, it is played on Monday, January 2.

The list of events for Cotton Bowl Week this year contains something of interest for all visitors. The National Finals Rodeo, the first “world series of rodeo,” will be staged in the new State Fair Livestock Coliseum, December 26-30. The popular Broadway production, “My Fair Lady,” will be presented by the national company of the show in the State Fair Music Hall all during the week.

There will be a fashion show for the ladies and the Texas sportwriters will sponsor the annual Texas Sports Hall of Fame luncheon, honoring great athletes and coaches of the past. There will also be college and high school basketball tournaments, a tennis tournament, and a bowling tournament. 

The big event prior to the game will come on New Year’s Eve with the annual Cotton Bowl Festival parade through downtown Dallas. Bands will play, colorful floats will be displayed and the Cotton Bowl Queen will make an official appearance, along with the many princesses representing each school in the Southwest Conference. 

The Cotton Bowl game was conceived and originally promoted as a private enterprise by J. Curtis Sanford, a Dallas businessman. The first game was played on January 1, 1937, and featured Texas Christian University and Marquette University. TCU, with L. D. Meyer scoring two touchdowns, a field goal and a conversion, defeated Marquette, 16 – 6. 

The classic eventually became a Dallas civic enterprise, produced under the auspices of the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association. The CBAA later became an agency of the Southwest Athletic Conference. Thus the Southwest Conference sponsors and controls the event, making it unique among all post-season games. The Conference voted in 1942 to send its championship team to the Cotton Bowl game as hosts. The opposition is chosen from the top teams in the nation. 

The Cotton Bowl Stadium has a seating capacity of 75,504 fans. At $5.50 a seat, that represents close to half a million dollars in receipts. Each competing team receives 39 per cent of the gate with seven per cent earmarked to be paid toward retiring the bonded indebtedness on the Cotton Bowl Stadium. The remaining 22 per cent goes to the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association. After paying the expenses for the year, the Association gives the remainder of its income to the Southwest Conference. 

Thus each team in the eight-school league realizes a financial assistance from the annual classic. 

A helping of black-eyed peas and a serving of Cotton Bowl football are two items most Southwesterners like on their New Year’s Day menu.

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Sources & Notes

This article is from the Christmas, 1959 edition of The Shamrock, the quarterly publication of the Shamrock Oil and Gas Corporation; this magazine is part of the Southwest Collection, Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University — the entire issue has been scanned and may be viewed as a PDF here.

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Copyright © 2022 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Year-End List: Most Popular Posts of 2021

kodachrome_main_1950_noah-jeppsonMain St., just west of St. Paul, 1950 (photo via Noah Jeppson)

by Paula Bosse

Here we are at the end of another year. Adios, 2021 — I can’t say I’ll miss you. Another year dominated by an inescapable global pandemic, another year of angst and frustration. My output has been fairly paltry this year, but whenever I was able to spend some time working on this blog, I always felt a weird sense of relief — it is someplace I enjoy escaping to, if only for a short while. As always, I appreciate everyone who stops by and takes the time to read. Thank you for your virtual friendship! Fingers are crossed that 2022 won’t continue to be so grueling. 

My final post of 2021 contains the year’s Most Popular Posts, determined by page-views, clicks, likes, shares, etc. Here are the most-read Flashback Dallas posts of 2021, 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.

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1.  “DOWNTOWN DALLAS IN COLOR — 1940s & 1950s” (August)

This post was so popular it left all the others in the dust. As much as I love black-and-white photographs, color-saturated photos bring both an immediacy as well as a sort of exoticism to 70- or 80-year-old street scenes of downtown Dallas. I love these photos, and, frankly, I would have been surprised if another post could have managed to surpass it in popularity. 

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coffee-linda_WFAA_SMU_june-19702.  “LINDA COFFEE, THE DALLAS ATTORNEY WHO TOOK ROE v. WADE TO THE U.S. SUPREME COURT” (September)

Seeing 27-year-old Dallas attorney Linda Coffee in a WFAA-Channel 8 News interview from 1970 a few months ago made a huge impression on me. She had already been working on the local Roe v. Wade case for several months, and she was being interviewed following her first big win in the long journey which would eventually take her and her co-counsel Sarah Weddington to the United States Supreme Court where they successfully argued that women have the constitutional right to decide whether they want to have a baby or terminate a pregnancy. This cataclysmic court decision had a profound impact on women’s rights and on American social culture. The current “revisiting” of the issue to the Supreme Court is no doubt what has helped propel this post to the rank of second-most-popular post of the year. Linda Coffee should be better known. I hope this post introduces her to more people.

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dfw-airport_construction_gifford-hill-ad_1973_ebay_photo3.  “DFW AIRPORT, Phase I — 1973” (July)

This one kind of came out of left field. I’m not sure why there was such a big response to this post which contained ads touting the impending arrival of the massive new airport, but I have to say, I’m a big fan of the photo used by the Gifford-Hill company showing unpaved roads and big heaps of dirt which would one day be magically transformed into Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

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4.  “CHRISTMAS AT NORTHPARK — 1970s” (December)

I just posted this a week ago, and, wow. I knew people loved the NorthPark of their childhood, but I was still a little surprised at the sheer number of hits this post got. Thank you, Raymond Nasher!

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snider-plaza_safeway_ebay_15.  “SNIDER PLAZA SAFEWAY: HILLCREST & LOVERS — 1930s” (June)

Snider Plaza appears several times in this year’s “best of” lists. The University Park shopping area seems to hold as much of a special place in Flashback Dallas readers’ hearts as it does it mine.

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6.  “URSULINE ACADEMY — 1921” (January)

This post is filled with photos from the 1929 yearbook of Ursuline Academy, back when it was still a prominent landmark of Old East Dallas. Imagine if we could have saved that amazing building….

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7.  “CASA VIEW HILLS/CASA VIEW VILLAGE — 1955” (August)

Who knew architectural schematics of strip shopping malls (which, are, let’s face it, mostly parking lot…) would be so popular? People love their funky Casa View.

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8.  “DUSTY HILL, 1949-2021” (July)

The Dallas-born-and-reared member of ZZ Top, Dusty Hill, died this year. This post contains photos of the young musician from the pages of the 1965 Woodrow Wilson High School yearbook. RIP, Dusty.

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9.  “AERIAL VIEW: MOVIE ROW FROM THE REAR (February)

This is such a great photo (or maybe a screenshot) of a seldom-seen view of downtown Dallas, looking south from Pacific to the Statler Hilton. I only wish I know where I found it!

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10.  “SNIDER PLAZA & THE VARSITY THEATER — 1920s” (July)

It’s back again. More love for UP’s Snider Plaza as people flocked to check out photos of it from its earliest days.

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And that wraps up 2021. Thank you for spending some it with me! On to 2022….

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Sources & Notes

See all three 2021 Year-End “best of” lists here.

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

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Year-End List: My Favorite Posts of 2021

kodachrome_bryan-n-ervay_1954_shorpyBryan and N. Ervay in fabulous color, 1954

by Paula Bosse

Last year I wrote this in the year’s wrap-up: “2020 is, without question, one of the worst years most of us have experienced. COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down and, for many of us, has left us mourning the loss of family, friends, and economic stability. 2021 cannot come too soon.”

Spoke too soon! COVID continues in 2021, and even though we now have vaccines to protect us, it’s still leaving carnage in its wake. And what Texan can forget the Great Freeze of February, which was unbelievable and unbelievably scary for those of us whose power and heat were inconsistent (or non-existent). And then my family had to deal with a loved one spending (so far) 4 months — a third of the year! — in hospitals and physical rehab. Things have taken their toll from every direction. Unsurprisingly, I produced fewer posts in 2021 than in any previous year, by quite a lot. I don’t want to jinx it, but let’s hope 2022 will be the year when our fortunes finally turn around!

Below are my favorite posts from the past year. I’m afraid I didn’t have the time or, in some cases, the energy or inclination, to plunge myself into research as I’ve done in previous years. But I’ll be back! Thank you, everyone, for hanging in there. We all deserve a break! Are you listening, 2022? (Pictures are larger when clicked — read the original posts by clicking the titles.)

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1.  “DOWNTOWN DALLAS IN COLOR — 1940s & 1950s” (August)

This is my favorite post of the year. I love the saturated color of Kodachrome slides, and the photos immediately above and below are just beautiful. Because I’m so used to seeing historical photos in black and white (which I love…), it’s a real shock when I see familiar sites from 70 or 80 years ago in heart-stoppingly warm and vivid color. The photo below, from 1950, shows Commerce Street looking west from Lamar. It is my single favorite photo of the year. I never knew the Dallas seen in these photographs, but, thankfully, someone memorialized this fleeting moment by simply taking a photo of a street scene in downtown Dallas. Just another day. I wish I could escape for a while into the photos included in this post.

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2.  “BLACK DALLAS — 1973” (November)

I work with the fine folks at the G. William Jones Film and Video Collection at SMU, where I do many of the things I do here: researching and writing. My involvement with the Jones Collection explains why I reference their WFAA Collection so often. Recently, footage produced by KERA-Channel 13 has been added to the daily offerings uploaded to the SMU Jones Film YouTube channel, and these clips are great. This one is my favorite: an almost-8-minute-long report titled “KERA Report on Crime in Dallas – June 1973.” What’s incredible about this footage is that it shows places in the predominantly African-American neighborhoods of South Dallas and “North” Dallas (Hall Street, State-Thomas, etc.) which were rarely documented — and many of the places shown no longer exist. I can’t tell you how excited I was to watch this footage for the first time. My resulting post is basically just a heads-up to people, alerting them to cool film footage they might want to watch, with a ton of screenshots. Even without a huge amount of effort of my part, this is still one of my favorite posts of the year.

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3.  “LINDA COFFEE, THE DALLAS ATTORNEY WHO TOOK ROE v. WADE TO THE U.S. SUPREME COURT” (September)

In my job with the Jones Collection, I have been working for several months on WFAA reports from 1970, and when I came across footage of an unidentified young woman discussing a legal case involving abortion, I asked my mother (who was heavily involved in women’s political groups in the ’70s and ’80s) if she recognized the woman, and she did — it was Linda Coffee, the (VERY!) young woman who, along with Sarah Weddington (who died this week), took their Dallas case, Roe v. Wade, to the U.S. Supreme Court and won, securing the constitutional right of women to obtain legal abortions in the United States. I became a little obsessed with Linda Coffee and began to read a lot about this important woman, wondering how she felt living in the shadow of her glamorous, flashy co-counsel, Sarah Weddington, when she (Linda) is the one who filed the case and did the important early work on it. I love this woman, and I’ve loved learning about her — not only did she change modern culture and broaden women’s rights, she also attended the same high school I did (Woodrow Wilson) and lived in a house ONE BLOCK from where I grew up. I can’t believe I had known nothing about her before seeing this Channel 8 clip. I’ve been adding to this post since I wrote it in September — there’s a second Channel 8 interview with her, from 1971, and there’s also one from just a couple of weeks ago (!) in which she discusses the present-day sad state of affairs surrounding her landmark case. She celebrated her 79th birthday on Christmas Day — Happy Belated Birthday, Linda! And thank you.

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4.  “SNIDER PLAZA & THE VARSITY THEATER — 1920s” (July)

I didn’t grow up in the Park Cities, but because of family friends and my mother’s job, I feel like I spent an inordinate amount of time wandering around both Highland Park Village and Snider Plaza as a child, the latter of which was definitely the funkier of the two. Snider Plaza looks and feels a lot different these days, and I don’t go there all that often anymore (RIP, Peggy Sue), but it’s still a place I’m always happy to visit. I love the photos in this post which show Snider Plaza in its earliest days.

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5.  “ROSS GRAVES’ CAFE: 1800 JACKSON — 1947” (May)

Some of my favorite posts have been about people who aren’t really notable figures but are, instead, “just folks” — like Ross Graves, an entrepreneur who owned several businesses, including a cafe on the edge of downtown and a night club. He was something of a bon vivant, and his exploits made the society/gossip pages of prominent Black newspapers (another fascinating bit of history too often overlooked). I loved this.

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6.  “SMU CAMPUS, AN AERIAL VIEW FROM THE NORTH — 1940s” (April)

I had never seen this aerial view of the SMU campus, which was taken by ace photog Squire Haskins with a view toward the south (Hillcrest is at the right). It’s great. As is the second photo with a similar view from a few years later, suggested by a reader. I zoomed in on interesting bits of the Haskins photo, including “Trailerville,” temporary men’s dormitories, and a Texas National Guard Armory (later the site of Mrs. Baird’s Bread).

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7.  “SIMMS SUPER SERVICE STATION, CEDAR SPRINGS & MAPLE — 1930” (October)

Such an incredible photo of a cool building which once stood on land now occupied by the Crescent, at Maple and Cedar Springs. More zooming-in is involved. I’m definitely a sucker for old gas stations.

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8.  “GENE de JEAN LIFTS A CURSE ON DALLAS — 1970” (November)

Another gem from the WFAA archives concerns a “warlock”/prankster who appears on Commerce Street to remove a curse he says was placed on the city in 1963. He’s seen doing his curse-lifting thing, blessing a few confused bystanders, and departing in a velvet-covered Cadillac. This is the sort of thing I live for.

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9.  “SNIDER PLAZA SAFEWAY: HILLCREST & LOVERS — 1930s” (June)

More Snider Plaza. Imagine the whole shopping area looking like this building. Heaven! I love to see old photos of grocery stores, even when the interiors look a little disappointing. But if you love stacks of canned food, these photos are for you! You never know what you’ll stumble across on eBay.

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10.  “LUTHERAN MINISTERS VISIT DALLAS — 1911” (April)

I love learning about a stranger’s life story simply because I’ve stumbled across a random photo on eBay. After seeing this postcard and poking around doing a little research, armed with only the info gleaned from the message, I ended up getting to know the man who sent this long-forgotten 110-year-old card to his sweetheart. There’s also a very nice photo of an open “touring trolley.” Win-win.

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And, a bonus favorite: “DALLAS BOOK SCENE — 1940s” (May)

A look at the top bookstores in Dallas in the 1940s.

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There ends my Top 10 (plus 1) list of personal favorite posts for 2021. Tomorrow… the most popular posts of the year.

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Sources & Notes

See all three 2021 Year-End “best of” lists (as they’re posted) here.

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

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Year-End List: My Favorite Images Posted in 2021

kodachrome_commerce-lamar_trolleydodger_twitterThe downtown Dallas I wish I’d known…

by Paula Bosse

As another year comes to a close, it’s time to dig through images I’ve posted over the past 12 months and share those which I’ve particularly liked. They’re in no particular order. The images are larger when clicked; see the linked articles in the descriptions for more info and for image sources.

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The photo above, from 1950, is probably my favorite of the year. Kodachrome slides make everything 10 times better. It’s a great, nostalgic, lively, perfect photo, showing Commerce Street looking east from Lamar. It will shock you to see what this exact same view looks like today, which you can take a look at — if you dare — in the original post, “Downtown Dallas in Color — 1940s & 1950s.”

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This aerial view of White Rock Lake in winter (taken by Squire Haskins) is just beautiful. It can be seen in “Snow at White Rock Lake: The Bath House and Winfrey Point,” which I posted in the midst of the historic deep-freeze of February, during a brief window of opportunity in which I had power. 

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Speaking of WRL, I really like this postcard showing “A Drive in White Rock Valley,” which has a postmark of 1912 — before the lake, and before paved roads in the area. The scenery might have been pretty, but this would not have been a smooth, relaxing Sunday drive for vehicle occupants or for axles. This postcard appeared in the post “Miscellaneous Dallas #2.”

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The image below is a screenshot from a fantastic 7-minute piece from KERA, filmed in 1973 and showing the predominantly African-American neighborhoods of South Dallas and “North” Dallas (around Hall Street and the State-Thomas area) — many of the places seen in the film no longer exist, such as the Royal Cafe, which once stood at 2726 Forest Avenue (now Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.). I love all the signs in the cafe’s window, including a poster for a show at the Longhorn Ballroom. I could have chosen most of the screenshots from the film as favorites — see all of them (and the film itself) in the post “Black Dallas — 1973.”

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The photo below showing the Neiman’s facade decorated for the first French Fortnight was a new addition to Flashback Dallas in 2021 (it appeared in “A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #17”), but it has ended up in a post I wrote all the way back in 2014, “Neiman-Marcus Brings France to Big D — 1957,” where it replaced a black-and-white version of the photo which I had originally posted. I love this.

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I really like this view of the Municipal Building that I posted recently. I try to avoid posting images with watermarks, but I’d never seen this before, and it’s cool. From “Municipal Building — Bird’s-Eye View.”

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Another bird’s-eye view of downtown (including the Municipal Building) is this “Aerial View: Movie Row from the Rear.” I think it was a screenshot from a film I came across somewhere, but my notes are shockingly incomplete. Whatever, it’s great, and it’s a view you don’t see very often.

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I’ve loved Snider Plaza since I was a child. It’s a bit much these days, but I have such fond memories of it that I will probably always put it in the “love” category. Here’s what the Varsity Theater stretch looked like in its earliest days (1929) — from the post “Snider Plaza & The Varsity Theater — 1920s.”

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This postcard showing swimmers at the Gill Well Natatorium (once located along Maple Avenue near Reverchon Park) was included in the post “A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #16 and was then added to the 2017 Flashback Dallas post “The Gill Well,” which remains one of my all-time personal favorite posts.

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I love this color photo of a “Belmont” streetcar which would have traveled up and down the tracks on Matilda, a block from where I grew up. It’s a little like seeing an old photograph of a relative you’ve never met. The photo originally appeared in “A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #15 and was then added to another of my favorite posts, “Ghost Rails of the Belmont Streetcar Line, from 2018.

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Another great photo shows the Palace Theatre (Elm and Ervay) — as well as the U.S. Coffee & Tea Co. — from the post “Art Landry Is At The Palace — 1927.” 

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I will never tire of seeing glamorous photos of downtown, especially at night when it was lit up like Broadway. This photo is fantastic. From “Showtime on Elm Street.”

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I’d never heard of it, but I’ve become quite enamored of the long-gone Vel-Mar drive-in (8516 Lake June Road, in Pleasant Grove). I really want some of that root beer. From the post “Pleasant Grove Eat Spots, including El Charo and the Vel-Mar — 1950s & 1960s” (there are several other photos of the Vel-Mar in that post).

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“Soldier Fishing from a Viaduct — 1948.” Say no more.

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Next up: softball girls. This photo of (Fort Worth, shhhhh…) softball players appeared in the post “A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #16” and was then added to the 2016 Flashback Dallas post “Girls’ Softball in Dallas, Hugely Popular.”

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Also appearing in “A Few Photo Additions to Past Posts — #16” were these two postcards showing the fabulous light display at Fair Park during the Texas Centennial in 1936. They were added to the 2016 post “Albert Einstein ‘Threw the Switch’ in New Jersey to Open the Pan-American Exposition in Dallas — 1937,” which has several other images of the incredible Fair Park lighting display which continued into 1937.

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This shot of the Dallas skyline is wonderful. From “Nighttime Skyline — 1965.”

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More Dallas-at-night in this completely unexpected painting by Dallas art legend Jerry Bywaters, featuring the Kip’s on Northwest Highway — from “Jerry Bywaters: ‘City Suburb at Dusk’ — 1978.”

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I was very taken with one Ursuline girl who posed saucily for the school annual in 1921 — Velma Rich is front-row-center in her class photo, and she is undeniably the center of attention. That photo was included in the post “Ursuline Academy — 1921.” (The group photo is followed here by the pertinent detail.)

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And, lastly, just because it might have been a “discovery,” I found a photo which I think might show ZZ Top member Dusty Hill at 15 or 16, pictured with the Woodrow Wilson High School orchestra, holding his cello. He’s not identified, but Dusty did play cello in the Woodrow orchestra, and this looks like him to me. This awkwardly-cropped photo from the 1965 WWHS yearbook can be found in the post “Dusty Hill, 1949-2021.”

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And those are my favorite images that appeared in Flashback Dallas posts in 2021. 

Coming soon are my personal favorite posts and the most popular posts of the year….

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Sources & Notes

See sources for the images by clicking the linked posts in which they originally appeared.

See all three 2021 Year-End “best of” lists (as they’re posted) here.

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

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Christmas at NorthPark — 1970s

xmas_northpark_trees_1971_instagramA familiar scene to Dallas shoppers

by Paula Bosse

NorthPark was the mall of my childhood — in fact, I don’t recall my family going to any other mall. I loved going there at Christmastime — to see the decorations, to watch a puppet show, to slide down those pillars, and, of course, to visit Santa. These photos from the Instagram feed of NorthPark Center are very nostalgic. 

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Above, 1971. How to get to Santa: take a right at the fountain, walk and walk (…and walk) — things start picking up the closer you get to Neiman’s — hang a right at N-M, and there he is!

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Admiring a snowman, ca. 1970.

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Also admiring a “tree” suspended over one of the iconic NP fountains, ca. 1970.

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If you’ve been to NorthPark at Christmas you’ve seen the aerial display of Santa and his sleigh being whisked away by flying reindeer. This is NorthPark Center’s caption from Instagram: “Flying high over Neiman Marcus Fountain Court, the vintage Candy Santa and Pecan Reindeer installation has been a special part of NorthPark’s holiday tradition since 1965. The handcrafted display, consisting of real pecans, almonds, red and black licorice, marshmallows, sour cherries, raisins, and other candies, portrays Santa and his reindeer on their way to deliver presents to children all over the world.” Those pecan-studded reindeer really fascinated me as a kid. (The photo below is undated.)

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1970:

xmas_northpark_girl-reindeer_pinterestvia NorthPark’s Pinterest page

1972:

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They’re still flying high, to the delight of 21st-century children:

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And, lastly, what every child saw before and after a holiday visit to NorthPark. When your car pulled into a parking spot you were filled with excited anticipation, and when you left, you were over-stimulated and exhausted. But happy.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

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Sources & Notes

Unless otherwise noted, all photos from the Instragram feed of @NorthParkCenter

See many, many more Flashback Dallas Christmas posts from years gone by here.

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Dallas History, New Books — 2021

fowler_metro-music

by Paula Bosse

There are a few more gift-buying days left until Christmas. Here a few ideas of recently published books about Dallas that might be of interest. These are not paid links — not even a review copy has been received (which I am not averse to, by the way…). I’d prefer if you headed over to your friendly neighborhood independent bookseller, but, yeah, I’m mostly linking to Am*z*n.

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Above, Metro Music: Celebrating a Century of the Trinity River Groove by Gene Fowler and William Williams (TCU Press — oversized paperback). This is an exhaustive look at Dallas music, with over 500 photos (!). This is great. Again, over 500 photos! Be still my heart. More info here.

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Deadly Dallas: A History of Unfortunate Incidents & Grisly Fatalities by Rusty Williams (History Press — paperback). Among the “unfortunate incidents” Rusty has written about, one is a story I’ve been meaning to write about for YEARS — I may never get to it, so I’m glad someone’s written about it. And doesn’t everyone need a book with the words “grisly fatalities” in the title? They do. More info is here

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A Girl Named Carrie: The Visionary Who Created Neiman Marcus and Set the Standard for Fashion by Jerrie Marcus Smith (UNT Press — hardcover). A biography of Carrie Marcus Neiman by her great niece. You can’t get much more “Dallas” than Neiman Marcus — the history of Neiman’s is the history of Dallas, and vice-versa. I’m not completely sure this is out yet, but go ahead and mosey over here to find more info. EDIT: Signed copies are available from the Barry Whistler Gallery in the Design District — their contact info is here

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The Family Roe: An American Story by Joshua Prager (W. W. Norton & Co. — hardcover). The definitive book on Roe v. Wade, the case that began in Dallas, with lots on Dallas and lots on Texas. Sadly, this subject is newsworthy again. More info here.

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Preston Hollow: A Brief History by Jack Walker Drake (History Press — hardcover and paperback). If you’re interested in Preston Hollow — especially in its houses — you probably need this book, which is packed with photos. The author is, I think, 16. I don’t know what you were doing when you were 16, but you probably weren’t writing a book and doing book-signings! Congrats, Jack! More info here

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The Accommodation: The Politics of Race in an American City by Jim Schutze (La Reunion Publishing — hardcover). Long out of print, this important book on the sad and sordid history of racism in Big D has been reprinted by the fine folks at Deep Vellum Books in Deep Ellum. I will not link anywhere but to their own site, here.

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Stomp and Shout: The All-Too-Real Story of Kenny and the Kasuals and the Garage Band Revolution of the Sixties by Kenny Daniels and Richard Parker (Oomph Media — Revised Edition — paperback). And, lastly, a book that isn’t new, but I became aware of it only fairly recently. Along with classic country music, my favorite type of music is 1960s garage rock, and this is a great look at the North Texas garage scene of the 1960s, written by someone who was there — the recently departed Kenny Daniel of the legendary Dallas band Kenny & The Kasuals. More info is here

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Hie thee to a bookstore!

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Copyright © 2021 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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