Dallas Back In The Day
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(Use your 'zoom' option on your browser to take a closer look at any of these images.)
(For dozens of additional nostalgic pics and memories of Dallas, check out the other articles and sections in this website. There are sections on Dallas theaters, restaurants, hangouts, music scenes, sports, Six Flags, the State Fair, drive-ins and a section called "There Are Places I Remember" filled with photos.)
Shameless Plug - this 224 page book is filled with memories...and over 200 photos and visuals. Available now on Amazon. Please buy several thousand copies.
The Kirby Building in the 1920s
A news service photo, complete with the official write-up, taken two years to the day after the assassination.
The Love Field lobby in the 1960s
The Museum of Fine Arts at Fair Park, 1951
The Medical Arts Building Downtown in the fifties.
The Lido Motel on Buckner Blvd.
El Fenix in the fifties.
The State Fair swimming pool in the 1950s
Congressman Bruce Alger lived in our neighborhood. Daughter Jill went to BA.
Boats on White Rock in the fifties.
Deep Ellum in the 1920s
1965 Program from Cowboys vs Giants
State Fair Auto Show - 1936
Downtown in the '50s
Burnett Field in the 1950s
Bobby Patterson and the Mustangs on stage in 1966
Dallas Texaco station in the late '50s.
A classic shot of the Midway entrance and the double Ferris Wheel
TV Memories - Tombstone Territory ran on Channel 8 from 1957 - 1959. And before The Cowboys owned Thanksgiving Day - The Dallas Texans did - this ad from Thanksgiving, 1960
"This Week in Dallas" August 21, 1937
Before the State Fair Musicals, there the Starlight Operettas. This one from the summer of 1947, featured a young Jackie Gleason, fourth-billed.
The Magnolia Building durng the Texas Centennial
Above: The Dallas City Council in 1965. Below: A bus worker takes down the segregation sign as Dallas buses become fully integrated.
A Dallas self-promotion piece from the 50's
The old Hotel Dallas, Commerce Street in the 50s and a classic shot of the old Library from the early '60s.
Top: Oak Lawn in the very early 50s.
Below: Can you believe that as recently as the 60's there were Ku Klux Klan marches in downtown Dallas?
Spooky old Big Tex in the 50's and another bad memory: Ku Klux Klan day at the State Fair of Texas in the 1930s.
Three shots of White Rock Lake back when: From the air, the DeGolyer Estate and Winfrey Point.
George Dealey was a big deal in Dallas -- not just a plaza.
News photo of traffic jam in downtown due to a 1966 bus strike. Dallas by air - mid50s. The wonderful Esquire Theater on Oak Lawn. Jim Fanning joins the Dallas Rangers in 1959. (Yes, the DALLAS Rangers.)
Dallas in the forties. Highland Park Village - also '40s. The Dr Pepper Plant in the 50s and the Dallas Trade Mart in the 60s.
Dr Pepper trucks in Dallas. "Bop City" Rhythm and Blues revue in the mid-50s at the fair. The exterior of Fair Park during the Centennial in 1936. The "Fly-O-Plane" at the State Fair midway - 50s
In 1957 the Trinity flooded making the city look like "a port city" as mentioned in the caption for this original news photo.
The Adolphus Hotel in the late '50s
From a Dallas tourist guide in 1964, this ad was for the Aragon Ballroom, which continued through the 70s as a rock ballroom.
Sewer collapse - 1965
Downtown Commerce Street in the '50s
Left - an ad from 1956 promoting Elvis records at Preston Record Center
Right: An ad from 1963 - Bob Hope live at SMU Coliseum
The band from the WFAA SaturdayNight Shindig, a popular local radio show from the mid-40s through the mid-50s.
Mid-sixties drink menu from the downtown Colony Club. The club was strictly BYOB and so the "champagne" and other drinks listesd were non-alcoholic. For more about the Colony Club see "Naughty Dallas" in the article "Movies Made In Dallas" (in the Dallas Menu).
The original unretouched press photo of the fire on top of the Mercantile Bank Building, 1957.
Another great press photo, this one with the original caption still attached. Coach Hank Stram of the Dallas Texans is being swept off his feet by newly acquired player Junious Buchanan.
Downtown skyline in 1964
Cotton Bowl in the mid-60s
The classic neon artwork on the front of the Esquire Theater
The old Hotel Dallas
Below: Lucas B&B. For more photos of Dallas restaurants see The Cougar Scrapbook menu.
From the State Fair Wax Museum mid-60's. Jean Lafitte admires his treasure (and also the gold and jewelry he has stolen.)
The State Fair Musicals in 1963 presented the Broadway touring company of this hit musical.
Elm Street in the '50's
1964 - Big fire in Big D!
A hand-tinted picture of a 1920's era Texaco station in Dallas.
Integration of Dallas Schools continued slowly in 1964
Remember the Lazy Hour Bar in downtown? Me either. And if I did I wouldn't admit it.
Buckner's Orphans Home In the 60's
An aerial view of the city back in 1929.
Electric Streetcar rumbles through Dallas
The Wynnewood Theater in Oak Cliff
Another great shot of Dallas' landmark - Honest Joe's
Above: The cover of the program for the 1961 Ice Capades at Fair Park. Pictured below are two of the stars of that years show - Bobby Specht and Cathy Machado.
The Mercantile Bank at night - mid-50s
A Dallas Woolworth lunch counter in the 1950's. (Photo courtesy Retro Dallas Facebook Page.)
Cabell's Minit Market - Later this Dallas-based chain was purchased by The Southland Corporation and merged into 7-Eleven Stores.
The Science Museum at Fair Park was almost as cool as a Halloween Haunted House!
In 1958, this downtown traffic jam made the news.
In 1952 during the tuberculosis scare, free chest scans were offered by the city. Here we see downtown workers lined up for their turn at the X-Ray.
Left: The Magnolia Building. Right: The Medical Arts Building - both from 50's-era postcards.
The Casa Linda Mobil station at Garland Road and Buckner, with its iconic "Flying Red Horse". This photo is from the early 50s.
The Cirlce Theater in 1967 - the local premier of The War Wagon" starring John Wayne. This photo is from the University of North Texas collection.
In 1951 Carol Channing starred in this production at the State Fair Auditorium.
A tourist guide map of downtown Dallas in 1964. How many places do you remember? Please use your 'zoom' function to get a closer look at this hi-res image.
Downtown in the late 40s or early 50s.
The first Dickey's Barbecue.
Gibson's Discount Centers - the forerunner of Target and WalMart - were all over town. The one nearest to us was just across from the Casa View Drive In Theater.
Dallas way, way back in the day. Skyline - 1927
Jack Ruby's Carousel Club in downtown Dallas.
Charline Arthur, one of the stars of the Big D Jamboree in the early to mid-50s. For a more complete story about her, check out "Records Made In Dallas" in the Dallas Menu.
1954 - Fire in a Dallas skyscraper.
This photo of Ringo was taken on September 18, 1964 during the Beatles' concert at Memorial Auditorium. Many of us were there in person, but lucky Beverly Kirk was on the front row, roughly where this photo was taken.
This spectacular picture was taken on April 2, 1957, the day of the Dallas Tornado. The tornado was at that time, the most photographed and filmed tornado in history, giving scientists a great deal of information about the nature of twisters.
Miniature Golf was big back in the day, with courses like this one all over town. Putt-Putt was still a new chain of courses when this post card was published in 1966. This particular Putt-Putt was on Fort Worth Avenue in Dallas.
This is a truly rare bit of Dallas history. In 1947 The Dallas Times Herald published the Dallas "Negro City Directory" filled with information and ads relating to the local African-American population.
From 1956: Theater Row
News photo and caption from 1962, as Dallas schools begin to integrate for the the first time.
KRLD-TV Studios downtown, either late 50s or early 60s.
Above: Two great classic scenes of downtown.
Three East Dallas theaters announced their Grand Openings. The Big Town Cinema, The Garland Road Drive-In and the Lochwood Cinema. (The Garland Road Drive In became the Apollo.)
Above: Four great shots of a downtown parade in 1964
Dal-Hi Stadium became P.C. Cobb Stadium in 1957. Built in 1939 it was home to many local high school athletic events through the '60s. It stood where the Infomart is now.
Elvis performs at the Cotton Bowl in 1956. Notice that the makeshift stage in the middle of the field was covered in hay.
The Evolution of Harrell's
In the late 1920's it was known as The Gaston Avenue Drug Store. By The early 50's it was Harrell's and by the late 50's it sported a new Harrell's exterior sign. Harrell's was of course the Dallas landmark in Lakewood Shopping Center.
July 1962 - El Chico opens in Lochwood Shopping Center beginning the rivalry between the Casa Linda El Fenix and the Lochwood El Chico. (El Fenix must've won - it's still there. Lochwood Shopping Center and everything in it is long gone.)
A Downtown Parade in 1964 - Image Courtesy of Judy Whitten
The Lakewood Lanes were located at 6337 Oram.
C & S Hardware in Casa Linda
The Lang Motel on Garland Road at Peavy
Brockles Restaurant - For the Real, Official Recipe for Brockles' Special Dressing look in "Archive of Front Page Features" in the Articles Menu.
Lower: Sammy's on Lower Greenville.
Garland Road at the Spillway - the intersection of Gaston Avenue. Bob White's Barbecue is seen on the right. Bob White's was owned by the family of Frankie White - BA '66
The Wilshire Theater - Mockingbird at Skillman - Mid-50s
Above: The Village Theater Interior Below: The Village Theater Exterior
The Cowboys' first quarterback and first owner: Eddie LeBaron and Clint Murchison in front of the Cotton Bowl
Members of "The Big D Jamboree" pose outside of Ed McLemore's Sportatorium.
Wow! This picture was taken in the 60s while the photographer rode in the first car of the Comet Coaster at Fair Park.
At the Soutwest Historical Wax Museum in Arlington, by the mid-60s they had re-created the tragic day in Dallas - November 22, 1963.
Abrams at Gaston in the mid-60s. The Lakewood Theater is in the background. Harrell's drugstore is in the center.
Tietze Pool in the '50s. The pool was located on Skillman near Mockingbird.
Lakewood Shopping Center, Abrams Road - Mid 60s. That's the old El Chico in the center of the picture.
One of those great phone book covers by Janet Hoefle's dad Karl. Zoom in to see how many tiny funny things he's drawn in on the streets of Dallas.
World's Largest Salad Bar - Back then you could have the complete Steak Dinner for under 2 bucks.
Why didn't our folks buy TEN of these???
The pool at Harry Stone Rec Center in the mid-sixties.
Above: Two shots of the Lakewood Library. Prior to the Casa View Branch opening, this was the closest library to our neighborhood.
Heading into Dallas from Oak Cliff - 1950
Downtown used to be a hoppin' shoppin' locale. This shot from the early 50s shows a crowd of workers and shoppers dodging cars and electric streetcars.
Dallas Theater Row in the '30s. Some of the main theaters were already gone by our childhood - The Ritz, The Capitol, The Old Mill.
Honest Joe's Pawn Shop
This amazing shot of downtown in the late 40's is looking down Main Street toward theater row. Can you spot all of these businesses - Titches, Morton's Cafeteria, Texas Loans, The Majestic Theater, The Palace Theater, Haverty's Furniture, and Hart Furniture?
This classic photo shows Dallas in transition from a cowtown to a metropolis. From the late 40's
Couples Only On The Skate Floor!
The interior of Broadway Skateland. On Saturday night they would hold a dance here, with the band set up at the far end.
Field Trip! A visit to The Dallas Health Museum at Fair Park. Human bones, skulls and that creepy see-through man with every vein showing. It was better than a haunted house on Halloween!
This Skillern's store was the one in Highland Park village in this photo from the 40s or very early 50s.
Central Expressway in the early 50s.
Remember the Dallas electric streetcars? This one carried folks along the Oak Lawn route.
State Fair - Late 50s
Baseball legends Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb and Duffy Lewis in the uniforms of the Dallas Eagles. Although none of these superstars ever actually played for the Eagles, they were in attendance for the Oldtimer's Game in 1950. The Eagles played at Burnet Field just across the Trinity River in Oak Cliff.
Preston Road at Lovers Lane in the 1940s.
Six years of severe drought conditions beginning in 1951 caused concerns and serious problems in Dallas. By the end of 1952 the water shortage was critical; Lake Dallas for instance held only 11 percent of its capacity. Streams only trickled or dried up completely. In 1956, the final year of the drought, the Bonnie Barge cruise boat was high and dry as conditions completely dried up White Rock Lake (pictured above).
The annual droughts became so bad that the city rationed drinking water. I remember as a 9 year old standing in line at a dispensing location near Norbuck Park with my mother to fill the single gallon jug they allowed us per day. My folks and I actually walked to the very center of White Rock Lake in the summer of ’56. I was shocked not only by the dry, broken dirt under our feet, but by how shallow the lake would have been even if it were full.
But when it rains, it pours, and in 1957 rainfall not only filled the lakes again but caused severe flooding in our area.
Three related articles are reprinted below:
The Dallas - Fort Worth Turnpike. 25-cent toll in the 60s.
El Fenix in the 50s. Very little has changed except the big sign on Buckner Blvd.
Vick's Northlake Cafeteria - Easton at Northwest Highway
Downtown in the 50s
The Majestic and Tower Theaters downtown, early 1963
One of our all-time favorite hangouts - Charco's. A sharp-eyed graduate of Richardson High (David Stallard) identified this location as the one on Mockingbird at Abrams, by spotting the faint image of The Wilshire Baptist church in background on the right. The other two locations were 1) on Garland Road and 2) Lemmon Ave.
An old-style Dallas Streetcar stops in front of Skillern's in the '50s. Remember the sparks from the overhead electric wires whenever the streetcar would change from one line to another?
When The Beatles came to Dallas in 1964, they stayed at the Cabana Motor Hotel on Stemmons. The hotel is now a minimum security jail.
The KLIF studios in downtown Dallas
These two motels were on Buckner, across the street from the Circle Grill Drive In Restaurant. Are either of these motels still there? The Circle Grill is...
In the 50s...The Marsalis Zoo - Main Gate?
Here's a very old picture of White Rock probably taken soon after its contruction, based on the age of the car shown (which today would be under water). Notice how few structures are seen, not even the old smokestack. My favorite part of this pic is the "UFO" in the sky at the top.
Downtown Theater Row, November 1965
The movies that week:
The Ipcress File at the Majestic
The Great Race at the Tower
Bunny Lake is Missing at the Palace
The Bedford Incident at the Capri
50s Era Postcards
The Old St. Paul's Hospital, Downtown
Doran Chevrolet, The Main Library
Titche's downtown store
Big Town Mall shortly after its opening in 1959.
Dallas' Majestic Theater - one place that actually lived up to its name.
This is a shot of Central Expressway in 1959, looking south toward downtown. The overpass at the bottom of the photo is Walnut Hill Lane. Park Lane is the next overpass and then the cloverleaf overpass is Northwest Highway. Don't you wish your folks had invested heavily in some of that unoccupied land !
(Photo contributed by David Ellis)
Elm Street Downtown - Mid 50s
Dallas Skyline - Probably early 50's
Streetcars bring passengers to the State Fair gate - Early 50s
"The Bonnie Barge" took passengers on White Rock Lake through the early 60s.
Remember the tornado that hit Dallas in 1957?
White Rock Skating Rink - 1950s
Dallas - Central Expressway - 1962