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The Dallas Thread


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Note from Traces:  I think that, rather than post a bunch of threads, I'll create one thread for each of the big cities in Texas i.e.  The San Antonio Thread, The Dallas Thread etc...  This will save a lot of time and a lot of clicks in the future.

Elm Street in downtown Dallas, 1942. I spent hours cleaning this up in Photoshop and was able to print a brilliant print of this at 50" x 38" inches for a client.  

Photo taken by Arthur Rothstein.



dallas 1942 sepia rothstein 1280.jpg

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I am fascinated by the way neighborhoods evolve. Take Dallas' "Little Mexico," neighborhood, for example, which was in the area bordered by Maple Avenue, McKinney Avenue and the MKT railroad. Little Mexico started out as a neighborhood built and occupied by Jewish folks. As they prospered they began moving to bigger houses in tonier Dallas districts. Beginning in about 1910, Mexican-Americans began moving in. The community was recognized as Little Mexico by 1919, becoming a center of a Mexican-American life in the city that lasted into the early 1980s, with a peak of population in the 1960s.
Unlike the similar neighborhood of East Los Angeles, Little Mexico was land-locked by major highways and surrounding neighborhoods which made it unable to expand geographically. The first real blow that lead to the death of Little Mexico was when the Dallas North Tollway began construction in 1966, cutting smack dab through the middle of Little Mexico; the Woodall Rodgers Freeway bounded the neighborhood on the south side. Then came the end of segregation which, combined with highway construction and suburbanization, led to wealthier Mexican Americans moving to improved housing in "better" areas of Dallas. As downtown business expanded, Little Mexico became prime real estate for redevelopment for office space. The city expanded streets into and through the area, high-rises were built, and the city bought houses through eminent domain to clear the area for redevelopment, forcing renters out. And then, one day in Jan. 2020, in a sad day for sentimental fools like me, the last of Little Mexico bit the dust:  https://www.dallasnews.com/news/commentary/2020/01/07/farewell-to-the-little-white-house-on-harry-hines-as-the-last-of-little-mexico-vanishes/

Photo of a scene in Little Mexico circa 1940 courtesy the Dallas Historical Society:  http://www.dallashistory.org/

Dallas Little Mexico circa 1940 Dallas historical society.jpg

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From the AWESOME UT-Arlington Special Collection archives (here: https://library.uta.edu/digitalgallery/), the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas circa 1950. opened on October 5, 1912 and built by the founder of the Anheuser-Busch company, Adolphus Busch, in a Beaux Arts style designed by Thomas P. Barnett of Barnett, Haynes & Barnett of St. Louis, the Adolphus was for almost 10 years the tallest building in Texas, until it was dwarfed by the Magnolia Petroleum Building (now the Magnolia Hotel) just down the street in August 1922. Busch's intention in constructing the hotel was to establish the first grand and posh hotel in the city of Dallas. He succeeded. Under the management of Otto Schubert from 1922–1946, the hotel grew to national prominence. The Adolphus underwent a series of expansions, first in 1916, then 1926 and finally in 1950, at the time giving the hotel a total of 1,200 rooms.
Over the years, the Adolphus has been the host of many respected leaders of business, government and entertainment, including presidents, from Warren G. Harding to George H. W. Bush. Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip also stayed at the hotel in 1991. This hotel was a Dallas hub for entertainment and provided a platform that helped developing careers, such as Bob Hope, Jack Benny and others.
During the 1980s, the Adolphus underwent a $]80 million renovation, enlarging and modernizing the already-luxurious guestrooms. It also shrunk the total number of guestrooms to 428 to make the rooms more spacious. The Adolphus was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

I love the spectacular clarity of this image. Almost every sign is legible. That Braniff Airways sign is classic!


Adolphus Hotel Dallas 4  UTA Spec Col.jpg

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Dallas socialite Inez Thomas, looking downright stunning in 1920 flapper gear. Her contemporaries appeared to have appreciated her style as well -- she was the "Duchess of Dallas" at the 1916 San Antonio Fiesta.

Here is what I know about Inez: Miss Thomas was a student at St. Mary's in 1908 and attended Fairmont Seminary in Washington, D.C. This photo appears to have been taken in our nation's capital, probably when Miss Thomas returned for alumnae events. She went on to marry a man named  J. William Rubush in 1926, though he shot himself in 1948. She remarried a man named Schubert and died herself in 1978, living at an address on Lomo Alto Drive. Even today Lomo Alto is in a very nice section of town. 

Here's the original photo and a colorized version of the original.


inez thomas BW.jpg

inez thomas color.jpg

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The Mobil Pegasus is a winged horse sculpture that serves as a symbol of Mobil (now Exxon/Mobil), an American multinational oil and gas corporation. In 1934 the original porcelain enamel and neon Pegasus sign was installed on the roof of the Magnolia Building in downtown Dallas. Installed in high winds, the Flying Red Horse atop its oil derrick foundation, was an engineering feat. The 29-story building, located at the northeast corner of Akard and Commerce Streets, was built in 1922. It was Dallas’ first skyscraper, as well as the tallest building in Texas, the tallest building west of the Mississippi, and was taller than anything in Europe. It also was the first air conditioned high rise. Standing heroically 450 feet above street, the Dallas icon was visible 75 miles away on a clear night. Pilots reported catching sight of it 60 miles south in Hillsboro, and some said it could be seen as far south as Waco.

The sculpture has undergone several renovations over the years and has become a well-known landmark in Dallas, Texas. Over the years the Pegasus’ porcelain-coated steel panels became rusted and pitted, he rotating base corroded, the worn support braces caused the sign to sway in the wind and the neon tubing that formerly glowed red in the night sky was broken. It would not have survived being remounted. Because it seemed impossible to restore the old Pegasus, it was removed in 1999 and a new Pegasus was built at a cost of $600,000 donated by private and corporate sponsors.

The old Pegasus has been restored and now is located on the grounds in front of the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas, which is where I took this photo of it in 2020.


Pegasus with Reunion Tower 1 1280.jpg

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