- Photos, Ephemera & Historical Trivia for Oak Cliff, Texas.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Donell Cafeterias

The first Donell Cafeteria opened about 1956 in the Westmoreland Heights Shopping Center. 3115 Dawes would have put in on the southernmost strip of center, probably at the east end across from and facing the old movie theater. J.J. McDonald was the general manager. In May1958 a second location opened at 328 West Jefferson, about 2 blocks west of Zang. Hours (at least for the Jefferson location) were 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, except Sunday. According to the latest view on Google maps, the Dawes location has been repurposed as a small store or an AmVets center and the Jefferson location is unoccupied.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Chalk Hill Drive-In

Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection

Just north of the “T” at the intersection of Cockrell Hill Rd. and Fort Worth Avenue,
Chalk Hill Drive-In opened in early July of 1941 and was the second outdoor drive-in built in Dallas. The setup was identical to its sister, the Northwest Drive-In, which opened two weeks earlier; a huge screen faced a 12 1/2 acre field arranged in graduated ramps. 204 loud-speakers were set in the ground with space for two cars between all speakers with a capacity for 408 cars. The opening attraction was “The Invisible Woman” with Virginia Bruce, John Barrymore, and John Howard.
The theater was in operation as late as 1976 but was later razed. The area is now part of or adjacent to Pinnacle Park, an area of retail centers and modern warehouses.

photographer unknown


Jim Hanley - August 29th, 2009 at 22:50 | #1
My older brother and I both worked at the Chalk Hill Drive-In in the 60’s. Ray Trojahn was the Manager and Leverit Carpenter was the projectionist.

Randy Felts - September 23rd, 2010 at 00:30 | #2
Warehouses are now on the the old Chalk Hill Drive-in site. My brother Jerry Felts used to work there in the early 1960’s.

Matt Schaffer - November 17th, 2010 at 16:08 | #3

Great site, pix & commentary – thanks so much!

Just an FYI, but you refer to the Chalk Hill’s sister drive-in as the Northwest – it’s proper name was Northwest Highway. I may be wrong about this next comment but I don’t believe the owners ever installed a wide screen at the Northwest Highway, as the one time I was there (with my parents in 1963, just before it was closed and torn down) We were watching a widescreen western and the square screen could not contain the ends of the picture. No harm, though, because few of the other customers seemed interested in the movie. It was a hangout for Hillcrest High kids and their dates.

Glenda Allen - February 5th, 2011 at 01:34 | #4
@Jim Hanley
Jim Hanley, would love to chat with you about Chalk Hill and the 1960s. Thanks. Please contact me via email.

geneva richards - August 10th, 2011 at 04:16 | #5
my first job at 16 was at the chalk hill drive-in. i lived in walking distance. my cousin debra elliott and her boyfriend mario medelis also worked there at the time.

Larry Martinez
December 4th, 2011 at 20:21 | #6 -
@Matt Schaffer
Matt, the Chalk Hill and Northwest Highway drive-ins had another sister theatre, the Bowie Boulevard in Fort Worth. Like the Northwest Highway, the Bowie Boulevard (later shortened to just “Boulevard”) also didn’t upgrade to accommodate a wide screen, and was closed in 1961. A Neiman Marcus store was later built where the (Bowie) Boulevard once stood.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Walter's Beer

December 1933 saw the repeal of the Twenty-first Amendment and the end of Prohibition. Local breweries geared up and advertised their wares
In case you don't want to try to read the fine print, I've listed the fine Oak Cliff establishments listed on the ad where you could purchase this fine product:

The Street Inn  -  138 W Davis
H. B. Nichols - 332 W Davis
James Zara - 706 E. Jefferson
Webb Waffle Shop -1207 N. Zang,
J.S. Paul Drug Store - 1732 S. Ewing
H. Boedecker & Sons - 113 N. Lancaster
Clifton Coffee Shop - 214 W. Colorado
West Dallas Drug Store - Eagle Ford Road
New Wabash Drug Co - 102 Cliff
Jefferson Drug Co.-  Jefferson and Zang
Uncle Sam Sandwich Shop  - Tyler and Seventh
Crystal Cafe 831 - W. Jefferson
El Patio Cafe 220 - W. Jefferson
Kessler Cafe - 1305 W. Davis
Mandarin Inn - 1363 N. Zang
The Chapultepec  - 1126 N. Zang
Midway Cafe - 101 E. Jefferson
Blue Crest Cafe - 1315 W. Davis,
Jelly Parrino's - Beckley at Davis

I hope to visit some of these places in 2012. This beer bottle is a later vintage, probably about 1945, and I'm sorry to see the illustration on the original bottle is gone.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Roth's Cafe

Listed variously as Roth’s Cafe or Roth’s Restaurant, this eatery was in business from at least 1946 to 1967. 2701 Ft.Worth Avenue would have put the building in the same location as the old Bronco Bowl, maybe on the west end of the lot, right where the used car lot now sits in front of Home Depot. I have no recollection of the building, but that atomic tower must have been pretty cool, especially at night.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oak Cliff Viaduct

3 views of the Oak Cliff Viaduct (now Houston Street Viaduct) in its early days. All views looking toward downtown Dallas from Oak Cliff. It's hard to imagine now the park-like setting underneath the bridge. Perhaps this dream of taming the Trinity River bottom is as old as the viaduct itself. I have found these postcards listed with dates as early as 1912 (the year the bridge opened) and as late as 1920.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Edgefield Garage

1985 photo by John Cirillo
The Edgefield Garage, 1027-1029 S. Edgefield, opened in 1925 on the northwest corner of Edgefield and Jimtown Road (re-named Clarendon Drive in 1933). In the 1930s, it was called The Edgefield & Clarendon Garage, probably reflecting the local proliferation of gasoline dispensing stations and a need to distinguish itself from all the other service stations in the area. Sometime between 1950 and 1960 it became Oak Cliff Texaco, and by 1962 it was Dave Gray Texaco.

What kind of gasoline the garage dispensed in its early days is unclear. In 1985 the remnants of a Marathon logo remained visible on the bricks, but  Marathon didn’t acquire the “best in the long run” slogan until 1930, and when Marathon introduced itself to Oak Cliff in 1930 with five official Marathon service stations, the Edgefield Garage wasn’t one of them.  Nor was the Garage listed as a Marathon station in a 1936 city directory (Marathon #3 was located 14 blocks west on Clarendon at Montreal). Perhaps the Edgefield Garage dispensed Marathon gasoline without being an “official” company station.

1985 photo by John Cirillo

The red brick building with its distinctive green tile roof still stands, and is home to several auto repair shops. Alas, the Texaco sign is gone, and the Marathon logo has been painted over.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ketchum and Killum on Kiest

Though it says “Gum” repair, I’m guessing they meant to say “Gun”. Ketchum and Killum was primarily a sporting goods store in operation from at least 1953-1966, selling guns, boats, and camping equipment. 1962 was a particularly good year for them as consumers made a run on guns after the Cuban missile crisis. Back then you could buy guys at local department stores Sanger Harris and Titches, but that’s another story. I’m guessing this matchcover is Ketchum and Killum in their post-heyday when they switched over to renting U-Haul trailers and repairs.

I haven’t found an actual person yet answering to the name of either Ketchum or Killum, and I’m thinking whoever came up with this moniker missed the boat by not calling the business “Ketchum, Killum and Eatum.” (They must’ve sold Coleman stoves……)

In 2009 334 W. Kiest was an enclosed empty lot just south of the Hwy 67 – I35 split, and it looked like it might have been a parking lot. At the end of 2011there is a small strip mall with a Pawn Shop, an AmeriTax, and a Subway restaurant.

Comments from the old blog :

from Jeanie: I remember Ketchum and Killum. But I remember it as “Ketchum and Killum on Kiest” Always with the “on Kiest” added.  (I had originally forgotten that!-mc)

from Jon: according to my Dad — when he traded in there in the 50’s that was the owner’s names — (for some reason he thinks they were brothers-in-laws or cousin’s — but he also says he may be confusing them with another business from 50 years ago)
Ketchum and Killum on Kiest was a regular stop when my folks were headed to lake Whitney with the ski boat.

from Robert B.: Don’t know the names of the owners, but it burned down, heard was an insurance job! U-haul became a main stay for awhile after itburnd down or may have been nothing there as I can remember I believe there was nothing after the fire!

from Caroll E: I remember going to Ketchum and Killum with my Dad many times. He would always call it “Skinum and Guttum”. He had a great sense of humor!!

from Warren C: My aunt and uncle owned this store, Their names were Richard and Malarene Fricke. I spent many summers there for weeks at a time selling fishing equipment and traveling with them in their RV. Do you remember the alligator in the fish tank? How about the beautiful wooden recurved bows?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sammy's Westcliff

Sammy's was part of a small chain of restaurants in Dallas. Two brothers, Bennie and Carlo Messina, bought the original Sammy's on Greenville Avenue from its founder, Sam Lobello, in 1932. By 1945 there were two more restaurants - Sammy's Highland Park, and Sammy's Drive-In. Bennie, Carlo, and another brother, Victor, would eventually increase their holdings to five restaurants.

This Sammy's, as the name implies, was situated at Westcliff Mall, which was the "only air-conditioned mall in Oak Cliff" when it was built in 1963-64. (Big Town was still the biggest air conditioned mall in North Texas.) It opened in 1965 with a dining room serving steaks and Italian food, a coffee shop and a private club. I heard someone recall they particularly enjoyed lemon sherbet for dessert there. The restaurant's prime time of operation was probably about 1965-1970.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Helm Pontiac Co.

2 matchbook covers from 1955. Helm Pontiac, at 128 S. Lancaster (just south of Jefferson) opened in December 1953. The dealership was owned by Walter Helm, who ran it until 1956 when it was sold to L. O. Taylor and became Taylor Pontiac.  The building site on Lancaster is now an empty lot.

T&M Service Station

Located at 4001 West Jefferson, on the north side, at the corner of Redbud Lane near downtown Cockrell Hill. This matchbook is probably from the late 40’s or early 1950’s from the 6-digit phone number. In 1962 the name of the gas station had been changed to Monty’s Humble Service. (Maybe Monty was the “M” in T&M?) In February of 2010 the building no longer had gas pumps. It was home to Kino’s Body Shop.

Marsalis Sanitarium

Postcard circa 1910. The Marsalis Sanitarium  was located at 45 Marsalis, near Lake Cliff. It was advertised as “Cool, quiet, modern. Seven minutes’ ride from Dallas News office.” The sanitarium was was in operation as early as 1906, when Doctors Reuss & Smart advertised their availability for surgery there. By 1909 Dr. J.H. Reuss had an additional practice at the Wilson Building in downtown Dallas. After 1910 there is no mention of the sanitarium in the newspaper.