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

Friday, October 25, 2013

Wynnewood Hotel - Wynnewood Motor Hotel

One block off U.S. Highway 67 & 77  -  150 Wynnewood Village  -  WOodlawn 8131
Located in Wynnewood Village, a "City within a City", 10 minutes from Downtown Dallas, West of Highway 67 (Zangs Blvd.) and Illinois -- The "Crossroads of Oak Cliff" 

Although one of these pictures is a photo and one an illustration I think they look like pretty much the same building.  A 1959 ad described the "Hotel" as having 73 rooms and a postcard for the "Motor Hotel" also listed 73 rooms so I'm going to assume they are the same thing. The earliest mention of the Wynnewood Hotel I found was in 1951, so I'm guessing that was about when it opened for business. In 1959, like the Hotel Miramar, it was one of 30 first class hotels listed as members of the Dallas Hotel Association. With 73 rooms the Wynnewood was one of the smaller hotels. Sometime after 1959 the name changed from Hotel to Motor Hotel, possibly because of its more suburban location. I found nothing about the hotel-motel after 1959 except a handwritten note on the back of a postcard that stated it was out of business in 1966. 

The hotel may have faced Illinois Avenue, and the top photo may be a view of it from the shopping area across the street. Alternately, the back of the hotel may have faced Illinois and so Wynnewood would be beyond the back of this building. Employment ads of the 1950s directed job applicants to apply at 2200 Nicholson Drive, so maybe the above photo includes that street. Since the 1960s there has been a kind of "village" of apartment complexes at this location and the tall trees now make the site almost unrecognizable. Possibly the apartment buildings were built in the same style as the hotel and the hotel was absorbed into the surroundings.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Morticians Supply Company

409 N. Zangs Blvd.  -  P.O. Box 4146  -  Dallas, Texas  -  Phone W-3128 

Founded in 1934 by W. H. "Bill" Pierce, a native of Carbondale, Illinois. The original building on the west side of Zang between 7th and 8th Streets was replaced in 1958. Pierce also founded the Dallas Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science and was a long-time Oak Cliff booster. He spear-headed "Operation Forward" in 1961, a long-range plan to revitalize Oak Cliff's image locally and nationally. He died in 1998.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Nix Plumbing Co.

2107 So. Beckley  -  WH 6-4604  -  Chris C. Nix, owner

Opened 1958-1963 and was in operation at least until 1968. 
In 1970 Chris Nix was a director of Security Bank and Trust of Dallas.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Green Hut Cafe

The Green Hut Cafe  on West Jefferson was open for at least ten years, from about 1938-1948.

It was first located at 113 W. Jefferson, about a block east of Zang, where the Eli Beauty Salon now operates. Later it moved across the street and down a block to 244, to just across the street from where the Texas Theatre now stands. This was one of the busiest shopping areas in Oak Cliff at the time. The cafe remained at 244 from at least 1939 to 1948. In 1944 the proprietors, Wayne Johnson and E.D. Elliott ran afoul of the Office of Price Administration, which asked for injunctions and damages for selling beer and food in excess of wartime price ceilings. Sometime after this, the cafe was sold to Max Grossman, while Johnson retained ownership of the building. In March 1948 the cafe suffered almost $18,000 in damages from a fire that started in its kitchen, which also damaged several neighboring businesses. It may never have recovered, as I found no mention of it after this.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Hotel Miramar

Hotel Miramar, built in 1953 by Waller Boedeker, was a "two-story deluxe suburban inn with ninety-five rooms." (Maybe the "100 rooms" listed on the matchbook cover is advertising hoopla?) William D. Reed designed the contemporary (at the time) brick building with aluminum frame windows and ledge stone trim. It featured all-weather air conditioning, a private swimming pool, and complete hotel service, and was operated by the Associated Federal Hotels chain. In 1957 the Miramar was listed among the thirty first-class hotels who were members of the Dallas Hotel Association.

As the business area of Fort Worth Avenue east of Hampton declined so did the Hotel. In 1995 it was re-established as the Miramar Motor Hotel, and the original address was changed from 1900 to 1950 Fort Worth Avenue. The hotel continues to operate in 2013. As you head east on Fort Worth Avenue it's on the south side of the street just before the cut-off to enter I-30.

Oak Cliff Cabs

Oak Cliff Cabs was a subdivision of City Transportation Company, which held the city franchise (ie monopoly) on cab service in Dallas beginning in 1937. In the early sixties questions arose about the financial status of and the poor service accorded by City Transportation. Eventually the company was sold to a new owner, and the name was changed to Yellow Cabs.

The Oak Cliff office was located at 938 W. Davis St., at or near the NW corner of Davis & Polk.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Harvest House Cafeteria

Harvest House was part of a small chain of cafeterias with locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida, Georgia and Missouri. Their first foray into Texas (and east of the Mississippi) was a cafeteria in 1959 at the newly constructed Bigtown mall in Mesquite. It must have been a success, because soon afterward it was announced a second cafeteria would open in late 1960 or early 1961 as part of Phase Two of the brand new South Oak Cliff Shopping Center at Kiest and Lancaster. The 35-acre mall-type shopping center was slated to be a "complete 1-stop regional center" and expected to draw 20,000 cars a day. Both of these Texas locations were still in business in 1966, but in 1967 all the fixtures and equipment of the Lancaster-Kiest business were auctioned off. It is unclear what happened to the rest of the Harvest House Cafeterias, including the one at Bigtown.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kidd Springs Park

Kidd Springs Lake, ca 1908
Before Oak Cliff became a part of Dallas, the community debated about using Kidd Springs as a water supply. It was thought an infinite supply of water could be had if only an artesian well could access the source. Questions remained about the chemical content of the water, and I can find no mention of actual drilling of a well. In the early 1900s Kidd Springs was a popular place for picnics, and it is often mentioned as a destination of Dallas society. People began building homes in the verdant area, and in 1921 the city of Dallas annexed the community of Kidd Springs Heights.

Kidd Springs bridge & inlet, ca 1907

Kidd Springs Swimming Pool, ca 1959
Kidd Springs Swimming Pool opened in May 1959. The pool cost $74,000 and was built to replace a permanently-closed pool at Lake Cliff Park.

Cliff Chicken Shack

We don’t mean to CROW but We Know Our Chicken

I found mention of Cliff Chicken Shack as early as August 1936, which means it may have pre-dated the more well-known Leslie’s Chicken Shack by several years. It may have been the first drive-in fried chicken joint in Oak Cliff. In 1942 the proprietor was listed as J.B. Cohen (or J.R. Cohen). By 1951, the Shack was out of business, and the building at 519 W. Davis (at the northeast corner at Llewellyn) had become Laden’s Food Market. The location was by turns a wholesale sandwich company, hardware store, carpet company, and an auto paint & body shop. In 2009 the unlucky site was home to Honduras Tire Shop.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Charco Broiler

Way before Chick-fil-A’s fiberglass cows there was the giant brown cow atop Charco Broil (or Broiler). In the late 1950s the address at 413 W. Jefferson was home to R L Watson Co., “Dallas’ Home of Fabulous Bargains”, an appliance store where you could buy an automatic portable(!) dishwasher or a TV set. Advertisements in the spring of 1962 announced the closing of the Jefferson store (there was a 2nd store on Lovers Lane). Sometime between 1962 and 1968 the site became Charco Broil, the home of Famous Sizzling Steaks. In 1975 one advertised bargain was a Rib Eye Steak Special for $15.99, which included Texas Toast, Salad, and a Baked Potato. Take that, fiberglass cows!

I seem to remember that cow used to be on another taller building, and that it was moved to the present location in the 1980s, but my memory’s not so good. Can anyone confirm or dispute it?

At one time there were two additional locations:
6417 Hillcrest  across from SMU
1612 S. Buckner Blvd.  in Pleasant Grove

Joe Pool

Our newest local lake is named for the last elected Democrat Representative of the Third Congressional District. Joe Pool (1911-1968) graduated from Adamson (then Oak Cliff High School) and attended SMU before embarking on a political career that eventually resulted in his election to Congress in 1962. This sign is likely from 1967 when Pool was re-elected. He died mid-term in 1968.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Freez-Ette Drive-Inn

Photo by Tom Collins
Opening day at the Freez-Ette, 2302 W. Clarendon at Hampton, circa 1952. Freez-Ette was a soft serve ice milk product developed by dairy farmer Frank S. Nelson, from Hunt County. In 1932 he began selling his product under an umbrella, but business was so good he developed a small industry. Nelson Manufacturing Company on Industrial Blvd would supply all materials to get you started with your own drive in malt shop. In 1954 Nelson estimated there were a hundred locations across several states. This site is now a small strip mall.

typical Freez Ette circa 1954

Raven's Pharmacy

Thanks to Gretchen Goetz for use of her photo.
One of my favorite signs in Oak Cliff has always been the Raven at the corner of Jefferson & Zang.I love Gretchen Goetz’s description of him as “a good lookin’ dude staring daggers at his rival across the street on every turn.”  (See more work by this Oak Cliff artist at http://thegretchenshow.com/ )

ad from 1972 Sunset High School yearbook

Raven's Pharmacy was founded by George A. Raven, a native of Bridgeport, Wise County, Texas. After completing pharmacy college he came to Dallas in 1937 as a medical service representative for Eli Lilly & Company. Raven was a well-known business and civic leader in Oak Cliff.

In 1946 Raven Pharmacy was located at 326 W. Jefferson.
In 1956 there was a Raven Prescription Pharmacy at 3411 S. Lancaster.
In 1957 Raven owned two drug stores in Oak Cliff.
In 1972 there were four Raven Pharmacies in Oak Cliff; at 122 W. Colorado, 500 W. Jefferson, 400 E. Centre St., and 2401 W. Kiest.

The Raven Pharmacy at 500 W. Jefferson is concrete masonry, tilt-wall building built in 1957. The property remained in the Raven family until 2002, when it was sold. After four years the property was sold again. The building is now owned by Patel Vikas, doing business as Raven's Corner Pharmacy.

The Raven Pharmacy at 2401 W. Kiest, on the NW corner of Hampton & Kiest was a podiatrist office in 2009.

Lake Cliff Park

Entrance to Lake Cliff with Interurban Rails

Entrance Detail

Did you know there was once an amusement park situated at Lake Cliff? It included a merry-go-round, the "mystic river", a ride called Chute-the-Chutes, even a Casino. The Garden Theater provided a venue for live performers.
 from Dallas Morning News, June 14, 1909

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Marsalis Zoo

Entrance to the Marsalis Zoo, circa 1970. In the skyline the Southland Life Building is on the right and it's no longer the tallest office building in town.

Golman Oak Cliff Bakery

It was a real feather in the cap for Oak Cliff when the Golman-Oak Cliff Baking Company opened May 12, 1930. Two years earlier the Oak Cliff-Dallas Commercial Association had sought out a number of businessmen, hoping to attract large industry to Oak Cliff. Jake Golman responded by building a 15,000 square foot bakery at Eighth and Marsalis. The architect was J.A. Pitzinger, who designed a number of Dallas buildings, including the Science Place at Fair Park and the building on Commerce Street now known as Mitchell Lofts. Doris Jane Black of Oak Cliff High School was named "Cliff-Maid" to represent the bakery. The company employed about 45 Oak Cliff people and had a fleet of six trucks to deliver the bread to local retailers. The plant manager had the unlikely name of Herman Munster.

By 1953 the bakery had been sold to the National Bakers Services, Inc.

Avalon Motel

1015 Fort Worth Avenue, about a block west of the Belmont. It was open as early as 1954, and was the site of at least one suspicious death, a parking lot murder, and an odd tenant who persisted in smashing thermostats.

I couldn’t find any evidence the Avalon hadn’t been razed, but Steve Bonner told me the place was alive and well at the end of 2009 after some rehab work.