- 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.