Dallas Historical Society Newsletter  

Bicycle stunt, 100 block N. Peak Street, 1948

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In This Issue:
2009 Brown Bags
Photo Archives
2009 Annual Fellows Dinner
2009 City Tours
Annual Meeting
Tribute/Memorial Gifts
AFE StarA tribute or memorial gift to the Dallas Historical Society is a meaningful way to honor a friend or loved one. For more information, please contact Development Director
Betty Brownlee at 214.421.4500.
 The Dallas Historical Society's 2009 Brown Bag Lecture Series

Generously sponsored by
CLAMPITT PAPER: The Paper People

Due to the renovation of the Hall of State, all eight lectures will be held in the Clampitt Paper's Creative Center. The Creative Center is located at Clampitt Paper's headquarters, 9207 Ambassador Row, Dallas, TX 75247. Click here for directions.
May 13th
Historic Dallas Cemeteries

Presented by
: Francis James (a.k.a. "The Cemetery Lady"), local historian and author.  
Join us at 12 PM (noon) on the second Wednesday of every month as the DHS explores a variety of different topics about local and state history.  All lectures are open to the public and there is no cost to attend.
Don't forget to bring your lunch! Groups should RSVP by calling us at 214.421.4500 x 104 or emailing Booking@dallashistory.org. 

I spend so much time looking at photographs that are so stiff and posed that it is easy to forget that our ancestors used to laugh. When photography was still a complicated process, Grandpa would be propped in front of a big scary box and told not to blink for several minutes. Often the resulting image made the old gentleman look like a bad taxidermy job. In reality, Gramps was probably a happy fellow with a winning smile who liked to tell jokes. So when I occasionally find a funny snapshot taken around Dallas I make note of it. Here are a couple.

The first photo was taken in 1876. That was an eventful year. America turned 100 years old. Alexander Bell was granted a patent for the telephone. George Custer was defeated at the Little Big Horn. Jesse James attempted to rob the bank at Northfield, Minnesota, and Dallas had a grand Mardi Gras parade. The quality of the photo is not too bad. You are able to distinguish a couple of wagon loads of people sitting on cotton bales, dressed as the King (or Rex), and his court. Of course everyone in the photo is standing transfixed and looking uncomfortable, but you have to know that gluing all of that cotton on all of those people and their horses had to have been funny as heck. Maybe this was the beginning of Dallas' fashion industry? I have this image of Dallasites finding sticky wads of cotton all over downtown for days afterwards. It is hard to tell where this photo was taken, but the house in the back ground looks a lot like the home of Mrs. Sarah Cockrell. That would put it near the corner of Houston and Commerce Streets, just across from the courthouse.
Fast forward 72 years. It is 1948: The Olympics were held that year. Harry Truman was elected president. The Soviet controlled MARDI GRASgovernment of East Germany blockaded West Berlin. Toast of the Town, later the Ed Sullivan Show, debuted on television. In the 100 block of North Peak Street, some people of the Dallas Transit Authority squandered a sunny afternoon by jumping bicycles over each other. I have no idea what was the significance of this action, but if your bus or streetcar was late that day this could have been the reason. Look a little closer and there is a sign for Wyatt Café.
I give history talks all over north Texas, mostly to 5th graders, and I am still a little surprised at how many people believe that the world began when they were born. They can not make the connection with someone who has been gone for a long time. It helps if you can add layers to that long gone person, such as a color picture, a recording of their voice, or a photo of them smiling. Get down that old hat box of family photos and smile back at Grandpa, because he is sending that smile through the decades to you. I will end now, I have to go and clean a big wad of sticky cotton off my shoes.
-Ed Owens
2009 Annual Fellows Dinner 

Fellows '08 The Fellows of the Dallas Historical Society is one of our major membership levels.  Proceeds from Fellows' support help underwrite education programs and publications such as teacher guides to Texas and Dallas history.  In addition to special invitations for two to lectures, tours, receptions and previews, the Fellows are honored each year at a formal dinner held at one of Dallas' grand historic residences or landmarks.
On Thursday, April 23, 2009, the black-tie Annual Fellows Dinner will be held at the newly restored Union Station and feature cuisine by renowned chef Wolfgang Puck.  We invite you to become a member of the Fellows and take advantage of the benefits your support offers.  For Fellows membership information, please contact Development Director Betty Brownlee at 214.421-4500, ext. 121.

The Spring 2009 Historic City Tours

Date:  Saturday, April 18th, 2009
Tour Leaves:  9 AM
Tour Returns:   2 PM
Tour Guide:  Ken Holmes
Cost: $50/non members, $40/members
Pick up/Drop off Location:  The Hall of State in Fair Park (3939 Grand Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75210)
Lunch:  TBA

Do you know where the first McDonald's was located? How about the national landmark for Art Deco? Or the Pennsylvania Railroad engine that lead the Robert F. Kennedy Funeral Procession in 1968? Dallas is literately a treasure trove of hidden facts and little-known details. This tour is for individuals who think they know all there is about our city's history, or people who are interested in learning new trivia about their hometown. This tour - literately - has something for everybody. It will not disappoint! 

Date:  Saturday, April 25th, 2009
Tour Leaves:  9 AM
Tour Returns:   2 PM
Tour Guide:  Rose-Mary Rumbley.
Cost: $50/non members, $40/members
Pick up/Drop off Location:  The Hall of State in Fair Park (3939 Grand Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75210)
Lunch:  El Ranchito

 Learn why it was "Hord's Ridge" originally and was intended to be the "Cambridge" of Dallas. In 1908, the Trinity River flood separated Oak Cliff from the rest of Dallas for a long period. In the 1830s and 40s, occasional settlers set up temporary stockades and houses on the west side of the Trinity River before Dallas was founded. The first permanent settlement was established in 1845 by William H. Hord, and was called Hord's Ridge. In 1887, T.L. Marsalis bought 2000 acres and began a development he called Oak Cliff. By 1900, Oak Cliff had a population of 3,630 people. The principal of the high school in 1900 was W.H. Adamson. He served for almost 40 years. Dallas set its eyes on Oak Cliff and proposed annexation. A heated debate ensued with citizens afraid the merger would hinder Oak Cliff's growth. The vote succeeded by a slim margin, 201 to 183. This increased Dallas's size by one third  
Date:  Saturday, May 2nd, 2009
Tour Leaves:  9 AM
Tour Returns:   2 PM
Tour Guide:  Ken Holmes.
Cost: $50/non members, $40/members
Pick up/Drop off Location:  The Hall of State in Fair Park (3939 Grand Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75210)
Lunch:  El Fenix, Oak Cliff

 John F. Kennedy and Dallas are forever connected in history. The 1963 downtown motorcade route and Dealey Plaza came alive on national television. Where did Lee Harvey Oswald live and work? What course did he follow on that fateful day? Theories of what happened will be examined and discussed. Listen to a historic Radio Interview with Lee Harvey Oswald on a New Orleans radio station. Follow Lee Harvey Oswald's footsteps through downtown and his taxi ride to his Oak Cliff boarding house. On to the intersection in Oak Cliff where Oswald gunned down Dallas Officer J.D. Tippit--listen to the police recordings and see the Texas Theatre where Oswald was captured. See the building where Jack Ruby killed Oswald while handcuffed to a Dallas police officer. Tours in 2008-2009 will also visit new sites, such as: Jack Ruby's cell, Oswald's rooming house at 1026 North Beckley, and the Texas Theater. 

Space is limited on all tours, so book today by calling Nora Lenhart at (214) 421-4500 x101 or by dropping her an email at Nora@dallashistory.org.  
A complete list of our Spring Historic City Tour offerings can be found on our

  Save The Date!
Dallas Historical Society
87th Annual Meeting of the Membership

Wednesday, May 20, 2009
11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Due to HOS renovations the meeting will be held at:
The Women's Museum @ Fair Park
3800 Parry Avenue
Dallas, Texas  75226

Guest Speaker
Donald Cullum Clampitt
Chairman and CEO
Clampitt Paper Company - Dallas, Texas
  If we may be of service to you in the future with discovering our past, please feel free to contact, visit or join the DHS. 
Dallas Historical Society