Remembering Dallas When It Was Dallas

All right. So I opened up a can of worms when I posted about Dallas radio back in the day. Seems friend Scot Duke and I may have habited some of the same haunts. My radio story plus last Friday’s Stevie Ray Vaughn funkishness post prompted this outstanding story from Scot in reply:

Since we are stirring memories of Dallas in the days before LBJ Freeway…when I was eight was when I was introduced to playing guitar by my great-aunt who lived in Oak Cliff. She would play and I would listen then go home and try to remember how her fingers were on the fret board. One summer my parents let me stay with her overnight and during dinner we hear some music coming from outside which was no unusal in Oak Cliff in 1960. The music went on for hours and when we went outside to sit on the back porch and my aunt start playing her blues guitar she stopped and asked me what all the noise was which was to me music. She said, lets go find out who that is. So we let our ears lead up donw the street about four blocks to a house where the music was coming from the garage that had the door closed. It was so load you could hear yourself think…then about that time the music stopped and the door open and there were these three kids, ringing with sweat from being in that garage with the door closed,playing for more than an hour…one of the kids was my age and he comes out with a guitar bigger than him strapped on and it was Stevie…he sat down on the side walk where the wind was so he could cool off and while the others were in the house where the air conditioning was he lit into an instrumental of so old Texas blues…he played it like someone much older than him…now this made my great-aunt very happy so we stayed an listened…then Jimmy comes out and tells him to bring it in since the neighbors are complaining again… That was the only time I got to see Stevie…and every time I went to see my great aunt I would run down there and he would not be there… That’s My Dallas and SRV story for ya… have a great day and keep those blogs about Dallas in OUR day coming.

1951skyline.jpgA Dallas skyline from the Trinity River bridge coming from Oak Cliff circa 1950’s

A really great story that points out that not that long ago Dallas was kind of like a small town in big city clothes. It was not uncommon to see folks like SRV and other celebs walking the streets. My Dad had stories of going to Jack Ruby’s club in the 50’s and seeing Bob Wills after a show at the Sportatorium. Former Dallas Texans & Kansas City Chiefs running back Abner Haynes used to buy gas at my Dad’s service station at I-35 & Marsalis in Oak Cliff .

So here’s a shout out to Dallas When It Was Dallas and a call to other Dallas folks to share their memories. Now some of you may not be as old as Scott or Semitough, we’ll take newer vintage stories too. Whether you’ve been here all your life, got here as fast as you could or just drove through on the way somewhere else, share up your Dallas stories too. Let us hear from you.

Leave your stories in the comments and I’ll do a summary when we get some critical mass.

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13 thoughts on “Remembering Dallas When It Was Dallas

  1. businessgolf May 24, 2007 / 9:23 pm

    Semi,
    Is that you in the back of that Studebaker in that photo you posted?

  2. semitough May 24, 2007 / 9:31 pm

    How great is that shot? I hadn’t seen a Studebaker pickup in years. My uncle used to have one. Check out this site over at the UTA Library they have a great pair of photos of the Stemmons & Inwood area one from 1954 the second in 1994. Amazing.

  3. bigdino May 24, 2007 / 9:53 pm

    “get some Critical Mass”?

    Oh FTLOG. It’s a short slippery slope to “so we can communicate Crisply and with Clarity” and then it is a mere stone’s throw to “we need to Surround it”

    I’m sensing a poem blowing in from the mid-Atlantic so I will shut up now.

  4. semitough May 25, 2007 / 6:09 am

    Hey dino. Watch this Bubba:

    “Once we have critical mass I’ll do a pareto analysis and provide a crisp summary that will bring some clarity so we can surround the responses and run this thing to ground”

    And now…a pome.

  5. WORKING GIRL May 25, 2007 / 6:15 pm

    papi:
    Im at work right now and its like 7. MEANING the grad party starts like now…but its only prince of peace so not so many cute guys but oh well the sweet 16 starts in like 45 min. but anyways..my name plaque is up..and its tight. but anywayss…i should prob get back to work!

  6. semitough May 25, 2007 / 8:07 pm

    Thanks for the update Princess Working Girl. Congrats on the first paycheck. Don’t spend it all in the same place.

  7. Barclay Keese May 28, 2007 / 9:54 pm

    My Grandfather started a radio show called the Early Birds. It aired every morning. Kind of a music, skit kind of thing. I was only six or seven at the time, but I remember going down with my Dad, who played sax and clarinet on the show.
    I have some great memories and some pics.
    Remember the Creek on Greenville Ave. Pappy’s Showland. Louanns. Open air music at the Shell at Fair Park. Streetcars downtown. The peanut shop downtown…ahh what a smell. Cowboys playing the Texans at the Cotton Bowl. 50 cents to sit in the end zone. Saw the big tornado from my front yard. Elvis came to town. We had no air conditioner….fans. Ice Box and the guy would chip us off a piece to suck on. Central only went to Richardson. Then you had to get on Greenville (Hwy 5) to go any further north. And Central wasn’t all that busy. Lovers Lane was really lovers’ lane.
    Thanks for the memories. TV went off at night…..that is when you finally GOT a TV. You could drive by the KLIF station and look up and see the DJ.

  8. Shirley June 3, 2007 / 4:20 pm

    I was 19 years old, it was late 1955…I had just hit Big “D” from a small East Texas town. WRR ruled the airwaves from 10pm to midnight with that “race music” as it was called and all the young’uns from 13 to 25 could not wait to turn on the “Kool Fool” Jim Lowe at night. KLIF ruled with the top 40 format and became the top radio station in the USA. Our radio’s were on KLIF until Lowe’s Kat Karavan at night, then back to KLIF.

    I have posted some stuff about Dallas and the 50’s on my web page: dance, clubs music etc.

    Does anyone remember the “sitting on the pole” stunt KLIF did in around ’57 ?

  9. Shirley June 3, 2007 / 4:28 pm

    Oh! by the way semitough, sounds like your dad and I might be around the same age, yep, write a little blurb about Ruby’s Vegas Club as well as Lucas B&B next door, also the It’ll Do Club.

    have your Dad check out http://www.belovedcity.com

  10. businessgolf June 3, 2007 / 5:58 pm

    I remember Louann’s (the first place I went to NOT learn to dance), the 50 cent Cowboy Seats and the tornado I do remember with a vague memory of Central ending at the Mink Farm where TI is now. I do remembering sitting in the back seat of my Dad’s 1950 Chevy Deluxe taking a full day trip to Lake Texoma when I was five… The chipped ice and no air was around the we quit walking five miles to school barefoot in the snow. But I love those memories.

  11. Iris Higgs February 12, 2008 / 10:11 am

    How funny to end up here, on this site and see an old friend, as a matter of fact, an old boss, Barclay Keese. I’m a native, Dallasite that is. I’m first generation, born here at Baylor hospital. My parents immigrated here from Germany in 1952, came straight to Dallas and migrated all over town before landing in Richardson in 1961. Our old house is where Weirs Furniture sits on Travis Street. I remember being in a play in the old theatre on Knox when I was about four. Walking down to the Highland Park pharmacy with my “Oma” to get an ice cream cone. I also remember the “Creek” on Greenville Ave. My father used to take me there on Saturday mornings and I would sit on crates and cases of alchohol and be mesmerized by the lifelike beer signs hanging on the wall. I remember going to the first Dickey’s on Central, also with my dad. We spent many Sundays at Fair Park, feeding the ducks and strolling around. I also remember the “Dallas Texans” and the reasonable prices for a football game at the Cottonbowl. I frequented them with my Dad, Uncle, brother and cousin. I remember going swimming at Vickery Park on Greenville and the bath houses they had there. I moved to Richardson when I was five and it barely existed. It was the only thing past TI on Central Expressway. You would drive for miles from downtown Dallas and feel like you were in the country before you ever saw any sign of life again. I remember my older brother dancing on “Sumptin Else” and seeing him on TV. That was in the 60’s of course but it was a different time. Dallas is a different city now. I love it still but will never forget the wonderful memories of my childhood.

  12. G September 3, 2008 / 5:23 pm

    When LBJ was just a field, Coit Road was a two lane black top and a dirt road past Cambell Road. Your parents felt safe letting their kids go on bicycle adventures,to strane towns with names as Renner, Plano was a city far far away. I rember LuLu.

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