Divide Dallas' "Longest Block in World"
view of map)
view of photo)
When the opening of
Good street in the east end of the business district is completed,
the longest city block in Dallas will be cut in two. The block,
extending from Hawkins to Crowdus street, has been referred to
as the longest city block in the world. It occupies the space
of five ordinary blocks.
1, 1925, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. III, p. 2.
Work was started on the razing
of buildings last week. Good street, is being opened from Elm
to Main, and Lloyd street, the name of which has been changed
to Good street, is being widened between Main and Commerce. Lloyd
was a narrow, one-block street.
The picture and map show how the
project was carried out. The view was taken from Commerce and
Lloyd streets, looking north to buildings fronting on Main street.
The telephone poles on the left show the original property line
of Lloyd street. These poles will be moved twenty feet eastward.
The buildings at the end of Lloyd street are being removed through
to Elm, where a connection will be made to Good street.
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RAZED ON SITE
OF NEW BUILDING
the razing of the old residence at the northwest corner of Marilla
and Browder streets to make way for erection of the new $200,000
home of the Texas Drug company, another of the landmarks familiar
to older residents of Dallas, has disappeared. The house was
formerly occupied by a private school conducted by the Misses
Lucy and Betty Collier.
8, 1925, Dallas Times Herald, Sec. III, p. 4., col. 5.
The school was founded some fifty
years ago, and many of the present-day leaders of business and
professional life in Dallas attended it during their childhood.
Construction of the new fireproof
building for the drug company is to be started at once.
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Cling to Old
Dallas County Houses
Local Artist Likes
With Historic Interest
New Stories of
Pioneer Days in
North Texas Are
Brought to Light
By D. L. MILLER
Drawings by Fred Kamacker
roads of Dallas county, at various points, may be seen dilapidated-looking
* * *
They are rapidly falling to pieces
and have long since ceased to be occupied by human beings. The
passerby does not pay much attention to them. To him, they are
likely to be just old "shacks" and, if anything, they
are regarded as a disfigurement to the landscape.
To the few who have taken the trouble
to investigate these ruins, they have proved rich in interest
and have revealed many thrilling stories of pioneer days in North
Fred Kamacker, of Dallas, is one
of these investigators. The discovery of historic old buildings
and unearthing of the stories and legends connected with them
is a hobby with him. Accompanied by B. A. Bernstein, his partner
in the Graphic Advertising studios, Mr. Kamacker likes to wander
along the highways of Dallas county with an eye open for interesting
looking houses and buildings. Both carry sketch pads and make
drawings of the houses that appeal to them.
Inquiries among the neighbors,
especially the old timers, reveal the history of the place and
the various tales that have grown up around it. Sometimes, the
legends are conflicting. One pioneer will have different memories
of a particular episode than those retained by another. The passing
down of a story for three generations through different channels
will result in the variations creeping in.
Although a comparative newcomer
to Dallas, Mr. Kamacker is probably more familiar with the early
history of Dallas than many of those who have lived here since
they were born.
A number of the old landmarks have
disappeared within the last few years. Some have been demolished
to make way for modern structures. Others have been destroyed
by fire or by the gradual wearing away of the elements. There
are still enough of them standing to afford unlimited opportunities
for investigation of the early days here.
The old town of Scyene, between
Dallas and Mesquite, has yielded some of the best stories connected
with old houses and buildings.
Once a hotel at Scyene
when that town vied in
commercial importance with Dallas.
One of the deserted structures
in this little settlement is a long, one-story building with
its windows boarded up and its doors hanging loosely from their
hinges. It is said that this was once a two-story hotel in the
days when Scyene had six stores and five saloons.
This cabin, built at
Scyene in the '50's, was the headquarters
of the Younger and James boys, famous outlaws.
* * *
While all stories about this building
do not agree, some say that this was the place in which Sheriff
Moon of Dallas county "got the drop" on members of
the James gang of outlaws while they were eating dinner. They
promised him that they would surrender if he would let them finish
their meal. He consented, and when the time came, they executed
some clever gun play, shot and killed the sheriff and made good
A Bandit's Rendezvous.
Another of the Scyene landmarks
is the cabin, which both the Younger and James boys made their
headquarters when in this part of Texas. It is said to have been
built during the '50s. In spite of this, it is in much better
condition than some of the others. The house is now used as a
chicken roost by the owner of the property.
This house at
Scyene was built in 1868 from lumber
hauled overland by wagon from Jefferson in East Texas.
Yet another house of genuine interest
in Scyene is located across the road from the bandits' rendezvous.
This house is of much more recent origin. It was built in 1868
from mill-sawed lumber hauled overland from Jefferson in Marion
county. The wagons which hauled the building material returned
to the East Texas city with loads of buffalo hides.
House built by French
present site of Cement City in 1854.
* * *
On the present site of Cement City
in Dallas, is to be found one of the most interesting of all
Dallas county ruins. It is a cottage erected in 1854 by members
of the French colony, which established itself here then.
Material used for the house was
native limestone, commonly known as "white rock." Several
contractors who have examined this and other old structures in
which this material was used, say it demonstrates possibilities
for more extensive use of it in the future. The soft limestone
exposed to the weather increases in hardness and the walls possess
an attractive appearance. It is only near the ground line that
evidences of disintegration are to be found. Some builders say
that a house with walls of this limestone set on a concrete foundation
would last forever.
The old French home, one of a number
still to be seen near Cement City, was soon abandoned. Members
of the French colony were artisans, not farmers. They were unable
to cope with the conditions met in a pioneer agricultural country.
Most of them returned to France. A few later located in Dallas,
and the family names are preserved in the case of a number of
An old log cabin in
Mountain Creek valley about midway between Duncanville and Grand
Prairie, said to have been built in 1830.
House Built in 1830.
About midway between Duncanville
and Grand Prairie in the Mountain creek valley, is an old log
cabin. Some of the old-timers say that it was built there in
1830. Others dispute this on the grounds that in that time, there
were only two houses west of the Trinity river, and this was
not one of them.
At any rate, during the Confederate
reunion in Dallas in 1900, an old man asked to be taken out to
the site of this cabin. When he reached the spot, he told his
hosts that he was born here, and that the cabin had been built
by his father in 1830. His father neglected to claim the land
on which he established his home. When the property was later
obtained under grant by another owner, he willingly gave up the
life of a pioneer and returned to Tennessee.
Another legend about this particular
house, as related by an aged negro living in the neighborhood,
is that the last bear killed in this part of Texas was shot as
he attempted to enter the front gate of the yard.
The house also was used by a treasure
seeker attempting to dig up buried gold. This treasure seeker
returned to Dallas about twenty years ago and was taken to Mountain
creek valley. Using the old cabin as a starting point, he tried
to find $36,000, which, he said, was concealed in a cottonwood
grove during the late '60's. According to his story, the money
was buried by a cattleman returning form an overland drive to
Abilene, Kan. Fearing the numerous bandits then infesting the
country south of Dallas, he decided to leave his treasure and
return for it later. Word came that the man died before reaching
his home and without returning for his gold.
The first house in
Oak Cliff, built by Judge W. H. Hord in 1846.
* * *
The first house ever built in Oak
Cliff has an interesting story connected with it and one that
can be verified definitely. It is the former home of Judge W.
H. Hord, first settler in Oak Cliff, and after whom that section
was once called Hord's Ridge.
Judge Hord's grandson, Thomas A.
Hord, still lives in Dallas and is connected with the Texas Power
and Light company as civil engineer. Mr. Hord tells the story
of the old family home as he received it from his parents and
Came Here by Wagon.
- December 20, 1925,
Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. III, p. 1.
Judge Hord came to Texas in 1845
from Tennessee. With him, were his family and two negro slaves.
The trip was made in ox carts. The land on which they settled
was obtained under grant from the republic of Texas. It consisted
of about a square mile along Cedar creek, west of where Lancaster
avenue now lies.
The first home built there was
a one-room log cabin. It was later added to and continued to
be the Hord home until the late '80's. At that time, Judge Hord
disposed of his property to T. L. Marsalis, original developer
of Oak Cliff, as a part of the city of Dallas. In order to escape
the crowding of neighbors incident to expansion of the city,
he moved to a newer home farther away from the center of activity.
In the early days, the main trail
to West Texas ran past the Hord home. During the California gold
rush of 1849, thousands of adventurers traveled past the house
on this trail and made it a stopping point at which to obtain
water and other supplies.
The Delaware Indians, at that time,
had a village of about 1,000 persons at the mouth of Cedar creek.
It is said they would often come to the Hord home and attempt
to trade skins and honey for Judge Hord's little golden-haired
These historic old houses are only
a few of the many that were erected in Dallas county by the early
settlers in the '40's and '50's. Some of the others are still
standing and have histories as fascinating as the ones discovered
by Mr. Kamacker. Others have fallen in the path of progress and
now are only memories in the minds of pioneers, who recall the
days when they were centers of home life and civic activity for
the first white inhabitants of North Texas.
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