Landmarks, Dallas County, Texas, 1921-1924

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(Updated December 4, 2004)


OF $75,000

     Fire believed to have been caused by spontaneous combustion totally destroyed the Pearlstone Mill and Elevator company's plant at Mays and Hickory streets early Tuesday morning, entailing a loss estimated at $75,000.
     Hard work on the part of city firemen prevented the flame from spreading to adjoining property. The fire was discovered by a night watchman. By the time the fire apparatus arrived, the building, a four-story wood and tin structure, was a mass of flames.
     J. H. Pearlstone, owner, estimated his loss to be $75,000. He was unable to state the amount of insurance.
     A general alarm brought out all available fire apparatus. Fire engines were stationed at plugs for several blocks around the burning structure, ready to begin the battle against the flames should they spread to adjoining property.

Prevent Spread of Flames.
     Lines of hose were laid to the houses in a negro settlement close by, and the firemen worked hard to prevent fire spreading from sparks and huge pieces of burning timber lighting on the roofs of houses.
     The fire was prevented from spreading to the warehouse adjoining the main elevator. The building caught fire several times, but the flames were extinguished before they could gain any headway.
     Huge piles of grain were left burning after the walls and roof of the elevator were destroyed and two companies of fire fighters were left on duty when the main force of the department was sent back to their respective stations.

Fire Spectacular.
     The fire was one of the most spectacular that has occurred in Dallas for some time. The blaze ran high and smoke rolled in great banks. Switch engines in the Santa Fe yards sounded a continuous call. Hundreds of persons, aroused from their sleep, rushed to the scene scantily clad.
     The streets for blocks around the burning building were crowded with household furniture, carried out by the owners when it looked as if the entire settlement would go up in flames.

- October 25, 1921, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 6, col. 3.
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Added December 4, 2004:
Huge Combination Office
and Warehouse
Building to Be Erected Here









Architect Declares Structure Will
Have No Equal in Any Other
City of United States.

     A combination office and warehouse building covering an area of four blocks and costing between $4,500,000 and $5,000,000, is to be erected on the site of the old Santa Fe Depot in the 1200 block [of] Commerce street, between Kendall and Poydras streets. The mammoth structure, which will be constructed in five separate units, will extend from Commerce street, back across Jackson, Wood and Marilla, to Young, and work on its erection will be started within the next ninety days.
     This immense project, which has been contemplated for several months, came nearer to a reality Saturday afternoon, when a $3,500 permit, providing for the wrecking of the old depot, and a $300,000 permit, providing for the construction of the basement and first floor of the structure were issued, and when the City Commission, at a special meeting, passed a resolution setting aside their intention of extending Murphy street through to Young.
     Lloyd R. Whitson and F. Cowderol Dale, associate of the Royal Order of British Architects, drew the plans.
     The building permits were issued to Mr. Whitson. Mayor Sawnie Aldredge asserted that the plan and financing of the buildings were the work of Dallas men who do not care to have their names mentioned at the present time. The Terminal Warehouse Corporation is going to erect the structures, however, and Mayor Aldredge said that half of the directorate of the organization were Dallas men. He also added that the entire amount of stock had already been subscribed, and that none of it was for sale.

Five Separate Units.
     The project calls for five separate units of construction. The first, fronting on Commerce street, is to be twenty stories in height and will be devoted entirely to office space. The other four units, ten stories in height, will be devoted to warehousing. All of the units will be connected underground, and in an immense basement under all trackage, adequate enough to spot eighty freight cars at one time, will be provided. Two tubes, starting their depression 1,800 feet south of Young street in the Santa Fe yards, will connect with the underground railroad yards and electric tram cars will be used altogether in switching and pulling the cars. No overhead connection will be provided between any of the units, and Jackson, Wood and Marilla streets will not be changed in any way.
     The twenty-story office building unit will face on Commerce street and will contain 200,000 square feet of office space. Mayor Aldredge announced that one kindred industry would, in all probability, occupy the majority of the space in the building.
     This unit is to be constructed of structural steel and reinforced concrete, finished with brick and terra cotta and capped with a copper roof, which will gradually become a deep green color. The building will have four sides, instead of the usual three, and a back wall, and each office will have an outside outlook with plenty of window light. All four sides of the building will be trimmed alike.

Five Entrance Arches.
     Five arches will provide entrance and exit to the office building lobby and the ground rental space. Four high-speed elevators will be accessible from the lobby.
     The four warehouse units will contain 1,200,000 square feet of space and will be ten stories high. In speaking of the warehouse units, the Mayor asserted that more than half of the space had already been leased, the majority of it to Northern and Eastern industries. The plan of the architects in building the units, is to insure firms leasing the space, that they will keep their identity, and at the same time, enjoy the privileges of the combined terminal facilities.
     The plan for the warehouse structure provides for a complete underground trackage system, following the lines of the familiar tube systems in operation in all of the larger cities of the country. Starting at a point 1,800 feet south of the south line of Young street, in the Santa Fe yards, the tracks will be depressed on a 1 per cent grade, giving bridge clearance in the tube, which will be constructed under Young, Marilla, Wood and Jackson streets. There will be two tubes, with a track in each, and all switching, which will be done at night, will be handled by electric tram cars, thus eliminating smoke from the tunnels.
     The underground tube system for the accommodation of the tracks supplying service to the warehouse occupants is the first move of the city plan commission to remove all railroad tracks from the prominent business streets. The plan for such removal has been advocated and advanced for a long time by John J. Simmons, chairman of the commission, and E. A. Wood, city plan engineer, has adopted all his recommendations in civic improvement to this removal plan.

Privileges of Warehouse.
     The privileges of the warehouse, as outlined by L. R. Whitson, are:
     A centralized location within two blocks of the heart of the city.
     Submerged tracks entirely out of the way of surface operation and interferences.
     Service of package cars furnished by the railroad company for local freight distribution to all railroads.
     The opportunity for small firms to be taken care of properly and economically until they grow into larger organizations and require more room in another part of the structure.
     "The economic of the project is made possible," Mr. Whitson said, "by the combined facilities and magnitude of the whole plan. By this, is meant the reduction of costs in rentals to the same approximate point that would be charged firms, far out in the suburbs, with none of the above advantages that go with the centralized location."
     "This is the most important development, in my recollection, that has ever occurred in Dallas," Mayor Aldredge declared. "There is nothing to equal it in the United States today. When completed, it will advertise Dallas throughout the Nation and will direct the attention of industries throughout the north and east, that Dallas is equipped to care for any industry that cares to locate here. We are not only prepared, but welcome them, and extend not only the help of the Chamber of Commerce, but of the city officials, as well.
     The city has known, for some time, that this project was under consideration, and for this reason, has delayed the extension of Murphy street, through to Young, which would have cut the Santa Fe property in two. This mammoth structure that is to be erected will be larger than the combined structures, of either Sears-Roebuck or Butler Brothers, and will be the biggest asset that the city has ever acquired.
     "I have high hopes that the construction of this building, or rather, series of buildings, is the forerunner of the locating of the main line of the Santa Fe in Dallas, and I hope to see this come to pass in the future.

Tribute to Founders.
     "With the acquisition of this tremendous asset to the city, I believe that tribute should be paid to F. G. Pettibone, president of the Santa Fe, as well as to the enterprising Dallas men interested in the proposition, and the Chamber of Commerce, for the important part that he played in gaining this addition to Dallas."
     Mayor Aldredge declared now that this immense building is to be erected on Commerce street; that Kendall street should be widened, and he signified his intention of making this proposal to the City Commission next week.
     Following the special meeting of the commission Saturday afternoon, the Mayor announced that he had received the following letter signed by Frank M. Smith, president of the Chamber of Commerce, relative to the combination warehouse and office building.
     "The new Santa Fe terminal project, which involves a development of some $4,000,000, has been outlined to our directors.
     "There is no doubt in our minds, but that this large terminal warehouse will be very valuable to Dallas, and I have been requested by our directorate to ask that you consider taking such action as may be necessary, in order to make possible the erection of the office building and terminal warehouse, with which, we understand, you are familiar.
     "The whole project appeals to us very strongly, and we trust you will find it convenient to take prompt action along the lines indicated."

- December 17, 1922, The Dallas Morning News, Part IV, p. 4.
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Boy Scout Executives Inspect
New Camping Grounds
Donated to Dallas Troop
by Former Civil War Vet


"Camp Wisdom" Ideally
Suited to Needs of


    Visiting officials of the Boy Scouts of America, local scout leaders and Dallas citizens, who, Saturday afternoon, inspected the 200-acre camping ground and preserve given Dallas Boy Scouts by John Wisdom, are, reading from left to right: J. W. Wade, assistant scoutmaster; Dick Garvin, B. F. Harris, scoutmaster; J. A. Garvin, Clarence Burroughs, Clinton Harris, scout executive of Ardmore, Okla.; W. H. Butler, W. C. Barnes, president Dallas-Oak Cliff Commercial association; J. J. Sulzbach, assistant scoutmaster; E. W. Baker, R. A. McClung, scoutmaster; J. Allen Boyle, Leroy Haskell, Caleb Moss, scoutmaster; Arthur A. Schuck of New York, assistant national field director; while the figure stooping to explain the lay of the ground at the camp is J. P. Fitch of Dallas, regional director of the Boy Scouts of America in the Southwest.

     What promises to be one of the finest camping sites and game preserves in North Texas, was inspected Saturday afternoon by scout executives of the Boy Scouts of America, who are in Dallas at this time in connection with the campaign which the local Boy Scouts' council will launch soon. Frank W. Wozencraft is president of the council.
     This valuable tract of land has been given by John Wisdom, well known Dallas county resident, who, in the last three years, has become so much impressed with the work of the Boy Scouts for the youth of the country, that he made a gift of 200 acres of his land.
     Located on the Duncanville road, some fifteen miles west of Dallas, the land is unusually high, well-drained and excellent for camping purposes. It rises in height some six feet higher than the top of the Magnolia building.

Civil War Veteran.
     Mr. Wisdom came to Dallas shortly after the civil war. He is 74 years of age, hale and hearty as a lad of sixteen, and has been made a veteran scout in recognition of his exceptional services to the local organization.
     Saturday afternoon, Arthur A. Schuck, executive from New York headquarters of the Boy Scouts; Clinton Harris of Ardmore, Ok.; J. P. Fitch, regional director with Dallas headquarters, and others in the local scout movement, examined the land donated by Mr. Wisdom and approved the plans for an 8-acre lake that will be made by damming one of the creek courses.
     "This is the finest boys' camp I have ever seen," W. C. Barnes, president of the Dallas-Oak Cliff Commercial association, said Saturday. "If the people of Dallas realized what a marvelous donation has been made by Mr. Wisdom, they would be enthusiastic about fitting it up in proper shape for the use of Dallas boys with little or no delay."

- March 11, 1923, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. I, p. 8, col. 2-4.
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Passing of Spoken Drama in Dallas Marked
By Razing of Historical Old Opera House

     This photograph, taken Saturday, shows the razing of the old Dallas Opera house, a historic Dallas landmark, almost completed.
     Pasted on the walls of the runways, protecting pedestrians from falling debris, as the work of tearing down the structure proceeds, can be seen poster advertisements of motion pictures, held responsible to a great degree, for the "death of the legitimate stage."
     The old landmark will be temporarily replaced by store buildings, but ultimately another skyscraper for Dallas will be built on the property.

Popularity of Booth and
"Divine Sarah"--of
Musical Comedy

By S

     The old Dallas opera house, for more than thirty years, the sole temple of art devoted to the theater of the grand manner in Dallas, and the first large edifice to be built east of Ervay street, is rapidly being cleared away. Itself a pioneer in a part of town which is destined to be one of the main centers, the Dallas opera house, bowing graciously before time and the tide of the theatrical commercialism, suffers mutely the fate of a pioneer.
     When the promoters of the Dallas opera house bought land at the corner of Main and St. Paul streets for a ridiculously low price as we now view it, they saw the vision of the early builders of Dallas. It was clear to them that this section of "East Dallas" would some day be in the midstream of the business and amusement life of the city. This old building, destroyed partially by fire in 1921, and ordered dismantled some weeks ago, has lived to witness the rise of the Medical Arts building, the start of the Dallas Athletic club, and the completion of the $1,000,000 Majestic theater and the Melba theater in its immediate neighborhood.
     Plastered about liberally with large movie advertisements that add irony to the moment of passing, the structure sinks to oblivion with only the customary newspaper obituaries.

No Poetic Clemency.
     Falling bricks and the ripping up of stage planks provide an unwonted swan song. Truly "Old Ironsides" had her Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes for clemency, but the Dallas opera house has none.
     Scion of a sturdy era in the making of Dallas, the extinction of this old show place naturally evokes the sentimental. Identified with the glories that were Booth's and Barrett's, Bernhardt's and Ward's, all of whom starred season after season on its stage, it is survived alone by the perennial vitality of the divine Sarah's.
     Of the large entourage who owned, controlled and operated directly this premier theater in North Texas, there remains today only George Anzy, who, during its entire history, was manager of the house. Since the abandonment of the theater, Mr. Anzy has been night watchman for The Dallas Times Herald.

Expenses Light.
     In the hey day of the Dallas opera house, the best that the American and English stage had to offer was played before local audiences. At that time, theatrical amusements were, of necessity, confined to spoken drama and opera. Traveling expenses for road companies were light and oftentimes reduced to almost nothing by cut-throat rate competition between the railroad companies. This was before the vile and pernicious commerce commissions had begun to function, by the way.
     The night of the formal opening of the Dallas opera house is recalled by many a "first-nighter" of that bygone day. It was the period when Bud Connor was mayor of Dallas, the famous Bud Connor who was one of the most interesting of Dallas men ever to hold this high office.
     Stewart Robeson and an all star cast, in "The Henrietta" attraction brought direct from New York for the grand opening. The crowd, many of whom had stood in line all the night before to gain tickets, began pouring into the building promptly as the doors were opened at 7:30 o'clock. The entrance and foyer of the new opera house, lacking, of course, the brilliant electrical display that is now possible, were flooded nevertheless with a dazzling gas light effulgence rivaling that of the proverbial "new saloon."

"Elite" Arrive.
     Soon, the elite of the city arrived, the contingent from the Grand Windsor hotel further downtown, who, were carriageless, riding in state on the mule drawn street car up Main street.
     At the same time, handsome victorias and broughams, filled with the leaders of the city, drew up to the entrance of the theater, while fashionably dressed belles of the season and dandies about town alighted for the entertainment. Exactly at the curtain hour, Mayor Bud Connor and party, drawn by a span of spanking bays, arrived at the theater and, once in the box, the show proceeded. J. C. O'Connor, Jules Schneider, Ed Tenison, Col. J. T. Trezevant, Alex Sanger and scores of others were present for the occasion.
     "The Henrietta" proved a veritable riot and the actors were showered with fulsome applause, as the press notices next day showed. The comedy served for a gala event. Society editors on the local newspapers strained their vocabularies in writing up the occasion, while they one and all summed up their panegyrics with the invariable phrase, "a good time was had by all."
     Stewart Robeson, though, was but one of the famous stars who were to play at the house. Richard Mansfield in the knockout drama, "Richelieu," was yet to spellbind his audience as he threw the charmed circle of Rome about the lovely heroine. Blanche Walsh, Lawrence Barrett, Ferd Ward and Emma Abbott, all who had been acclaimed in Dallas before at the old Ford's theater on Commerce street, below Lamar, were yet [to?] return.

Booth Popular.
     The immortal Booth, in Hamlet, played again and again in the new opera house. Booth, who was a genial and likable man personally, made innumerable friends in Dallas. Barrett, on the other hand, was considerably "up stage" and distant, even though his achievements ranked below those of Booth's and he had less right to his exclusiveness.
     Sarah Bernhard, in Sardou's "Camille," given in its entirety in French, was always a sure-fire hit. Even though the fire and genius of the French woman was irresistible, many of the more ardent lovers of the French "comedie" were often seen to doze perceptibly in the midst of the rush of foreign and unintelligible words. But everyone, French students and sleeper alike, would leave the house voicing their admiration and proclaiming Sarah, "the Divine, the consummate artist of her age."
     Latter days in the opera house were to witness their glories, too. Maud Adams, Alla Nazimova, Anna Held, Fritzi Sheff, light opera stars and companies; the famous minstrel men, Dockstader, Fields, Otis Skinner, David Warfield, the soutnerns and many others. "Ben Hur," of the iron constitution that apparently never would wear out, packed the house season after season.

And Even Nazimova.
     In the days of the pristine glory of the Dallas Opera house, the moving picture shows here were confined principally to the Nickelodeons. "Two-reelers" were the order of the day. Little competition was felt from the "silent drammer" at the time.

From Voice to Silence.
     By 1914, however, the encroachment of the moving picture shows were being felt. D. W. Griffith brought out his "Birth of a Nation" at this time, and the first of the big pictures produced toured the country with symphony orchestra, advance men and other accouterments of the legitimate.
     When the "Birth of a Nation" was shown in the old Dallas Opera house, it was found to be highly popular. A picture audience in Dallas was observed for the first time to weep and yell and suffer all the heart rendering emotions that the straight dramatic plays could awake. Confederate veterans broke forth into wild "rebel yells" and war cries. Pat O'Keefe was called upon to give his famous Irish jig and such enthusiasm as usually accompanies a Democratic convention burst forth spontaneously.
     But, the sanctity of the temple had been violated.
     Nemesis, in the form of raising railroad rates, also bore down heavily on the opera house. The movies had become entrenched, the weaker road shows were found unprofitable and, when a few years later, the Majestic theater on Commerce street burned, the theater closed shop as a legitimate house and played big time vaudeville under lease by the Hoblitzelle interests.

Not Gone Yet.
     Upon the opening of the new Majestic, Southern Enterprises opened with the Capitol players, a remarkable group of stock company players who easily won their way into the favor of Dallas audiences. At the height of their popularity, just as "Smiling Through" had been started for a week's run, the theater burned on New Year's night. The owners of the property then abandoned its use for theatrical purposes.
     No Phoenix theater will arise from the ashes and ruin of the old Dallas Opera house. A large apartment store or some other sort of building is expected to be built soon on the property. But, the final chapter in legitimate drama in Dallas has not been written yet, George Anzy, believes.

- March 11, 1923, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. III, p. 8, col. 2-4.
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Complete Garrett Memorial Children's Home

A day nursery and settlement h ome has been successfully operating
in the former residence of Bishop A. C. Garrett at 3011 Greenwood street,
in East Dallas, for the past year. The building was recently rehabilitated
through the joint efforts of Dallas citizens and will be formally dedicated
at a housewarming to be held early in September. - Staff photo by Rogers.




     Completely rehabilitated through the efforts of Dallas citizens, including the generosity of union labor groups in contributing of their labor, and of local business firms in giving materials, the Garrett Memorial Children's home, located in the former residence of Bishop Alexander C. Garrett at 3011 Greenwood street, is now housing a number of children who are eligible for its ministrations.
     This Dallas institution, supported solely though the kindness of local citizens, has been in operation for more than a year, under the general direction of Mrs. Helen Palmerton, well known social worker of the city. Children of poor parents, who have no place to leave them under good care and attention while at work, are taken in by this home, where a day nursery and playgrounds are maintained. A number of children are kept at the home for longer periods than one day.

Salesmanship Club Guests.
     During the summer, the children were given a two weeks outing at the Salesmanship club recreation camp at Bachman's Dam and the house, which had run down somewhat, were re-equipped and conditioned during this time.
     Union labor was instrumental in supplying the work necessary to re-fit the residence and Robert McKinley, secretary of the Texas Federation of Labor, has paid the following tribute to the men who gave their labor for this work.
     "With a sympathetic feeling in their hearts for all humanity," Mr. McKinley declared, "and especially for little men and women who, in childish innocence, gaze out upon the sea of life, unmindful of turbulent waters, be it said to their everlasting credit that the members of organized labor in the city of Dallas contributed with incomparable generosity to the establishment of the Garrett Children's home; a contribution which can not be computed with dollars and cents, for they gave freely of honest toil.
     "With every brick laid, every nail driven, every joint of pipe, every sheet of tin, every stroke of the paint brush, every foot of wiring and with every yard of plaster and every foot of cement placed -- yes, even the ditch digger did his mite -- and, with every drop of perspiration falling from the brow of these mechanics, went a heart-throb and tender feeling for those little pattering feet of children come to "replenish the earth" and who are, henceforth, to be domiciled here until their pathways are to be made smooth, preparatory to going out on life's highway.
     "Truly, words cannot express the deep-felt appreciation for the wonderful assistance rendered by the men of toil in this city. This home will stand, in after years, as a monument dedicated to a humanitarian purpose, and those who may find refuge under the shadows of this building, will ultimately realize and appreciate this work of love."

Shriners Help Children.
     Dallas Shriners have contributed funds for the maintenance of this day nursery and settlement house, while a board of trustees composed of the following men direct the affairs of the institution: A. H. Johnson, chairman; Boyd Brown, secretary treasurer; Sam P. Cochran, James E. Forrest, E. J. Kiest, Sam Dysterbach, W. C. Barrickman, Ralph R. Briggs, L. E. Wilson and James C. Jones.
     Plans are under way for a house-warming September 1 at the Garrett Children's Memorial Home. Reconstruction work to make the home adapted to the needs of a children's home has already been contributed. It is now in fine condition for the purpose, and will be presented to Bishop Garrett on the occasion of the house warming.
     Mrs. Helen Palmerton is director of the home, with Mrs. Gladys Livingston, head matron. The home was started March 17, 1922, with twenty-five children under its guardianship. It has now about sixty children to care for. Mrs. Bessie Kearney is financial chairman.

- August 12, 1923, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. I, p. 7, col. 2-4.
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Raze Old Dallas Landmark to
Make Way for Store

Wednesday morning witnessed the passing of another Dallas landmark when workmen started tearing down the old frame dwelling which has stood at 1916 Main street more than sixty years--the last frame structure on Main street between Central avenue and the Trinity river. It was built for a country home, at that time, some distance beyond the eastern limits of the city. At one time, it was in what was then a fashionable residential section, but in recent years it has been used for business purposes. Bought thirty-three years ago for $5,000, it was sold last August for $77,000. It is now being torn down to make way for a two-story brick store building to be erected by U. M. Boyd and Charles E. Turner, realtors. Staff photo by Rogers. (enlarged view of photo)

- November 21, 1923, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 1, col. 3-5.
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