Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bill's Diner

Poor Man's Lunch
Steaks   Sandwiches   Plates

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Conro Manufacturing Company

Conro Roundup Brand    -    Con-Ro Work and Play Styled Clothing
Conro Mfg, Co., Inc.
615 N. Good St.  -  Telephone TAYLOR - 9974

Good Street, where Conro made its home is now called Good-Latimer. Conro's manufacturing plant was located on the west side of the street in the general area of the old Good Latimer Tunnel and approximately across the street from where Standard Supply stands. 

The first mention I found of Conro was 1942 when they were looking for 500 experienced machine operators to make government uniforms for the army. That sounds like a start up operation.  Conro was one of about a dozen companies, including Dickies, that manufactured clothing for the armed forces. The Conro plant manufactured denim work jackets and denim work trousers like these: 
After the war Conro sold slightly more stylish work clothes through several department stores in West Texas, and maybe other places. They also sponsored a radio show in 1945-46 called Conro Roundup on KRBC Radio in Abilene. By 1965 the plant had moved from its Good Street location to 4044 Commerce Street just east of I30 on the north side of Commerce. I found no mention of Conro after 1965, and few or no traces of its buildings remain at either of its sites.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Barn

Northwest Highway East of Lemmon
Phone 5-5733 for Reservations

There was a time when the intersection of Marsh and Northwest Highway was at the edge of the city, an overgrown area that was home to riding stables and a place called The Barn. The Barn was sort of a private club, but not the kind that advertised itself on matchbooks. Located on 4 acres, the white-walled green-roofed structure did resemble a big barn. It  was a nightclub, dance hall and gambling den, the kind of place you see in old movies, where you knocked at the door and a pair of eyes would gauge your appearance through a peephole while you told them "Louie sent me" or some such password. The first floor was the nightclub; the second floor was where folks threw dice. When the place was built is anybody's guess, possibly in the 1930s.

This matchbook is likely from the 1940s, and The Barn may have been trying to clean up its act. A newspaper ad in 1942 announced a party at The Barn held by the riding club across the street. There were more parties, but an application to turn The Barn into a supper club in 1945 was denied, and the Barn closed in 1946. In 1947 an attempt to reopen it as a nightclub failed when the city inspector denied the new owner an occupancy permit. The reason may have been because the area was about to become residential, filled with brick homes.

The Barn was used briefly as a residence, then in 1950 the Rev. Arthur B Pearson bought the property and the old barn became the Walnut Hill Lutheran Church. Pastor Pearson found a 20-foot bar, numerous buckshot marks in the walls, the stairs and on what had been the dance floor, and a sliding panel that concealed a secret passageway to escape from the second to the third floor.

The Barn was located on Womack Way, whose name was changed to Mixon Drive in 1957. About the same time the Lutheran Church moved to its present location at 3202 Royal Lane. Today a Target store covers the area that may have originally contained The Barn.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Bob Wills' Ranch House

The Showplace of the Nation
Located near the center of downtown Dallas. Corner of Industrial Blvd. & Corinth St.
True Western style and color throughout. 45 foot bar inlaid with silver dollars.
One of the largest and finest dance floors in the Southwest. Daily broadcast from the bandstand over Radio Station WFAA. Weekly television show over WFAA-TV Channel 8. A family institution where children are welcome. You have not seen Texas unless you have seen this unusual showplace.

Bob's quarter horses (some of the the world's most beautiful show horses)
are on display in the Ranch House

Built by millionaire O.L. Nelms for his friend Bob Wills, the Ranch House opened late in 1950. After Bob left Dallas, the place was sold and eventually became known as The Longhorn Ballroom. I can't begin to do justice to the history of the place, so let me enlist some other folks to do it for me. 

Selling the Sex Pistols to Texas by Paul Gallagher 

The Old 97s played the Longhorn on Dec 31, 2007 and that is the last gig I could find for the place.
In this short video from 2011 many of the windows are boarded up.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Dallas Texans Football Club

"Excitement 61"
phone RIverside 8-7031
Member American Football League

There were two incarnations of the Dallas Texans. The first one was "a franchise born of failure", and it played just one season, 1952, before going under. Here's the longer story.

This matchbook, however, is from the second Dallas Texans team, born in 1960. In 1959 26-year-old Lamar Hunt had started the American Football League with six new teams as an alternative to the National Football League. He began assembling his own team, the Texans, in early 1960. By January 27 fifty-eight players had signed on to play for Hunt, including several star players from TCU, LSU and Stanford. Then on January 29 it was announced the NFL had awarded a new football franchise to Dallas owners Bedford Wynne and Clint Murchison Jr. The team was tentatively called the Dallas Rangers and signed SMU's "fabulous" Don Meredith as quarterback. That team became the Cowboys and the Texans had a hard time competing. They played their first game in September 1960 and their last game in December 1962, and in 1963 Hunt moved his team to Kansas City and they became the Chiefs. The red and gold Hunt had chosen for the Texans' team colors became the colors of the Kansas City Chiefs and today the Chiefs are still using those colors.

Does anyone remember the Titans?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Classified System

501 N. Akard   -   Phone 2-3978
Distributors of Mohawk Tires

Classified System was in business as early as 1933. I suppose the beginning of Dallas' current automobile problem was beginning to be felt and somebody needed to put all those cars somewhere during the day. While Classified was in the business of parking cars, it seems you could also purchase tires and gasoline from them. About this time gas stations who could provide similar services were popping up on every corner and probably were the reason that by the 1940s this business became Classified Parking Systems.

This building is long gone, replaced by skyscrapers, but I like to imagine what the interesting facade portrayed on this matchbook looked like in real life. It reminds me of the old Polar Bear across from Lake Cliff Park, with its white stucco finish.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

E.M. Kahn & Co.

Main and Elm at Lamar, Dallas

Founder Emanuel Meyer Kahn, a Jewish immigrant from Alsace-Lorraine, France, founded the E.M. Kahn Company in Dallas in 1872. E.M. Kahn's was a retailer of classy (i.e. expensive) menswear, and thrived for 92 years as a family owned business. It was the oldest retail store in Dallas, as well as the first air-conditioned one. In 1969 the business was sold to Eagle Clothes, who through poor management and bad business practices eventually caused E.M. Kahn to declare bankruptcy. Eagle fell, too, soon after. For more on E.M. Kahn's demise see this post (a few paragraphs up from the bottom of the page).

Here's a photo from "Lost Dallas" of the E.M. Kahn store in the 1960s at the southeast corner of Elm and Lamar, across the street from where El Centro College is today (scroll down a bit to see).

The whole thread about E.M. Kahn at the Dallas History Phorum is pretty interesting.