Dallas is not an old city by east coast standards. Although John Neely Bryan first settled the Trinity River Bottoms in 1847, it was only in
the 1870s, when the rail road came through, that Dallas became the city it is today.

Dallas is a city with a very storied past. The
Dallas Historical Society has recognized that, but unfortunately city leaders haven't yet. This
must be the only town in the entire Southwest that doesn't want to be considered a southwestern city. Dallas' City Hall is always striving
to be "cosmopolitan," and in doing so razes untold buildings, condemns neighborhoods for ugly highways, and completely ignores its
oldest neighborhood, Oak Cliff. The amount of decay that permeates downtown Dallas, where the majority of storefronts hide liquor
stores, is astounding.

Yet there's a real 'hidden history' feel to Dallas. Because much has been  neglected, you can find old, dilapidated evidence of what the
city used to look like, before the 1970s and 1980s urban "planning" completely obliterated most cityscapes. Check out West Dallas, called
the "Devil's Back Porch" during the 1930s by notorious gangsters, like Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker (click
here to take a tour of
Bonnie & Clyde sites). Walk around the Reunion area, which used to be a bluff over the Trinity before the river was diverted. Shuffle past
hundreds of homeless to catch of glimpse of the Railroad past around city hall. Drive under that monstrosity, Interstate 30, and marvel at
the pride of Dallas,
Fair Park - a true gem of Art Deco culture (and where the mythic State Fair takes place). Visit The Dallas Museum of Art
and the
Nasher Sculptures.   And of course, stroll Dealy Plaza and visit the Texas Schoolbook Depository. An "x" in the middle of Elm
Street marks the spot where President Kennedy received the fatal bullet.

I might sound like a critic, but that's because I love Dallas. I hope that city hall will finally get it together and realize that Dallas needs a
permanent county history museum, more preservation efforts, and a city plan that reroutes the concrete behemoths that slice through
the heart of the city.
Mission Hotel, Oak Cliff
Abandoned Santa Fe building near City Hall.
Underneath this building are several old tracks (15
railroads converged in Dallas at one point)! Today, the
old tunnels and lines are cemented over.
Dallas is quickly losing its neon past. This great sign, advertising a
long-gone motel off of Northwest Highway, is now gone.
Original alignment of Houston & Texas Central tracks near the Pilgrim's Pride
plant in South Dallas.
Dallas: Capitol City of the Red River Valley
A crypt in the middle of downtown's cemetery. Yes, it's empty!
White Rock Lake boathouses, built in the 1930s. White Rock
Lake is considered Dallas' Central Park. The
Arboretum is close by.
A modern but also vintage Dallas scene
View from the Triple Underpass. The Dallas County Criminal
Courts building (left) is where Jack Ruby was tried for killing
Oswald and where 1930s gangster Raymond Hamilton
escaped (because it used to be a jail, too!)
Read about my three favorite things about Dallas in my blog!
Pacific Avenue, near the West End Entertainment District, is now used
by the DART rail. The tracks mirror the old Texas & Pacific railroad,
which once lumbered right through the Pacific Avenue. This area used
to be called Frogtown, where gambling halls, brothels, cribs, and saloons
were quasi-legal until a 1913 crackdown.
Fancy tile in a parking lot in downtown Dallas .
While I drive over to Dallas to catch some more great scenes with my
camera, how about enjoying some browsing opportunities until I return?

Dallas Historical Society

Dallas History

Dallas Heritage Village

Dallas Zoo

Dallas Library

Dallas Metropolis

Dallas Architecture

Preservation Dallas  

Dallas Observer
The wooden fence at the grassy knoll seems to have it all figured out.
Questions or comments? E-mail me: robin@redriverhistorian.com
The Mission Motel off the old Bankhead Highway in Oak Cliff, just west of downtown Dallas, has been razed. Click on the image for a surpise!
Dallas entry sign along US 80 east of downtown, taken by Arthur Rothstein in 1942.
Library of Congress.