The tiled floor peaks out from underneath the asphalt of a parking lot in downtown Dallas reminds me of what has been lost.
Passenger service to St Louis from Dallas via the Texas and Pacific – now, the Amtrak takes the intrepid traveler to that destination.
I know there are many, many people out there who have a low opinion of Dallas (I’m not naming names, but you know who you are). Fortunately, I’m not one of them. I think Dallas is pretty nifty. Yes, some parts are ugly, there are WAY too many ‘iffy’ neighborhoods, and the differences between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ are palatable. And, besides the always insightful and slightly neurotic Dallas Observer, the city only has one newspaper.
However… Dallas is a real card. This city tries to be fancy and cosmopolitan, but its shady little past always keeps popping up in the most unexpected places.
I took a drive through Dallas the other day to visit a bunch of sights -the Texas Theater in Oak Cliff, Old City Hall, Old Red Museum, JFK Memorial (you know, the usual Kennedy tour) and while moseying around, I spotted some very interesting hints of what Dallas used to be like.
On Elm Street, just south of the US 75 bridge, one can see an old Texas and Pacific advertisement painted on the side of a commercial building – a tribute to Deep Ellum’s railroad past, where the T&P would lumber on Pacific Avenue, the next street over. In a parking lot just a few blocks up from Deep Ellum are the remains of what once was a magnificently tiled floor of some poor, demolished building.
I’ve promised myself that very soon I’ll be taking a visit to the DeGoyler Library at SMU to hunt down some more vintage Dallas photos, just so I can see what Pacific Avenue used to look like with the trains slicing through its middle. I also like to picture the way Dallas was before that bohemoth, Interstate 30, was built and cut off the southern part of downtown (on occasion, I’ve had people gripe that Fair Park was so far away, when it’s really just a mile from Union Station!)
Oh, how I wish Dallas looked like it used to…