Making Dallas Even Better
Look back at when Fair Park’s Hall of State was a work in progress.Full Story
Chris Kyle presents a complicated figure for us to interpret. Those who fought alongside him attest to his bravery. After his service to his country, he worked hard to help other veterans who suffered physical and mental anguish. He was a good man, someone to be admired. On the other hand, he was a liar. He lied about punching Jesse Ventura. He lied about shooting two guys who tried to carjack him. He lied about climbing atop the Superdome to shoot looters in the chaos after Katrina. And now, worst of all, we know he lied about his military record. In his bestselling book, American Sniper, Kyle wrote that he was awarded two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars, all for valor. As The Intercept tells us, that is not true. They’ve got documents showing that Kyle was awarded one Silver and three Bronzes. And he was told before he published the book that his claim was false. A former SEAL told The Intercept, “The SEAL leadership was aware of the embellishment, but didn’t want to correct the record because Kyle’s celebrity status reflected well on the command.” He also said, “Everybody went on a pilgrimage to his funeral at Cowboys Stadium, knowing full well his claims weren’t true.”Full Story
Judge Receives Protection Detail After Suspicious Fire Kills Lawyer. Ira Tobolowsky, a civil lawyer, was found doused in gasoline in the garage of his North Dallas home Friday; the fire is still under investigation. Now, after Judge Eric V. Moyé warned of a possible connection between Tobolowsky and litigation in his court, Dallas Sheriff’s Office deputies are patrolling his home.
Son of ICE Director Dies In Motorcycle Crash. The accident involving Michael Saldaña Templin happened in Woodland Hills, California, on Friday. He was the son of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director and former U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldaña and retired attorney Don Templin, who was D Magazine‘s lawyer for years.
Dallas Wings Split First Two Games. They won the transplanted franchise’s first game as the Wings (against the Indiana Fever) on Saturday night, but couldn’t get past the New York Liberty yesterday. Skylar Diggins was held out of both games as she is still not 100-percent recovered from last season’s ACL tear. They have one more game on the road before making their Dallas (OK, OK — Arlington) debut this Saturday.
Man Drowns In Lake Ray Hubbard. Sreyas Antony was on a weekend visit from Michigan and jumped off a railroad trestle into a particularly dangerous spot, where water is up to 13 feet deep and old fishing lines below the surface up the risk for entanglement. He disappeared soon after. Dallas Fire-Rescue eventually found his body; he was only 28. You don’t need me to tell you to be careful when going to the lake this summer, but please be careful.
Rougned Odor Takes Exception to Jose Bautista’s late slide. OK, yes, fighting is bad. You shouldn’t do it. Stipulated. It’s a bad example for the kids in the stands and watching at home and OH MY LORD. And you knew this was coming before Odor’s chain even stopped swinging. Between that punch and Nolan Ryan steer wrestling Robin Ventura, the Rangers are at least an all-time brawling team. Oh, and they also won.
It’s Gonna Rain. It’s May.
Someone Paid Almost $7,000 For a Lock of Thomas Jefferson’s Hair. Heritage Auctions handled the sale, which is why I am telling you this. Looks like someone is in the market to make Clone High for real. Man, I loved that show and I love love the theme song.
FC Dallas Takes Six Points On Home Stand. Michael Barrios got back to his scoring ways and Mauro Diaz chipped in another from the spot as FCD knocked off Seattle, the second Pacific Northwest squad they took down this weekend. When Barrios is on (and he had a fantastic first touch on his goal) and Diaz is healthy, this is the most fun team in town. And they’re just a point back of first place.
Watch Out If You Hike the Buckeye Trail. I very narrowly avoided a pack of feral hogs there on Saturday afternoon. They are not exactly a majestic animal.Full Story
Amidst all the hubbub over homelessness that has erupted over the past few days, I feel like an important article by Robert Wilonsky about Fair Park hasn’t received the attention it deserves. On Tuesday, Wilonsky wrote about the many parcels of land that the State Fair of Texas owns outside the boundaries of Fair Park. These lots are dispersed through the community of South Dallas. Some are unkempt, others vacant, and others used to enforce arbitrary parking restrictions. Like the moats of parking around Fair Park, these lots remain a real, active agent of disinvestment in a community that has been the victim of a bully neighbor for decades:Full Story
Question: Why are large parts of Oak Lawn now called “Uptown”? Just wanted some clarification. — Ronnie W.
I shall forgive your ignorance about the Great Secession of Uptown, since that partition of what was once a united neighborhood (Oak Lawn) was not precipitated by a singular event — like say, the election of Abraham Lincoln — but was instead accomplished by a slowly advancing army of associated developer and city initiatives. Beginning, it could be argued, with the re-introduction of the McKinney Avenue Trolley in 1989.Full Story
Get your popcorn ready. Jim Schutze just played a fairly entertaining rhetorical chess opener. Call it the “Preservationist Queen’s Gambit,” the “Sicilian Architectural Defense.” Let’s set the board:
The Dallas Morning News has been a champion of historic preservation, pounding its fist whenever an old building in this city comes under threat. Most recently, they have caused a worthy ruckus over a 19th century home in the Cedars and the proposed desecration of the Meadows Building. Schutze argues that their outspoken ire over old buildings feels out-of-scale when considering the extent of child poverty in Dallas, but I don’t see why the two things have to be mutually exclusive. Both indicate an aspect of the city’s character that ignores its obligation to reconcile with historic realities while favoring the numbing feeling that comes with swallowing well-marketed visions of future fantasies. But I digress.
The point is, the DMN likes old buildings. Enter into the mix the news that the DMN may soon move out of its own historically significant home.Full Story
There was an item missing from yesterday’s City of Dallas Parks and Recreation Board agenda. It was briefing about a gift two philanthropic foundations, the Boone Family Foundation and the Rainwater Charitable Foundation, planned to give to the city. The gift seemed admirable enough. The foundations wanted to install markers in seven city parks that would acknowledge their history as historically segregated African-American parks. Sparked both by the redo of Uptown’s once black-only Griggs Park in 2013 and the Facing Race conference held in Dallas in 2014, the intent was to do just that: face up to this city’s racial history, acknowledge the ignominy of the past and celebrate the role these parks played in shaping this city’s African-American community.
But while the board tabled the briefing on February 4, resetting it for February 18, the briefing didn’t happen. Instead, the two artists who were commissioned by the two foundations to prepare the text for the historical markers addressed the board. They spoke of manipulation, cooption, explicit and implicit censorship on the part of the two foundations. They outlined a research process that degraded into prolonged silences, stop orders, and backroom character attacks that led to standoff between the artists and the foundations.Full Story
In 1985, Richard West wrote a story for D Magazine titled “The Lost Community of Sandbranch,” about a poor, unincorporated part of Dallas County. At the time, the folks there were fighting for access to clean water. Today, more than 30 years later, they still don’t have clean water. The wonderfully named Doyin Oyeniyi, writing for Texas Monthly, has an update:
Now, water from the few wells and tanks in the neighborhood is used for flushing toilets and sometimes cleaning (if it’s boiled). Water in tanks is covered in algae, and the well water comes through old pipes and hoses with sand in them. Unable to rely on the wells, residents now buy and bring water by the gallons from work, family, friends, and stores in surrounding areas such as Balch Springs, Oak Cliff, and Seagoville. They’ve had to resort to burning trash in their own backyards. This lack of access to basic services such as clean water and sewer services is especially frustrating considering that the Dallas Southside Wastewater Treatment Plant is just a few miles away from the community.
As Tim mentions in Leading Off, the Dallas Landmark Commission voted in favor of pursuing protection for a number of important historic sites and structures yesterday, choosing preservation over lazy private interests in each case. The decision to move a 19th century home in the Cedars, rather than bulldoze it for a parking lot, and to move towards designating the Meadows Building on Central Expressway as a historic landmark, thus protecting it from its current owner’s planned demolition of a wing, demonstrates a rare and welcomed willingness from a city board to stand up to private developers in the name of the public’s interest. And the move to protect Big Spring also showed that the commission is willing to step in on behalf of Dallas’ dwindling natural resource, even in a case where the chief threat to the preservation of that natural resource is the city itself.
Mark Lamster runs through all of this in a column, and I don’t have much to add to his thoughts, though it is worth highlighting a few of them:
If the Meadows isn’t a landmark, than nothing is. The commission’s unanimous vote in favor of designation was a heartening indication of this reality, and a welcome validation of its own responsibility. A landmarks commission that cannot protect a building like the Meadows is not worth its name, and serves no purpose.
Yesterday, Dallas demonstrated that it has a Landmark Commission with a purpose. That should be an encouraging source of optimism. Perhaps we are transitioning into a new kind of Dallas, a city that bucks the character cliches of its ensconced business-first civic mentality that has historically devalued not just history and nature, but the public oversight of municipal government to boot.Full Story
I’m still trying to wrap my mind around a world without David Bowie. The innovator, the legend, the icon — a man who belongs on a short list of the most important artists of the late-20th century — passed away from cancer last night at the age of 69. Amidst the many obituaries and tributes that are surely to come pouring out over the coming days and weeks, I thought I’d pass along 90 minutes of bootleg Bowie recorded at the Las Colinas Studios on April 27, 1983.
Let’s set the stage:Full Story
Mushroom Hunters Find Human Remains By White Rock Creek Trail. The death is being listed as “unexplained” for now.
‘Affluenza’ Mom Listed as Missing Person. “Missing” as in “we are almost positive you are on the lam with your son but we’re not sure yet.”
Will the Old Red Museum Have to Move? I guess I didn’t realize it paid no rent. Not that I want it to be replaced by offices. Or care that it doesn’t pay rent, actually.
Cowboys Lose. And it was another tight one. They won’t even do fans a favor and just get blown out and destroy all hope.
Enjoy the holidays. See you guys in a couple of weeks.Full Story
The Dallas Voice reported this morning that Jack Evans has died, after spending the past few months in a rehab facility. He was 86.
If the name doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps you know Evans better as one half of “Jack and George,” the couple (George is George Harris) well known for leading the fight for marriage equality since the 1960s. Last June, when the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, Jack and George were the first gay couple married in Dallas County. They had been together for 55 years at the time.
I met Jack and George briefly after they appeared in our 40th anniversary issue, and they could not have been more delightful. I’m glad they got to spend at least a year together as husband and husband, fully recognized in the eyes of the law.Full Story
To honor the 80th anniversary of the Texas Centennial Exhibition, Dallas Morning News architecture critic Mark Lamster penned a piece worth highlighting about the complicated, paradoxical history of Fair Park, our city’s favorite neglected stepchild. Even from its inception, Lamster writes, Fair Park was shaped by confounding political forces which muddled the commissioning process for its now beloved art deco structures:Full Story
“Titche-Goettinger Building,” date unknown.
From the Handbook of Texas: “In 1929 [Titche-Goettinger] completed a new store on St. Paul Street between Main and Elm. This grew to become one of the largest stores in the Southwest. Titche retired that year and turned to an investment business. In the 1950s the downtown store expanded into branch stores in suburban areas, and the store name was shortened to Titche’s. Titche’s eventually sold out to Allied Stores. Allied, which also had purchased Joskeqv’s stores in Texas, changed the name of all Titche’s stores to Joske’s. After being purchased again in 1987, the stores became part of Dillard Department Stores, Incorporated, and were renamed Dillard’s.”Full Story
Back in December, KERA’s Frame of Mind aired a 48-minute documentary about the history of South Dallas that was created as a part of bcWorshop’s ongoing work with Dallas neighborhoods. The doc tells the story of the bombings that took place in the area in the 1940s and 1950s, when white residents resisted African-Americans who were moving into South Dallas neighborhoods; the rampant flooding in areas like Bonton that persisted as the city neglected to invest in adequate flood control; and the lingering impact of Jim Crow segregation on South Dallas.
Now, as Citylab points out, that film is available to watch online (like, right above this post):Full Story
The documentary Bonton + Ideal aired first on KERA back in December. But it just went up online. You can watch it here. From The Atlantic’s CityLab site:
The film, Bonton + Ideal, is named after two historically black South Dallas locales. In it, residents of these neighborhoods recount what it was like growing up in rickety housing, without amenities like running water, electricity, playgrounds, good schools, and public services. These residences were built on the Trinity River flood plain, which means that floods were routine. “South Dallas was sand. When the wind blew, it would leave a hole in the road. When it would rain, that hole would fill up with water,” Willard Dotson, who lived in the area, says in the film. “When it rained hard, Bexar Street looked like a river.”
The black families who lived in Bonton and Ideal were physically fenced off from the rest of the city—and economically isolated, as well. If they tried to move out to other, better neighborhoods, they were terrorized. “As blacks started to come home from the [World Wars], they didn’t want to live in the ghetto anymore,” local historian Donald Payton says in the film. “Over in South Dallas, people would buy houses and the next night somebody would throw dynamite into their house and blow up their house—bringing the fear.”
Local station CW 33, which I didn’t even realize still airs a newscast, had a piece last night about a retired teacher and Fort Worth ISD administrator, Joe Ross, who’s hoping to donate to a museum a captured Nazi war flag that a student gave him in 1965. He’s afraid if he dies suddenly that someone going through his belongings afterward might find the flag and get the wrong impression about him.
Anyway, as is now required of any media outlet that hopes to garner attention for one of its stories on the web, CW 33 shared it on Facebook, asking readers “What do you think Joe Ross should do with this flag?”
How long would you guess it took for a Holocaust denier to weigh in?Full Story
There’s an article on Vox today that offers a concise summary of just how we went from being a nation of streetcar riders to a nation of long haul auto commuters. Its a familiar story to anyone who knows the history of urbanism in the 20th century. First came pressure from the auto industry to build new roads for their cars, resulting in a push for public funding of “freeways.” Then came the vision of a future America modeled after the modernist Utopian dream so compellingly depicted in General Motor’s Futurama exhibit at the 1939 Worlds Fair.
With public sentiment favoring a world made easy by zipping to and from suburban homes and downtown offices on ribbons of concrete — and a booming post-war economy that made car ownership more possible — President Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, kick-starting the interstate system. Eisenhower didn’t want the highways to extend into the cities, but once he signed the federal legislation, the highway engineers took over. There was no turning back.
In America’s cities, highways became more than a transportation amenity.Full Story
This weekend, the fifth installment of the music festival currently called 35 Denton will take over the “little Austin” north of Dallas. In many ways, the growth of the festival has mirrored the growth of the reputation of the town, which has even attracted its first celebrity relocation in Jason Lee. But the music hub and home to the University of North Texas has long fostered its own particular and peculiar culture. If you remember Denton before the Fry Street Fire, then these old photos uploaded to Alec Williams’ Flickr account will more than prick your nostalgia. Taken between 1977 and 1986, the images of high school marching bands, crumbling buildings, cavorting college kids, interiors of shops, old store fronts and more are accompanied by extended captions that set the images in a particular place and time. For example, here’s the one he includes for the image above:
Here are some nice folks posing for me on the steps that led to the high ground on West Hickory. The camera is looking due west. The steps are by Strawberry Fields, and you can see the Sound Warehouse sign in the background. Walking due west would take you past Reader’s World, Voertman’s, and on up the hill to Jack in the Box. To the right is the entrance to Benny’s Jazz Club.
30. Cole Armstrong
29. Richmond Summit
28. Stewart Lausanne
27. Victor Glasgow
26. Prescott Bowser
25. Michael Klondike
A job this size would take money to get up and running, and that’s where he came in. His family had made a fortune in candy, but he saw himself as something else, something tougher, even if no one else did. But maybe now they would.Full Story
If you’ve spent more than five or ten minutes in a Dallas gallery, you’re likely to have met June Mattingly. Mattingly was a stalwart supporter of the Dallas arts, the author of a book on Texas contemporary artists, and a former gallery owner who introduced a number of this city’s more notable artists. The Dallas Observer reports today that Mattingly has passed away.
Mattingly’s creative roots in Dallas ran deep – all the way to one of this city’s most iconic sculptures. The original Pegasus that sat on top of the Magnolia Building in downtown Dallas was created by her father H. Harold Wineburgh’s sign company, Texlite. Mattingly was a tireless advocate for her father’s Pegasus, and it was restored and reinstalled outside the downtown Dallas Omni last year. In this interview from 2011, Mattingly speaks about her father and the Pegasus. In 2012, Mattingly sat for an hour long interview to offer her insight into the history of Dallas culture.Full Story
Joseph Randle Gambled on Sports. The former Cowboys running back was arrested Monday on a speeding warrant (making that his fourth arrest in 17 months), and the DMN is reporting that part of the reason the Cowboys released him last year was because he was betting on sports (though not, apparently, Cowboys games).
Dallas Landmark Commission Votes To Protect Big Spring. After so much bad news recently about city contractors bungling around in the Trinity Forest, it’s nice to hear this. The Landmark Commission has voted to protect Big Spring, one of the last artesian springs in North Texas. Surely the Plan Commission and the City Council will now do the right thing and approve the vote.
Meadows Building Might Get City Protection. Speaking of the Landmark Commission, it also voted yesterday to begin the lengthy process of giving the building on Greenville Avenue a historic designation (much to the new owner’s chagrin).
Dallas City Council To Discuss Bond Package. The Council is holding a retreat today. One of the topics they’ll discuss: putting off a $1 billion bond package till 2018. The mayor says he is concerned about the city’s financial stability. So enjoy your potholes, people.Full Story
If you’ve forgiven the Hulu adaptation of Stephen King’s novel — about a time traveler who aims to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — for snarling traffic downtown last October, you might want to check it out when it drops on the streaming site on Feb. 15.
Hulu today released the first full-blown trailer for 11/22/63. Of particular interest is its CGI re-creation of the Dallas skyline of 1963:Full Story
That didn’t take long. On the heels of yesterday’s news that the Meadows Building off Central Expressway may be “amputated” comes word of yet another historic Dallas structure staring down the bulldozers. Candy’s Dirt reports that the owner of the former Church of the Master, Evangelical and Reformed Church in Oak Cliff, near the corner of Kiest and Polk, wants to rezone the land and tear down the building, replacing it with who knows what. The City Plan Commission hearing on the zoning case was supposed to be held today, but it has been pushed back to January 7.
Now, before we get all hot under the collar about this latest historic tear down, it’s worthwhile to raise the question of whether or not every old building in Dallas should be considered historic and worthy of preservation.Full Story