Question: Why is Deep Ellum called Ellum? Isn’t it elm? And what’s Deep about it? — George L.Full Story
Making Dallas Even Better
Question: Why is Deep Ellum called Ellum? Isn’t it elm? And what’s Deep about it? — George L.Full Story
Dallas has a brand spanking new ordinance designed to help prevent the midnight demolition of the city’s historic buildings. The Dallas City Council passed a demolition delay ordinance which will force a mandatory review period after a developer files for a demolition permit that will allow the city to double check to make sure that the building is not, well, historic. Here’s how it will work, via the Dallas Wilonsky News report:Full Story
Question: Firstly, thank you profusely for settling upon an inspired new logo for Dallas. You’ve saved the council hours of back-breaking sitting in chairs and taking turns talking in circles. Now, can you help with the city budget? Starting to think we’re in over our heads. — Mike R. et al
Sir, you know that I love this city with the sort of passion which men generally reserve for their wives and their Barcaloungers. It would be my pleasure — nay, it is my duty — to guide you through these troubled times. The very fact that the mayor of the world’s greatest city has been reduced to the indignity of hosting a Twitter town hall meeting on budget matters beginning this evening at 6 p.m. — how ghastly!Full Story
Question: How do you feel about this new logo for your city? Sure, it looks a lot like Plano’s starry P, and Arlington has a star shoved up their A too. But, looking at some of the others, what do they say to people? Irving has horses, Desoto’s eagle is proof of their All-American-ness. Richardson, well, people all over Richardson are trying to figure theirs out. The winner in my book is Addison, which with its jaunty logo, really spells “Party!” What is your opinion on this move? Are we turning into a regional star like Plano and Arlington? Should we keep the branch of nature in our D? Do we need more marketing? And if you have a recipe of two from the 1800’s, I’d love to discuss. — Amy S.
If only the current municipal governance of Dallas had the same wisdom and fortitude of character that you have demonstrated with your query, dear reader, I might could have spared them the wasted time involved in consulting those ne’er-do-wells who prattle on around the old horseshoe each week as to the possibility and probability of replacing the current city logo (the one which comes garnished by a side of parsley) with the star-emblazoned iconography devised by the Convention & Visitors Politburo.Full Story
In an age where many shopping centers have suffered the fate of transforming into community colleges or pseudo-churches, NorthPark Center has seemingly found itself expanding towards ever-greater success. The most significant milestone in its history — the turning point at which the mall transformed to embrace a new era of retail — was its 1.2-million-square-foot, $250-million expansion in 2006.
NorthPark has long striven to cultivate a sense of a community among those who shop its 2 million square feet. Even after bringing more egalitarian offerings (such as a multiplex and food court) into its mix, the mall has continued to choosily curates its store selection — boasting a number of exclusive Dallas-Fort Worth outlets of major brands. Similarly, the mall monitors underperformers, with stores such as Forever 21, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Hollister, leaving within the next 16-18 months.
As NorthPark prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary Saturday, let’s reflect upon the stores that represent the mall’s strong foundation and those emblematic of its 21st-century evolution.Full Story
Arlington Officer Fired. Brad Miller, the officer who shot and killed Christian Taylor, was fired yesterday for what the police chief there called “troubling” behavior, which led to “cascading consequences” and ultimately Taylor’s death. Cpl. Dale Wiggins, Miller’s training officer, entered the building after Miller that night and thought, when he heard a pop, that Miller must have been using a Taser. Then this: “Upon hearing the pop, Wiggins deployed his Taser. After Taylor was hit with the Taser, Miller shot the suspect three more times.”
Former Arlington Officer Brad Miller Facing Criminal Investigation Arlington Chief Will Johnson also addressed the community, and he says getting fired may be just the start of Miller’s troubles. Because that’s generally what should happen in cases like this: a criminal investigation. Meanwhile, a lot of people are watching.
Lee Harvey Oswald’s Tombstone Is Back in North Texas. It was in a roadside museum in Roscoe, Illinois, which seemed weird. But then I saw some of the other things in that same museum: a Bonnie and Clyde car, the car from Ghostbusters, one of the cars from the National Lampoon’s Vacation series, and the limo that was behind Kennedy’s on the day of the assassination. Whatever. Now the grave marker is back here, “where it belongs.”
Homeowner Shoots Intruder. Kendrick Dickson heard something while he was napping yesterday morning. “I was kind of scared at first,” he said. “I got my 8-month-old little boy here.” Dickson grabbed a rifle and shot the would-be intruder, who left a trail of blood on the way to a nearby convenience store. If there’s a criminal investigation of the shooter here, it probably won’t last long.
Dallas Woman sues Uber and Driver for More than $1 million. The woman who says she was sexually assaulted by an Uber driver a few weeks ago is suing for more than $1 million in medical expenses and damages from Uber, the driver, and the driver’s separate limousine company. The ride-share company says it “mistakenly” issued driver’s privileges to the accused man.Full Story
That pontificating whippersnapper Simek got me thinking yesterday about the fetishism of the past to which a surprising number of you folks cling. A mediocre sub-urban fish joint shuts its doors and that boy waxes rhapsodic about — well, by his own admission he’s not precisely sure what. Lordy!
You want Dallas to return to its imagined heyday of 1906? You soft-shelled ninnies wouldn’t last a minute back then. Why the pungent odors wafting from the great, relatively unwashed mass of humanity alone would knock you flat before you could scamper across Main Street. Even if you could manage the feat, enjoy wiping the paste of dust and well-ground equine excrement from your soles when you reach the other side. And the heat! My god, the heat! No artificial refrigeration to ease summer’s onslaught, no sir.Full Story
Question: I just read on the AM radio that the Fedral Gumint is going to invade and annex Texas and make it a State. Now I don’t have any real prolem with that, but the name of this invasion is “Jade Helm,” and that was a stripper that broke my heart years ago. What’s going on here? —Luke “Possum” HogbreathFull Story
Given the current move to eliminate all things Confederate, isn’t it just a matter of time before the history rewriters set their sights on Six Flags Over Texas? After all, the flag of the Confederate States of America (1861-1865) is one of six referenced by the theme park name. While the CSA flag is not the “battle flag” that’s under fire these days, even statues and other memorials associated with the Confederacy have become prime targets for eradication recently.
“At one time, the park had a themed section called The Confederacy, and the Confederate Battle Flag was used as part of the theming and a civil war re-enactment,” says Six Flags spokeswoman Sharon Parker. “The name of that section of the park was changed to The Old South in the mid-1990s and all Confederate Battle Flags were removed. Six Flags Over Texas continues to fly the Confederate States of America Flag, but does not fly or sell any variation of the Confederate Battle Flag.”
Chances are, that explanation won’t cut it with the rewrite crowd. So get ready for, “Welcome to ‘Five Flags Over Texas. Plus One We Don’t Really Want To Talk About.’ “Full Story
Here’s a little Dallas infrastructure secret that we missed in our Hidden Dallas edition: the Cole Park Storm Water Detention Vault. It’s an un-sexy name for an un-sexy facility that performs a rather un-sexy function. And yet, there’s something evocative and mysterious about watching this video (below) of a Dallas city worker descending in a steel grid-ed elevator into unknown cavernous depths beneath Uptown. The video follows the man into chambers that were carved out 100 feet beneath Uptown in the early-1990s during the construction of the new Central Expressway.
The statistics on the vault are staggering: the 13 chambers with 40-foot ceilings stretch a length of two football fields with the capacity of holding upwards of 71 million gallons of water. In the instance of massive rainfall, these vast basins collect rainwater that would otherwise overwhelm Central Expressway’s storm drainage system and flood the highway.Full Story
Maybe you were lucky enough to be there. Maybe you just saw one of the documentaries or read one of the many articles. But those who remember Dallas’ legendary Starck Club at the beginning, in those heady early days in 1984 when Dallas, of all places, opened one of the most lavish and well-appointed nightclubs in the world, remember that to get into the club you to meet the demanding high standards of the woman manning the door. Her name was Edwige Belmore, and, sadly, she has passed away.
Edwige was in Dallas by way of Paris, London, and New York, where she hobnobbed with just about anyone who mattered in the late 1970s, early 1980s. Via Vogue:
[She] palled around with Yves Saint Laurent, Loulou de la Falaise, Bianca Jagger, and Farida Khelfa. She was photographed by Helmut Newton, Maripol, and Pierre et Gilles; reportedly dated both Sade and Grace Jones; kissed Andy Warhol on the cover of Façade (“The Queen of Punk Meets the Pope of Pop”); and walked the runway for both Jean Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler. At the former’s 1979 James Bond extravaganza, she took to the catwalk in ripped fishnets and a black feathered jacket, singing “My Way” (the Sid Vicious version, bien sûr).
Yes, there was a time in Dallas when you couldn’t just hobble up McKinney Avenue with your drunken sorority sisters and stumble into the latest hot night spot. You had to impress someone who went to Studio 54 for the first time with Andy Warhol on her arm. Not many made it through the door at first (the crowded Starck in the old photos largely came after management relaxed its standards in early 1985), but those who made it into Starck in those early days were greeted with something Dallas — or the world — had never imagined before: black polished terrazzo floors, Romanian crystal champagne flutes, one of the best sound systems west of the Mississippi, a one-of-a-kind sunken dance floor, and, of course, legal Ecstasy.
Dallas isn’t the same city it was when the Starck Club opened, and, in part, it has the Starck to thank for that. And the style and soul of the Starck owes much to Edwige Belmore. It is sad to hear of her passing.Full Story
It includes a Swiss Avenue house that’s been in use as a wedding venue (against the wishes of neighbors), Highland Park ISD schools that are set to be rebuilt if a bond is approved this November, the Forest Theater, Norman Brinker’s first restaurant, “historic cemeteries” like McCree in Lake Highlands, and “low-rise” downtown buildings whose protection would help ensure a sense of “human scale” to the city center.Full Story
The September issue of Texas Monthly reports on the Texas school book controversy that has been simmering since 2010. That’s when the Texas State Board of Education adopted new curriculum standards that, it was argued at the time, attempted to coax publishers into producing student textbooks that downplayed the historical realities of slavery, segregation, and discrimination. Well, now those textbooks have been published, and while they are not yet available to the general public, TexMo’s Tom Bartlett reports that those who have perused them don’t believe they are as bad as many feared.Full Story
UPDATE: And, of course, Fingers of Fury has more details, including confirmation that crews are not demolishing the murals, etc.
On Friday Jim Schutze stopped by the Lakewood Theater, allegedly mid-donuts run, and noticed that work crews were busy inside the historic theater. He ducked in and, before being kicked-out, noticed that interior demolition work was going on. This was after Robert Wilonsky posted about the demolition shots that were clogging his Facebook page, including a disheartening photo of a dumpster filled with the theater’s seats. This morning, my Facebook page has also been inundated with updates about the renovation/demolition work. There are apparently TV news crews now on the scene.
But should we be freaking out about the Lakewood’s presumed demise?Full Story
Stating that “recent events have necessitated its return,” Preservation Dallas is compiling a list of Dallas’ Most Endangered Historic Places for the first time in five years. You’ve got a few days (until Friday) to make a nomination of an important old building that deserves inclusion. They’ll announce their list in September.
There’s nothing binding about this designation by the nonprofit organization, but the hope is that it will draw attention to bits of Dallas’ past that could soon disappear from our landscape. I thought I’d take a look at how well that worked for the last batch of places Preservation Dallas’ stood up for — in 2010.Full Story
Perhaps this is more of a Ghosts of Dallas thing, but I just thought I’d share with you some findings from a rabbit hole I slipped into this morning.
It began with this article about the closing of Vincent’s Seafood in Plano. I’ll be honest, I never heard of the place, which is why when the headline announced that it had been open for 117 years, I was really taken aback. How did a century-old restaurant escape my Dallas history nerd-o-meter? And how is it possible that a restaurant in a bland, concrete strip mall in Plano could be such a historic establishment? I started to dig.Full Story
In Leading Off this morning, I pointed folks to Dick Bass’ obituary in the Morning News. A FrontBurnervian with a good memory noticed something odd about the obit. If you read it and are unfamiliar with the marital history of Dallas society, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Dick and his wife, Alice, had four children (one of whom is married to the publisher of the News, Jim Moroney). That’s because nowhere does the obit mention that Dick was married from 1952 to 1974 to Rita. She’s the mother of the children. She married Bill Clements the year after she divorced Dick. Perhaps that’s the reason she doesn’t appear in the obit?
In any case, here’s a fun story about Dick Bass that Jeff Bowden wrote for us in 2000. Definitely worth a read, if only for the opening anecdote, which is amazing.Full Story
I don’t need to say it: in the wake of the Charleston shooting, there has been a lot of talk about the Civil War and what the various ways in which we remember, honor, or commemorate its history say about a legacy of racism in America. Alabama has removed a Confederate flag from a memorial at the state capitol. There are calls to take down a Jefferson Davis statue in Kentucky. Dallas’ Lee Park has come under scrutiny. I could go on.
At this point in the conversation, the momentum seems to point towards a gradual, though thorough washing-out of Confederate memorials throughout the nation. But how far will it go? How sublimated do references or symbols of the Confederacy have to be before they are deemed inappropriate? Statues and flags are one thing, but what about the more subtle reminders.
I found myself wondering this driving down oh-so-topical Davis St. in Oak Cliff.Full Story
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Question: Is Texas in the Midwest? And what’s the Midwest? — Ryan C.
The gentleman who risked suffering the repercussions of my wrath for having dared to submit this staggeringly insulting question provided — so as to justify the depths of his own ignorance, no doubt — a hyper text transfer protocol address of an article posted by some execrable cyberpunk publication.
On that unfortunate page — which I urge my own thoughtful readers never to peruse, lest they risk the lowering of their intelligence quotients — a parade of ignoramuses compete to demonstrate which of them is least deserving of being considered homo sapiens.Full Story