Dallas History | KERA News

Dallas History

A red neon Pegasus was placed on top of the Magnolia Oil building, now the Magnolia Hotel, in 1934. Photo date unknown.
City of Dallas Historic Preservation

When Mark Doty ran across a collection of 35mm slides that had been sitting in city of Dallas storage for decades, he had no idea if the scans would turn up anything interesting.

They most definitely did — including 1970s construction photos of City Hall, the iconic building designed by architect I.M. Pei, who died this past week.

Pastor Eugene Keahey in 2015, standing by the water tank at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
Courtney Collins / KERA News

Sandbranch, an unincorporated community in southeast Dallas County, doesn't have running water. And the man who fought so hard to change that, Pastor Eugene Keahey, was killed in a house fire.

From the 1880s to the early 1960a, the African American Freedmen's Community called Little Egypt was in this neighbodhood, at the corner of Thurgood and Shoreview in Dallas' Lake Highlands. It spread across 35 acres.
Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Texas is dotted with Freedmen’s communities — African American neighborhoods that sprouted after the Civil War in the era of segregation. They range from Ellis Alley in San Antonio to the Fourth Ward in Houston to Deep Ellum in Dallas. Another one in Dallas that's been nearly forgotten, Little Egypt, is getting a renewed look thanks to Richland College.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Growing up in South Texas, Jesus Martinez heard a lot about President John F. Kennedy. His mom was a huge fan of the late president and former first lady. She read the book, "Letters to Jackie, Condolences From a Grieving Nation” and even named Martinez’s sister, “Jacqueline.”

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Some communities hover over the financial edge, while others have completely fallen off. Sandbranch, an unincorporated corner of Dallas County, is one of them. Residents there have no internet, no trash pickup and no running water. 

Jerome Weeks/KERA

The Lakewood Theater has been an institution in East Dallas since 1938, and its owners are looking for new tenants. Preservationists said the original space -- filled with a single movie screen, whimsical murals and a grand, carved staircase -- could be drastically changed.

Arthur Rothstein / Library of Congress

Forgotten lore from Dallas, fascinating photos from iconic landmarks, and a cornucopia of North Texas history -- it's all online at Flashbackdallas.com. Paula Bosse runs the website and she talks about her passion for the city and its curious past.

Justin Terveen

This story was originally published on Feb. 1, 2015: It may seem like politicians and planners have spent just a decade or two sparring over the proposed Trinity River toll road, but controversy has swirled around the Trinity much longer than that - ever since folks began settling beside it nearly two centuries ago.

Coltera / Flickr

Note: This interview contains some graphic descriptions that may be uncomfortable. 

In 1908, a ceremonial arch lit up downtown Dallas at the corner of Main and Akard streets. It was built by the Elks Club, with a gaudy sign that proclaimed “Welcome Visitors.” It became an iconic symbol of an ambitious city. 

By 1910, it became a different kind of symbol when a mob hung the body of a black man named Allen Brooks from the arch.