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From Scantily-Clad Male Carhops To Trinity River Changes, Website Explores Dallas' Past

Arthur Rothstein
Library of Congress
Downtown Dallas in 1942

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

Interview Highlights: Paula Bosse ...

... on male carhops in Dallas in the 1940s: "[It's] the one photograph that everyone seems to have latched onto. This was called the Log Lodge Tavern, which was right across the street from Love Field. If I've done anything that has gone viral, it's this photograph - and it's not just men in shorts, they're short-shorts and I think it may even be satin short-shorts in cowboy boots. From 1940, it was a response to a sudden appearance of sexy carhops: Women who were dressing in scanty outfits, hula skirts, midriff-baring costumes, to serve drive-in customers. There was a big outcry against this and at some point some woman piped up, saying 'well, you know this doesn't really do much for women, we want to see men, we want to see the legs of men, not the legs of girls.' So, some enterprising man who owned one of these restaurants said 'yeah that's a great idea' and put these young studs, these young college students, in short-shorts in cowboy boots. It's so ridiculous, but it was very very successful."

Learn more about male carhops in Dallas.

Male carhops serving customers at the 'Log Lodge Tavern' in Dallas

... on the straightening of the Trinity River in Dallas: "This is one of the interesting things that I've found doing this blog. I grew up in Dallas, I'm a Dallas native and until a couple of years ago I had never heard that the Trinity River had been straightened and moved, which is kind of a big deal. You know, you'd think you would have heard about the Trinity River being moved. But I think as a response to the flooding, the constant flooding that was happening and the major disastrous flood in 1908 that was a horrible flood, city fathers started planning ways to alleviate the problems. So civil engineers came up with a plan to straighten out the Trinity and move it about half a mile to the west. Part of the Trinity used to come up about a block from the Old Red Courthouse. It was like that close, so it has been moved over. I was looking at the numbers recently and I think the equivalent in today's prices would have been about $200 billion, so it was a major civil engineering feat. It was a really big deal and it's one of those things that you just don't really hear about."

Learn more about the Trinity River.

Paula Bosse owns and operates

Justin Martin is KERA’s local host of All Things Considered, anchoring afternoon newscasts for KERA 90.1. Justin grew up in Mannheim, Germany, and avidly listened to the Voice of America and National Public Radio whenever stateside. He graduated from the American Broadcasting School, and further polished his skills with radio veteran Kris Anderson of the Mighty 690 fame, a 50,000 watt border-blaster operating out of Tijuana, Mexico. Justin has worked as holiday anchor for the USA Radio Network, serving the U.S. Armed Forces Network. He’s also hosted, produced, and engineered several shows, including the Southern Gospel Jubilee on 660 KSKY.