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(Updated June 29, 2002)

 

1925

To Divide Dallas' "Longest Block in World"

 (enlarged view of map)


 (enlarged view of photo)

    When the opening of Good street in the east end of the business district is completed, the longest city block in Dallas will be cut in two. The block, extending from Hawkins to Crowdus street, has been referred to as the longest city block in the world. It occupies the space of five ordinary blocks.
     Work was started on the razing of buildings last week. Good street, is being opened from Elm to Main, and Lloyd street, the name of which has been changed to Good street, is being widened between Main and Commerce. Lloyd was a narrow, one-block street.
     The picture and map show how the project was carried out. The view was taken from Commerce and Lloyd streets, looking north to buildings fronting on Main street. The telephone poles on the left show the original property line of Lloyd street. These poles will be moved twenty feet eastward. The buildings at the end of Lloyd street are being removed through to Elm, where a connection will be made to Good street.

- February 1, 1925, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. III, p. 2.
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OLD LANDMARK IS
RAZED ON SITE
OF NEW BUILDING

     With the razing of the old residence at the northwest corner of Marilla and Browder streets to make way for erection of the new $200,000 home of the Texas Drug company, another of the landmarks familiar to older residents of Dallas, has disappeared. The house was formerly occupied by a private school conducted by the Misses Lucy and Betty Collier.
     The school was founded some fifty years ago, and many of the present-day leaders of business and professional life in Dallas attended it during their childhood.
     Construction of the new fireproof building for the drug company is to be started at once.

- March 8, 1925, Dallas Times Herald, Sec. III, p. 4., col. 5.
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Legends Cling to Old
Dallas County Houses

________

Local Artist Likes to
Sketch Landmarks
With Historic Interest

_______

New Stories of
Pioneer Days in
North Texas Are
Brought to Light

By D. L. MILLER
Drawings by Fred Kamacker

     Along the roads of Dallas county, at various points, may be seen dilapidated-looking houses.
     They are rapidly falling to pieces and have long since ceased to be occupied by human beings. The passerby does not pay much attention to them. To him, they are likely to be just old "shacks" and, if anything, they are regarded as a disfigurement to the landscape.
     To the few who have taken the trouble to investigate these ruins, they have proved rich in interest and have revealed many thrilling stories of pioneer days in North Texas.
     Fred Kamacker, of Dallas, is one of these investigators. The discovery of historic old buildings and unearthing of the stories and legends connected with them is a hobby with him. Accompanied by B. A. Bernstein, his partner in the Graphic Advertising studios, Mr. Kamacker likes to wander along the highways of Dallas county with an eye open for interesting looking houses and buildings. Both carry sketch pads and make drawings of the houses that appeal to them.
     Inquiries among the neighbors, especially the old timers, reveal the history of the place and the various tales that have grown up around it. Sometimes, the legends are conflicting. One pioneer will have different memories of a particular episode than those retained by another. The passing down of a story for three generations through different channels will result in the variations creeping in.
     Although a comparative newcomer to Dallas, Mr. Kamacker is probably more familiar with the early history of Dallas than many of those who have lived here since they were born.

* * *

Landmarks Disappearing.
     A number of the old landmarks have disappeared within the last few years. Some have been demolished to make way for modern structures. Others have been destroyed by fire or by the gradual wearing away of the elements. There are still enough of them standing to afford unlimited opportunities for investigation of the early days here.
     The old town of Scyene, between Dallas and Mesquite, has yielded some of the best stories connected with old houses and buildings.

Once a hotel at Scyene when that town vied in
commercial importance with Dallas.


     One of the deserted structures in this little settlement is a long, one-story building with its windows boarded up and its doors hanging loosely from their hinges. It is said that this was once a two-story hotel in the days when Scyene had six stores and five saloons.

This cabin, built at Scyene in the '50's, was the headquarters
of the Younger and James boys, famous outlaws.


     While all stories about this building do not agree, some say that this was the place in which Sheriff Moon of Dallas county "got the drop" on members of the James gang of outlaws while they were eating dinner. They promised him that they would surrender if he would let them finish their meal. He consented, and when the time came, they executed some clever gun play, shot and killed the sheriff and made good their escape.

* * *

A Bandit's Rendezvous.
     Another of the Scyene landmarks is the cabin, which both the Younger and James boys made their headquarters when in this part of Texas. It is said to have been built during the '50s. In spite of this, it is in much better condition than some of the others. The house is now used as a chicken roost by the owner of the property.

 This house at Scyene was built in 1868 from lumber
hauled overland by wagon from Jefferson in East Texas.


     Yet another house of genuine interest in Scyene is located across the road from the bandits' rendezvous. This house is of much more recent origin. It was built in 1868 from mill-sawed lumber hauled overland from Jefferson in Marion county. The wagons which hauled the building material returned to the East Texas city with loads of buffalo hides.

House built by French colonist on
present site of Cement City in 1854.


     On the present site of Cement City in Dallas, is to be found one of the most interesting of all Dallas county ruins. It is a cottage erected in 1854 by members of the French colony, which established itself here then.
     Material used for the house was native limestone, commonly known as "white rock." Several contractors who have examined this and other old structures in which this material was used, say it demonstrates possibilities for more extensive use of it in the future. The soft limestone exposed to the weather increases in hardness and the walls possess an attractive appearance. It is only near the ground line that evidences of disintegration are to be found. Some builders say that a house with walls of this limestone set on a concrete foundation would last forever.
     The old French home, one of a number still to be seen near Cement City, was soon abandoned. Members of the French colony were artisans, not farmers. They were unable to cope with the conditions met in a pioneer agricultural country. Most of them returned to France. A few later located in Dallas, and the family names are preserved in the case of a number of city streets.

* * *

An old log cabin in Mountain Creek valley about midway between Duncanville and Grand Prairie, said to have been built in 1830.

House Built in 1830.
     About midway between Duncanville and Grand Prairie in the Mountain creek valley, is an old log cabin. Some of the old-timers say that it was built there in 1830. Others dispute this on the grounds that in that time, there were only two houses west of the Trinity river, and this was not one of them.
     At any rate, during the Confederate reunion in Dallas in 1900, an old man asked to be taken out to the site of this cabin. When he reached the spot, he told his hosts that he was born here, and that the cabin had been built by his father in 1830. His father neglected to claim the land on which he established his home. When the property was later obtained under grant by another owner, he willingly gave up the life of a pioneer and returned to Tennessee.
     Another legend about this particular house, as related by an aged negro living in the neighborhood, is that the last bear killed in this part of Texas was shot as he attempted to enter the front gate of the yard.
     The house also was used by a treasure seeker attempting to dig up buried gold. This treasure seeker returned to Dallas about twenty years ago and was taken to Mountain creek valley. Using the old cabin as a starting point, he tried to find $36,000, which, he said, was concealed in a cottonwood grove during the late '60's. According to his story, the money was buried by a cattleman returning form an overland drive to Abilene, Kan. Fearing the numerous bandits then infesting the country south of Dallas, he decided to leave his treasure and return for it later. Word came that the man died before reaching his home and without returning for his gold.

The first house in Oak Cliff, built by Judge W. H. Hord in 1846.


     The first house ever built in Oak Cliff has an interesting story connected with it and one that can be verified definitely. It is the former home of Judge W. H. Hord, first settler in Oak Cliff, and after whom that section was once called Hord's Ridge.
     Judge Hord's grandson, Thomas A. Hord, still lives in Dallas and is connected with the Texas Power and Light company as civil engineer. Mr. Hord tells the story of the old family home as he received it from his parents and grandparents.

* * *

Came Here by Wagon.
     Judge Hord came to Texas in 1845 from Tennessee. With him, were his family and two negro slaves. The trip was made in ox carts. The land on which they settled was obtained under grant from the republic of Texas. It consisted of about a square mile along Cedar creek, west of where Lancaster avenue now lies.
     The first home built there was a one-room log cabin. It was later added to and continued to be the Hord home until the late '80's. At that time, Judge Hord disposed of his property to T. L. Marsalis, original developer of Oak Cliff, as a part of the city of Dallas. In order to escape the crowding of neighbors incident to expansion of the city, he moved to a newer home farther away from the center of activity.
     In the early days, the main trail to West Texas ran past the Hord home. During the California gold rush of 1849, thousands of adventurers traveled past the house on this trail and made it a stopping point at which to obtain water and other supplies.
     The Delaware Indians, at that time, had a village of about 1,000 persons at the mouth of Cedar creek. It is said they would often come to the Hord home and attempt to trade skins and honey for Judge Hord's little golden-haired baby.
     These historic old houses are only a few of the many that were erected in Dallas county by the early settlers in the '40's and '50's. Some of the others are still standing and have histories as fascinating as the ones discovered by Mr. Kamacker. Others have fallen in the path of progress and now are only memories in the minds of pioneers, who recall the days when they were centers of home life and civic activity for the first white inhabitants of North Texas.

- December 20, 1925, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. III, p. 1.
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