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Dallas Noir: 1942

January 1942. "Elm Street -- Theater Row in Dallas." Medium format negative by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

January 1942. "Elm Street -- Theater Row in Dallas." Medium format negative by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Deep Ellum

In the 1960s, when I lived there, native Dallasites talked about "Deep Elm" (pronounced ELLUM by some--as they enunciated each letter of ELM, with a full pronouncement of "M" such as "EL-M"). Anyway, I was never sure of the exact location of Deep Elm. Now that we have Google, I am directed to Wikipedia, among other places, for an answer. Wikipedia says, "Deep Ellum is a neighborhood composed largely of arts and entertainment venues near downtown in Old East Dallas, Texas." Fair Park, the location of the Texas State Fair, the Cotton Bowl, and Big Tex, is just east of Deep Elm. The Baylor University Medical Center adjoins the north side of the district. I don't think Deep Elm was an artsy neighborhood back in the sixties. It was a run-down area--as I surmised when I drove through there on the way to the Fair or some other more distant location. In fact, it is probably still run-down, but trendy.

Haverty's Furniture still alive and well, with locations throughout north and central Texas.

Interesting to see all the lights [only a month after Pearl Harbor]. By the summer of 1942 blackout rules would be in effect and "the lights wouldn't go on again" [to paraphrase a popular wartime song] for another 3 years.


Please tell me where it is. I've been looking for quite some time.

[Click the Wallpaper link in the caption. - Dave]

Judy Garland's Palace Song

"A team of hoofers,
Was the headline,
At the Majestic,
Down in Dallas.
But they cancelled the day,
Their agent called to say...
You can open the bill at the Palace!"


I cannot explain what drew me to open the super size wallpaper image, but I am glad I did. You constantly outdo yourself, Dave.


My parents purchased a baby carriage for me at Titche-Goettinger on December 22, 1949. Price $39.95.

Dealey Plaza

If you keep walking in this direction on Elm, you'll find yourself at the front door of the Texas School Book Depository.

Not Deep Ellum

Just a comment: this is not, nor was Deep Ellum. If you were to walk a few blocks east, you would find Deep Ellum. This part of Elm was considered Theatre Row.

Abbott and Costello at the Majestic

I was living on Eastside Avenue and Carroll Street in Dallas in 1948. I was 10 and recall getting on my bike and riding downtown to the Majestic to see "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein."

I don't remember locking my bike and I know my parents never locked our doors. It was a different time in America.

The Majestic had a big living room up the stairs with a TV which most people didn't have as yet. After watching a movie I would sometimes watch TV with other patrons.

Fakes Furniture

Having lived in Dallas all my life (born 1936), I can recall the scene looking exactly as pictured above. In response to Brent who spied the FAKE sign past the Palace Theater, allow me to clarify that it actually said F-A-K-E-S, as in Fakes Furniture & Carpet Co., located at 2509 Elm.

For what it's worth, I still own a bedroom suite my parents bought at that Hart's store beside the Majestic.

Re: FAKE__

The street actually takes a pretty big dip where that sign is. I can vouch for that as I walked that sidewalk two days ago and drew a picture of the Titches building on the left from where that sign was.

Great Photo!

This photo is taken looking west down Elm Street from the corner of Olive. The good news is that not all those buildings are gone. On the right side, the Majestic Theater (1921) remains, as well as the Hart Furniture Store Building (1888) next door to it. Do you see the heart-shaped neon sign that reads "Hart's"? That building is still on the NW corner of Elm and Harwood Street. The Tower Building is also still standing just beyond the Majestic with the stair stepped roof. The entire block between Harwood and Olive on the right side of the photo however is now surface parking. On the left side of the photo the Titche-Goettinger department store building is still there and is condos and apartments (at Elm and St. Paul). The White Plaza Hotel is also still there but is now called the Aristocrat Hotel. The left side of the street across from the Majestic is now a 5 story parking garage. What a great photo! Thanks for posting!

Dallas Noir

I love your addition to the "supersize" wallpaper!

All Gone

Most of these wonderful buildings are gone. Go to Google Maps and enter 2036 Elm Street and click "streetview" and look west. Mostly parking lots and garages. It looks like a street (Harwood St.) now runs perpendicular to Elm a couple of buildings east of the Majestic, about where Winn Furniture stands in the photo.

This area got pretty seedy in the late 40's and 50's.
Two blocks south of the photo location was The Carousel Club, owned by Jack Ruby - the guy who shot Oswald.

"Did you ever see Dallas from a DC-9 at night?
Well Dallas is a jewel, oh yeah, Dallas is a beautiful sight. And Dallas is a jungle but Dallas gives a beautiful light." - The Flatlanders

Goober Pea

Two signs

The Majestic is playing "Tarzan's Secret Treasure" which was the fifth Tarzan film that MGM did. Released in December 1941, it starred series regulars Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, and Johnny Sheffield as "Boy." It co-starred English character actor Reginald Owen, and Irish character actor Barry Fitzgerald just three years before his double Oscar nomination for "Going My Way." (Fitzgerald was nominated for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for the role of Father Fitzgibbon - he lost Best Supporting Actor and won Best Actor and spawned a new Academy Awards rule that you couldn't be nominated in two acting categories for playing the same role in the same movie.)

The other sign is something I see at the very end of the street, just to the left of the Palace Theater sign [below]. I swear the letters are


Weird huh?


I always wanted a high-res pic of world famous Shorpy building!

Hotel Shorpy

Cute watermark on the wallpaper!

Clean Carburetors

That's Elm Street in Dallas = Deep Ellum as in Deep Ellum Blues as in "when you go down in Deep Ellum, keep your carburetor clean, 'cause the women in Deep Ellum sellin' dirty gasoline."

The Majestic Theater opened in 1921 - history here:

Goober Pea

[Thanks, Goob. - Dave]

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