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Branding: 1939

Branding: 1939

September 1939. "Hamburger stand with old cattle brands. Dumas, Texas." 35mm negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Mystery solved

I am from Dumas and I was curious as to the location of this hamburger stand. I asked the old timers and got no results for a couple of years of inquiries. Finally, I showed the picture to a friend of mine whose father has always lived here. He went to the rest home where his father, Jim Ed, lived and showed it to him. Old Jim Ed remembered the place, couldn't remember who owned it but his younger brother used to work there. It was located at 9th and south Main on the west side of the street. The building pictured is still there but the structure is the back portion of an operating restaurant called "Nana's". It has been quite the mystery.

Great stuff

I broke a fan belt in Dumas in 1974. I stumbled into a local service station and got it fixed quickly and was on my way.

Everyone was really friendly and they didn't try to rip me off. I have that great memory of Dumas.

Spirit of '76

I was a high school freshman in 1976, and I wrote the date on every school paper with a single-stroke "76" like the one to the left of the swastika. I hadn't thought of that in thirty years...until I just looked at this photo.

Dumas, Texas

I was born and raised in Dumas and I can't for the life of me identify the location of this building. I wished I could so that I could walk around it and relive these simpler times. I am guessing that it was on Main street. There wasn't much here back then and the center of town consisted of the courthouse and some businesses and a few hotels.

[Below: More from Dumas. - Dave]

Indian Thunderbird

That brand that looks like a swastika is a Native American symbol representing the thunderbird.

The 45th Division of the US Army in Oklahoma had that design on its shoulder patch. When WW II started, they changed the design to look like a stylized bird because they did not want it to be confused with Hitler's swastika.


There are some clever brands up there. The 'Bar' BQ and the 7UP brands caught my eye. Once upon a time I wanted a $ sign brand to put on my cattle. My old boss grew up in the Texas Panhandle in the 30s and 40s. He said as a kid you always bought RC Cola because you got two more ounces for the same money as Coke.

"Ding Dong Daddy...

...From Dumas" was a song my father (who was not from Dumas) used to hum and sing when he was driving. We used to drive through, or near, Dumas on our way to Colorado from East Texas - usually inspiring a rousing rendition late at night.

RE: Texas cola wars...Dublin, Texas is the only place you can still get original recipe Dr Pepper (a Texas drink) made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup. Good stuff. 10, 2, and 4. Uurrp.

Goober Pea


That doesn't look like a drive-in or drive-through. That car is parked next to it - probably the owner's. If it was a drive-through lane, there'd be tire tracks worn through the weeds. The little window in front with the small shelf is for walk-ups. Or at least that's how every Dairy Queen and walk-up food place I've ever been to works.


An excerpt from Texas writer Larry McMurtry's "Walter Benjamin in the Dairy Queen":

In the summer of 1980, in the Archer City Dairy Queen, while nursing a lime Dr Pepper (a delicacy strictly local, unheard of even in the next Dairy Queen down the road Olneys, eighteen miles south but easily obtainable by anyone willing to buy a lime and a Dr Pepper), I opened a book called Illuminations and read Walter Benjamin's essay The Storytellers, nominally a study of or reflection on the stories of Nikolai Leskov, but really (I came to feel, after several rereadings) an examination, and a profound one, of the growing obsolescence of what might be called practical memory and the consequent diminution of the power of oral narrative in our twentieth century lives.

How beautifully phrased, especially the bit about the lime Dr Pepper, and the passage introduces a discussion of the issues that make Shorpy images so powerful.


It's amazing how many ancient cultures used the swastika. Since this was taken in Texas, I'm guessing it was associated with either the Navajo or Hopi indians of that area.

RC Cola

In Dumas, Texas...TRUST ME...RC Cola sells better. As someone once told me in NYC---"RC Cola? That's what hillbillies drink!". I took offense at that as I dumped a nickel pack of Planter's Peanuts into my RC.

Them's Good Burgers

I'm getting hungry just thinking about how good those burgers must've been. It being Texas, it's a safe bet to say the beef was fresh.


The swastika was a good luck sign in both Indo-Asian and North Amnerican Indian cultures long before the Nazis perverted it. In those cultures, it was usually rendered reversed from the Nazi presentation. It is still considered a "good luck charm' by some Asians which startles Westerners who encounter it.


That's the earliest drive-through I've ever seen. In-and-Out Burger says they built the first drive-through restaurant in 1948.

Isn't there a sixth Coca-Cola ad on the strut/handle across the screen door?

Give me a sign

The bent cross/sun/good luck symbol (swastika) was used by Arizona on highway route markers well past World War 2. Check out the 1948 shield.

Before National Socialists hijacked this symbol, it was used by many cultures and societies, including Native Americans.

Cola Signs

I count five Coca-Cola signs vs. three Royal Crown signs. Coke wins, at least for these two sides of the building. Do you think one of the other sides has a Golden Arches brand?

Swastika Brand

I'll bet that swastika brand over the door disappeared fairly soon after this photograph was taken.

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