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2nd Avenue Building

Posted by Mac 
2nd Avenue Building
November 13, 2009 12:13PM
Glad these boards are back up!

Can anyone give me the name of this building? I took this picture about a year ago. I think I was on 2nd Ave. near Fair Park. For some reason I want to call it the Cotton Belt Building, but my research has not turned up a name for it.

Thanks in advance.



Re: 2nd Avenue Building
November 13, 2009 07:07PM
Looking at the photo, one would assume that this is "Bilal Community Center" which is a benevolent organization to support Ethiopian Muslims. A Google Earth search did not identify this shape of building on 2nd Avenue, nor does Bilal show address locations relevant. Currently, they have an address on Park Lane in North Dallas, must have moved.
Nice Picture, I would have taken it as well!
Re: 2nd Avenue Building
November 13, 2009 09:31PM
Mac -

Your photo is the old Richard Lagow School at Second Avenue and Carpenter, built about 1925-30. That was the second Lagow School at that location and is on the Thomas Lagow League.

The original Lagow School House:

The school moved across Second Avenue about 1945-50 to what was also known as Lagow Park. It is now Mildred Dunn Recreation Center. The present Lagow School is located near Peachtree and Old Seagoville Road

The old school building has had several owners and tenants. I recall there was some discussion of the Cotton Belt connection on this board several years back. The 1951 Sanborn Insurance Map shows it to be the the Airmaid Hosiery Mill. One of the later, and possibly present, owners was/is a Dallas City Councilman.

Lagow Cemetery

Lagow Cemetery is just to the rear of the original schoolhouse and the one in your photo. See survey and photos by Cecil Morgan at Jim Wheat's Dallas County Archives website.

To clarify Lee's detailed history of the site, Richard Lagow, one of four sons of Thomas Lagow, inherited that portion of the Lagow League and his son William Richard Lagow, inherited from him. Armistead Bennett, the father-in-law of Thomas Lagow and the guardian of his minor children, also received a sizeable tract. John Beeman had settled and claimed 640 acres before he realized it had already been granted to Thomas Lagow and subsequently purchased that tract before Lagow's death in 1845. Thomas never lived in Dallas.

None of the Lagows were buried in the Lagow Cemetery. Richard and his wife Nancy Ann [Murchison] are interred at W W Glover Cemetery. William Richard and wife Anne [Beeman] are interred at Beeman Cemetery. Later generations are interred at Oakland and Grove Hill.


Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 05/04/2014 02:41PM by M C Toyer.
Re: 2nd Avenue Building - Correction to Prior Post
November 14, 2009 02:26AM
I have reviewed my files, which I should have done before posting.

Although Mac's photo does resemble Dallas schools from the early to mid twentieth century, I do not now believe it was built for that purpose.

The Lagow family donated the original Lagow School House property to the City of Dallas after the Lagow School District was annexed in 1926.

The property was put up for sale to finance the purchase of Lagow Park and the new Richard Lagow school site across Second Avenue. The new Richard Lagow School opened in 1927. That Richard Lagow School is now the Joseph J Rhoads Learning Center. Lagow Park is now the Mildred Dunn Recreation Center. The two properties are separated by Carpenter Street but were acquired jointly.

The original School House property was owned by McGaugh Hosiery Mill in 1931. I do not know if they utilized the original school house, which seems unlikely. The present building was constructed in 1946-47, as Lee noted in the earlier thread. McGaugh was a manufacturer and distributor for Airmaid Hosiery.

In 1959 the Dallas City Council rejected an application by Realtor Thomas Mitchell to operate a "Negro Dance Hall" in the former hosiery mill.

I do not know what the extant signage, "Cotton Bel . . " refers to or when it was placed on the building.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/14/2009 02:39AM by M C Toyer.
Re: 2nd Avenue Building
November 14, 2009 09:08AM
The Carpenter St. intersection sounds right. My 1959 City Directory lists 4401 2nd Ave. as the Joseph J. Rhoads School.

I think a couple of years ago I saw a story about this building on Ch. 4. It seems the elderly owner wanted to use it for some kind of school or neighborhood youth center, but he had no money and the city was swamping him with code violations.

But it's entirely possible the story I saw was on some other building in that area.

On my original photo the small letters on top seem to say "Lee" followed by the large "BILAL" with a smaller "Bldg." under that.



Re: 2nd Avenue Building
November 14, 2009 11:20AM
Mac -

Here are the building photos Cecil Morgan posted on Jim Wheat's site along with his survey about 5 years ago.

The "Cotton Bel. . ." embossed signage is visible on the left front between the first and second story windows.

There appears to be some red signage to the right of the door in the center of the building,
"? Now Enrolling ?"

Neither photo shows enough detail of the central area with the "Bilal" signage area of your photo. There appears to be some additional signage on the left front between the basement and first floor windows of your photo. "?Fast?" or "?Fashion?"

I cannot explain the tree growth by the left front in your photo other than there appears to be a stump in Cecil's photo which may have produced some fast growing shoots in the time between his photo and yours.

Here is the 1946 architect's rendition. The final construction appears somewhat smaller, probably due to conflict with the existing cemetery and parking space.

Re: 2nd Avenue Building
November 14, 2009 11:56AM
Ah, great stuff. Glad to know I didn't dream that Cotton Belt name.

The information about the Lagow family is interesting.

That certainly is a fast growing tree.

The banner on my photo says "Fast!" and then has another word that is hidden by super tree.

The original builders definitely scaled it down from the drawing. Note the large clock in the drawing that ended up being over the main entrance on the actual building.



Re: 2nd Avenue Building
November 14, 2009 11:57AM
Regarding my uncharacteristic assumptive comment of the Bilal Community Center, further research implies that "Bilal" on the face of the school refers to the late LEE GILBERT BROTHERTON BILAL (?-2006.)

Among first black officers in postwar Dallas police Lee Gilbert Bilal was one of the first African-Americans to serve in the postwar Dallas Police Department.

He also served in the Army during World War II and the Korean War and was a peacetime entrepreneur in Dallas.
Mr. Bilal was a private man who had "a lot of wisdom." "He was always generous in giving good wisdom. He helped so many people."

In October 2005, the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce honored Mr. Bilal with its first lifetime achievement award for business excellence and community involvement.

"He's been a fantastic trailblazer and just a real love for the community," said Reginald Gates, president of the black chamber.

Mr. Bilal's long career in small business included a hardware store and selling insurance.

In 1953, he returned to Dallas from Korea and opened Lee's Drive-in Package Store, his wife said.

In 1961, he opened the first armed, uniformed, African-American-owned security firm in Texas, his wife said.

In 1976-77, Mr. Bilal was committee chairman for Goals for Black Dallas, a panel that identified 157 areas of economic and political improvement for the betterment of Dallas.

Mr. Bilal also helped many others start businesses. He owned property on Second Avenue, where he helped others nurture small businesses.

"He had an incubator for businesses before we understood clearly what that was," Mr. Gates said.

Mr. Bilal also was a leader in the public sector.

Info per DMN archives 5-23-2006.
Re: 2nd Avenue Building - see addendum in blue
November 14, 2009 03:48PM
Mac -

A couple of possibilities: ?Fast Cash? ?Fast Signs?

I can't find anything that ties the building to the Cotton Belt Railroad and none of the Cotton Belt trackage, terminals, offices or other facilities were in the vicinity. The building itself did not have rail service.

The Dallas Central Apraisal District record of improvements to the property lists several structures bulit in 1946 and one, built as a school, in 1912. That structure must have been incorporated into the 1946 construction. The school construction is masonary with 4028 square feet with two stories and a full basement. That would correlate to the left end of the extant structure. Back to my original premise, perhaps there was a new Lagow School built on the site of the original frame structure and that larger masonary structure was utilized for the hosiery mill until the 1946 expansion. Back to the files for me.

Perhaps I should title this correction to the correction or maybe I should just trust my original instincts and not get confused by trying to prove my point - In any case I looked right at the evidence last night and did not recognize what it was telling me. The Sanborn Insurance Map for 1928 shows the Lagow School House on the east side of Second Avenue to be of masonary construction with two stories, The photo I posted of the one story frame structure was dated 1911 so the replacement is consistent with the DCAD construction date of 1912 and with the design and deminsions cited.

BTW, DCAD has photos which show all the signage plus some additional graffiti. "Cotton Bel" may be part of the 1912 school construction or added when the first hosiery mill operations began about 1929. Perhaps wording to the right of the doorway was lost in 1946

As a youngster I traveled down Second Avenue many times in the late 40s and early 50s. We lived in the Pleasant Grove and Lake June areas and my father worked on South Akard near dowrtown. My aunt attended Richard Lagow School [on the west side of Second Avenue] about a decade earlier, living just around the corner on Hatcher.

As best I can tell the name change to Joseph J Rhoads took place about 1955 when the school converted to all Negro. I do not know when the present Richard Lagow School opened.

Joel - Interesting account of Mr Bilal. He may have been the owner I though was a City Councilman - he does appaer to have been involved with a number of civic organizations. The Dallas Central Appraisal Distric lists Lee G Bilal, c/o Jacquelin Bilal, as the current owner with a deed transfer date of 1983.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/14/2009 04:24PM by M C Toyer.
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