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East Dallas

Posted by jgoodman 
East Dallas
December 30, 2016 02:44PM
As a child in O.C.I frequently heard of East Dallas as place that "decent folks" should not visit. It was an area inhabited by drunks and lower class people. My mother talked unfavorably about such places as Colette Ave. and Columbia. She also mentioned Peak St. I, however, knew of a good Church of Christ at Peak and East side. I wonder if that east Dallas back then was simply a buffer zone for poor down-and-out rural folk migrating from East Tex. I do remember some rough bars in that area and it not being a safe place at night. Any input? Jim



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/30/2016 02:47PM by jgoodman.
Re: East Dallas
January 01, 2017 09:30PM
In 1968 I worked old District 51 which was the area bounded by Ross Avenue on the north, Beacon Street on the east, Fitzhugh Avenue on the west and East Grand Avenue on the south. Streets you mentioned, Columbia Avenue and Collett Avenue were within this area.

It was a great district (now called a beat) to train on and my trainer had worked the area for years.

Several bars that created problems, mostly fights and intoxicated people that refused to leave. Worked several shootings, all results of drunken arguments. A lot of Driving While Intoxicated offenses.

Enormous amount of apartment complexes, but mostly working people.

Fitzhugh Avenue was the boundary between districts covered from Central Headquarters and those covered by Northeast Substation. The district to the west of us included North Peak Street and Bryan Avenue, the location of several bars frequented by Native Americans as was Tom and Jerry's Lounge which was also on Bryan Avenue near Annex Avenue if I remember correctly. Lots of calls and numerous on view Public Intoxication arrests.

In the early seventies there was first an influx of Asian Refugees, next came African Americans and finally Hispanics. The apartment complexes became more rundown and crime increased.

I saw a posting sometime back regarding Ship's Lounge that was located on Greenville Avenue, south of Ross Avenue and north of Bryan Street. The entire time I worked the area, we never received one call to this business. It is still there. It was a shock when I learned the owner and operator, Jack Prewitt (could be Pruitt) was shot and killed by his long time girlfriend, who also worked at the lounge. She then took her own life.

A lot of officers wanted to work East Dallas. Lots of action and easy activity. I was transferred to the far North Dallas area and what a difference. Renner had not been annexed and a lot of new home construction at that time.

After several months I was again transferred, this time to South Dallas. A totally different experience and a more or less self taught education as I mostly worked alone. I worked South Oak Cliff and was doing so when I was transferred to the Traffic Division where I worked a radar car, Freeway Patrol and as an Accident Investigator.

I was transferred to the Vehicle Crimes Unit (Hit and Run) where I finished my career.

Drive through East Dallas often and it has not seemed to have changed much. They have built some new schools and improved parks and some streets. A lot of homeless and still a high crime area for burglaries and thefts. Recently an increase in violent crime and gang activity.

I am not completely useless, I can always be used as a bad example.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/01/2017 09:32PM by DallasCop2566.
Re: East Dallas
January 02, 2017 11:32AM
Thank you Dallas Cop. I think a lot of prostitutes lived/worked there also. I remember in the 60s a lot of young women office workers lived in the apartments along Gaston. Many worked at the Bell telephone exchange, I think on Bryan.
Re: East Dallas
January 02, 2017 11:54AM
Rarely can I interject the phrase "Speaking of that Church of Christ...," but since you mentioned it, that was the church that super-devout singer Sonny James attended faithfully for several years when he lived in Dallas (he lived nearby).
Re: East Dallas
January 07, 2017 01:29PM
In the late fifties my family lived in various locations in the referenced area of East Dallas, including Alta Avenue off of Greenville about a block from the Arcadia Theater, on Lindsey near to the same location, near the intersection of East Grande and Beacon, on East Side Avenue near Fitzhugh, on Bryan near Fitzhugh. My older sister worked at the Bell Telephone exchange on Bryan at Haskell ("Operator"winking smiley.

I attended Fannin Elementary on Ross Avenue, then J.L. Long Junior High School during this time. I delivered the Dallas Times Herald on several different routes, including one on Bryan Place, Swiss Avenue, Live Oak and Gaston Avenue. Bryan Place had early 20th century apartment houses and private homes converted to apartments, and a large, old fashioned style "boarding house" with rooms for single working men and family style meals. Live Oak and part of Gaston had newer "patio" style apartment buildings. Swiss was still at that time silk stocking row that far out from downtown, as was a portion of Gaston toward Lakewood.

Another route I delivered was mostly on Bryan between Haskell and almost to Greenville. It included a lot of bars, diners, low end retail businesses (including a Robert Hall, anyone remember those?). I made sure to have extra papers beyond my deliveries for the bars, because I could sell a nickel paper to a patron, and almost invariably get a quarter.

When I had a route on Columbia and East Side I had to put the collections on a weekly basis and keep a sharp eye out for people moving out of the low rent apartments there. But I always made pretty good money even on that route.

Another job I had in East Dallas was at the Red Heart Watermelon Garden on Ross at Greenville, where a Firestone store was the last time I was in the neighborhood several years ago. Mr. Watkins (called "Humpy" for his crooked back) owned the place. My job, along with that of several other boys, was to serve sliced watermelon to customers at outdoor tables under large elm trees. Each evening when we arrived at work we were given a clean apron and five dollars in coins in the pocket. We served the patrons and collected payment of 25 or 35 cents per slice (depending on the cost of melons to Mr. Watkins), and made change from our apron pockets. We payed him at a cashier's window for the slices we sold. At the end of the evening, usually midnight, we turned in the five dollars. Our pay was the extra we had in the pockets, derived from our evening's tips. We got no pay from Mr. Watkins. Additionally, we unloaded watermelon trucks, cleaned the grounds, tables, and serving supplies, generally kept the place up. I usually got home about 1:30 in the morning. A typical night would net me $3-5, but on Friday, Saturday, or Wednesday (Baptist Church night), I might pick up $15. That was pretty good pay for a 13 year old kid, but when we had a truck it was also pretty hard work.

Long Junior High School had an attendance district that included the area described, and also the Lakewood area. Socioeconomically, the two were worlds apart, and the school had two main populations of kids, the better off bunch from Lakewood, and the poorer kids from my neighborhoods. There were dramatic conflicts at times. I think part of the time I lived in the Spence attendance district, but in DISD at that time, once you started at one secondary school, it was easy to arrange to remain after you moved.

In 1960 we moved back to Oak Cliff. When I attended Long, I smoked, fought, was a bit of a ruffian, though by no means a delinquent. Despite all, I did well academically. When we moved to Oak Cliff and I attended Kimball H.S. my behavior improved dramatically. I even got my "duck tails" cut into an "ivy league"style. We still lived in a working class neighborhood, south of Cockrell Hill, but overall the kids seemed more "middle America" types. I saw myself differently.

Jim, I never knew any prostitutes to my knowledge when I lived in East Dallas, though given the socioeconomic status of the area, I'm sure there were some. I did know a lot of working girls from Bell Telephone, including my sister. I really doubt that any of them were prostitutes.

Correction: My newspaper routes in this area were all DTH. I later delivered the DMN in Oak Cliff.

Dave McNeely



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/2017 06:15PM by old man from dallas.
Re: East Dallas
January 08, 2017 06:31AM
It was around 1982 that the prostitutes began displaying their goods by the way they dressed and the areas that seemed to draw the majority were Carroll Avenue and Bryan Street in the parking lot of the convenience store and car wash, Main Street/Columbia Avenue at Carroll Avenue, Harry Hines Boulevard north of Northwest Highway and along Fort Worth Avenue in the area of the motels between Sylvan Avenue and Hampton Road.

A lot of arrests, but they were bailed out and back within a couple of hours.

In 1984 the Republic National Convention was held in Dallas and several months in advance there was a big push to remove the prostitutes from public view, but apparently a large convention draws many from out of town and so many police officers were involved in security at the convention there was very little enforcement during the actual convention.

The locals were angered by the influx of outsiders and there were a lot of fights. One in particular elevated to the point the police were dispatched to Royal Lane and Harry Hines Boulevard on a gang fight call. The officers requested two patty wagons and packed them both. Later that night, they were all back.

When I hired on in 1968 there were two Vagrancy Laws. One was a City Misdemeanor resulting in a fine or time served in the City Jail. The other was a County Misdemeanor which if I recall could result in up to two years in the County Jail. Repeat Offenders were charged with County Vagrancy after a couple of City Vagrancy charges. Vagrancy Laws were done away with around 1973, biggest mistake ever.

I remember the cases were a man was picking up prostitutes in the Oak Cliff area, most often around South Ewing Avenue and R.L. Thornton Freeway and killing them, removing their eyes and dumping them in vacant fields and seldom used roadways. I got a call on a pedestrian struck on Beckleymeade Avenue near South Polk Street. when I arrived I found a female laying in the roadway, nude and her eyes removed. A Patrol Unit that arrived ahead of me had already requested Homicide and Physical Evidence to the scene. Very apparent not a pedestrian struck.

I am not completely useless, I can always be used as a bad example.
Re: East Dallas
January 08, 2017 04:53PM
DallasCop2566 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It was around 1982 that the prostitutes began
> displaying their goods by the way they dressed and
> the areas that seemed to draw the majority were
> Carroll Avenue and Bryan Street in the parking lot
> of the convenience store and car wash, Main
> Street/Columbia Avenue at Carroll Avenue, Harry
> Hines Boulevard north of Northwest Highway and
> along Fort Worth Avenue in the area of the motels
> between Sylvan Avenue and Hampton Road.
>
> A lot of arrests, but they were bailed out and
> back within a couple of hours.
>
> In 1984 the Republic National Convention was held
> in Dallas and several months in advance there was
> a big push to remove the prostitutes from public
> view, but apparently a large convention draws many
> from out of town and so many police officers were
> involved in security at the convention there was
> very little enforcement during the actual
> convention.
>
> The locals were angered by the influx of outsiders
> and there were a lot of fights. One in
> particular elevated to the point the police were
> dispatched to Royal Lane and Harry Hines Boulevard
> on a gang fight call. The officers requested two
> patty wagons and packed them both. Later that
> night, they were all back.
>
> When I hired on in 1968 there were two Vagrancy
> Laws. One was a City Misdemeanor resulting in a
> fine or time served in the City Jail. The other
> was a County Misdemeanor which if I recall could
> result in up to two years in the County Jail.
> Repeat Offenders were charged with County Vagrancy
> after a couple of City Vagrancy charges. Vagrancy
> Laws were done away with around 1973, biggest
> mistake ever.
>
> I remember the cases were a man was picking up
> prostitutes in the Oak Cliff area, most often
> around South Ewing Avenue and R.L. Thornton
> Freeway and killing them, removing their eyes and
> dumping them in vacant fields and seldom used
> roadways. I got a call on a pedestrian struck on
> Beckleymeade Avenue near South Polk Street. when
> I arrived I found a female laying in the roadway,
> nude and her eyes removed. A Patrol Unit that
> arrived ahead of me had already requested
> Homicide and Physical Evidence to the scene. Very
> apparent not a pedestrian struck.

Oak Cliff's own serial killer Charles Albright:

[en.wikipedia.org]
Re: East Dallas
January 09, 2017 11:19AM
"School bells ringing, children sing It's back to Robert Hall again". This must have been one of the most insidious commercial jingles of mid-century television. It has lingered near the surface of my unconscious for 60+ years, but we never shopped there. The lure near there for me was the big Sears store across from St. Matthew's Cathedral. The escalators were the most exciting thing in Dallas for a 4 year old. My Grandmother said that one of the first complete sentences I uttered was "Go to Sears to ride the escalators.". Of course you couldn't pay me to set foot on most escalators these days, way too steep. I believe there used to be a Sammy's restaurant upstairs on the north side of Sears. My Dad's company Christmas party was held there in the early 50's.

Victoria Snyder Alvey
Re: East Dallas
January 09, 2017 12:22PM
So you don't remember Charles Albright? Jim
Re: East Dallas
January 09, 2017 04:26PM
northdallasgirl Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> "School bells ringing, children sing It's back to
> Robert Hall again". This must have been one of
> the most insidious commercial jingles of
> mid-century television. It has lingered near the
> surface of my unconscious for 60+ years, but we
> never shopped there. The lure near there for me
> was the big Sears store across from St. Matthew's
> Cathedral. The escalators were the most exciting
> thing in Dallas for a 4 year old. My Grandmother
> said that one of the first complete sentences I
> uttered was "Go to Sears to ride the escalators.".
> Of course you couldn't pay me to set foot on most
> escalators these days, way too steep. I believe
> there used to be a Sammy's restaurant upstairs on
> the north side of Sears. My Dad's company
> Christmas party was held there in the early 50's.

When I was a teenager, Robert Hall made it possible for me to have presentable clothes (as I saw it). Their stuff was cheap, and cheaply made. But I could get school clothes using my paper route and other jobs money. Even cheaper (and of even lesser quality) was Levine's, and I got some stuff there, too. Shoes I got from Benny's Shoes in Deep Elum. They sold Florsheim shoes, previously worn. Most were from a deal they had with Florsheim for returns that had been worn and therefore could not be sold as new. All the men and boys in my family got their shoes there.

The Red Heart Watermelon Garden was at Ross and Greenville, just a couple of blocks from the Sears store. In Christmas season Mr. Watkins ran a Christmas tree stand on the same lot. I worked there, also, and like with the watermelons, my pay was tips, though for the Christmas season we did get a small wage, I think it was 35 cents per hour. If I got a big tip for loading a tree, maybe a dollar, I'd splurge at the Sears store for a hot fudge sundae at the soda fountain. I think the cost was a quarter. A touch of winter weather, especially a few snowflakes in the air, really brought out the Christmas tree shoppers, and they'd be more generous with a tip then, too.

Yes, there was a Sammy's restaurant in the Sears building. It was upstairs, entrance outside via a curved stairway.

Dave McNeely
Re: East Dallas
January 10, 2017 05:13PM
jgoodman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So you don't remember Charles Albright? Jim

I "do" remember him. In the early '50s my cousin lived on Elsbeth St, between W 5th St & Eldorado Ave where Albright lived. I think we were ~10yrs younger than him, but even then he was considered "strange" and the neighborhood kids gave him a wide berth. Later, as a teenager, I seem to remember one of my older friends associated with him a bit.
Re: East Dallas
January 10, 2017 10:59PM
I was contacted several years ago by a man from Santa Fe, New Mexico who was preparing to write a book regarding Charles Albright and his crimes. He was doing background and attempting to locate law enforcement officers involved.

I never heard from him again and have researched and never found a book that was published regarding Charles Albright. I did however see a True Crime type television show regarding the crimes.

When I talked to the man I was of the impression he was elderly and had relocated to Santa Fe for retirement. He did mention he had been a reporter for a newspaper. He may have passed away before he had a chance to write his book.

Below is a link to the television presentation I mentioned above:

CLICK HERE

I am not completely useless, I can always be used as a bad example.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2017 11:02PM by DallasCop2566.
Re: East Dallas
January 14, 2017 03:54AM
DallasCop2566 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I was contacted several years ago by a man from
> Santa Fe, New Mexico who was preparing to write a
> book regarding Charles Albright and his crimes. He
> was doing background and attempting to locate law
> enforcement officers involved.
>
> I never heard from him again and have researched
> and never found a book that was published
> regarding Charles Albright. I did however see a
> True Crime type television show regarding the
> crimes.
>
> When I talked to the man I was of the impression
> he was elderly and had relocated to Santa Fe for
> retirement. He did mention he had been a reporter
> for a newspaper. He may have passed away before
> he had a chance to write his book.
>
> Below is a link to the television presentation I
> mentioned above:
>
> C
> LICK HERE


Thanks for the link DC. I had never seen that before.
Re: East Dallas
January 27, 2017 12:11AM
DALLASCOP2566...interesting to read your posts. Dont know when you were a cop BUT nowdays, what would be the ABSOLUTE WORSE part of dallas as far as crime in general? I grew up in sw oak cliff but back then it was like leave it to beaver shows.
Re: East Dallas
January 27, 2017 09:22AM
SW OC is my part of OC - it was best part of Dallas back in the day
Re: East Dallas
January 27, 2017 09:51AM
During my high school years in O.C., we, my friends, ran into a very rough group of kids(punks) from Irving in the area of west Ft. Worth cut-off or Blvd. Jim
Re: East Dallas
January 27, 2017 01:50PM
Wayne Pritchett Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> SW OC is my part of OC - it was best part of
> Dallas back in the day

i agree
Re: East Dallas
January 27, 2017 03:41PM
kenneth59 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wayne Pritchett Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > SW OC is my part of OC - it was best part of
> > Dallas back in the day
>
> i agree

Well, I certainly felt that way at the time, early to mid 1960s. Beautiful terrain, nice people, good schools (go Knights!), and most every kind of retail business most people might need.

Dave McNeely
Re: East Dallas
January 28, 2017 09:54AM
I can't believe we've been through this entire thread and no one has mentioned the Lakewood Rats. My mother graduated from Woodrow Wilson in 1942 and I grew up hearing stories about how low down bad the Rats were. Apparently a few of Dallas's most prominent business leaders in the 50's and 60's were ex-Rats. They were legendary and known all over town. My dad went to North Dallas and knew all about them. I'd be interested in hearing the law enforcement view of the Rats and other gangs of the pre-WW2 era. Were they really all that bad or was my mother exagerating as a cautionary tale?

Victoria Snyder Alvey
Re: East Dallas
January 28, 2017 10:31AM
northdallasgirl Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I can't believe we've been through this entire
> thread and no one has mentioned the Lakewood Rats.
> My mother graduated from Woodrow Wilson in 1942
> and I grew up hearing stories about how low down
> bad the Rats were. Apparently a few of Dallas's
> most prominent business leaders in the 50's and
> 60's were ex-Rats. They were legendary and known
> all over town. My dad went to North Dallas and
> knew all about them. I'd be interested in hearing
> the law enforcement view of the Rats and other
> gangs of the pre-WW2 era. Were they really all
> that bad or was my mother exagerating as a
> cautionary tale?

[phorum.dallashistory.org]

Lots of, "I heard," "My father said .... ," and so on. I googled, and just got a bit more of the same. Perhaps a look into newspaper archives might reveal something more substantive. In my brief search, I found no documentation or any first hand knowledge, other than attribution without evidence. I lived in East Dallas and attended J.L. Long Junior High School toward the end of the period when Lakewood Rats were reputedly active, and like others, "I heard .... .". Long's attendance district included Lakewood and the school sat on the same campus as did Woodrow Wilson H.S., the supposed home of the gang. Interesting that a gang of this sort, whether hard-core thugs or just risk-taking kids, would be associated with what was an affluent part of town.

This is everything I got from the archives:

[phorum.dallashistory.org]

One interesting quote from one post: "I never knew anyone who knew a Lakewood Rat, but we were all scared of 'em, anyway."

Dave McNeely



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/28/2017 11:02AM by old man from dallas.
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