Fair Grounds prior to Fair Park
May 23, 2017 06:33AM
I am reading a story that was in a True Crime Magazine from 1893 regarding a murder that occurred on Short Street at the "Old Fair Grounds" near the railroad terminal. (This is the description of the crime scene from the article)

Anybody have any information as to where the Old Fair Grounds were located and apparently there was a new location prior to being located at what is now Fair Park, which I believe was prior to being Fair Park, World War I Camp Dick?

I found a map from 1891 and it does not disclose the location of the Fair Grounds and no Short Street.

I am not completely useless, I can always be used as a bad example.
Re: Fair Grounds prior to Fair Park
May 23, 2017 08:55AM
Cop, the only Short Street that I can find, in either historical or modern Dallas is in S. Oak Cliff, just SW of the intersection of Ledbetter and I-35. That of course would not be the Short Street that you asked about. You probably found this:

[www.texasescapes.com]

which gives a history of Fair Park (how reliable I don't know). It describes the establishment of TWO Fair Parks in Dallas in the same year, 1887, one of which became the modern Fair Park, and one that was established in N. Dallas by a rival group to the one that established the eventual modern Fair Park. Some other articles I found give essentially the same information, but in less detail.

It seems that two business men, one the Gaston for whom Gaston Avenue was named, and one Mr. Keating both owned properties and had business interests in respectively East and North Dallas. Gaston established the city of East Dallas, and I believe was also once a mayor of Dallas. Each believed his property would make the best fair location. Since they couldn't agree, each eventually got a charter for a fair company and established a fair. Gaston's was the more successful and eventually that property was donated to the city, perhaps to escape the costs (though many people attended, perhaps the fair was not profitable) of operating the fair.

This doesn't answer your question, but the location you mention very likely was the location of Keating's second fair (actually the first to secure a charter) rather than a progenitor of the modern fair. From the article, it seems that the modern fair derives from one established at the present location by Gaston.

Added in edit: The property in N Dallas that became one fair grounds was owned not by Keating, but by a man named Cole (surveyor, real estate operator, Cole Avenue named for). Check property records for transfer of land from Cole to this competing state fair, and you'll have the location of that entity, anyway.

A question: Could the account in the magazine be partially fictionalized, including such things as street names? Maybe there never was a Short Street in East or North Dallas. What was called North Dallas in the article may be in what we would today call East Dallas also, for example lower Greenville Ave area. Cole Avenue today is sort of between that area and today's North Dallas.

If there ever was a Short Street in Dallas, I'd bet that M.C. Toyer would know of it.

Dave McNeely



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/23/2017 09:22AM by old man from dallas.
Re: Fair Grounds prior to Fair Park
May 23, 2017 11:34AM
DallasCop2566 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I am reading a story that was in a True Crime
> Magazine from 1893 regarding a murder that
> occurred on Short Street at the "Old Fair Grounds"
> near the railroad terminal. (This is the
> description of the crime scene from the article)
>
> Anybody have any information as to where the Old
> Fair Grounds were located and apparently there was
> a new location prior to being located at what is
> now Fair Park, which I believe was prior to being
> Fair Park, World War I Camp Dick?
>
> I found a map from 1891 and it does not disclose
> the location of the Fair Grounds and no Short
> Street.

==============

The "Old Fair Grounds" are shown on several Dallas maps in the 1870-1890 era. They were located south of Gaston and east of College (now Hall), the present site of Baylor Medical Center. As best I recall the first fair was held there about 1872 but it did not become a regular event.

There were a number of short streets that dead ended into the tract but those maps are not detailed enough to show all the names. In a quick search of the area in the Murphy and Bolanz Plat Maps and Sanborn Insurance Maps it appears most of those short streets were extended and/or realigned and given new names as the Old Fair Grounds tract was redeveloped
Re: Fair Grounds prior to Fair Park
May 24, 2017 01:22AM
The article I mentioned is written in an unusual manner, maybe normal for that time period. Maybe the author left out one letter when referring to the street where the crime occurred, "a short street" near the terminal and Old Fair Grounds instead of Short Street, although Short and Street are both capitalized in the article.

It also mentions the Dallas County Sheriff, who lived nearby on Swiss Avenue, near Adair Street arrived within the half hour as did the Precinct Justice of the Peace, who ordered the body removed to the Ed Smith Funeral Parlor at Main Street and St. Paul Street where a local surgeon would determine the time of death and number of gunshots received.

Impressive response considering most involved probably arrived by horseback or horse drawn conveyance.

I am not completely useless, I can always be used as a bad example.
Re: Fair Grounds prior to Fair Park
May 25, 2017 02:15AM
I found a real estate advertisement from 1889 that shows a parcel and improvements for sale on Short Street only describing the location as being North of Main Street.



I would assume from the additional advertisements that it was located somewhere in the area of the Texas Pacific Railroad tracks and the Old Fair Grounds, probably in the area of where Hawkins Street is located today.

Additional Information by edit: I located Short Street in a 1891 Dallas City Directory and found the railroad mentioned in the article was the Santa Fe tracks and the street was located where the Dallas City Hall is now located from the description.

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



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 05/25/2017 07:17PM by DallasCop2566.
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